Treating your PC to an upgrade this Christmas?

Many PC users have no doubt written to Santa asking for a shiny new graphics card this Christmas – or are holding out until the January sales before they upgrade their rig. If you haven’t put in your order to Lapland’s busy elves yet, here’s a quick look at some of the best-value cards you can get to give your gaming a New Year boost:

Budget – Radeon HD 6570 DDR3
With an identical graphics processor to the more expensive 6670 from Radeon, this is an excellent budget option for those who want a decent graphical upgrade without breaking the bank. The core and memory clock rates are slightly lower than its sibling’s, but if you’re confident enough to tweak the settings you should be able to achieve near-identical performance.

Midrange – Radeon HD 7790
Moving up the scale a bit, the 7790 is still pretty easy on the pocket, and offers a good deal of bang for your buck. Apparently, this card uses the very same technology as the GPU in Microsoft’s Xbox One, so you can expect to see some considerable improvements when playing the latest crop of games. According to Eurogamer’s review, it holds its own against a number of more expensive cards.

Premium – GeForce GTX 760
If you’ve been a very good boy or girl this year, Santa might just spring for one of the most popular upper-midrange cards on the market right now. The GTX 760 is a real workhorse, handling games like Skyrim, Crysis 3 and Battlefield 4 with ease even on cranked-up settings. Despite the somewhat hefty price tag, it offers superb value compared to the alternatives.

Not a gamer?
If you’re not a PC gamer but still love your tech, maybe you’d rather consider some alternatives. Tablet devices are still hugely popular, and rightly so – smaller than a laptop but bigger than a phone, they offer a great compromise between portability and image quality. See some examples below, or take a look at Misco’s selection for more options.

Budget – Tesco Hudl
If you balk at the idea of buying a supermarket’s own-brand tablet, it’s time to un-balk. These 7-inch Android devices are the cheapest on the market by quite a margin, and believe it or not, they pack some pretty decent hardware, with a built-in GPS receiver and a 1.5GHz quad-core A9 processor.

Midrange – Google Nexus 10
With a 10.1-inch display and, at 299 pixels per inch, the best resolution in for its size on the market, there are great arguments for making this your mini-media centre of choice. Lack of expandable memory may put some off, but it’s a great tablet for the price.

Premium – Microsoft Surface Pro 2
While superficially similar to its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2 has that gorgeous solid magnesium body, super-handy QWERTY keyboard, a vibrant 10.6-inch display and all-round improved OS that makes it one of the best tablet experiences on the market.

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