Best graphics card: Top GPUs for gaming
Today’s top graphics cards will transform your PC into a genuine gaming machine. You can run a PC with only integrated graphics, but for true performance — the kind that allows you to play popular games at smooth frame rates — you’ll need one of these excellent graphics cards from NVIDIA or AMD. Both manufacturers have a lot to offer, but the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 has the best performance-to-price ratio. AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT isn’t far behind, and it can also give a great gaming experience.
The graphics card (GPU) is an important component of your gaming computer. You’ll be able to enjoy higher quality and in-game options if you get a better graphics card. There are also a slew of other advantages to using the top graphics cards, such as ray tracing, image upscaling, and so on. If you’re unsure where to begin with a new build or an update, we’ve compiled a list of the finest graphics cards on the market right now for a variety of performance levels and price points.
- 1 What is the best gaming graphics card?
- 2 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- 3 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- 4 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- 5 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
- 6 AMD Radeon RX 6800
- 7 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
- 8 AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
- 9 What about the rest of the video cards?
- 10 Is now a good time to invest in a new graphics card?
- 11 Is it necessary to upgrade your graphics cards?
- 12 How to figure out what kind of computer hardware you already have
- 13 When it comes to PC gaming, how do you choose a display resolution?
What is the best gaming graphics card?
The benefit of constructing your own PC is that you may choose from a variety of graphics cards based on your budget and desired performance. You can mix and match gear to your heart’s content and still have a powerful system. When scalping and stock shortages aren’t an issue, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 will hit a high-end performance tier without costing an unreasonable amount of money like the more powerful overkill options. The NVIDIA RTX 3090 is the Ampere generation’s answer to the RTX Titan, which is perfect for design and development but comes at a hefty price. The same can be said for AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT, a high-end card that most consumers won’t need.
If you want to play 4K PC games or simply demolish 1440p, the NVIDIA RTX 3080 or AMD RX 6800 XT will suffice, giving only approximately 10% of the performance of the RTX 3090 for a fraction of the price. The is a solid choice for those on Team Green who want to dabble in 4K gaming but primarily focus on a high-end 1440p experience, while the AMD Radeon RX 6800 is a suitable choice for those on Team Red. Do you want the graphics card that gives you the most bang for your buck? Many folks who don’t want to overpay but yet want a GPU that can handle recent games will find the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti to be an excellent choice.
There are more options to discuss whether it comes to gaming, 4K power, or fitting a lesser budget when it comes to the top graphics cards. Also, keep an eye out for where to get NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPUs and AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, which have proved difficult to come by thus far. Here are the greatest graphics cards for 2022 as of now.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
Bottom line: The RTX 3080 is a fantastic choice for most people thanks to its high Ampere performance and low pricing. It allows you to pick between FHD, QHD, or UHD resolutions while maintaining a high frame rate, and it includes additional NVIDIA technologies like as ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). It outperforms the RTX 2080 and even the RTX 2080 Ti in terms of raw performance.
If you can find an RTX 3080 in stock, you’ll almost certainly buy it. For the time being, we’ll refrain from making specific advice.
When it comes to the finest graphics card, there is no one true choice for everyone, but if we’re looking for something that will fit the majority of people in terms of performance and price, we have to go with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080. While AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 cards, some of which are included in this roundup, have eroded NVIDIA’s claim to the GPU kingdom, the top-tier choice remains with Team Green.
Harish Jonnalagadda, the GPU maestro at Windows Central, makes it obvious in our NVIDIA RTX 3080 review that this is the card upgrade you’ve been waiting for. The RTX 3080 not only outperforms previous-generation GPUs, but it also comes with the extra features that make RTX cards so popular. Ray tracing is becoming more common in recent games, and NVIDIA’s GPUs with dedicated ray-tracing cores are capable of handling it.
Perhaps the most interesting function included with this GPU is DLSS. It uses dedicated Tensor cores to conduct AI rendering in real-time, effectively increasing frame rates while also increasing the resolution of the frames. Because ray tracing can degrade performance, DLSS is the ideal complement. Ray tracing is included on AMD’s latest RX 6000 cards, however the performance hit is significantly worse than with NVIDIA RTX. Getting one of the greatest CPUs for the RTX 3080 will take things to the next level.
The RTX 3080 boasts some impressive specs, and it’s the card to get if you want to play 4K at 60 FPS without needing to lower in-game settings. NVIDIA recommends as least a 750W PSU for the RTX 3080 if you want the greatest performance. G-Sync monitors, which use adaptive sync technology to eliminate screen tearing, are compatible with this card. It’ll also operate with any “G-Sync compliant” FreeSync monitors. The RTX 3080 is the new greatest graphics card for many users, whether they want to game in 4K or 1440p.
The RTX 3080 is slowly making its way back onto virtual store shelves, however costs are still far higher than they should be. Check back frequently for availability changes, and be sure to check out our guide on where to get the NVIDIA RTX 3080 for additional information on restock notifications. Check out our roundup of the best NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics cards for more GPU options.
Do you want to upgrade your old PC to a strong gaming machine? You should consider purchasing one of our recommended graphics cards. It’s in charge of rendering everything you see on the screen and offloading duties from the CPU while doing calculations. When buying a new GPU, the last thing you want to do is squander your money on an older model or one that isn’t strong enough for your needs. You also don’t want to go overboard with your spending.
You should ask yourself a number of questions. What kind of games do you like to play? Do you prefer low-impact indie games or esports games that are well-optimized? Or do you want to enjoy the greatest graphics at a 4K resolution and take full advantage of current-gen AAA gaming? If you answered yes, you should consider less expensive graphics cards that don’t require complex components to get the most out of the GPU.
When it comes to more demanding games, it all comes down to your budget and the specifications of your present PC, such as the processor (CPU), RAM, and other components. If your PC doesn’t have a modern Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, it’s probably not worth it to spend money on a top-of-the-line GPU. You’ll almost certainly encounter a bottleneck, which occurs when a different piece of hardware can’t keep up with the GPU’s capabilities. Our overview of the finest processors for custom PCs might assist you in selecting the proper processor.
What resolution and frame rate are you aiming for? Budget GPUs are best for 1080p (FHD) gaming, mid-range GPUs are excellent for 1440p (QHD) gaming, and top-tier GPUs are best for 4K gaming (UHD). Of course, if you have a top-tier GPU, you can always lower the resolution to gain better frame rates or if you don’t want to spend the money on a 4K gaming monitor.
How long do you want the graphics card to last? Going for a low-cost GPU now will save you money, but it won’t be as useful as a mid- or high-end GPU in the long run. If you don’t plan on replacing your GPU anytime soon, you’ll want to invest a little extra now to ensure that you’ll be able to play games when they’re launched in the coming years.
After considering all of these factors, folks in need of a graphics card can choose the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. It’s our top selection for the finest graphics card because it strikes a balance between performance and cost. There are lots of other outstanding GPU options available if it isn’t just what you’re looking for, either in terms of price or performance.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
Bottom line: AMD’s “Big Navi” RX 6800 XT is a little less expensive than the RTX 3080, but it sacrifices performance and consumes less power. Its 16GB of VRAM is ideal for futureproofing, and it comes with a slew of features that gamers will like. Keep in mind that its ray-tracing capabilities aren’t as advanced.
There are currently no strong suggestions for which version to purchase. If you see one for sale, you’re probably going to buy it.
AMD’s “Big Navi” Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, which are based on RDNA 2 technology, provide a lot of power, making them one of the best options available. In 1440p and 4K games, the RX 6800 XT will generally perform as well as the RTX 3080, with each card shifting up and down depending on other circumstances. The RX 6800 XT is a more power-efficient card that sits between the and the RTX 3080.
It features some remarkable raw specifications, including a staggering 16GB of VRAM, which will help it to scale well in the future. If you want to buy a new GPU today and have it survive for the next five years, 8GB of RAM isn’t going to cut it. The addition of ray tracing, which was previously only available from NVIDIA, is a significant improvement with these GPUs. Your games will appear nicer, but the AMD cards will take a bigger blow in terms of performance. It’s probably due to NVIDIA’s increased development time. This is still true in most cases today, though AMD is making progress.
Smart Access Memory (SAM) is an AMD technology that can improve game performance in particular cases. The improvements aren’t tremendous, but they’re visible in a number of games. We put Smart Access Memory to the test to see how big of a difference it made. Since then, NVIDIA has added Resizable BAR Support to its own GPUs, effectively nullifying this statement.
Do you want to overclock your computer without voiding your warranty? Another excellent inclusion is AMD’s Rage Mode, which will get the job done without hurting your hardware. Finally, FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and Radeon Super Resolution have been added to AMD’s GPUs, both new and old.
These technologies are a reply to NVIDIA’s DLSS, DSR, and DLDSR, and for the most part, they operate effectively in most games available today. For additional information, see our AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution vs. NVIDIA DLSS comparison.
If you’re a member of Team Red and want a GPU that can handle 1440p and 4K gaming, the RX 6800 XT is an unquestionably good option that should be less expensive than the RTX 3080 once stock and prices settle. If this is the card you want, check out our selection of top AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT motherboards and best AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT power supplies to get your system ready.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Bottom line: The RTX 3060 Ti offers all of the benefits of RTX cards at the lowest price of any Ampere card. It outperforms the RTX 2080 Super, allowing it to handle 1440p and some 4K gaming. If you can find one, this is the best value in gaming today.
Buy an RTX 3060 Ti if you can find one. Because of the limited availability, we can only propose one card.
Senior Editor Rich Edmonds writes in his evaluation of the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti that it “may be the most remarkable GPU from NVIDIA” because it outperforms the RTX 2080 Super in 1080p and 1440p gaming. When it comes to price and feature set, he feels it’s the card to get for gaming at these resolutions. Under normal circumstances, the RTX 3060 Ti is expected to cost less than $400, and we should see that price drop soon.
That’s rather impressive, and it’ll almost certainly be very popular among those who aren’t interested in 4K gaming. It also performs admirably against the more expensive . More details can be found in our NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti vs. comparison. Despite the fact that it arrived later than the other RTX 30-series cards, it offers capable ray tracing and DLSS technologies. All of this comes with a 200W TDP, making it suitable for individuals who don’t want to replace their PC’s power supply.
This card won’t be as future-proof as the heavy hitters on this list, but if you can find one and don’t want your wallet to catch fire, it’ll be a good choice. Because of its high hashrate and low price, it’s also our top pick for best mining GPU.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
Bottom line: Thanks to its outstanding performance and feature set, the NVIDIA RTX 3070 is the greatest mid-range GPU available right now. In terms of performance, it’s on par with the RTX 2080 Ti, but it’ll cost a lot less.
Grab any version of the that is advertised for a fair price. There is still a scarcity of stock.
Harish Jonnalagadda, a GPU expert, stated in his assessment of the NVIDIA RTX 3070 that the GPU finds the sweet spot for gaming. It performs nearly as well as the RTX 2080 Ti, but it costs less than $500 when pricing aren’t out of wack. That’s a significant accomplishment, and anyone aiming for the mid-range PC market should be pleased. The RTX 3070 would have destroyed the internet a year ago, before NVIDIA’s other 30-series GPUs and AMD’s RX 6000 cards. Check out our top recommendations for the finest GPUs for a variety of excellent deals.
The RTX 3070 has 5,888 CUDA cores, which is more than twice as much as the Super. It also benefits from RTX features such as ray tracing and DLSS AI, which greatly improve frame rates in compatible games. It does, however, continue to use 8GB of VRAM. If that’s a concern, consider , which has 16GB of VRAM and a similar price. We’ve even pitted the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 against the AMD Radeon .
In any case, your 1440p gaming experience will soar if you can get your hands on this card. The RTX 3070 can handle 4K, however a QHD monitor will give you considerably better results. Also, make sure to connect the new hardware with one of the top motherboards. Getting one of the best CPUs for the RTX 3070 is also a good idea.
AMD Radeon RX 6800
The RX 6800 is a direct competition to the RTX 3070, and it will actually outperform it in 4K and 1440p games. It costs a little more and doesn’t have as much in the way of ray-tracing or upscaling, but the price-to-performance ratio is fantastic.
There are currently no strong suggestions for which version to purchase. If you see one for sale, you’re probably going to buy it.
The (without the XT) is another top RDNA 2 GPU from AMD. It includes many of the same capabilities as the more powerful RX 6800 XT, such as ray tracing, FSR, RSR, and Smart Access Memory, but it costs less and uses less power (250W vs. 300W). It’ll still handle 4K and 1440p games, and its 16GB of VRAM puts it ahead of the in terms of future performance. There are other third-party options, but the top AMD Radeon graphics cards will provide a similar experience.
In my AMD Radeon RX 6800 review, I noticed that the RX 6800 provides greater overall performance than the RTX 3070, but at a higher power draw. In a world without insanely inflated prices and nonexistent stock, it also cost a little more. Ray tracing is supported by the RX 6800, although it won’t match the capabilities of NVIDIA’s RTX cards. NVIDIA, of course, provides DLSS technology, which is quickly becoming a big benefit. With FidelityFX Super Resolution and Radeon Super Resolution, AMD finally has a response, but it still has a long way to go to catch up to NVIDIA.
The should be a good pick for your gaming PC if you want better raw performance at 1440p and 4K and don’t mind paying a little more than the . If you do decide on the RX 6800 as your new GPU, make sure you have the correct supporting components with our roundup of the best AMD Radeon RX 6800 PSU and best AMD Radeon RX 6800 motherboard.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
The RTX 3090 is a physically massive GPU with 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM to help with design and development work. It’ll give you a 10% boost in 4K gaming performance over the RTX 3080, but it’ll set you back more than twice as much. This is a card that should only be cut out by experts or individuals with a lot of money.
If you can locate an RTX 3090 that isn’t ridiculously pricey, you’re likely to buy it. Individual suggestions will be delayed until the stock market and prices have stabilized.
The NVIDIA RTX 3090 is a massive card, both physically and theoretically. Although it features a staggering 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM and 10,496 CUDA cores, don’t expect it to be a gaming powerhouse. If you want to play 4K games, you’ll probably only notice a 10% gain in performance over the RTX 3080. On that front, we have further information in our NVIDIA RTX 3080 vs. RTX 3090 comparison. And don’t even consider purchasing this GPU at 1440p or 1080p resolutions; it’s simply not worth the money.
Given that it costs more than twice as much as other RTX 3080 cards, this is a piece of hardware that will be reserved for pros and people with large budgets. Yes, this is the card that will dethrone the pricey RTX Titan, and it will pique the interest of developers and designers alike.
If you’re going all-in on one of these cards, be sure it fits in your case and that your power supply can manage the demands. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of options for the best PSU for RTX 3090. Check out our tutorial on how to prepare your PC for NVIDIA RTX 30-series system requirements for more information.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
In the end, is a good value for money, with a typical price of around $480. It is more expensive than the RTX 3060 Ti, but it provides more raw power. This is particularly significant for people who wish to push QHD frame rates while ignoring ray tracing and image upscaling.
If you want this GPU and can locate one for a decent price, go for it. While most hardware is sold out, there are no specific recommendations.
In terms of raw performance, the falls halfway between the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti and the . It also costs roughly $80 more than the 3060 Ti’s list price, so make sure you’re seeking for more power rather than a superior feature set. The RX 6700 XT is a wonderful choice if you want to push high frame rates at 1440p and even dabble in 4K.
While the supports ray tracing, its support isn’t as good as NVIDIA’s, thus performance will certainly suffer. Even though AMD’s GPUs now include FSR and RSR, which are alternatives to DLSS, this is still the case. More details can be found in our NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti vs. AMD RX 6700 XT comparison.
What’s the bottom line? The RX 6700 XT’s 12GB of VRAM positions it well for the future, and FidelityFX Super Resolution is threatening NVIDIA’s DLSS technology. If you can get an for a reasonable price, it’ll be a fantastic card for QHD gaming.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Bottom line: The NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super is an excellent choice for any custom PC builder on a tight budget. It provides smooth 1080p performance at an affordable price.
The demand for GPUs has even pushed up the price of last-generation cards. If you can find one for a decent price, you’ll probably get it.
Not everyone believes that gaming at a higher resolution than 1080p is necessary. Displays are less expensive, and having fewer pixels enables for a significantly greater frame rate. If you’re not wanting to spend a lot of money on a GPU, NVIDIA’s GTX 1660 Super should suffice. Because it isn’t an RTX card, it lacks specialized ray-tracing cores, albeit a driver upgrade makes it technically compatible. The DLSS 2.0 standard is not supported. It’s still built on Turing design, which means it’s fairly energy efficient. This GPU is also at the top of our ranking of the best low-cost graphics cards.
It contains 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM (the original GTX 1660 has GDDR5) and a memory bandwidth of 336GB/s, which allows it to outperform even the AMD RX 5500 XT’s 8GB version in terms of raw performance. Even at high settings, you’ll experience increased, smooth frame rates with pretty much any game at 1080p.
What about the rest of the video cards?
There are a slew of other top graphics cards on the market, ranging from low-cost sub-$100 alternatives to professional-grade cards designed for specialized design and development tasks. However, in terms of gaming-specific GPUs, these are the cards that make the most sense in terms of performance-to-price.
Graphics cards are commonly available from a variety of vendors; performance and specifications are generally similar with just minor variances, however price, cooling, and overall design may vary. You’ll discover a GPU in this guide that will suit your next fresh PC build or update, regardless of your favorite resolution, games, or manufacturers.
The Radeon RX 6600 XT, AMD’s affordable 1080p choice, isn’t on the list, and we believe it’s for good reason. It’s about $20 less expensive than the RTX 3060 Ti, which is a better card in terms of raw performance. The difference widens much greater when we consider ray tracing and DLSS. In addition, if you plan to upgrade to 1440p, the 3060 Ti should continue to perform better.
Because the GPU market has been messed up by stock shortages, you might be able to get a nice bargain on an RTX 3060 or an RX 6600 XT. If that’s the case, both GPUs will still give a high-quality 1080p gaming experience.
Due to the price-to-performance ratio, the Ti versions of the RTX 3080 and aren’t on the list. If you can only locate the Ti version, it’ll be a terrific card, but if you can find the non-Ti variants, you’ll be just as satisfied with a little extra cash in your pocket. For additional information, see our review.
Is now a good time to invest in a new graphics card?
It may be difficult to purchase a replacement card now that NVIDIA’s RTX 30-series GPUs and AMD’s RX 6000 GPUs are both in short supply. Many people are probably looking to get rid of their old GPUs, so you might be able to get one secondhand for a good price. Though GPU stock is starting to replenish, new card prices are still generally substantially above MSRP.
Look for discounts on NVIDIA’s RTX 20-series GPUs, which are still fantastic cards capable of providing a satisfying gaming experience. If you’re a fan of Team Red, AMD’s RX 5000 GPUs are still a good choice. If you can find one, the RX 5700 XT is still a fantastic card. Unfortunately, even last-generation cards are getting increasingly difficult to come by at a fair price.
Consider Newegg’s Shuffle if you’re having trouble locating the latest GPUs at a reasonable price.
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program. It allows you to select products that you want to purchase; if your name is drawn from a hat, you can purchase the selected item(s) for full price.
There are various reasons why you should not build a PC right now, and many people have turned to the best pre-built gaming desktop PCs as a substitute.
Is it necessary to upgrade your graphics cards?
It can be difficult to determine whether or not it is time to upgrade your GPU. Of course, if you see indicators that your GPU is failing, such as screen abnormalities, PC crashes, or complaining, it’s time to upgrade. But, if your present GPU is up to the task, do you really need to upgrade?
That depends on the games you want to play and the resolution you want to use. If you designed a PC to play low-impact indie games, you’ll almost certainly find that it struggles to keep up with a hot new AAA title that caught your eye. The same can be said of resolution. If you’re updating your monitor from 1080p to 1440p or 4K, you’ll almost certainly need a new GPU to take advantage of the increased resolution.
When a new GPU generation is announced, the prior one appears to be abnormally ancient. Assume you have an NVIDIA GTX 980 in your computer. It’s a fantastic GPU, but now that the RTX 30-series GPUs have been announced, it’s four generations behind. Given how far RTX 30-series cards have progressed from even 20-series cards, an upgrade is undeniably appealing.
Finally, you shouldn’t upgrade your GPU unless you can afford to upgrade the rest of your PC components as well. Purchasing an AMD RX 5700 XT GPU and pairing it with 8GB of RAM and a 4th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU will not allow the GPU to reach its full potential. Furthermore, you may not have a large enough PSU unit to supply adequate power to your system, or your cooling system may be insufficient to keep the PC running at peak performance. Always double-check that you can improve the system sufficiently to avoid bottlenecking.
How to figure out what kind of computer hardware you already have
When you buy a new component for your computer, it’s a good idea to run a piece of software to see what you currently have. This can assist you figure out how old other components are and whether or not they’ll become a bottleneck for your new GPU. Many software alternatives are available to see what makes everything tick within the PC casing, like CPU-Z and Speccy.
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are two that we would suggest.
These programs will identify your motherboard, as well as your CPU, RAM, and other components. We’ll mostly be interested in seeing what CPU you have, and 3DMark is a nice way to see how good your CPU will be with a new GPU. The greater a CPU’s 3DMark score, the better it is in games and other demanding tasks. The 3DMark score of a certain chip will give you an idea of how powerful it is, but it shouldn’t be taken as a final number.
In addition to the score, the age of the CPU, the generation it belongs to, the manufacturing technique utilized, the cooling installed, whether it’s overclocked, and how many cores it has should all be taken into account. Intel’s ARK platform makes it easy to search through the company’s CPU lineup. If you’re a member of #TeamRed, AMD’s website includes a comparable function.
When it comes to PC gaming, how do you choose a display resolution?
You might be wondering which resolution to strive for if you’re building a new PC from the ground up. It can be difficult to select between amazing gaming monitors in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. What you need to think about is the cost, fidelity, and power of the PC hardware you want to use.
A 1080p gaming monitor will usually be the cheapest, but it will still have a fast refresh rate and a short response time, which are both desirable attributes for gamers. It won’t look as sharp as 1440p or 4K, but it will use significantly less power to run games at a high frame rate. You’ll be able to get away with a lower-tier GPU and CPU, which will save you even more money.
Everything will look better if you increase the resolution to 1440p. Dropping back to 1080p after making the jump to QHD is evident. The problem with 1440p is that displays are often more expensive, and you’ll need beefier technology to attain high frame rates. At 1440p, the better the GPU and CPU, the better the performance. Even the high-end and , which can handle 4K, will perform far better on a 1440p panel.
Finally, we’ve got 4K. Even from 1440p, that’s a significant jump, and you’ll need top-tier hardware to get the most of it. Purchasing a 4K display and coupling it with a poor PC is not recommended. Expect frame rates to be nowhere near what they are at 1080p and 1440p, even with a high-end GPU and CPU.
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