When it comes to building a great gaming rig, there’s no denying the fact that you’ll be needing the best graphics card you can get. That is because this one accessory can make or break your gaming experience. To make things more complicated, there’s no specific graphics card that serves as the “best” for everyone. While some gamers want the fastest and highest performance, others are merely looking for graphics cards in the low-budget range. And then some are looking to get the best of both worlds.
However, balancing your gaming cards’ efficiency, performance, features, and budget are essential as no other component affects your gaming experience as much as your graphics cards. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of some of the best graphics cards on the market below. There’s one to match everyone’s preference.
Whether you want a top-performer like the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 or a budget-range card like the MSI Geforce GTX 1650, you’re sure to find the best graphics card to suit your rig. However, before we dive into the product review, here are some factors you need to keep in mind when choosing the best graphics cards:
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Best Graphics Cards for Gaming - Fall 2020:
- NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080
- NVIDIA Titan RTX Graphics Card
- Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
- AMD Radeon RX 580
- NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti
- AMD RX 5700 XT
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
- AMD RX 5600 XT
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
- EVGA GeForce RTX 2060
- AMD Radeon RX 5300
- MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super
What to Look For When Buying a Graphics Card:
Thermal Design Power (TDP)
Graphics cards utilize a lot of electricity, and as such, generate a lot of heat. That is why PC builders need to add the best cooling systems to their graphics cards as they will allow the cards to remain in peak conditions while functioning properly. Thermal design power, otherwise known as TDP, is the combination of how much heat your graphics cards generate as well as how much electricity they draw. TDP is usually measured in watts; the higher the measurement, the higher the power it will use, and the heat it will generate.
The best graphics cards come with a specialized memory that helps them store the required data needed to display necessary information on a screen. You want to consider the amount of memory your GPU has when shopping for one. Basically, the higher the video random access memory (VRAM) your graphics cards have, the better and faster they will be able to construct and display images on the screen. The VRAM is essential if you’re playing high-performance games, using multiple screens, or playing at high refresh rates or resolutions.
The RAM bandwidth of your graphics cards is another important factor you want to consider. Simply put, the faster your GPU’s memory, the quicker it will be able to access information and display it on your screen. GPU models are usually the determinants of the kind of RAM you’ll get. Therefore, you want to make sure that the graphics cards you choose will work flawlessly for your gaming needs. Select the right GPU, and you’ll get the ideal RAM and bandwidth.
Most graphics cards in today’s market use the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) interface. While many utilize x16 PCIe slots, it’s worth noting that GPUs vary in the number of physical slots they fill for triple, double, and single slot configurations. It’s essential for your motherboard to have enough space for your GPU. That means that you’ll have to consider the other components you want to install with your graphics cards, especially if you’ll be plugging them into the PCIe slots. Also, ensure that your PC case is large enough for all components, as this will allow proper cooling throughout the entire system.
Your graphics cards need to be connected to your motherboard, display, and other components, right? This is where connectors come in. You need to ensure that the graphics cards you buy come with the ideal connectors for your other components, including HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, and any other ports you may need. Note that most graphics cards come with only HDMI and DisplayPort connections, and you may need to buy adapters to connect additional components to your graphics cards.
If you are looking to game in 4k, be sure you’ve got yourself the right gaming monitor for job.
1. NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080
Best Graphics Card
The NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 is currently the second-fastest graphics card on the market, with the new RTX 3090 being number one. So, it's no wonder the RTX 3080 the first GPU on our list of best graphics cards. Coming in at a reasonable price point-under the $700- this card features a new and improved Ampere architecture. To make things even better, the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 graphics card is thirty percent faster than its predecessor, the GTX 2080 Ti, which is $500 more expensive. Whether you want to play 4K or 1440p games at the highest setting, you're sure to get nothing but the best gaming experience. For those looking to use it for 1080P games, this graphics card may be overkill. However, if your 1080P games support ray tracing, the RTX 3080 will be one of the best cards you'll ever have.
The NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 features an 8nm GPU, enhanced Tensor Cores, more CUDA cores, 2nd-gen RT cores, and the superfast G6X memory to ensure the best gaming performance. It can run games like Crysis beautifully, and the thermal design allows for excellent thermal performance without sacrificing fan acoustics. Fast, quiet, and beautiful, this GPU is simply the best graphics card around, which is probably why it's so scarce on the market.
2. NVIDIA Titan RTX Graphics Card
Ultimate AI Powerhouse
The NVIDIA Titan RTX Graphics Card is one that's meant to provide nothing but the best and highest performance. Endowed with dual 13-blade fans, this GPU is ultra-quiet and offers three times normal airflow. Thanks to the Titan RTX NVLink Bridge technology featured on this card, users can double the memory capacity while scaling the total performance, ensuring a higher bandwidth as well as enhanced performance. Unlike the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 3080, the NVIDIA Titan RTX is powered by the Turing GP and comes with 72 RT cores, 4609 NVIDIA CUDA cores, and 576 Tensor cores for AI workflows.
With a boost clock of 1770MHz and a 24GB GDDR6X memory, you'll be able to engage in 1080P, 4K, and 1440P gaming with ease. However, it's worth noting that while this GPU is excellent for gaming, it isn't the best for gaming. Instead, it's a GPU geared towards enhancing AI, CAD, deep learning, machine learning, video editing, data analysis, and other creative and programming workflows. No matter how demanding your workflow might be, this high-end GPU will help you render, research, and create faster while delivering better results. If you're looking for the best gaming graphics card, we urge you to go with the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3080 above.
3. Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
Best Mid-Range Gaming Graphics Card
The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti is a graphics card that gets a lot of accolades as one of the best graphics cards in the mid-range segment. Based on NVIDIA's Pascal architecture, this GPU offers excellent gaming capabilities. You can easily play 1080p games with no stress. It's fast, smooth, and provides a power-efficient gaming experience. While it doesn't come with as much RAM or power as the best, high-end options above, it sure holds its own well plus it's reasonably priced.
The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti supports the latest DirectX 12 features. It comes with a low-profile backplate and works with both PCIe 2.0 and 3.0. The cooling system is also quite reliable thanks to the dual fan, alternate spinning fan design, and copper composite heat pipes. All of these come together to dissipate heat effectively, ensuring that you get the GPU's best performance possible.
You also get a LED fan indicator that helps you know your fan's status, and the fan runs pretty silently too. With a boost clock of 1455MHz and 4GB DDR5 memory, this is one of the best graphics cards to run your 1080p games on.
4. AMD Radeon RX 580
Great Value for Money
An inexpensive price tag and a GPU that works efficiently are some of the reasons why many people love the AMD Radeon RX 580. This Radeon RX 580 Graphics Card is made by XFX, an American company dedicated to making AMD cards, amongst other accessories. The RX 580 is based on AMD's Polaris GPU, comes with an overclocking capability while still staying under the $200 price point. While the design isn't anything too special, you still get top-notch performance as well as a better value for your money.
The fan and shroud design looks cheap, but the metal backplate makes up for it. Also, the AMD Radeon RX 580 Graphics Card is available in both 4GB and 8GB RAM. So, if you're more of a QHD gamer, it's best that you lean towards the 8GB variant. This GPU comes with a 256-bit memory interface and operates a 1366MHz frequency, which can be boosted up to 1386MHz.
The AMD Radeon RX 580 is also VR ready, allowing you to enjoy a seamless VR experience by providing low-latency and a virtually stutter-free environment. If you're not keen on aesthetics and would love to have an excellent under $200 GPU, the RX 580 is one of the best graphics cards you can buy.
5. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti
Best Graphics Card For Enthusiasts
If you're looking to get nothing but the absolute best graphics card, the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is the card you should choose. Not only is it the king of GPUs, but it has also remained so ever since it first launched in 2018. Whether you want to use it for gaming, deep learning, machine learning, or any creative task, this card is good enough to handle them all. The NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is built on the brand's Turing architecture and endowed with real-time ray tracing. It features 11GB DDR6 RAM, 4352 CUDA cores, and a maximum digital resolution of 7680 x 4320.
The NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is a card that can deliver 4K in 60fps. Its Tensor cores and impressive ray tracing technology allows it to handle any graphics-intensive task with ease. Pair this GPU with a powerful processor and a good monitor, and you won't have to worry about building another rig for a while. With that said, it's worth noting that the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is an expensive and large GPU. This card costs well over a thousand bucks and has a 10.5 x 1.75 x 4.55 inches dimension. If you must have the absolute best and you've got the cash and space for it, then the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is the best graphics card for you to buy.
6. AMD RX 5700 XT
Best Graphics Card By AMD
Not everyone has the budget to go after high-end cards. Some are simply looking for an excellent card in a reasonable price range. If you're one of these persons, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is one of the best graphics cards you can choose. Sitting in the $400 price range, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is designed with AMD's Navi 10 architecture, which doesn't support both hardware and software ray tracing like what you get on the RTX 2080 Ti. However, that doesn't mean that AMD's RDNA architecture featured on the RX 5700 XT isn't impressive. AMD's graphics cards often handle games using Vulkan and DirectX 12 APIs better than NVIDIA cards, while the latter does well with DX11 games.
In terms of performance, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card is a little better than the NVIDIA 2060 Super, which we've talked about below. It also costs less, and thanks to AMD's consistent driver updates, the initial driver issues have mostly been fixed. The 7nm FinFET manufacturing process allows the RX 5700 XT to use less power than AMD's Radeon VII even when being used for 1080P and 1440p gaming. If your budget is in the $400 price range and you'd like the best graphics card for 1440p gaming, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is one of the top choices to look at.
7. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
Best Graphics Card for 1440P Gaming
Looking to get a good deal on a 1440p gaming card? Look no further than the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 Super. Serving as the fourth model in the Turing lineup, this card is excellent for both 4K and 1440p gaming, though it does better at 1440p. Simply put, the RTX 2070 Super an enhanced version of the 1080 Ti at a lesser price and better potential use for the future. Endowed with the Turing TU104 GPU, this card is close in performance to the far more expensive RTX 2080 graphics card. While the Geforce RTX 2070 Super may be considered as an enhanced version of the 1080Ti, we feel it's more like a lite version of the RTX 2080 when it comes to performance.
Featuring a base clock of 1605 MHz, boost clock of 1770MHz, and 2560 GPU cores, the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 Super is fast, comes with ray tracing and DLSS. It also beats its predecessor as well as every AMD GPU available right now in performance. This GPU is NVLink compatible and comes with a USB-C port. If you're looking to get a great graphics card with excellent performance and can't wait for the new RTX 3070, this card is the best buy. However, if you can wait, we recommend you do so, as the Geforce RTX 2070 Super will definitely pale in comparison to the new high-end 3070 graphics card.
8. AMD RX 5600 XT
Best Budget 1080P Graphics Card
Don't have a $400 budget for the AMD RX 5700 XT? Go with the AMD RX 5600 XT. While it isn't as super as its sibling above, this entry-level card is one of the best for 1080p gaming PCs. At launch, this card was 15% faster than NVIDIA's GTX 1660 Ti cards, which happened to be its main competitor. This made NVIDIA drop the price of its GTX 2060 card and partnered with EVGA to release a unique model, the RTX 2060 KO, for just 300 bucks. AMD then responded to this notion by adding a BIOS update that increased the RX 5600 XT's performance, making it 17% faster than the 1660 Ti cards. The BIOS update made it possible for users to run their GPUs at 14GB/s instead of the initial 12GB/s memory clock.
Fast forward to the present, prices have dropped, and the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is one of today's best deals. While it doesn't feature ray tracing and DLSS, it's still the best value you can get for the price. Most of these cards now run 14GB/s right out of the box or via a BIOS update. If you're looking to get a new graphics card for your gaming PC at the best price possible, the AMD RX 5600 XT is one of the best graphics cards you can buy.
9. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
High-End But Pricey
The NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Super is another awesome high-end graphics card. Launched in July 2019, this GPU was built on the TU104 processor, just like the RTX 2070 Super. However, the variant used for the RTX 2080 Super is the TU104-450A1. It supports DirectX 12 Ultimate, thereby ensuring that all modern games run efficiently on this GPU. Also, this graphics card comes with hardware ray tracing capabilities as well as variable-rate shading. It's one of the best graphics cards dedicated to futuristic gaming. The RTX 2080 features 384 Tensor cores, 3072 shading units, 48 ray tracing acceleration cores, and 64 ROPs. Designed with 8GB GDDR6 RAM, the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super operates at a frequency of 1650MHz, boostable to 1815MHz.
Whether you're buying it for gaming, deep learning, or machine learning, you're sure to get the most out of this card. It's a dual-slot GPU, and it draws power from one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector. Display outputs include 3 DisplayPort, 1 USB-C port, and one HDMI port. It uses a PCIe 3.0 x16 interface to connect to the rest of the system. The RTX 2080 Super is capable of playing both 1440p and 4K games easily. It's a top-of-the-shelf card that many will find interesting.
10. EVGA GeForce RTX 2060
Best Graphics Card for 1080P Ultra Gaming
The EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 is a great GPU and one of the best graphics card around. Sitting at the same price range as NVIDIA's Founders Edition RTX 2060, this card offers incredible performance as well as boosted core clocks. While it's faster than the original Geforce RTX 2060, its performance is still lower than what you get on the RTX 2060 Super. However, the EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 is still one of the least expensive and best RTX 2060s around. It stands toe-to-toe with higher-performing models of the AMD RX 5600 XT, and it's capable of 1080p gaming at 60fps quite easily. This GPU can also handle 1440p gaming though you may have to play your games at medium settings.
The EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 uses the TU104 GPU, which is usually found in higher models like the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super cards. However, EVGA was able to reduce the performance so as to make it match the specifications of the original RTX 2060. Some of the remodeling done on this GPU includes the addition of basic I/O and a smaller heatsink. However, this doesn't stop it from providing excellent performance for both gaming and computing tasks. While AMD's RX 5700 XT may be a better choice, the EVGA Geforce 2060 RTX is one of the best RTX cards to work with if your budget isn't high or you're looking for an excellent GPU for 1080p and 1440p gaming.
11. AMD Radeon RX 5300
Best Entry Level GPU
AMD recently released the Radeon RX 5300. It's a GPU that's meant to serve entry-level users. This is a Navi 14 graphics card touted to provide better performance than NVIDIA's entry-level option, the GTX 1650. Endowed with 22 CU shader configuration as well as 1408 shader cores, the RX 5300 sits in the $130 price range while still offering great entry-level performance. Compared to the RX 550 XT, the RX 5300 features one less memory controller, thereby bringing the bus-width to a low 96-bit. This makes it the lowest desktop part of the Radeon 5300 series.
The RX 5300 features 3GB VRAM instead of the 4GB featured on the GTX 1650, and its power consumption is down to 100 Watts. While the power consumption may be lower than what's featured on the RX 550 XT, users will still need some external power as the power consumption is still higher than the 75 watt limit of a PCIe slot. Now, despite the fact that AMD has reduced the memory of the RX 5300, this GPU still has an advantage over the NVIDIA GTX 1650 when we consider their raw shading power. AMD's claim that the RX 5300 has a better performance over the GTX 1650 is expected to be true.
12. MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super
Best Budget GPU
The MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super looks quite identical to NVIDIA's GTX 1660 non-super. This GPU comes with a dual-fan heatsink that helps retain coolness but features no backplate. It's a dual-slot card with 3 DisplayPort outputs and one HDMI output. Like the original GTX 1650, this custom-made GPU from MSI runs on the Turing architecture and features the Display Stream Compression (DSC) technology from VESA. Combining these technologies allows the GPU to support 8K at 60Hz when DSC is on or 8K at 30Hz with just one HDMI cable.
This GPU also features 4GB DDR6 RAM and runs at 12Gbps compared to the 8Gbps bandwidth featured on the original GTX 1650. While you'll be able to get a decent frame rate when running games on 1080p, the 4GB RAM this card is endowed with holds its capabilities a little. The card can exceed its performance, but the RAM it comes with serves as a hindrance. Also, the MSI GTX 1650 Super runs really cool, but there's no support for DLSS or RTX technologies. And even if they were available, the 4GB GDDR6 RAM won't be enough to run them while allowing you to play games at decent frame rates.
There are many different considerations to make when building a gaming PC. Whether you want to build from scratch or upgrade your current PC, your CPU and GPU are two essential components you’ll need. The processors we’ve listed above are some of the best on the market and they are many benchmark results online to denote how well they perform.
Whether you’re looking for a high-end card or one in the lower budget range, you’re sure to find the best graphics card for you in our review above. Make sure you read their pros and cons, compare their prices, determine if they’ll be great for your game(s), and make your choice. Some of our high-end recommendations include the RTX 3080, Titan RTX, and RTX 2080 Ti. On the budget side, we recommend cards like the MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super, AMD Radeon RX 5300, AMD RX 5600 XT, and the Radeon RX 580.If you liked our article on graphics cards for gaming, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.