The Best Graphics Card for Gaming in 2019

Best Overall

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Improves on the standards of Nvidia's base model at a modest price decrease 
  • Dual HDB fans provide superior cooling 
  • Compatible with G-Sync and ray tracing 
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Premium Choice

NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition

NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
  • Can run most modern games in 4K at a solid 60 fps 
  • Built with the demands of future games in mind 
  • Stays cool and quiet even under strenuous conditions 
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Great Value

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
  • An all new edition of AMD card that updates all the major components 
  • Optimal performance without overheating via the XFX Double Dissipation Cooling Technology 
  • Supports VR gaming with low latency and minimal stuttering 
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Nvidia has long been the undoubted winner in terms of graphics cards. Most computers you buy out of the box are likely to come packed with some variation of the Nvidia GeForce, but things become more complicated when you’re looking to build a machine from scratch or customize an existing computer.

And while Radeon has their own line of graphics cards available, things become more complicated when you take into account the fact that Nvidia has given other manufacturers access to their technology to create their own graphics cards. That creates a complex ecosystem of partners who offer a seemingly endless number of variations. If you’re looking to better understand the options available to you.

10 Best Graphics Cards for Gaming

Best Overall

1. EVGA GeForce RTX 2070

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070HotRate Editors Choice

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If the top shelf Nvidia RTX 2080 is a little too much muscle for your needs (or the price tag makes you blanche) you may want to consider EVGA's spin on the RTX 2070 Founders Edition card. Not only is it cheaper than Nvidia's standard chip, it also runs cooler and comes with a wider range of customization options. At its core, it's not that much difference from the standard model, delivering just a modest increase in clock speed but an overclocking option of 30% (in comparison to Nvidia's 16% boost). This is one of the best graphics cards based off of the 2070 model, and compatibility with EVGA Precision X1 software gives you a meticulous amount of control.

Key Features
  • Improves on the standards of Nvidia's base model at a modest price decrease 
  • Dual HDB fans provide superior cooling 
  • Compatible with G-Sync and ray tracing 
  • Comes with a three year warranty and dedicated technical support 
GPUTU106 Clock Speed14,000 MHz Graphics Memory8 GB GDDR6 Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x USB Type-C 
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  • HotRate Editors Choice
Premium Choice

2. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition

NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition

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Nvidia graphics cards are the standard bearer for GPUs, and the 2080 Ti Founders Edition is the top dog in the GeForce series. While all of the 20xx graphics cards are built capable of Deep Learning Super-Sampling and ray tracing - two technologies that promise to revolutionize gaming graphics - the FE sports the best specs of any of them. But it's equally as well equipped for the graphical standards of today. It can run 4K with ease, and it can manage to run even the latest games in Ultra HD comfortably over 60 fps. But despite the impressive specs, it only demands a slightly larger power draw than earlier models.

Key Features
  • Can run most modern games in 4K at a solid 60 fps 
  • Built with the demands of future games in mind 
  • Stays cool and quiet even under strenuous conditions 
  • Incredibly well equipped for VR gaming 
GPUTU102 Clock Speed14,000 MHz  Graphics Memory11GB GDDR6 Ports1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x USB Type-C 
Great Value

3. XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

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While Nvidia is the name to be beat for high end graphics cards, AMD graphics cards continue to be the leader in budget and mid-range options. If you're looking at good graphic cards that won't cost you a fortune, the XFX Radeon RX 580 is an incredibly sensible choice. It outperforms Nvidia's equivalent GTX 1060 at most performance vectors and can even reasonably manage virtual reality gaming despite its inexpensive price tag. Built off the latest Polaris architecture, this fourth gen card is basically built from the ground up with new cores and a shiny fresh display engine. It can readily handle 1080p gaming at 60 fps, proving that you can achieve HD performance for a relative pittance.

Key Features
  • An all new edition of AMD card that updates all the major components 
  • Optimal performance without overheating via the XFX Double Dissipation Cooling Technology 
  • Supports VR gaming with low latency and minimal stuttering 
  • BIOS controlled overclocking ensures you're always running at optimal performance 
GPUPolaris 10 Clock Speed1,386 MHz Graphics Memory8 GB GDDR5 Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI-D

4. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

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EVGA's card is a lean choice that lacks in a lot of power despite its price tag. While it's not a strong enough chip to really justify the inclusion of ray tracing or artificial intelligence, it can excel for an entry- or mid-level rig. Overclocking is complemented by the EVGA Precision X1 software that simplifies the process of maximizing your performance even for gamers with little to no technical experience. And that overclocking is supported by hydro dynamic bearing fans that cut down noise by 15% while offering primo cooling performance. This chip is also compatible with Nvidia G-Sync technology.

Key Features
  • A lower mid-range card that makes the most of the Turing chip 
  • A capable fan with great noise reduction 
  • Overclocking supported by an intuitive software platform 
  • Constructed from high-quality components 
GPUTU116 Clock Speed1,845 MHzGraphics Memory6GB GDDR6Ports8x PCI Express 

5. MSI Gaming Radeon VII

MSI Gaming Radeon VII

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Despite generally occupying the realm of budget graphics cards, AMD has been recently making overtures towards the high-end market. The Radeon VII is designed to take a shot at Nvidia's bow, and it does an admirable job of succeeding. A lot of changes have been made to Radeon's core tech, and while this isn't a card that will blow the competition out of the water, it manages to remain competitive. It offers solid performance in 4K and 1440p HD gaming, and it earns special mention for being the first 7nm GPU to hit the market from any manufacturer. An impressive amount of VRAM helps minimize the computation that the GPU has to pull from the hard drive, but it doesn't come with future-proof features like ray tracing compatibility.

Key Features
  • A decent step up from AMD's GTX models 
  • Packed with tons of VRAM 
  • Offers a comfortable cushion of bandwidth 
  • Great 4K performance 
GPUVega 20 Clock Speed16 GHz Graphics Memory16 GB GDDR6Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 

6. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2060

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2060

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Despite being the first aftermarket RTX 2060 to roll off the line, it's clear that Zotac understands the hardware they're working with. The price increase between the Zotac and the vanilla Nvidia model is negligible, but the factory overclocking options are respectable, and the Ice Storm 2.0 cooling system is more than capable of accommodating that additional power drain. Best of all, the entire overclocking process can be handled through a single button press that will analyze the data and provide you with optimal settings. This may be a two slot card, but it's a compact one, and that means that you'll be able to fit it into your rig more comfortably without having to sacrifice other components.

Key Features
  • Two slot design is refreshingly compact 
  • Offers a decent amount of overclocking 
  • OC can be handled with a single button press 
  • Fans run effectively and quietly 
GPUTU106 Clock Speed14,000 MHz Graphics Memory6GB GDDR6 Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0b 

7. MSI RX Vega 64 AIR Boost

MSI RX Vega 64 AIR Boost

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When you're looking for the top graphics cards, Radeon RX Vega cards aren't exactly plentiful. So the fact that MSI's interpretation of the chip manages to earn high ranking is notable. The fact that it uses the higher end model of the Vega card is a good sign, and it's one that's bolstered by the sheer power of the dual fans built in. It also makes use of what MSI is calling "Military Class 4" components, a decision that they say guarantees a full ten year life span with consistent use. It's a strong card all around and a good choice if you want an alternative to Nvidia models in its class.

Key Features
  • A very cost-effective graphics solution 
  • Compatible with VR gaming 
  • Supports up to five different monitors 
  • Packs in an exceptional cooling system 
GPUVega 10 Clock Speed1,575 MHzGraphics Memory6GB GDDR6Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0b

8. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

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If you were to rank Nvidia graphics cards in order of performance, the 10xx series can't compare with the 20xx line, but Gigabyte's tweak on the standard GTX 1080 Ti offers some tremendous overclocking options that may make it worth your time. You can achieve an astounding 150% time the standard clocking speed, allowing it to more or less compete with the standard Founders Edition. But the real strength here is that it can achieve it over long periods of time and without stuttering or excessive overheating. The RGB components built in allow you to achieve 16.8 million different custom cosmetics options.

Key Features
  • Great fans in the form of the Windforce 3X cooling system 
  • Tremendously powerful overclocking potential 
  • Huge variety of different color options 
  • Comes supported by a three year warranty 
GPUTU102 Clock Speed11,010 MHz Graphics Memory11 GB GDDR5 Ports4x HDMI 

9. XFX Radeon Rx 590 Fatboy

XFX Radeon Rx 590 Fatboy

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Where Nvidia has spent the last generation packing support for cutting edge technologies like ray tracing in their chips, AMD has tried for a simpler is better approach: packing as much raw power into the cards as they can for the price given. XFX has only improved on that meat and potatoes power by offering overclocking out of the box. That means that you don't have to worry about frying your CPU to get optimal performance out of this card. It also makes use of AMD's proprietary Liquid VR technology to provide you with smooth virtual reality gaming experiences without latency or stuttering

Key Features
  • Factory tested to provide exceptional and stable overclocking 
  • Can support up to eight different monitors 
  • Partners the cooling system with Radeon Chill power saving features 
  • Incorporates AMD Liquid VR tech 
GPUPolaris 10 Clock Speed8,000 MHz Graphics Memory8GB GDDR5 Ports8x PCI Express 

10. EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

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EVGA's take on the GTX 1070 may be big in size, but it leaves a remarkably quiet footprint. It meets all of the graphics cards benchmarks set out by Nvidia and then exceeds them. It manages to avoid Nvidia's restrictions on simple overclocking by integrating Precision X OC software, but the big innovation here is the inclusion of a massive cooler and heatsink to help with fan regulation. While this takes up two rather than three expansion slots, the generous space in modern computers means this is a less worrying problem than it would have been in the past. A backup BIOS provides you with an extra layer of security in case anything goes wrong.

Key Features
  • An ultra silent alternative to the traditional GTX 1070 
  • Allows for optimal, safe, one click overclocking with EVGA Precision XOC software 
  • Supports Nvidia G-Sync tech 
  • Backed by a three year warranty and 24/7 technical support 
GPUGP104 Clock Speed8,008 MHz Graphics Memory8192MB GDDR5 Ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1X DVI-D

11. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570

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If you're looking for cheap graphics cards, the ROG Strix Radeon RX offers quality performance at a fraction of the price of many competitors. It's naturally not going to perform comparably to something like the 2080 FE, but it's a solid performer for mid-grade gaming or as a second card in a dual GPU setup. As you might expect from a card at this price, it's largely bereft of frills, but it offers a 1310 MHz boost clock that provides a 7% performance boost. The DirectCU II fan system is workmanlike but surprisingly effective, and the Fan Connect II and GPU Tweak II software platforms allow for a meaningful amount of customizable control.

Key Features
  • Great number of cosmetic customization via the ASUS Aura Sync RGB tech 
  • DirectCU II offers 30% better cooling than traditional fan mechanisms 
  • Software UI provides a significant amount of customization options 
  • Supports virtual reality gaming 
GPUPolaris 20 Clock Speed1,310 MHz Graphics Memory4 GB GDDR5 Ports1x USB 2.0 

12. ASUS GeForce RTX 2080

ASUS GeForce RTX 2080

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Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition card is the top tier when it comes to factory packaged graphics cards, but Asus has taken that base and managed to juice it up in some important ways. It's overclock speed is 60 MHz higher than the FE at 1,860MHz, and you can boost that by another 30 MHz through the use of GPU Tweak II software. They've also expanded the number of ports with an additional HDMI 2.0b access point. The inclusion of tensor cores and RT cores enables the use of ray tracing: a means to achieve photorealistic graphics that isn't yet in common usage but likely will be soon. If you're worried about all that power burning out your computer, you don't need to be. The fans are incredibly effective and allow it to run nearly silent with minimal heat output.

Key Features
  • Offers incredible airflow through its Triple Axial-Tech 0db fans 
  • Supports connections to up to four different displays at once 
  • An overclock speed that significantly outperforms the 2080 FE 
  • Allows aesthetic customization in the form of RGB lighting 
GPUTU104 Clock Speed1,442 MHz Graphics Memory8GB GDDR6 256-bit Ports2x display, 2x HDMI 

Best Graphics Cards Buyer’s Guide

All the numbers and specs that go into graphics cards can make it difficult to compare graphics cards if you don’t have experience. Fortunately, it’s not as complex as it looks on the surface. This guide can help you parse the language and determine the best options for you.

Market v. Aftermarket Graphics Cards

You’ve likely noticed that most of the cards are variants of a Nvidia or AMD card made by another manufacturer. That’s because these companies prefer not to handle the manufacturing themselves. The core variants of the cards are released as proof of concept by Nvidia or AMD, at which point they’re handed over to partner manufacturers to produce their own variants. Aftermarket variants typically improve the cooling systems, fold in additional features, and implement overclocking out of the box. They also often offer more for less money. That means that unless you intend to be an early adopter (and it will likely be years until the next generation of cards roll off the shelf), you’re almost always better off going for an aftermarket model.

Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Most manufacturers pack in a whole lot of proprietary jargon and a wealth of numbers intended to impress the consumer. The best graphics cards for gaming offer 4K at 64 fps which enhances the gameplay experience. They have their own dedicated video memory, processing unit that ensure your CPU has the high-end gaming requirements needed to really get the best out of your games. But you can make a sensible graphics cards comparison by cutting through these factors and looking at a few key variables.

GPU

The graphical processing unit is the chip that goes into a card, and it’s undoubtedly the most important part of the card because it determines the power you can get from it. In general terms, Nvidia cards offer the highest level of performance, but they manage to do so by charging a premium. AMD cards typically offer more value for the price they charge, but they occupy the budget to mid-range market with most of their cards.

In terms of Nvidia, there are two generations of chips that are currently on the market. The Turing is the latest release, while the Pascal occupies the earlier generation. And while the Turing chip is nearly twice the size (and costs significantly more), it offers generally double what a Pascal chip can in terms of memory space and transistors. But the biggest advantages of the Turing is that it comes with support for some important technology on the horizon. Ray tracing is a methodology that allows games to offer even more photorealistic graphics, while AI-based processing allows it to greatly accelerate graphical processing. All told, the Turing chip is generally six times more powerful than the Pascal. Understandably, it appears much more prominently in our list.

Vega and Polaris similarly compromise a similar role in AMD’s catalog. The Vega chip offers a significant improvement over the Vega in terms of efficiency. That means that it manages to deliver a lot of power without the threat of overheating. If you’re looking for a budget range card, Vega is the way to go. If you want a mid-range card or something that can compete with some of Nvidia’s chips, Polaris might be a nice fit.

Cooling

Despite serving as the heart of the graphics card, the actual GPU takes up a relatively small amount of real estate on the card’s surface. A majority of the weight is instead devoted to cooling systems. Graphics cards have become more powerful, but that also means that they’ve become greater power hogs. In gaming machines, they’re often the largest contributor to power usage, and that means that they’re especially prone to overheating – potentially frying important circuitry or even starting a fire in the process. The cooling system is typically composed of fans and heatsinks. It may also incorporate technology that’s designed to reallocate computations, lessening the amount of power usage rather than dispersing the heat that results. All of the cards in our list are designed by trusted manufacturers who carefully evaluate the cooling options to make sure they operate to spec, but you may want to more carefully evaluate the cooling system if you look for cards beyond our list.

Connections

A basic but necessary inclusion in graphics cards are the ports. After all, any graphics card is going to need to connect to your display. But this isn’t a feature that you need to overthink. Just make sure that the card in question has appropriate ports for the display you want to use and that there are enough in place if you’re looking to connect multiple displays. You’ll also want to make sure that your monitor is powerful enough to make the most of the card in question. If your current monitor sports a poor refresh rate or doesn’t offer support for technology like Nvidia’s G-Sync, the most powerful graphics card may be wasted on your machine (or it may be time for a display upgrade).

Memory

Efficiency is as important as raw power where memory cards are concerned. VRAM stores information locally, making it more readily accessible and reducing labor on the part of the card. That improves the speed of loading textures and rendering environments. But it’s also cheaper to pack in a lot of VRAM than it is to pack in a quality chip or put in place an appropriate cooling system. Be wary of cards that offer a generous amount of VRAM compared to a relatively lightweight chip.

Overclocking

Each Nvidia and AMD chip comes with a standard processing speed that’s determined to be safe by the manufacturer, but overclocking allows you to amp that up in sometimes significant ways. That said, overclocking rarely provides a truly revolutionary bump in terms of performance, and it can be dangerous because it can cause your heat usage to reach levels that can’t be compensated by the cooling systems. If you want to overclock, go with a card that supports it right out of the box, and preferably rely on one that supports overclocking software.

Dual Graphics Cards

There’s no doubt that good graphics cards don’t come cheap, and some gamers try to compensate for that by loading two cheaper graphics cards into their computer. While it’s not the worst option around, it does come with some distinct disadvantages. Dual cards will take up significantly more slots in your computer, and less and less modern games are supporting dual card usage. In addition, the discount in pricing is often negligible from just buying a single powerful card.

Integrated vs External

These are an essential part of all computers. While your computer probably already has integrated ones, you can add external ones to your central processing unit to boost the performance of your device. It can be very daunting and confusing when deciding which one to choose, as there are quite a number of different ones available. There are two different types of cards available:

Integrated: If you have a computer that you did not assemble yourself, or just bought directly from the vendor, then most the chances are that it already has a graphics card pre-installed in its motherboard, and are known as “on board graphics”. They are the default option which comes with the motherboard. When it is integrated, it refers to the relationship that it shares with the motherboard.

The integrated ones might not be a very powerful, but if you like to play low-end games then the integrated type would do the job nicely. You can also upgrade yours to enjoy high-end gaming, but for that, you need to add another card and have your CPU ignore the integrated one.

External: For carrying out regular tasks like using productivity tools such as Office or streaming videos or playing low-end games, an external ones aren’t really needed, but if you want to play high-end games then it is a must have. The external ones have a lot of capabilities to enhance the performance and speed of your computer. The gamer experience is taken to a whole new level with them. They are plugged into the PCI slots on the motherboard of your CPU. The connections of the external ones with the motherboard can be accomplished in three ways:

  • Peripheral component interconnect (PCI)
  • AGP
  • PCI Express (PCIe)

If you are looking to upgrade first review what it is you will need, read about the different capabilities and what each have to offer before making the decision. A review given by a customer is important to look at too, you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t with the different CPUs on the market.

Final Thoughts

Properly analyzing graphics cards can be difficult, and it becomes doubly so when you start taking into consideration all the jargon and proprietary tech of individual manufacturers. Hopefully this guide has provided you with the knowledge and guidance you need to make an informed decision. But if you’re still unsure, you can rest easy knowing that all of these cards offer great value for your dollar.