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Last updated: July 24, 2020.

GRAPHICS CARD TIER EXPLANATION

When writing PC game performance and graphics optimization analyses, important part of our methodology is to properly attribute our guides to the corresponding graphics card classes. This is due to a variety of graphics card hardware available on the market. Some cards have more VRAM, some of them have higher core clocks, and some of them just score higher benchmark results, even though they don’t stick out by their specs. In short, their performance in various video games differs very much. Since it is financially and physically extremely hard to test out all graphical settings on a variety of PC hardware, we have come up with our own methodological solution.

In order for our optimization guides to be helpful, and cover as much PC system platforms as possible, we have developed a ranked tier system that ranks various graphics cards according to their graphics processing power. Using various public benchmark databases, we have come up with this ranking system:

Tier RankNvidia CardAMD Card
Tier 1RTX 2080 Ti
RTX 2080 SUPER
RTX 2080
RTX 2070 SUPER
GTX 1080 Ti
Radeon VII
RX 5700 XT

Tier 2RTX 2070
RTX 2060 Super
GTX 1080
RX 5700
Vega 64
Tier 3RTX 2060
GTX 1070 Ti
GTX 1660 Ti
GTX 1070
GTX 1660 Super
RX 5600 XT
Vega 56
Tier 4GTX 980 Ti
GTX 1660
GTX 1060
GTX 1650 Super
RX 590
RX 5500 XT
RX 580
RX 480
RX 570
Tier 5GTX 970
GTX 1650
GTX 1050 Ti
RX 470
R9 290X
R9 380

As you can see, we have identified five tiers of graphics card hardware currently available on the market. Tier 1 represents best video cards money can buy, while Tier 5 consists of cards that are near obsolete. Most of the mainstream cards occupy Tiers 3 and 4. It is also worth to note that in our list we included cards from both Nvidia and AMD, so that you can easily compare each other’s equivalent counterpart models.

Our basic assumption is that same-tier cards don’t differ too much in terms of their overall performance. What that basically means is that you can expect similar performance from these cards, independent of their model number. In that sense, this system gives us the ability to write optimization guides for certain graphics card classes or tiers. In short, if you come up on our guides written for Tier 2 graphics cards, then settings we recommend will be compatible with RTX 2070, RTX 2060 Super and GTX 1080 cards, as well as for RX 5700 and Vega 64 cards.

Besides explaining you how our optimization guide methodology works, this list also gives you a glimpse on the current video card rankings on the market.

We hope our guides and content will be useful to you.