Buying a graphics card is one of the most important aspects of building or upgrading your personal computer. This is also the most common component of the PC that consumers regularly upgrade and spend their money on. Picking the right graphics card for playing games can be a challenging task for many people, as there are many different models on the market and most of them share similar characteristics. Even for those who have a clear understanding of technology, staying in touch with the latest trends in GPU industry can be an exhausting job, as new models of cards are being released each year.
Read more: How To Choose The Right Graphics Card – Ultimate Guide
Lucky for you, we’ve written this guide to help you decide which GPU will best suit your needs. You see, getting the right graphics card can turn your computer into a powerful gaming machine and entertainment center that no modern gaming console will be able to match. Although most users buy GPUs to achieve better gaming experience, they can also be used for other purposes, such as computer-aided designing (CAD), 3D modelling, and photo and video editing.
Choosing the right graphics card for your PC largely depends on your gaming preferences and budget. If you plan to game on 4K or QHD resolutions, then you should get NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPU. If, however, gaming at 1080p resolution is all that matters to you, then certain budget models, such as the GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER or the Radeon RX 5500 XT, will suffice. There is also the question whether you want to play your games with ray-tracing features enabled or not? If so, then you should get the latest NVIDIA RTX Series GPU, or AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series GPU.
To achieve the best gaming experience possible, you’ll also need a FreeSync or G-Sync compatible monitor. Special thing about these types of monitors is that they allow you to experience extremely smooth gameplay, without experiencing any image stuttering, tearing, or low input lag. Most adaptive sync monitors feature screen refresh rates of up to 144 Hz, so getting a card that is capable of delivering the same amount of FPS is mandatory. Here is a list of the best graphics cards you can get in 2021:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
Best for 4K Gaming:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Best for 1440p Gaming:
AMD Radeon RX 6800
Best for 1080p Gaming:
AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
Best Budget GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
Best for Mining:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Best Mini GPU:
ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Phoenix V2
Best Overall: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
Stream Processors: 5,888 | Boost clock: 1,725 MHz | TFLOPs: 20.31 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 448 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 550 W
- Beats RTX 2080 SUPER in most games
- Amazing price-to-performance ratio
- Runs cool & quiet
- Great ray-tracing performance
- Only 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM
Featuring 5,888 shading units, 46 ray-tracing cores, 8GB of ultra-fast GDDR6 memory, and ray-tracing performance on par with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the GeForce RTX 3070 is arguably the best gaming graphics card you can buy today.
The GeForce RTX 3070 is able to deliver outstanding gaming performance at 1440p resolution on ultra settings, and can even provide smooth gaming experience in 4K resolution thanks to its support for DLSS image upscaling technology.
On average, the RTX 3070 is around 33% faster than the previous-gen RTX 2070, and about 13% faster than the AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT. This card can run latest PC titles, such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, at more than 70 FPS on average at 1440p resolution on ultra settings, and can deliver framerates of up to 200 FPS at 1080p resolution in competitive shooters, such as Call of Duty: Warzone or Apex Legends. Overall, this is the best graphics card for gaming in 2022, and as such it’s no wonder it takes the top spot on our list.
Maximum Performance: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
Stream Processors: 10,496 | Boost clock: 1,695 MHz | TFLOPs: 35.68 | Memory: 24GB GDDR6X | Memory bandwidth: 936 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 750 W
- Godlike GPU performance
- Suitable for 8K gaming
- Plenty of VRAM
- Great for content creation
- Extremely high power requirements
- Incredibly expensive
When it comes to ultimate performance, nothing can beat the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090. This monster of a graphics card features 28,300 million transistors, and 10,496 stream processors. It also has a whooping 24 GB of ultra-fast GDDR6X memory that communicates with the CPU via 384-bit memory bus. This GPU is so powerful that it can even deliver stable 60 FPS at 8K resolution in some PC games.
However, the RTX 3090 wasn’t originally designed for gaming in mind, but for content creation and productivity. Being a spiritual successor to the NVIDIA RTX Titan, the RTX 3090 is a perfect workstation GPU that can easily tackle heavy-duty tasks such as 3D modelling and video rendering. It is also worth saying that this card also supports NVLink interface, meaning it is the only RTX 30 Series card that can run in an SLI mode. Unfortunately, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a stupendously expensive card, so if you have a kidney to spare, don’t hesitate to buy it.
Best for 4K Gaming: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Stream Processors: 10,240 | Boost clock: 1,665 MHz | TFLOPs: 34.10 | Memory: 12GB GDDR6X | Memory bandwidth: 912 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 750 W
- Best gaming graphics card
- Incredible performance in 4K
- Great thermal design
- Improved ray-tracing performance
- Inflated retail price
- High power consumption
The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is only around 2% slower than the GeForce RTX 3090, but is also around $1,000 cheaper. You may ask yourself why is that the case? Well, the answer is simple. The RTX 3080 Ti was specifically designed for gaming in mind, whereas the RTX 3090 is more optimized for workloads such as AI computing and 3D rendering. As such, the RTX 3080 Ti is by far the best graphics card for 4K gaming on ultra settings, although it’s incredible performance hardly justifies its very high retail price.
Performance-wise, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a beast of graphics card. It features 12 GB of GDDR6X memory, has plenty of stream processors and ray-tracing cores, and its 4K gaming performance is truly amazing. The card is a whooping 36% faster than the previous-gen GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and is 6% faster than AMD’s current flagship GPU, the Radeon RX 6900 XT. Featuring support for the latest version of the DLSS tech, great thermal output, and major architectural improvements that are able to deliver outstanding gaming performance, the RTX 3080 Ti is the best high-performance 4K gaming GPU around, provided that you are actually able to buy one.
Best for 1440p Gaming: AMD Radeon RX 6800
Stream Processors: 3,840 | Boost clock: 2,105 MHz | TFLOPs: 16.17 | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 512 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 600 W
- Excellent 1440p and 4K performance
- Features 16 GB of GDDR6 VRAM
- Supports ray-tracing
- Very energy efficient
- Ray-tracing performance slightly behind competition
- Not very good for overclocking
Despite the fact that NVIDIA historically always offered better solutions for high-end gaming, in 2021 AMD succeeded in making a great high-end GPU, and thus made the competition between the two old rivals more fiercer than ever. The Radeon RX 6800 represents the latest addition to the next-gen AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series of GPUs. The card can boast with a whooping 16 GB of VRAM, extremely high core clocks, improved power consumption, and support for ray-tracing.
Although this card is quite capable for 4K gaming, it really shines in 1440p gaming. In most cases, the Radeon RX 6800 is either on par, or slightly faster than the new GeForce RTX 3070. It is also able to deliver satisfactory ray-tracing performance that is on par with the NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080. These are some impressive results, especially when given the fact that the RX 6800 belongs to the first generation of AMD GPUs that feature full ray-tracing support. Overall, this is a fine GPU, especially for 1440p gaming, and with further driver updates we expect it to perform even better in the future.
Best for 1080p Gaming: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
Stream Processors: 2,048 | Boost clock: 2,589 MHz | TFLOPs: 10,60 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 256 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 450 W
- Superb 1080p gaming performance
- Low power consumption
- Supports raytracing
- Faster than the RTX 3060
- Poor raytracing performance
- Pricing could be better
Although quite often overlooked, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a fantastic graphics card for 1080p gaming. With a TDP of only 160 W, this Navi 23 GPU is able to deliver fantastic gaming performance, and it also features support for raytraced rendering, which is a big plus. Performance-wise, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is around 11% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060 and is only 3% slower than the GeForce RTX 2080, which was NVIDIA’s flagship GPU in 2018.
Despite the fact that it supports raytracing, the Radeon RX 6600 XT falls short of expectations in this department, as it’s significantly slower than the RTX 3060, or even the RTX 2060, when it runs games with raytracing enabled.
Fortunately, the card can boast with great raw shading performance, and it also supports AMD’s FSR upscaling technology, which allows it run games at lower display resolution and with higher framerates without any significant loss in image fidelity. Overall, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a great graphics card for 1080p gaming, especially if you don’t care too much for playing games with raytracing enabled.
Best Budget GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
Stream Processors: 1,408 | Boost clock: 1,785 MHz | TFLOPs: 5.02 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 336 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 300 W
- Good 1080p performance
- Low power consumption
- On par with the GeForce GTX 1070
- Compact PCB dimensions
- Doesn’t support ray-tracing
- Weak performance at 1440p
- Inflated retail price
The Geforce GTX 1660 SUPER was primarily designed to be a replacement for the Pascal-based GTX 1060 6GB, and is considered to be a performance-oriented graphics card for 1080p gaming on ultra settings. In terms of real-world performance, this card is capable of running the latest PC games on ultra settings at more than 60 FPS on average, which is quite impressive given its price tag.
Great thing about GTX 1660 SUPER is that it performs roughly the same as the Radeon RX Vega 56 or GeForce GTX 1070, but costs significantly less. It is also a very energy efficient GPU, as it features a TDP of only 125 watts. Thanks to its low power consumption, compact PCB dimensions, and solid 1080p gaming performance, this is most certainly the best budget gaming graphics card you can get right now.
Best for Mining: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Stream Processors: 4,864 | Boost clock: 1,665 MHz | TFLOPs: 16.20 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 448 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 550 W
- Outstanding mining performance
- Beats RTX 2080 SUPER in most games
- Great price-to-performance ratio
- Runs cool & quiet
- Only 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM
- Non-LHR models are hard to come by
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the holy grail of mining graphics cards. It is without a doubt the best mining GPU ever made, since it can mine Ethereum at a rate of around 60 MH/s and can generate roughly the same monthly income while mining altcoins as its AMD equivalents. The RTX 3060 Ti is the most efficient mining GPU to date, consuming only 130 W of power and outperforming even the formidable GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090.
However, the RTX 3060 Ti is incredibly hard to come by these days. Many GPU manufacturers have begun producing RTX 3060 Ti cards with built-in cryptocurrency limiters (LHR), which means that these cards don’t provide the same mining performance as the first generation RTX 3060 Ti cards. This means that getting the Founders Edition model directly from NVIDIA is your best hope for getting the non-LHR RTX 3060 Ti. The NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition model can be found at Amazon from time to time, so keep an eye on this page as we update the links frequently.
Best Mini GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Phoenix V2
Stream Processors: 3,584 | Boost clock: 1,807 MHz | TFLOPs: 12.74 | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 360 GB/s | Suggested PSU: 450 W
- Good gaming performance
- Very good heat dissipation
- Cheap price
- Can’t be overclocked
- Doesn’t support hyper-threading
- Disabled integrated graphics
Building a mini-ITX gaming PC can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Unfortunately, finding a powerful, yet compact graphics card for such a PC build can be a difficult task. The ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Phoenix V2 is probably the best, if not the only GPU that is able to fulfill these requirements. With a total length of only 177 mm, this card is able to fit into 99% of systems, and deliver unprecedented performance in such a small form factor.
Overall, the GeForce RTX 3060 is a pretty awesome GPU for 1080p gaming. Performance-wise, it can run almost all games on ultra settings at 60 FPS with raytracing enabled, and is about 2% faster than the previous-generation GeForce RTX 2070. Featuring support for DLSS upscaling technology, as well as 12 GB of GDDR6 memory, the RTX 3060 is also capable for 1440p gaming on high to ultra settings. All in all, this is an impressively powerful graphics card that is also available in a tiny format which is perfectly suitable for building a mini-ITX gaming PC.
Choosing the right graphics card for your next or existing PC build will largely depend on your preferences, budget, and games you would like to play. There are many different custom variants of the same GPU that come with some unique features, so this is also something worth considering before making a final purchase. Overall, here a few things to bear in mind:
- Budget – if you are on a budget, and you are unable to buy new tech often, you should focus on getting the best value GPU, instead of going for the cheapest one you can find. If budget isn’t an issue, then we recommend going for the latest generation of GPUs, as they feature the most advanced tech, and are more future-proof.
- Resolution – the higher the resolution you will game on, the more powerful GPU you’ll need. Right now, most gamers tend to play games at 1440p and 1080p resolutions, while 4K gaming is still reserved for enthusiasts.
- Video Memory – cards with 4 GB of VRAM are the bare minimum right now. Models with 6 GB are better, while cards with 8 GB or more are strongly recommended.
- Refresh Rate – most conventional monitors feature 60 Hz refresh rates, while gaming monitors support refresh rates of up to 240 Hz. Having a high refresh rate monitor will enable you to avoid input lag and screen tearing, so we recommend getting a capable graphics card in order to deliver required FPS to match the refresh rate of a such monitor.
- Cooling and Noise – more expensive graphics cards feature better cooling solutions that also ensure quiet working operation. If you plan to overclock your graphics card, then having a GPU with good heatsink and fast-spinning fans is a must.
- Ray-tracing – most of the latest graphics cards feature support for ray-tracing tech which enables you to enhance the visuals. Some cards still don’t offer support for this kind of technology, but cost significantly less.