When it comes to building your dream gaming PC, finding the Best Graphics Cards for your needs, wishes and budget is often the hardest part. Excellent performance at high resolutions is just a factor to consider, and you can easily play games on much more affordable hardware. The best graphics cards come in different shapes and sizes and we are here to help you find the perfect GPU no matter what kind of games you want to play, or what your budget looks like.
It all comes down to personal choice and budget, so below you will find the best graphics cards at the cheapest prices we could find, along with some comments about their performance and features. And here are some links to other features that you find useful when you build a complete PC instead of just upgrading your graphics card.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the newest and most powerful GPU of its kind and it is also one of the largest GPUs for consumers ever produced. The Turing TU102 is 60 percent larger than the Pascal GP102 in the 1080 Ti, with 55 percent more transistors. These extra transistors went to more CUDA cores, but Nvidia did not stop there, with the addition of Tensor cores to accelerate profound algorithms for learning such as DLSS, and RT cores to accelerate ray tracing. There are also many other improvements in the Turing architecture, but if you want the best, be prepared to leave it: the cheapest 2080 Ti cards start at $999, with lots of sales for $1,199 and higher.
If you are looking for the best value, forget about the new RTX cards. On the other hand, if you look at a 4k 144Hz HDR G-Sync screen and you want the absolute fastest graphics card in the area, then this is the card for you. You could even try to add a second card and use an NVLink connector, assuming you just won the lottery. It is unlikely that we will see something substantially faster for at least a year, so you will be able to sit comfortably at the top of the pecking order for a while. Overall, this is one of the best graphics cards right now.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
Of course, the RTX 2080 Ti is the fastest graphics card and has all kinds of cool and potentially useful features, but with current prices, it’s a heavy pill to swallow. If you go to the RTX 2080, you’ll still get excellent performance – it’s the second fastest GPU for consumers to break the GTX 1080 Ti – and save over $300. And you’ll still get the same features for ray tracing and deep learning (for example DLSS), although not so much of each core type.
The only important reservation at the moment is the same as above, we are still waiting for games that enable ray tracing effects and DLSS. They should start with a Shadow of the Tomb Raider patch and Battlefield 5 in the coming month or so, but is the RTX 2080 powerful enough to use the new features? Probably not at maximum resolution and quality, but hopefully we can work with a lower-quality ray tracing model that looks almost as good and performs better. Overall, this is one of the best graphics cards right now.
AMD Radeon VII
The Radeon VII is an excellent GPU for creating content with gaming as a side job. This is due to the enormous 16 GB of HBM2 and 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. It is also the first 7nm GPU in the world, reducing AMD size compared to Vega 64 while improving performance. If you want the fastest graphics card that can buy $700, you’re generally better off with the RTX 2080. It performs about 10 percent better than the Radeon VII on average, while it consumes less power.
However, there is something to be said for supporting AMD as an alternative to Nvidia, and some gamers will follow that route. The delivery of the Radeon VII did not keep up with the demand, at least not yet, but we expect that this will change. We also expect to see some custom designs from AMD’s AIB partners at some point, but now all Radeon VII cards use the same reference design. Overall, this is one of the best graphics cards to buy right now.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
The ray tracing future may sound fantastic, but what if you can not pay $700 or more on a graphics card? That is where Nvidia’s RTX 2070 comes into the picture, the third Turing GPU and the most affordable of the bunch and one of the best graphics cards. More importantly, it is relatively popular, and there are even a few cards at the recommended base price of $500. That’s still a lot of money for a graphics card, and 2070 is actually slower than the previous generation 1080 Ti (see below), at least in games that do not support DLSS – and that’s all for the time being, although that’s starting to change quickly.
The RTX 2070 effectively takes over the place where the GTX 1080 stayed. It offers slightly better performance for the same price, and like the other RTX cards, it features the new Tensor and RT cores. The Founders Edition was not particularly impressive, given the price premium of $100, but we found the EVGA 2070 Black pretty fun and it’s a great addition to any new gaming PC. The Gigabyte 2070 Windforce and Asus 2070 Turbo are still two options to consider, and all 2070 GPUs tend to reach the same maximum overclocking.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
The best graphics cards are not only the fastest graphics card, or the cheapest graphics card. Instead, the best graphics card must balance performance, price, and features. There are many great graphics cards, but for a great GPU the bank will not break, Nvidia’s RTX 2060 is probably the best option. It delivers performance approximately equal to the outgoing GTX 1070 Ti, with a lower price, plus all new RTX functions.
If you want to play games on 1080p or 1440p on a 144Hz screen, the RTX 2060 has the chops for most games from almost high to high. Unless you have enabled ray tracing in games that support this, it is usually too short. Yet it is difficult not to praise the RTX 2060 with a suggested retail price of $350. The only thing that threatens the price/performance ratio is the rumors GTX 1660 Ti.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB
We had high expectations from Vega prior to the launch, and ultimately it could not live up to the hype. Instead of the Titan killer, we hoped for, the Vega 64 and Vega 56 could not even switch off Nvidia’s year-old GTX 1080/1070. But they come close, often lead in DirectX 12 games and prices are affordable in any case these days. Moreover, you can make the argument to support the underdog to prevent an Nvidia monopoly. The RX Vega 56 is the better buy at current prices, and it will usually process modern games at 1440p and maybe even 4k.
Where it comes short, is efficiency: the Vega 56 often uses as much power as a GTX 1080 Ti, with performance closer to the new RTX 2060. It is not only about electricity and heat, but also about noise levels and lifespan. More power on the GPU means more power on the PSU, which means that both fans have to spin faster. We really want an RTX competitor from AMD, but unfortunately, the Radeon VII is not. Up to AMD’s Navi vessels at the endfor 2021, the Vega 56 remains a good value for the higher mid range. Overall, this is one of the best graphics cards right now.
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB
Many gamers have a limited budget and although faster cards might make you jealous, they are often exaggerated when using a 1080p screen. Standard GPUs such as the RX 570/580 and GTX 1060 3GB / 6GB come close to the original MSRP, with sales falling even below the MSRP. The RX 580 8GB exchanges with the GTX 1060 6GB, usually with a few percents of performance, but with more power. The overall winner of the midrange category is largely determined by local prices, with the American market currently preferring the RX 580.
You can find the RX 580 8GB for less than $200 and reach the right place for regular gamers. That undermines both the GTX 1060 models and AMD’s own RX 590. The 590 is about 10-15 percent faster but costs 40 percent more. Until the prices of the RX 590 fall or we see a better regular successor, the 580 8GB remains one of the best graphics cards on the market right now.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
The Nvidia alternative to the above RX 580 is the GTX 1060 6GB. The loss of 2 GB VRAM is not really a problem in most games, especially at 1080p, where these cards perform best. 1440p is possible, but only at sometimes considerably lower quality settings. The biggest advantage of the GTX 1060 is that it uses about 50 W less power than the RX 580. That is less heat and a quieter construction, although energy saving is probably only a dollar or two per month (unless you play a lot).
At the moment there are rumors about a swirling GTX 1660 Ti, a card that removes so-called raytracing and profound learning functions from Turing to get a lower price. If those rumors prove to be true (and the evidence forces so far), GTX 1060 will be replaced in the near future. Let’s hope that the newcomer can land closer to $200 than $300. Still, this is one of the best graphics cards that you can buy right now.
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB
AMD’s Polaris architecture version two is in the Radeon RX 570/580. The RX 570 4GB has now clearly dropped below the original target of $ 169 and if you’re looking for a 1080p card, you will not find a better deal. Generally speaking, the RX 570 4GB is normally just on the GTX 1060 3GB, and although it uses more power, it also costs $35 less than the cheapest 1060. Most desktops are more than capable of this 150W card without any difficulty, and it almost kills the market for something lower.
The biggest concern with the RX 570 is that it gets old and if you choose the cheaper model of 4 GB, future games might pose a problem. On the other hand, it is probably not feasible to run future games with ultra-quality. For lighter products such as Overwatch or CSGO, this is more than sufficient GPU and you should continue to enjoy gaming for years. Overall, this is one of the best graphics cards that you can buy on the market.
AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB
When it comes to budget graphics cards, the primary competitors are AMD’s RX 560 and Nvidia’s GTX 1050. Currently, the RX 560 costs 4GB less than the GTX 1050 2GB 1050 and perform better, especially at low to medium quality and 1080p at competitive gamers like around to hang. That makes it the easy choice for the budget category, although the RX 570 mentioned above is much faster for just $ 35 more.
If you can really pay more than $ 100, the RX 560 4 GB is great for lighter esports games, including CS: GO, LoL, Overwatch and more. It can easily hit 60fps at 1080p in most games with low to high quality (depending on the game), which is about as much as we can ask of such a card. Just know that the RX 560 is at the bottom of what we consider ‘acceptable’ performance and probably struggles with the new harvest of demanding games.
Looking ahead, computer graphics is a rapidly changing field. AMD has just released the first 7nm GPU, but it will certainly not be the last. However, it may take a year or longer for Nvidia to join the 7nm party. Our recommendations for the Best Graphics Cards is based on performance in combination with current prices and price reductions, or limited time sales can easily move a card to the top of the list. If you find that your current system does not track the gaming times, look at the performance graphs and decide how far you are on the ladder you want to climb, and buy accordingly.