Best Gaming Graphics Cards in 2021

Best Gaming Graphics Cards in 2021

If you’re searching for the best graphics card of 2021 for gaming, we’ve got you covered: a carefully selected list of the absolute best graphics cards on the market for every kind of setup and every budget.

The best graphics cards are the throbbing heart of any gaming PC, spewing forth beautifully rendered pixels onto your screen. Some here to separate the must-haves from the want tobes. Some people want the quickest and best graphics cards, others want the greatest value, and others want the best card at a certain price. Balancing performance, affordability, functionality, and efficiency is critical since no other component has as big of an effect on your gaming experience as the graphics card.

In our list, you’ll find affordable graphics cards that provide a fantastic gaming experience and excellent value for money, as well as the newest and best graphics cards packed with cutting-edge pixel-pushing technology from Nvidia and AMD.

As you’ll soon learn, there’s more to selecting the best graphics card than just glancing at its specifications. There’s also the question of whether you’ll be able to get your desired graphics card at all. An ongoing worldwide scarcity of GDDR6 graphics memory, along with strong demand from cryptocurrency miners, has been blamed for massive supply problems around Radeon RX and RTX cards, making it very difficult to get Nvidia GPUs at affordable rates, if at all, in recent months. The good news is that the scarcity is anticipated to expire in mid-2021, so keep checking back to see what bargains we’ve discovered on Nvidia graphics cards that are in stock. In addition, AMD tends to launch main series cards in pairs, one with the full might of the new GPU and a secondary card with a slightly stripped back chip.

This article will show you the best graphics cards that are so powerful that they can make grown adults cry with pleasure, as well as graphics cards that can make Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City seem very realistic. Next-generation eye candy? What is ray tracing? 4K, 8K, or QHD? Everything is present.

Whether you want to purchase the greatest graphics card for gaming, the best budget graphics card, or the best graphics card that combines power and value for money, this website makes it simpler than discovering an irritating bug in Cyberpunk.

While the graphics cards in the list were ordered for performance, the graphics cards below were ranked based on performance and our subjective rankings. We consider performance, pricing, power, and features before making adjustments, but views vary. Furthermore, considering the current pricing, it’s difficult to determine how to rate the graphics cards.

Top Gaming Graphics Cards – Comparison Table

DesignBuying GuidesRetailer
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090Check Price
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XTAMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Check Price
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XTMSI AMD Radeon RX 6800 XTCheck Price
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Check Price
AMD Radeon RX 6800Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 6800 Check Price
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070PNY Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Check Price
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XTXFX AMD Radeon RX 6700 XTCheck Price
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 TiMSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 TiCheck Price
AMD Radeon RX 6600 XTMSI AMD Radeon RX 6600 XTCheck Price
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GBMSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GBCheck Price
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 SuperMSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 SuperCheck Price
Amd Radeon Rx 5700MSI AMD Radeon Rx 5700Check Price
Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 TiNvidia Geforce RTX 2080 TiCheck Price
Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 SuperMSI Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 SuperCheck Price
Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 SuperMSI Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 SuperCheck Price
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GBMSI AMD Radeon RX 580 8GBCheck Price
AMD RADEON RX 590MSI AMD RADEON RX 590Check Price
AMD Radeon Rx 570 8GBMSI AMD Radeon Rx 570 8GBCheck Price

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090

If you have a lot of money and want unrivaled GPU performance, the GeForce RTX 3090 is the way to go – nothing matches this monster, which can provide excellent frame rates at resolutions up to 8K. The best Nvidia graphics cardthere isn’t a game or video editing project on the market that will slow down the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090. It’s that powerful.

The integrated graphics found in lower-powered PCs and laptops will not suffice. This is where the best graphics cards come into play. They are intended to perform demanding graphics activities, allowing your PC to keep up with your creative workload and gaming needs.

Future-proofing is something you certainly get with the RTX 3090 — we don’t believe this will be dethroned as the top GPU in Nvidia’s lineup for a long time. Because of its 24GB of VRAM and other configurable features, it may be an even better graphics card for creatives than gamers. Still, regardless of your use case scenario, you’ll be blown away by the performance.

It is expensive, and it will provide more power and performance than many people require, so keep that in mind before spending your money on this one – you may be able to find better value for your specific setup further down the scale (it costs a lot more than the RTX 3080, but isn’t significantly more powerful). Another factor to consider is that it is a physically big graphics card.

Pros

  • 4K ultra at more than 60 frames per second
  • Fastest current graphics card, period
  • Potential for 8K DLSS
  • Excellent cooling with little noise
  • Major architectural modifications are planned for the future
  • Excellent for jobs requiring content development

Cons

  • Excessive price for relatively little returns
  • A large cooler will not fit in a smaller setup
  • Certain Titan characteristics are missing
  • TGP for a single GPU has never been higher (350W)
  • A 4K or even 8K display is required

Our Verdict

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition is the fastest GPU available, but it costs twice as much as an RTX 3080. On the other hand, it’s lightning-quick, has plenty of RAM, and the Founders Edition is huge… and the majority of players do not need it. In this in-depth analysis, we examine pricing, performance, availability, power, and other factors.

Specifications

Stream Processors8,704
Base clock1,440 MHz
Boost clock1,710 MHz
TFLOPs29.76
Memory10GB GDDR6X
Memory clock19 GT/s
Memory bandwidth760 GB/s

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

The Radeon RX 6900 XT is AMD graphics card technology pushed to its maximum limit, setting a new high standard for AMD graphics cards and ray tracing while also looking at the part (not that you’ll be able to appreciate the card much if it’s securely ensconced inside your PC).

While the cost of the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT in comparison to the performance gains over the 6800 series may be difficult to justify for many gamers, if you’re ready to get the best graphics performance AMD has to offer and have the budget to back it up, this is worth a spot on your shortlist of the best graphics cards on the market right now.

Keep a watch on the Radeon RX 6900 XT (the widgets on this page should assist) since, as you would imagine, price reductions will make this a more attractive purchase. This card may also be used as a graphics card for creatives that deal with a lot of data.

Pros

  • Outstanding overall performance
  • Ample VRAM and Infinity Cache
  • Second place in non-RT workloads
  • Good SPECviewperf results

Cons

  • Nearly hard to obtain
  • Not much faster than 6800 XT
  • Poor overall value

Our Verdict

AMD’s fastest GPU is currently the Radeon RX 6900 XT. However, it is just marginally quicker than the RX 6800 XT, making the $1,000 asking price difficult to justify.

Specifications

AMD Specifications Stream Processors5,120
Base clock1,825 MHz
Boost clock2,250 MHz
TFLOPs23.04
Memory16GB GDDR6
Memory clock16 GT/s
Memory bandwidth512 GB/s

MSI AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

The 6800 XT is worth looking for anybody looking to strike a compromise between how much they pay and how high their frame rates go since it sits between the 6800 and 6900 XT in terms of graphics capability. This card is basically up against the RTX 3070 in the Nvidia series.

As expected, AMD’s ray tracing technology is included, along with consistent performance no matter what you’re attempting to do with your card or system. AMD hasn’t competed at the high end of the market in a long time, but the RX 6800 XT indicates that Nvidia has something to be concerned about.

While the RX 6800 XT provides a significant performance increase over prior generation AMD cards, there is less of a performance gap between it and the other Big Navi (RNDA2) GPUs in the AMD lineup in either direction.

Pros

  • Excellent performance from the new RDNA2 architecture
  • Beats the 3080 in rasterization games
  • Easily handles 4K and 1440p
  • Lots of VRAM for the future
  • Mediocre ray tracing performance

Cons

  • Worse ray tracing performance
  • FSR should be used more widely
  • Supply may be worse than Nvidia’s

Our Verdict

Let’s just say AMD has worked out a few tricks that come in handy, whether you’re looking for an IPC boost with a new CPU or creating a more powerful GPU. That’s the only valid comparison between cards in the same product family based on the same GPU. 

Specifications

AMD Specifications Stream Processors4,608
Base clock1,825 MHz
Boost clock speed2,250 MHz
TFLOPs20.74
Memory16 GB GDDR6
Memory clock16 GT/s
Memory bandwidth512 GB/s

MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is a beast of a graphics card that delivers 4K, 60 fps next-gen gaming performance to your setup. It’s a good compromise between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3090 in terms of price and performance, and it’s the way to go if you want to ramp up the graphical bells and whistles without totally emptying your wallet (depending on the size of your bank account balance).

The card is so popular that it’s difficult to find at the moment of writing. If you don’t want to pay a high price to a reseller – and we don’t suggest it – you’ll have to be patient and persistent in your search, keeping a careful watch on shops and their supply levels.

You receive a substantial performance boost over the RTX 3070, so if you can afford the higher price (and locate one in stock), you’ll be able to play AAA games at the highest resolutions and frame rates. In addition, Ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) are incorporated, as they are with all current Nvidia Ampere cards, to make your games shine truly.

Depending on how much you have to pay, the RTX 3080 above may not be the best Nvidia card for your gaming rig. 

The best graphics card for gaming, the best budget graphics card, or the best graphics card combining power and value for money,

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Reasonably priced in comparison to the 3090 and 6900 XT
  • Can genuinely achieve 4K ultra at 60 frames per second or more
  • Significantly quicker than previous-generation GPUs

Cons

  • Severely restricted availability
  • Requires 320W of power
  • Overkill for 1080p screens
  • Only 10GB VRAM

Our Verdict

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is a true powerhouse of a graphics card, ushering in one of the most significant generational jumps in GPU history. Anyone interested in 4K gaming should consider this graphics card, even if the advantages decrease at lower resolutions.

Specifications

Stream Processors8,704
Base clock1,440 MHz
Boost clock1,710 MHz
TFLOPs29.76
Memory10GB GDDR6X
Memory clock19 GT/s
Memory bandwidth760 GB/s

Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 6800

AMD has returned to the big leagues with the Radeon RX 6800, which will fight head-to-head with Nvidia in the high-end graphics market. The AMD Radeon RX 6800, like its somewhat more powerful (and more costly) XT counterpart, has strong 4K gaming capabilities.

There’s a lot of video RAM to play with here, as well as several AMD changes that should make your games run like butter. It may not get the highest benchmark ratings, but this card is well worth considering if you want high frame rates on the greatest games without paying a high price.

You won’t have to worry about performance with this card installed in your setup, thanks to the significant performance increases brought in by AMD’s Big Navi (or Navi 21 or RDNA2) technology. If you want to push your graphics card even farther after it’s installed, there’s also good overclocking performance here.

Pros

  • Excellent overall performance
  • Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache
  • Easily outperforms the 3070 in non-RT

Cons

  • Hard to locate
  • Middling RT performance
  • FSR will take a long to catch up to DLSS
  • Not much cheaper than the 6800 XT

Our Verdict

Now that AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution is ready, it is up to game developers to adopt it. It’s open-source, and AMD RDNA2 GPUs are in all next-generation consoles, so FSR will almost certainly see widespread use… someday. We’d go with a 6800 for its rasterization ability and ignore ray tracing for the time being. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to locate one in stock.

Specifications

AMD Specifications Stream Processors5,888
Base clock1,500 MHz
Boost clock1,725 MHz
TFLOPs20.37
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14 GT/s
Memory bandwidth448 GB/s

PNY Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

The GeForce RTX 3060 is credited with bringing 4K gaming accessible to the public for the first time, and it’ll appeal to a wide range of people, even if it can’t quite match the performance levels of the 3080 and 3090 versions above it. Moreover, for a relatively low price, you get ray tracing and Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, as well as graphics horsepower.

 DLSS provides intelligent upscaling and anti-aliasing to boost performance with similar image quality, but it’s only on Nvidia RTX cards.

Keep an eye on pricing, since with the RTX 3060 Ti below it and the RTX 3080 above it, depending on how much you have to spend, this may not be the greatest Nvidia card for your gaming setup. While the RTX 3070 is unquestionably an improvement over previous generations, the current-gen card market is more saturated.

When choosing a graphics card update, everyone will be at a different place along with the price versus performance curve. Still, we believe the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 will win over a lot of fans despite tough competition. The Ampere graphics card may be the greatest fit for your budget and gaming needs.

Pros

  • 2080 Ti performance at half the price
  • All Ampere improvements
  • Not as power-hungry as 3080

Cons

  • Completely sold out and pricey
  • Can’t play certain games at 4K ultra at 60 frames per second
  • 8GB VRAM seems stingy

Our Verdict

The GeForce RTX 3070 provides a significant performance increase to the high-end $500 market, effectively matching the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti. Let’s only hope supply comes closer to matching demand this time (but don’t hold your breath).

Specifications

Stream Processors5,888
Base clock1,500 MHz
Boost clock1,725 MHz
TFLOPs20.37
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14 GT/s
Memory bandwidth448 GB/s

XFX AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT has opened up AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture to a wider audience. In theory, this new graphics card will push RDNA 2 into the mid-range market, with performance halfway between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070.

However, our general recommendation for selecting the finest graphics card for your gaming PC is to determine which games you’ll be playing the most and then choose the graphics card that performs best for your budget in those games. Assassin’s Creed enthusiasts with about $500 to spend on a new GPU, for example, should certainly consider this card. It also performs excellently in Resident Evil Village, achieving 58 frames per second in 4K with ray tracing, which is quite near to the sweet spot.

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, like the RX 6800 and RX 6900 series graphics cards from 2020, is based on AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture, often known as ‘Big Navi.’ That means all of the advancements seen in previous graphics cards, such as increased power efficiency and, of course, ray tracing, are also present here.

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT also supports AMD’s FidelityFX suite of visual effects and performance improvements, constantly expanding. However, Radeon Boost and Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, or CAS, are essential for most users, particularly those who just desire a better framerate.

AMD is working on FidelityFX Super Resolution, which would assist a lot with this, but we don’t know when it will be ready. Though AMD does have a few tricks on its sleeve to improve performance in specific games, it isn’t present here.

Pros

  • Good 1440p performance
  • Plenty of VRAM
  • Compared to the 3070 in non-RT

Cons

  • Out of stock, like with everything else
  • Poor RT performance
  • FSR is incapable of defeating DLSS

Our Verdict

The Radeon RX 6700 XT performs well, and the official pricing seems to be fair. It’s unlikely AMD will satisfy demand at launch, but in the long run, this should be a competitive offering in the GPU market.

 PC gaming, video editing, animation, and other graphics-intensive activities that few years are forever in performance. A lot has changed in the past few years, so chances are you’re no longer using the best graphics card available for taking advantage of modern technologies like smart resolution upscaling.

Specifications

AMD Specifications Stream Processors5,888
Base clock1,500 MHz
Boost Clock2581 MHz
TFLOPs20.37
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14 GT/s
Memory bandwidth548 GB/s

MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti isn’t the cheapest graphics card on the market. However, it is the most inexpensive route into the GeForce 30 series – and it still performs well enough for gamers who don’t need the top-tier 4K and 8K resolutions found on the higher-end Nvidia Ampere cards.

This card won’t provide top-tier 4K performance in the greatest games on the market right now. Still, it will deliver extremely good frame rates in even the most demanding 1080p games, as well as the benefits of ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) acceleration. In addition, this graphics card will do you proud as long as you have a relatively modest display.

For the time being, nothing competes with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti if you’re shopping at this price range, even if the 8GB of onboard RAM is a bit on the low side. Nevertheless, it’s the card that shows once and for all that a graphics update can provide excellent performance without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Beats the 2080 Super for $300 cheaper
  • Best overall value (fps/$)
  • Great for RT at 1440p with DLSS

Cons

  • Sold out and presently expensive
  • 4K is a reach even with DLSS
  • 8GB may not be ‘enough’ VRAM in the long run

Our Verdict

The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti outperforms the RTX 2080 Super from the previous year while costing $300 less. It’s a fantastic choice for the $400 GPU market, but we anticipate it to sell out fast in the coming months.

Specifications

Stream Processors4,864
Base clock1,410 MHz
Boost clock1,665 MHz
TFLOPs16.20
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14 GT/s
Memory bandwidth648 GB/s

MSI AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

It’s not only 4K players who will require an update now that the current generation of graphics cards has been around for a while, and the Xbox Series X and PS5 have unintentionally pushed the standards for PC games higher. The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is designed to power next-generation games at 1080p, competing directly with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, particularly in conventional rasterization sans flashy ray-tracing effects.

However, the Radeon RX 6600 XT arrives when getting any graphics card, much alone the newest and best, is more difficult than ever.

However, since the Radeon RX 6600 XT was released in March 2021, one major feature has been added: FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR. This is AMD’s response to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), which upscales a game from a lower resolution to your native screen. The Radeon RX 6600 XT supports this, but it’s also accessible on pretty much every DirectX 11-capable graphics card — albeit performance will be considerably higher on AMD’s GPUs, at least for the time being.

Pros

  • Faster than the RX 5700 XT and 3060
  • Power saving architecture
  • Good 1080p performance
  • 32MB Infinity Cache still works

Cons

  • Only 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit bus
  • Poor ray tracing performance
  • Pricey for 1080p
  • Still in short supply

Our Verdict

The Radeon RX 6600 XT reduces VRAM, interface width, Infinity Cache, and GPU cores to improve value, but the reduction may have gone too far given its price point.

Specifications

AMD Specifications Stream Processors4,864
Base clock1,410 MHz
Boost clock2,589MHz\z
TFLOPs16.20
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14 GT/s
Memory bandwidth448 GB/s

MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

The cheapest and least powerful addition to Nvidia’s desktop Ampere range is where the processing power cutbacks may have gone too far. This is the first GA106 card, and it has a 192-bit memory interface and 12GB VRAM (though we suspect a 6GB model will show up eventually). However, with 26% fewer GPU cores than the 3060 Ti and less memory bandwidth, total performance is only on par with the RTX 2070. 

That is, according to the hypothesis. Unfortunately, demand has again outstripped availability, and RTX 3060 12GB cards are going for more than $800 on eBay. Nvidia’s efforts to reduce Ethereum mining performance in half were rendered ineffective when Nvidia hacked its drivers (on accident). The price strongly indicates that miners had already discovered alternative workarounds.

VRAM capacity isn’t an issue, and in a few cases, the 3060 12GB begins to narrow the gap with the 3060 Ti. However, it never quite gets there, and if you can get one at a fair price, the 3060 Ti remains the superior option.

AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT has the same amount of VRAM, but with the huge 96MB Infinity Cache, it performs much better – and costs significantly more. Perhaps an RX 6700 will appear next month to offer some much-needed competition in the sub-$400 bracket, but they will also sell out.

If you exclude ray tracing and DLSS, the RTX 3060 performs approximately the same as AMD’s RX 5700 XT 18 months later. Not exactly anything to set the world on fire, but that’s to be expected from mainstream components. We can only hope that supply and price revert to nominal levels as soon as possible.

Pros

  • Lowest cost latest-generation GPU
  • Excellent overall value for 1080p/1440p
  • Ample VRAM for mainstream
  • Limited mining appeal

Cons

  • Overpriced and sold out
  • Some individuals want to mine
  • 12GB of little benefit
  • Tied with outdated RTX 2070 performance

Our Verdict

The GeForce RTX 3060 12GB is a great device for general gamers if it can get close to its official $329 asking price. But, even with decreased mining performance, that’s improbable in today’s market since its performance falls exactly between the RTX 2060 Super and 2070 Super.

Specifications

GPUAmpere (GA106)
GPU Cores3840
Boost Clock1,777 MHz
Video RAM12GB GDDR6 15 Gbps
TDP170 watts

MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 is the best graphics card for you if you’re searching for a current, entry-level graphics card with acceptable performance at a price of around $250.Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 1660 takes use of the Turing architecture introduced in the RTX series but coupled with the widely accessible (and therefore cheap) GDDDR5 VRAM to fill the gap left by the GTX 1060 and provide 13-15 percent higher performance at a lower cost.

Some photo editing Nvidia GeForce RTX 1660 Lori Grunin/CNET At the moment, Nvidia cards based on the RTX 3060 are the go-to in this price class.

1660 is Nvidia’s attempt to break into the lucrative $250 market, where the overwhelming majority of PC gamers buy, according to the findings of the Steam Hardware Survey. It’s a mainstream play, possibly in part to offset the 20-series family’s lower-than-expected sales, but it offers precisely what you want at a price you can live with.

Pros

  • Available at reasonable prices
  • GDDR6 gives it a healthy performance boost over the vanilla 1660
  • Turing is very power efficient, even at 12nm

Cons

  • Pricing is trending up right now
  • No hardware ray tracing support
  • Last gen tech and no DLSS

Our Verdict

The factory-overclocked EVGA GTX 1660 Super SC Ultra delivers performance comparable to the more costly GTX 1660 Ti, while the cooling system allows for silent gaming.

Specifications

Stream processor1408
Boost Clock1,785 MHz
Video RAM6GB GDDR6 14 Gbps
TDP125 watts

MSI AMD Radeon Rx 5700

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 remains a fantastic graphics card option, with incredible benchmark results when it first debuted and a price point that is very firmly at the cheap end of the market. The 5700 doesn’t skip a beat for a fraction of the price of similar high-end cards, and its 1440p resolution enables current AAA games to be played at high, if not max, settings.

Indeed, the RX 5700’s benchmark performance has surpassed that of most other mid-range GPUs, owing in part to an additional 2GB of VRAM. But it’s worth mentioning that, although the RX 5700 outperforms other models in terms of performance, it lacks the RX 5700’s real-time ray tracing capabilities.

Apart from the absence of ray tracing, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 has nothing to dislike – particularly given its low price. As a result, we have no hesitation in recommending it as one of most individuals’ finest mid-range graphics card options.

Pros

  • Excellent 1440p frame rates
  • Very excellent performance
  • The incredibly cheap pricing point

Cons

  • No ray tracing or DLSS hardware

Our Verdict

Because of AMD’s 7nm technology and the gleaming new RDNA architecture, it’s also extremely power efficient. In addition, AMD’s Radeon Image Sharpening, which AMD says can sharpen visuals with virtually no performance effect in games that enable it, is also supported by the RX 5700 XT. While it’s more of a novelty than a feature at present, if it’s widely accepted, it may be a method for AMD to compensate for the absence of built-in RT and DLSS support on its components.

Specifications

Stream Processors2,304
Core Clock1,465 MHz (1,725 MHz boost)
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory Clock14Gbps
Power Connectors1 x 8-pin and 1 x 6-pin
Outputs1 x DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, 1 x HDMI with 4K60

Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti

When it comes to the best graphics cards of 2021, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is without a doubt near the top of the heap: it’s one of the most powerful graphics cards you can buy right now, with support for 4K resolutions at 60 frames per second, Nvidia’s latest ray tracing technology, and just about all the extras you could want.

It’s a true powerhouse with a size that matches its capabilities. Because of the advancements, Nvidia has made with its Turing architecture, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti comes highly recommended, squeezing every last drop of 4K performance out of this specific model. In addition, Nvidia’s first-ever self-implemented 90 MHz factory overclock reap significant advantages, with 11GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 4,352 CUDA cores, and a boost speed of 1,635 MHz crammed in here.

Its ray-tracing capabilities are also impressive, allowing for stunning in-game lighting and reflection effects created in real-time. It’s a card built to take on 3DMark and any other game, no matter how visually demanding. Unfortunately, prices for this are still high, so shop around.

Pros

  • Nvidia ray tracing support
  • Dual fan cooling system
  • 4K, 60 fps gaming prowess

Cons

  • Still quite expensive

Our Verdict

It’s difficult to suggest hard to friends or readers when you can construct a capable PC gaming that will provide you with years of pleasure for the price of just one component – assuming costs remain the same. So if you have no financial worries or can catch one at a fair price, this is the one to go for; otherwise, go for something higher on the list.

Specifications

Stream Processors4,352
Core Clock1,350MHz (1,635MHz boost)
Memory11GB GDDR6
Memory Clock14Gbps
Power Connectors2 x 8-pin
Outputs3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x USB-C

MSI Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super

We previously suggested the GeForce RTX 2070 Super as the best graphics card that won’t break the bank – but the RTX 2080 Super has taken its position this year. It would, at least, if we could locate one. Because the Super is a decent bargain and a strong graphics card, it’s prone to the same stock problems that plague other RTX cards. This is a card that you should keep a watch on the deal pages for.

Nvidia’s Turing architecture is used in the 2080 Super, which falls between the RTX 2080 Ti and the RTX 2080. It’s a faster 2080 at a lower price, which isn’t always bad since the performance boost comes mainly from faster memory with greater bandwidth. It’s a tenth of a second quicker than the 2070 Super.

The RTX 2080 isn’t much different from its predecessor, but it doesn’t need to be: these cards sell out very immediately after they’re released. It’s a fantastic 4K card with excellent QHD performance that comes at a fraction of the price of the RTX 2080 Ti.

Pros

  • Excellent 1440p performance
  • Strong ray tracing capability
  • Mid-tier pricing

Cons

  • No headlining new features
  • Still fairly pricey

Our Verdict

The 2080 Super is currently the finest (borderline) mainstream graphics card on the market, offering outstanding 4K performance (and blazing QHD) at the lowest price point we’ve seen for that level of performance.

Specifications

Stream processors2,944
Core clock1,515
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock 14Gbps
Power connectors6 pin + 8 pin
Outputs3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB-C

MSI Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Super

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super offers the same (and in some tests, better) performance as the RTX 2070 for less money*, and while it’s not up to 4K gaming it’s fantastic at FHD resolution and pretty great at QHD too. With 14Gbps memory, 2176 stream processors, 136 texture units and 272 tensor cores it’s hardly a shoddy specification, and with ray tracing support it’s one of the cheapest ways to bring ray tracing tech to your rig. If you’re currently using a 970 or lower, the difference it’ll make to your system will be dramatic and its specification means it should deliver a top-notch gaming experience for a good few years into the future.

Although sadly in these silicon shortage times, there’s still a lot of price gouging going on and stock is hard to find.

Pros

  • The RTX 2070 for around the same amount
  • The lowest price point for ray tracing and DLSS
  • Solid QHD and great FHD performance

Cons

  • Still pricey for an ‘entry level’ card
  • Moderate ray tracing performance 

Our Verdict

If you’re upgrading from a 970 or lesser card, the 2060 Super is your best option for excellent performance and, to some degree, future-proofing your setup for DXR and Vulkan RT’s inevitable growth. The Founders Edition cards are essentially Nvidia’s in-house graphics card designs instead of those developed by its partners.

Specifications

Stream processors2,176 Clock
Core clock1,515
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory clock14Gbps
Power connectors6 pin + 8 pin
Outputs3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB-C

MSI AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB

If you have yet to upgrade to a 4K display, investing a large sum of money on an overloaded GPU may seem to be an act of extreme indulgence. However, while you’re saving up for a new 4K monitor/panel, the $200 the 580 saves over the next tier of cards is considerable, and AMD’s low-cost choice can comfortably handle the end of the 1080p era.

In most modern games, you’ve likely seen something in your graphics settings that lets you change the render scale.

The 580 is an excellent choice for those on a tight budget or who want to guarantee that your PC keeps up with current-generation consoles. And its 8GBs of GDDR5 memory is ample in comparison to Nvidia’s similarly priced 1060 series, an advantage that will be highly welcomed as rendering needs rise.

Pros

  • Excellent price and availability
  • Great match for current games

Cons

  • Starting to show its age

Our Verdict

 PC gaming, video editing, animation, and other graphics-intensive activities that few years are forever in performance. A lot has changed in the past few years, so chances are you’re no longer using the best graphics card available for taking advantage of modern technologies like smart resolution upscaling.

Specifications

Stream processors2,304
Base Clock1,257MHz
Boost Clock1,340MHz
GFLOPS6,175
Memory8GB GDDR5
Memory Clock8 GT/s
Memory Bandwidth256GB/s

MSI AMD RADEON RX 590

It may not be one of the most recent graphics cards on the market, but the AMD Radeon RX 590 is still capable of packing a punch – it’s one to consider if the costs on top-tier Nvidia and AMD cards are making you dizzy. More than specifications, this is a card about better thermals and efficiency, and it compares well to both Nvidia and other AMD cards in this price range.

Built on a 12nm process, you get 2,304 GPU cores, a maximum boost clock speed of 1,545MHz, and 8GB of (GDDR5) VRAM to power through your games, making this one of the finest value AMD graphics cards available right now.

While there isn’t a huge performance increase over the cards that came before the Radeon RX 590, there is a performance boost, and you won’t be dissatisfied with the frame rates you’re getting out of this card (particularly at the pricing it’s currently selling for).

Pros

  • Outstanding performance up to 1440p
  • It won’t cost you a fortune
  • Noticeably higher efficiency

Cons

  • Still pricey for an ‘entry level’ card
  • Moderate ray tracing performance 

Our Verdict

While there isn’t a big performance gain over the cards that came before the Radeon RX 590, there is a performance bump, and you won’t be disappointed with the frame rates you’re receiving out of this card (especially at the current price).

Specifications

Stream processors2,104
Base Clock1,207MHz
Boost Clock1,340MHz
GFLOPS6,175
Memory8GB GDDR5
Memory Clock8 GT/s
Memory Bandwidth250GB/s

MSI AMD Radeon Rx 570 8GB

When you look at the AMD Radeon RX 570 8GB, it’s easy to understand why it made our list of the best graphics cards of 2021: you get really good gaming performance for not all that much money, and this card exemplifies why AMD cards are so popular among gamers seeking for value for money.

Shopping in the mid-range segment of the market entails some power sacrifices, but if you’re OK with 1080p gaming, the 2,048 stream processors, 1,244 MHz core clock boost speed, and 8GB of onboard memory will do you well. If you search, you should be able to get an RX 570 card for a fairly reasonable price — there are lots of choices to pick from.

The Polaris architecture is no longer AMD’s most current or best-performing architecture. However, we believe it will still provide you with very excellent frame rates in your favorite games at a price that isn’t going to seem like daylight robbery.

Pros

  • Really good 1080p performance
  • A range of choices available
  • Comes at some very reasonable prices

Cons

  • No headlining new features
  • Still fairly pricey
  • ray tracing acceleration

Our Verdict

Let’s just say AMD has worked out a few tricks that come in handy, whether you’re looking for an IPC boost with a new CPU or creating a more powerful GPU. That’s the only valid comparison between cards in the same product family based on the same GPU. 

Specifications

Stream processors2,004
Base Clock1,107MHz
Boost Clock1,340MHz
GFLOPS6,175
Memory8GB GDDR5
Memory Clock8 GT/s
Memory Bandwidth250GB/s

Graphics Cards Buying Advice

Searching for the right graphics card often entails trawling through specs and benchmarks for hours on end, as well as dealing with buckets of confusing jargon. Still, in this guide, we’ve not only selected the key graphics card models you need to know about, but we’ve also explained why they’ve been chosen.

In other words, we’ve done most of the legwork in determining the best graphics card for you, so you can focus on making the correct decision and reaping the benefits of better frame rates, greater processing power, and a much more immersive and stunning gaming experience.

Consider the following when purchasing a graphics card:

Resolution

If you are a PC gamer, a big part of what you’ll want to consider is the resolution(s). The higher the number of pixels you push, the more performance you’ll require. To game at 1080p, you don’t need a top-of-the-line GPU.

Power supply

Check to see whether your power supply has adequate energy and the correct 6- and 8-pin connection (s). For the RTX 3060, for example, Nvidia recommends a 550-watt power supply, as well as an 8-pin connection and potentially a 6-pin PEG connector.

Video Memory

At the moment, a 4GB card is the very least; 6GB cards are preferable, and 8GB or more is highly recommended.

Should you use FreeSync or G-Sync? Either variable refresh rate technique will synchronize the frame rate of your GPU with the refresh rate of your screen. G-Sync and G-Sync Compatible displays are supported by Nvidia (for suggestions, check our Best Gaming Monitors list), whereas AMD’s FreeSync technology is compatible with Radeon cards.

Ray Tracing, DLSS, and FSR

Ray tracing is supported by the newest graphics cards and may be utilized to improve visuals. However, only Nvidia RTX GPUs support DLSS, which uses intelligent upscaling and anti-aliasing to improve speed while maintaining picture quality. AMD’s FSR works on almost every GPU and offers upscaling and improvement, but only for a limited number of games.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it simple to get new graphics cards?

It’s not for everyone, but buying a prebuilt gaming PC is the best way to guarantee you get a graphics card this year and a current one at a price near MSRP. It’s worth thinking about, at the very least, if you’re thinking about a complete rebuild in the future. System builders seem to have a more consistent supply of graphics cards, and although some anticipate delays, you can expect a PC with a GPU installed at some point.

Q. Which is better, a GTX or an RTX graphics card?

The GTX prefix is now used to refer to earlier Nvidia graphics cards that lack the AI and ray tracing technology found in RTX-level GPUs. The RTX prefix was first used with the RTX 20-series three years ago, and it indicates which cards have GPUs with both Tensor Cores and RT Cores, which are required for real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling.

Q. Is ray tracing exclusive to RTX graphics cards?

The RTX prefix is exclusively applied to cards that include Nvidia GPUs with specialized ray tracing hardware; otherwise, they utilize the same DirectX Raytracing API that Microsoft developed and that AMD’s RDNA 2 GPUs employ. Real-time ray tracing is supported by these AMD GPUs, albeit at a greater performance cost than Nvidia’s GPUs.

Intel’s forthcoming Xe-HPG GPUs will be released early next year; they will also enable ray tracing utilizing Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing API. The Alchemist graphics cards will be the first to utilize them.

Q. What is the difference between a Founders Edition graphics card and a regular graphics card?

The Founders Edition graphics cards are essentially Nvidia’s in-house designs instead of those created by its partners. These are typically reference cards, which means they operate on standard time.

Nvidia chose to provide Founders Editions with factory overclocks for the RTX 20-series. These changes made it more difficult to evaluate cards since Founders Edition cards provide a performance baseline, although Nvidia has recently resumed manufacturing them as reference cards.


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