Have you played Minecraft with the latest ray-tracing feature turned ON? Or are you interested in getting Victory Royale with buttery smooth movements in Fortnite? Both of them need one thing in common, the best graphics card for gaming. Whether it is raytracing enabled in Unreal Engine 4 or just fast-paced competitive online gaming, both require a GPU with a high number of cores, high clock frequency, and massive memory storage capacity. It is hard to decide which graphic card to select. Games have become hardware demanding, and GPUs’ unavailability plus hiking prices have put gaming enthusiasts on a backfoot. As experts, we thought we should help our readers conclusively pick the best graphics card for their budget.
We know it’s obvious, but we want our new readers to know that there is a difference between a GPU and a Graphics card manufacturer. We have two GPU manufacturers Nvidia (Team Green) and AMD (Team Red). There could be numerous graphic card manufacturers for the same GPU. To make matters easy, we linked the best graphics card for the money containing the stated GPUs. Our discussion will revolve around the hardware specification and benchmarks. According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: February 2021, 1080p is the most used screen resolution (67.29%). Since 4k is also gaining momentum, we will discuss gaming performance in 1080p and 4k resolution for the online competitive and AAA game titles. First some fresh tips for gamers:
Quick Shopping Tips:
AMD or Nvidia: Currently High in the cost line, Nvidia has beaten AMD by a significant margin with the all-new ray-tracing feature. Nvidia being a pioneer of ray-tracing technology, is already into the second generation of ray-tracing capable hardware. AMD is currently in its first generation. Nvidia cards have been observed to give higher frame rates and better cooling performance. But it’s your choice, go for hi-end or looking for the best graphics card for the money.
Power Consumption: It’s essential to know how much your GPU is power-hungry when placed under stressed conditions. The purpose is to ensure that our energy bills remain under control. Higher power-consuming hardware typically leads to higher heat production that can cause all sorts of issues for computer hardware. It’s always to go for low power consuming products.
Cores: Cores are completely hardware-dependent. If your chip does not have a high number of processor cores, you cannot increase them. A higher number of processor cores means that GPU can handle the increased number of jobs at once. Which, in terms of games, means it can provide better and smoother in-game movement.
Clock Frequency: This is the speed at which the GPU can transfer data in and out after processing. A lower frequency and higher cores can cause a bottleneck. Some manufacturers install high-end cooling systems to take away the heat efficiently while allowing users to increase the processing speed. The GPU is supplied by VRMs that provide stable power to the GPU while the current is increased.
Best Graphics Cards at a glance:
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
- AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 OC
- AMD Radeon RX 6800
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
- AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
- GTX 1660 Super
The Best Graphics Cards You Can Buy Today
Fastest Graphics Card, Great for Creators
Brand: EVGA | Chipset Brand: Nvidia | Boost Clock: 1800 MHz | Memory: 24GB GDDR6X | Power Consumption: 350W | Dimensions: 15.12 x 9.57 x 4.41 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ Possess 8K DLSS potential
✓ Astonishing 24GB video RAM
✓ Triple HDB fans + 9 iCX3 thermal sensors
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No VirtualLink port
✗ Gigantic size and heavy
Some people cannot compromise on even the slightest gaming performance. They want the absolute best graphics card for gaming in the market. If you are one of those people, then there is nothing out there that is powerful than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090. It’s a (BFGPU) that features staggering 24 GB of memory space. AMD GPUs are no match for this gaming beast. The FE model for this GPU can runs at 1700MHz in overclocked condition. However, EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 ULTRA GAMING is the best graphic card that boosts clock speed to 1800MHz. The graphics card comes with ARGB and a metal backplate.
Owning the best hardware in the business does not come without a cost. The low availability of GPU chips has caused graphic card manufacturers to increase their current graphics card prices. Besides the cost, the graphic card is gigantic and heavier than usual GFX cards. The increase in weight can cause sagging, plus it requires a reinforced PCIe x16 slot on the motherboard to avoid snapping. Another thing to consider is that this beast does not run cheaply. It needs constant power of 350Watt, which you need to consider in your energy bill.
With such a considerable investment, most people need quality assurance which Asus provides with their three-year warranty. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, with its 2nd generation of raytracing technology, has no match in visual brilliance. Playing games like the Shadow of Tomb Raider on 4k resolution would be a walk in the park for this GPU. It can stably maintain 100+ fps on most AAA titles across genres. Red Dead Redemption and Hitman 2 both run @ 100+fps 4k with raytracing enabled. Competitive games like Fortnite and PUBG can reach more than 144+fps, which can be beneficial for users with 144Hz monitor with G-sync capability. It is the fastest graphics card, great for creators.
Best AMD GPU, Forget About DLSS
Brand: XFX | Chipset Brand: AMD | Boost Clock: 2340 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 300W | Dimensions: 13.39 x 5.47 x 2.24 Inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ Offers dual BIOS options
✓ 100+fps gaming at 4K resolution
✓ 12+4 VRM power phases for SAM
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ It runs at higher temperatures
✗ Not compatible with Windows 7
AMD has come up with a cost-effective high performing GPU that has made a place for itself in gamers rig. This development caused some shaking up of things at Nvidia by releasing high performance/price RTX 3070. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT comes with AMD’s first generation of ray tracing hardware. The cost of this graphics card is half of the 2080 Ti price for a similar raw performance. The graphic card reaches frame rates identical to RTX 3090 at a much lower price. The performance of this GPU at high resolution is unbeatable.
AMD has been battling processor technology and as well as GPU technology. 6800 XT is AMD’s first attempt to ray-tracing enabled GPU. However, the lack of ray-tracing with DLSS ability has pushed back Radeons benchmark score by a significant margin. However, with the 12+4 power phases on this specific model, utilizing the SAM feature can make your CPU perform like a beast. Remember that this GFX card is still quite large, and space could be a problem.
The power consumption of just 300 watts is marvelous for a high-end and the best graphics card for gaming. XFX Speedster MERC 319 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is the best GFX card for the same GPU. There are seven 6mm heat pipes to efficiently take the GPU’s heat and maintain stable performance. This specific model comes with two modes Rage mode and Balanced mode. Users can change between two profiles simply by sliding the physical switch on the GFX card, and the dual BIOS takes care of the rest.
Best Graphics Card Overall, for 4K and More
Brand: PNY | Chipset Brand: Nvidia | Boost Clock: 1710 MHz | Memory: 10GB GDDR6X | Power Consumption: 320W | Dimensions: 11.57 x 4.41 x 2.20 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ 10GB GDDR6X onboard memory
✓ Gen-over-gen improvement in design
✓ VR ready, Ray-tracing, and AI acceleration
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No support for NVLink
✗ No support for less than 750W PSUs
If you are a ray-tracing fan and like to look at those mesmerizing virtual world graphics, then Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 should be your pick. It has the second generation of ray-tracing with DLSS capability that can ensure a visually stunning in-game environment. Top AAA titles like CyberPunk 2077, Metro Exodus, and Control give the actual lightning condition by fully utilizing the ray-tracing technology. The technology needs a lot of processing power which 3080 has in terms of cores. Compared to RTX 3090, RTX 3080 has a better price/performance ratio.
The significant power consumption of 320 Watts will require two 8-pin power connections. RTX 3080 has a high cost per frame and does not come with a USB-C connection for display. PNY is a relatively new name in the field of graphic card designing. Established names like Gigabyte, MSI offer higher operational stability. You cannot sync the RGB lighting in the graphic card with other RGBs inside your chassis via the motherboard.
We have selected PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 Gaming as our favorite graphic card for the 3080 chipsets. It runs reasonably cool and produces lower noise due to good heat transfer function. It is capable of delivering 60+ fps at 4K resolution on GPU intensive games. The 10 GB of memory space is more than enough for any open-world game like the Witcher 3-Wild Hunt and Grand Theft Auto V. We consider it the best Graphics Card Overall, for 4K and More.
Best Bang for the Buck Graphics Card
Brand: ZOTAC | Chipset Brand: Nvidia | Boost Clock: 1807 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 170W | Dimensions: 11.38 x 8.7 x 3.39 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ Ray-tracing with DLSS
✓ High airflow with all-new 11-blade fan
✓ Real-time and cinematic-quality graphics
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No USB-C connector
✗ Low-quality backplate
We have been emphasizing that 1080p is still the most used resolution for gaming as per steam record. Considering that most gamers do not own sophisticatedly large gaming monitors with ultra-high resolutions, buying a 4K capable GPU becomes irrelevant. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 OC is the best bang for the buck graphics card. It’s a solid 1080p gaming performer with 100+fps in most AAA gaming titles. The card even performs similar to RTX 2070 Super with ray-tracing enabled. The performance has drastically improved over a generation.
There is a lot of competition in budget graphic cards, and the users mostly look for the best graphics card for the money. AMD’s RX 5700 is priced way lower with only 8% slower output than the RTX 3060. If you want to get the feel of 4k gaming, then this GPU can also give you an entry-level graphic feel. The GPU can efficiently be cooled using two fans. However, three fans cooling would still be preferred. The two fans make a lot of noise, and during gaming sessions, the fans tend to increase their speed aggressively.
We selected ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC as our best pick for RTX 3060. Its reasonable price and sufficient overclocking space for mid-range gaming make it an attractive deal. The GPU comes with a backplate for damage protection. It has the capability to G-sync with your monitor to make the in-game movement flawless and smooth. The boost speed of 1807 MHz can let you experience the 4k resolution. The firestorm software lets you manage RGB lighting and fan speed depending on your usage.
Great 1440p Graphics Card, Okay Ray Tracing
Brand: XFX | Chipset Brand: AMD | Boost Clock: 2190 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 250W | Dimensions: 13.39 x 5.43 x 2.13 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ 1440p gaming at 100+fps
✓ AMD Smart Access Memory technology
✓ Ultra-cool with 13-blade double ball bearing fans
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No dual BIOS
✗ Big size takes up three expansion slots
With just a slight compromise on ray-tracing, you can get buttery smooth frame rates at 1440p resolution with an Ultra setting. Games like Metro Exodus, The Witcher 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, and RDR2 look gorgeous running on this graphics card. This graphic card offers the best price/performance ratio if we keep ray-tracing aside. Ray-tracing is still new, and most games have not utilized the technology to incorporate it into games. AMD Radeon RX 6800 is an excellent 1440p Graphics Card, okay, ray tracing performer.
The graphic card is thick and can take up three slots on your motherboard. It is made entirely from aluminum and weighs less than its other counterparts. XFX has made a very well-built graphic card that looks tough from all sides. This graphic card does not feature the DUAL Bios option like the XT version. So simple performance change with a physical switch is not possible. The backplate is rigid, with a cutout for the aluminum fins to take away the GPU heat.
The 319 in the graphics card name has a specific meaning. The 3 means it has three fans for cooling, 1 means it has two 100mm fans, and the 9 means it has one 90mm fan in the middle. The two more giant fans rotate in similar directions, and the small middle fan rotates in another direction. It helps keep airflow smooth across the graphic card. It requires a dual 8pin power connection to take an efficient power of 250watt. It has a 10+1 power phase VRM that the CPU can utilize for enhanced power.
Excellent 1440p Performance
Brand: MSI | Chipset Brand: Nvidia | Boost Clock: 1830 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 240W | Dimensions: 12 x 2.1 x 4.8 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ 1440p gaming at 60+fps
✓ DisplayPort x 3 / HDMI x 1
✓ Anti-bending force included
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No BIOS profile switch
✗ No future proof memory
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 lies in the sweet spot of gaming. It is too much for 1080p gaming while being just enough to support 1440p gaming fully. Nvidia launched this GPU against the AMD 6800 at a similar cost. Considering the inferior ray-tracing capability of AMD 6800, this GPU took the spotlight from AMDs first ray-tracing enabled graphics cards. We picked MSI GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING X TRIO as the GPU best graphics card for gaming because its pros outweigh the cons.
To keep the GPU fair usage, MSI has put a limit to overclocking. They decided not to overclock the memory on this graphic card. This graphic card could have been cheaper considering the meager overclocking potential, but MSI kept its capabilities within certain limits. Considering the performance of the graphics card besides being capped is marvelous. The graphic card does not beat the 6800 without the ray-tracing enabled.
The graphic card consumes 256W maximum under stressed conditions. We need to understand that this GPU is not made for 4K gaming. We evaluated its performance running all-new AAA titles sustaining 128fps with 1080p resolution. A decent average of 70+ fps was observed with 4k gaming, but that was without ray-tracing enabled. It is meant for low power consumption operation, making it quieter and capable of running at lower temperatures. The GPU is made from 8nm technology which is still widely available. The excellent 1440p performance is something that every gamer should expect when buying this GFX card.
AMD's Fastest GPU, Severely Expensive
Brand: PowerColor | Chipset Brand: AMD | Boost Clock: 3240 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 300W | Dimensions: 10.5 x 4.7 x 1.8 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ 16GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory
✓ Dual BIOS for single switch overclocking
✓ Mute Fan Technology for power efficiency
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ No AI acceleration
✗ Draws higher power during media playback
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is an answer to Nvidia’s RTX 3090. If you are looking for the best graphics card for gaming and still not a big fan of ray-tracing, then comparing the two GPUs performing in some top games with RTX turned OFF, both GPUs stay head to head. We picked Powercolor AXRX 6900XT 16GBD6-3DHE/OC as the best-manufactured graphics card with sufficient overclocking margin with 14+2 VRM. We know that SAM features an AMD GPU that allows increased performance to reduce the CPU bottleneck. It comes with ARGB, which can be synced with the motherboard.
6900 XT is AMD’s Fastest GPU, severely expensive. It beats the RTX 3090 during the benchmark of top gaming titles but without the ray-tracing enabled. However, enabling the RTX has a drastic effect on the AMDs first-generation ray-tracing capable graphics card. The availability issue of 7nm GPUs remains in the market, causing price hikes. People have complained about the coil whining, which is sometimes louder than the complete gaming rig.
It comes with a silent and OC BIOS mode physical switch that makes performance enhancement quick and easy. This graphics card has a lot of weight, so they added a strong backplate that prevents PCB bending. It has four display outputs, and uniquely all the ports light up for easy navigation. The copper base plate in the GPU heat removal system is efficient. This GPU features AMD’s FidelityFX, built against the RTX technology from Nvidia and AMD Freesync for matching frames rate with the screen refresh rate.
Best Mainstream Esports/1080p High Graphics Card
Brand: MSI | Chipset Brand: Nvidia | Boost Clock: 1815 MHz | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Power Consumption: 125W | Dimensions: 8 x 1.7 x 5 inches
REASONS TO BUY
✓ Low power consumption
✓ Supports 4K gaming @60Hz
✓ High-performance at low-temperatures
REASONS TO AVOID
✗ Older PCIe 3.0
✗ No ray-tracing tech
The GTX 1660 Super was launched out and hit the market shelves, and people loved it for its cost per frame, but slowly the price creep started. Since most users do not own large screens that can play and properly utilize 4k gaming, this GPU is sold like hotcakes because of its excellent value and considered the best graphics card for the money. MSI has a lot of experience in making high-end gaming components, and they have proven their quality with time. It is the best mainstream Esports/1080p High Graphics Card.
Users have reported that the noise level of the fans is too aggressive. If you are into silent gaming PCs, then you should go for some other brand. This graphics card requires external power, so be sure that your power supply has an 8-pin connector free to power your GPU. Some people had issues with the manufacturing defects on their graphics card, but that is no big deal as they did not affect the GPU’s performance.
This 1080p high graphics card can push the competitive gaming segment to its highs. Games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Warzone offer no load for this graphics card. It can run all these games with 100+ fps. You can use the G-sync capability of the card to enhance the gaming experience further. It is a great card for people looking to stream their gaming sessions live on YouTube and Twitch. Maintaining stable 60+fps 1080p on live streams with no heating or bottleneck issues makes it the best graphics card for the money.
We started our discussion with the absolute best graphics card for gaming, the RTX 3090, and ended up with the best graphics card for the money. We believe that you cannot compare RTX 3000 series to AMD since AMD graphics cards do not have mature enough ray-tracing for comparison. The RTX 3000 is leading in visual technology performance. Comparison becomes relevant when we turn off ray-tracing and perform cost-per-frame analysis. When that happens, AMD GPUs like the AMD 6800 XT and AMD 6900 XT steal the spotlight, but as long as AMD does not improve ray tracing, Nvidia will keep maintaining the top position. AMD does have one advantage over Nvidia for some users.
If you use Ryzen 5000 series CPU with the Radeon 6000 series GPU, you can utilize SAM to avoid a CPU bottleneck. Nvidia still does not have that technology, and it doesn’t seem very easy for them to have it in the future. Overall, we believe users on a budget should go for the best graphics card for the money. If you want the top-performing GPU without ray-tracing, go for AMD 6900 XT. If you want the most value-for-money performance with ray-tracing enabled, we suggest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 OC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which graphic card is best for gaming?
With ray-tracing enabled, EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 ULTRA GAMING with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU is hands down the best graphic card in the market. It can play 4k resolution at 100+ fps on all popular AAA titles except 60+ fps on CyberPunk 2077. The graphic card comes with a physical switch for performance boosts.
What's the best graphics card for 2021?
PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU is the best graphics card for 2021. It has well-balanced features that can allow high-end gaming at 4k resolution with decent frame rates and superior 1440p gaming with ray-tracing enabled. The low noise levels and generational improvement makes it a perfect choice for gamers.
What graphics card is fastest?
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU is the heart of Powercolor AXRX 6900XT 16GBD6-3DHE/OC, the fastest graphics card. These GPU specifications are marvelous and make it the most secured graphics card for performance without RTX. The DLSS feature may be missing on this GPU, but the CPU’s ability to utilize its VRMs for performance boost is a unique feature by AMD.
Which type of graphics card is best?
Considering the rising cooling demand of GPUs and potential bottlenecks while gaming, graphics card with a tri-fan setup are the most popular graphics cards. XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800 Black 16GB is the perfect example of efficient power design with heatsinks that keep the chip temperatures low, and in return, the gaming beast runs silently.