The best graphics cards for PC gaming
We'll help you find the best graphics card to fit your needs.
- Graphics card news
- Best budget graphics card
- Best 1080p graphics card
- Best 1440p graphics card
- Best 4K graphics card at 60Hz
- The best 4K, 144Hz graphics card
- What to look for in a custom card
Best 4K graphics card at 60Hz
The GeForce RTX 2070 Super and Radeon RX 5700 XT are your best current bets for gaming at 4K/60 as well, at least until the $700 GeForce RTX 2080 Super arrives on July 23. Don’t buy the original RTX 2080 non-Super at this point, as again, the RTX 2070 Super delivers almost as much performance for a whopping $200 less.
But that’s the case for the Radeon RX 5700 XT too. For $100 less than the GeForce RTX 2070 Super, it’s on par with the pricier option in many games at 4K resolution, or at worst, about 10 percent behind. If you don’t want real-time ray tracing, the AMD card is still the better value, especially with the slight visual sacrifices you may have to make to coax games into running at 4K resolution.
Several of the games we tested surpassed 60fps at 4K even with Ultra settings, but about half of our testing suite fell shy of that golden standard. Bumping in-game graphics settings from Ultra down to High should send these cards’ frame rates soaring past the mark. Activating ray tracing in compatible games will drag that back down to earth unless you enable Nvidia’s DLSS technology, however.
We recommend overclocking these graphics cards if you feel comfortable doing so and plan to game at 4K resolution rather than on a high refresh rate 1440p monitor. Both AMD and Nvidia’s board partners (like EVGA and MSI) offer software with automatic overclocking capabilities that take the headache out of the process.
You can’t go wrong with either of these cards. The Radeon RX 5700 XT is the better value; the GeForce RTX 2070 Super is slightly faster and supports real-time ray tracing. Pick your poison. You can go wrong with the GeForce RTX 2080 non-Super and Radeon VII, both of which are still available for $700 or more. The two graphics cards we recommend here deliver roughly similar performance for much less money.
The best 4K, 144Hz graphics card
The gaming world finally blew past the 4K/60 barrier in summer, 2018. Between the release of 4K, 144Hz G-Sync HDR monitors like the Acer Predator 27 and the September 27 release of Nvidia’s monstrous GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, you no longer need to compromise on sheer face-melting speed to achieve maximum fidelity. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti surpasses the hallowed 60-fps barrier across our entire benchmarking suite, save for in Ghost Recon Wildlands, which designed its upper-tier graphics settings to melt even the most potent GPUs. If you disable anti-aliasing and drop the graphics options from Ultra to High—reasonable, common compromises at 4K resolution that sacrifice little in visual quality—then it clears 80 fps across the board. This puppy howls.
The card might get even faster in the future, too. Like the other GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs, it includes dedicated hardware for Deep Learning Super Sampling, which improves performance by a whopping 39 percent in Nvidia’s demos. If developers embrace DLSS, the RTX 2080 Ti could become even more fearsome, and while initial uptake has been slow, dozens of titles have lined up ray tracing or DLSS support. Our deep-dive into the Nvidia Turing GPU inside the GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti explains these new technologies in detail if you’re.
But be warned: This glorious future for gaming doesn’t come cheap if you want to buy in today. The first G-Sync HDR monitors go for a cool $2,000, though a less-vibrant 4K, 144Hz G-Sync display will launch soon for $1,300. And while the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ostensibly starts at $1,000—already a $300 increase over the GTX 1080 Ti—the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti costs $1,200 at Best Buy or GeForce.com in reality. Custom, overclocked models by the likes of EVGA and MSI cost even more in some cases. Living on the cutting-edge never comes cheap, but this generation, it’s truly luxury-priced.
If you can afford it, though, playing HDR games at 4K, 144Hz is nothing short of glorious.
What to look for in a custom card
If you want to shop beyond the scope of our picks, know that finding the right graphics card can be tricky. Various vendors offer customized versions of every GPU. For example, you can buy different Radeon RX 570 models from Sapphire, XFX, Asus, MSI, and PowerColor.
To help narrow down the options and find the right card for you, you should consider the following things when doing your research:
Overclocks: Higher-priced custom models are often overclocked out-of-the-box to varying degrees, which leads to higher performance.
Cooling solutions: Many graphics cards are available with custom coolers that lower temperatures and fan noise. The vast majority perform well. Liquid-cooled graphics cards run even cooler, but require extra room inside your case for the tubing and radiator. Avoid graphics cards with single-fan, blower-style cooling systems if you can help it, unless you have a small-form-factor PC or plan on using custom water-cooling blocks.
Length: Many graphics cards are of a similar size, but longer and shorter models of many GPUs exist. Double-check that your chosen graphics card will fit in your case before you buy.
Compatibility: Not all hardware supports a wide range of connectivity options. Higher-end graphics cards may lack DVI ports, while lower-end monitors may lack DisplayPorts. Ensure your graphics card and monitor can connect to each other. Likewise, make sure your power supply meets the recommended wattage for the graphics card you choose.
Real-time ray tracing and DLSS: While any graphics card can technically process real-time ray tracing, only Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards contain hardware dedicated to running the bleeding-edge tech at acceptable frame rates. They also include dedicated tensor cores for processing machine learning tasks such as Deep Learning Super Sampling, which uses AI to speed up the performance of your games with minimal hit to visual fidelity—in theory. In reality, image quality can take a hit under DLSS, although Nvidia has rapidly fixed games where the issue rears its head. That’s the beauty of machine learning. It can always get better.
Check out our recent reviews
Below is a list of our most recent reviews for individual graphics cards. We’ve kept it to the most current GPUs.
Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080
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