Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2022

Latest Gaming PC Graphics Cards

“I can’t wait to get these in two years,” a gamer reading the latest graphics card reviews jokes very seriously. At some point, you’ve probably been this gamer for reasons that involve a half-good wallet or lack of GPU stock.

But choosing the best graphics cards for gaming shouldn’t be as difficult as getting them. While you won’t wake up tomorrow with the latest RTX under your pillow, you can prepare during today’s ongoing shortage of GPU and take the time to learn about what graphics card is best for you, which is what we’re here to do.

Read More
Top GPU for Gamers:
GeForce-GTX-banner More Info
98/100
Rating
ASUS Tuf GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB Highlights
  • 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6X
  • PCI Express 4.0 x16
  • OC mode: 1815MHz
$969.99
Visit Site
97/100
Rating
GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB Highlights
  • NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors
  • 2nd Generation RT Cores
  • 3rd Generation Tensor Cores
$1000.71
Visit Site
95/100
Rating
MSI Merch Radeon RX 6600 8GB Highlights
  • Torx Fan 3.0
  • Thermal Padding
  • AMD Radeon RX 6600 Series graphics
$449.99
Visit Site
94/100
Rating
AORUS GeForce RTX 3060 Elite Highlights
  • 12GB 192-Bit GDDR6
  • Boost Clock 1867 MHz
  • 3584 CUDA Cores
$734.66
Visit Site
93/100
Rating
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB Highlights
  • 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6X
  • Boost Clock 1830 MHz
  • 6144 CUDA Cores
$969.99
Visit Site

The Best Graphics Cards for Gaming Shortlist

[add-table]

Some Important Terms for Buyers

If you don’t know much about graphics cards, here are the most critical things you should look for when buying a new one. Learning about the most important graphics processing unit (GPU) terms will help you figure out what graphics card is best for you.

CUDA Cores and Stream Processors

When referring to GPU cores, Nvidia uses the term “CUDA,” while AMD uses “Stream Processors.” As a general rule, the higher the core count a graphics card has, the more computing power it’s going to have.

Although CUDA Cores and Stream Processors have the same end goal, they don’t follow the same route due to the huge differences between Nvidia and AMD’s GPU architecture. This means comparing one to the other won’t lead to a clear result.

Memory (Video RAM)

Just like your ordinary random-access memory (RAM), VRAM is measured in gigabytes. The more memory a graphics card can use to store graphical data, the more efficient it is in tackling graphics-related tasks. When playing a video game, one of these tasks is efficiently rendering complex images and textures to produce a smooth gameplay experience.

Note that having a million VRAM isn’t necessary if all you’re playing is 2D Super Mario Bros. In 1080p and 1440p displays, most marketed games today use about 2GB to 6GB, so we recommend looking for a GPU that has at least 8GB memory.

Thermal Design Power (TDP)

TDP tells you how much power a graphics card needs to generate the maximum amount of heat it can take without frying its innards. This is crucial since playing video games with dazzling graphics demands an intense workload that will inevitably heat up the GPU.

If you’re considering a graphics card with a TDP higher than about 200 watts, we suggest investing a little bit more on a PC case that has a great ventilation system. It will prevent your processors from overheating and prolong their lives.

Choosing the Best Gaming PC Graphics Cards

Let’s not waste time: the best graphics cards for gaming are, of course, the most expensive ones. In this simple school of thought, the latest products available (but always unavailable to buy) are immediately hailed champions—graphics cards like Nvidia’s RTX “the BFGPU” 3090 and AMD’s RX 6900 XT.

If you have money and can spend it without worrying one nickel, you can close this page right now, head over to eBay, and look for these two GPUs. If you find and buy one for $500, $700, or even $1,000 more than the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), then we respect your choice. Though with a little grimace.

The best gaming PC graphics cards are surely the fastest and priciest ones when the only thing being considered is sheer performance. Once you put purpose into the equation, however, you start seeing the excess. You realize that the top-of-the-line products are only as good as what they’re meant to be used for.

For daily gamers like you and I who mainly play video games in their natural habitat of 1080p, we can be more than happy with GPUs that do perform well but don’t cost one liver of a unicorn. With graphics cards like the RTX 3060 Ti and the RX 6700 XT, you’re getting the latest innovations at decent MSRPs.

We say let the artists, the developers, the renderers, and the 2% of gamers who game in 4k buy the 3090s and 6900 XTs. Because the truth is, the percent difference of price heavily outweighs the percent difference of gaming performance. You wouldn’t want to pay 50% or 70% more just for a mere 15-fps increase.

At the same time, you shouldn’t consider upgrading to previous-gen graphics cards, like the ones in Nvidia’s 20 series and AMD’s 5000 series. Mid-range GPUs of today, such as the RTX 3060 Ti, have shown a significant leap in performance that matches and even beats the high-end RTX 2080 Ti while costing $800 less.

The Best Graphics Cards for Gaming

GeForce RTX 3080

The Overall Best

MSRP: $699

Specs:

CUDA Cores: 8704

Base Clock: 1440 MHz

Boost Clock: 1710 MHz

Memory: 10GB GDDR6X

Memory Bandwidth: 760 GB/s

Total Display Power: 320 watts

Pros

  • Excellent performance in 1440p with max settings
  • Decent in 4k
  • Much better priced than the 3080 Ti and 3090

Cons

  • Needs a lot of power
  • Too much for 1080p displays
  • Has 6GB less memory than the RX 6800 XT

All things considered, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 is the best graphics card for gaming. If you want to upgrade from the previous gen directly to the RTX 3080 instead of going for the bang-for-the-buck option that is the RTX 3060 Ti, you truly deserve to buy yourself something worth $700 for having a big brain.

Starting with horsepower, the RTX 3080 beats the last batch of the 2080 GPUs by up to a groundbreaking 75%, which gets even more ridiculous since it’s a graphics card that costs $500 less.

On the other hand, we don’t recommend going for the RTX 3080 Ti as it costs $500 more while offering an uplift of only 3% to 14% from the RTX 3080. Surely that’s money you can spend on the best gaming chairs instead.

The range of functionality is another advantage of choosing the RTX 3080. Even when playing the biggest triple-A games in 4k displays, the RTX 3080 runs smoothly thanks to Nvidia’s new Ampere architecture that takes real-time ray tracing and DLSS capabilities to unprecedented new heights.

Upgrading to the RTX 3080 will give you the overall best dollar per value ratio. For $700, its performance is hot on the heels of the $1,500 RTX 3090, which is currently Nvidia’s fastest graphics card for gaming and productivity.

Adding the fact that it’s clearly ahead of the RTX 2080 Ti and the RTX 3070 in terms of raw FPS and streaming features, it becomes obvious why the RTX 3080 is the real flagship GPU for gaming.

Radeon RX 6800 XT

The Overall Best 2.0

MSRP: $649

Specs:

Stream Processors: 4608

Base Clock: 1825 MHz

Boost Clock: 2250 MHz

Memory: 16GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth: 512 GB/s

Total Display Power: 300 watts

Pros

  • Excellent performance in 1440p with max settings
  • Lots of memory
  • Slightly better than the RTX 3080 in traditional rendering

Cons

  • Image upscaling is inferior to Nvidia’s DLSS
  • Ray tracing needs improvement
  • Not a workstation stronghold

AMD’s RX 6800 XT is the immediate counterpart of Nvidia’s RTX 3080, and the debate about which one trumps the other is still the action movie everyone is waiting for. Being in the same price range, you might get the idea that the rivalry between these two cards can be simply chalked up to individual preference. But that’s only half the story.

There are certain fields where the RX 6800 XT takes the win while there are also some areas where the RTX 3080 comes on top. This causes dissent. For instance, the RX 6800 XT shows advantages in some titles, particularly AMD-featured ones like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Meanwhile, the RTX 3080 shows about a 13-15% average uplift on some games played in 4k due to its slightly better memory bandwidth and render output units (ROPs). This makes your decision to buy it for nearly 7% more than the MSRP of the RX 6800 XT worth it.

Though the RX 6800 XT takes another win when it comes to traditional rendering. It’s one of the best graphics cards for 1440p gaming, especially if you don’t think much of ray tracing as most Nvidia followers do. It also has 16GB memory compared to the RTX 3080’s 10GB.

In the end, the RX 6800 XT and the RTX 3080 can be both considered as the best graphics cards for gaming. Performance-wise, they show the same FPS in multiple games tested on multiple benchmarks.

If gaming in 4k is your priority, the RTX 3080 is the right card since it has DLSS features that will butter up those FPS for high-display gaming. If you’re a 1080p or 1440p player, the RX 6800 XT, with its better price and VRAM, can be the more reasonable choice.

GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Cheap Beast

MSRP: $399

Specs:

CUDA Cores: 4864

Base Clock: 1410 MHz

Boost Clock: 1665 MHz

Memory: 8GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s

Total Display Power: 200 watts

Pros

  • Way cheaper than Nvidia’s current kings but has much of their qualities
  • Great ray tracing at 1440p with DLSS
  • Perfect for 1080p gaming

Cons

  • Not exactly for 4k
  • 8GB memory could be a problem in the long run
  • Currently overpriced for a mid-range GPU

In December 2020, Nvidia launched the RTX 3060 Ti, following shortly the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 which came out in September and October. Like its pricey big brothers, the RTX 3060 Ti belongs to Nvidia’s Ampere collection, the newest architecture of GPU that takes a giant leap from the previous generation of graphics cards.

The RTX 3060 Ti boasts more than double the RTX 2060 Super’s CUDA cores and a 25-watt increase in rated power. Compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, the top dog of Nvidia’s 20 series that costs $1,200, this GPU offers about the same FPS and overall performance, which is why it’s one of the best graphics cards for gaming out there.

Though the difference between the RTX 3060 Ti’s Ampere architecture and the RTX 2080 Ti’s Turing architecture gets highlighted when traditional rasterizing and ray tracing become part of the conversation.

But what makes the RTX 3060 Ti so attractive is that it’s one of the best budget gaming graphics cards in the market. At an MSRP of $400, just $70 more than the RTX 3060, you’re getting a solid increase in FPS and Nvidia’s latest feature set that makes the 30 series ahead of the game.

Sure, the RTX 3060 Ti only has 8GB of memory where the RTX 3060 has 12GB, but the RTX 3060 performs nearly the same as the RTX 2080 Super. Why would you upgrade to a graphics card that runs the same FPS if you can upgrade to a one where there’s an evident improvement?

GeForce RTX 3090

Nvidia’s Fastest

MSRP:  $1,499

Specs:

CUDA Cores: 10496

Base Clock: 1395 MHz

Boost Clock: 1695 MHz

Memory: 24GB GDDR6X

Memory Bandwidth: 936 GB/s

Total Graphics Power: 350 watts

Pros

  • The fastest graphics card for gaming in the world
  • Excellent for creators, researchers, and rich gamers
  • A graphics card you can use for years

Cons

  • Extremely pricey
  • Overkill for 1080p and 1440p gaming
  • 8k application is currently irrelevant

In a world where everyone can afford whatever they want, the RTX 3090, a.k.a. “Big Ferocious GPU,” would easily be crowned as the best graphics card for gaming. And while it’s the best graphics card for gaming in this world, we’re not all noble people who can buy something as expensive as a piece of hardware with such a scary title.

Regardless, Nvidia’s RTX 3090 is the fastest graphics card for gaming right now—about 8-15% better than the RTX 3080 across all displays. This slight increase in performance, however, comes at an unreasonable price of a staggering 114% more than the RTX 3080.

This is why we don’t recommend buying the RTX 3090 strictly for gaming. The cost you’ll be paying for is significantly more than the additional benefits you’ll receive, at least assuming that you’re only going to use it for gaming.

We suggest instead that you reserve your money for other computer parts, perhaps for buying a new gaming keyboard. Feel free to check out the best gaming keyboards if that’s something you’re interested in.

Still, we won’t blame you if this is the graphics card you want. After all, it is a monster of a GPU that wins over all the contenders in AMD’s 6000 series and, to some extent, beats the RTX 3080. Its excessive features will live on to accommodate the innovations of the gaming industry in the future, which all good gaming graphics cards do.

Radeon RX 6900 XT

AMD’s Fastest

MSRP:  $999

Specs:

Stream Processors: 5120

Base Clock: 1825 MHz

Boost Clock: 2250 MHz

Memory: 16GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth: 512 GB/s

Total Graphics Power: 300 watts

Pros

  • Better rasterization performance
  • Cheaper than Nvidia’s RTX 3090
  • Great for 4k

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Overkill for 1080p and 1440p gaming
  • Productivity performance lags behind even the RTX 3080

The RX 6900 XT has the same RDNA 2 architecture, core clocks, memory, memory bandwidth, and graphics power that the RX 6800 XT has. In fact, if it wasn’t for the difference in compute units and recommended power supply, the two would have been identical twins and the $350 increase in price would have been nonsensical.

Are the added cores worth the added cost? In traditional rasterization, the RX 6900 XT beats the RTX 3090 by offering about the same FPS but costing $500 less, an amount of money you can definitely spend on good graphics cards for gaming laptops.

Playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider at high settings in 1080p with ray tracing turned off, the RX 6900 XT hits an average FPS of 171, about 2 FPS above the RTX 3090’s 169. A slight increase.

But the mood changes when you begin to consider real-time ray tracing, where the RX 6900 XT is eclipsed even by the RTX 3080, a graphics card that costs $300 less. Playing the Shadow of the Tomb Raider in the exact settings with ray tracing turned on, the RX 6900 XT averages 125 FPS, while the RTX 3080 averages 135.

When choosing the RX 6900 XT, it helps to know that rasterization is still the more accepted rendering technique than ray tracing. Still, we recommend buying the RX 6800 XT instead of the RX 6900 XT for the same reason we recommend buying the RTX 3080 over the RTX 3090: the increase in performance is virtually unnoticeable.

GeForce RTX 3070

RTX 2080 Ti Killer

MSRP:  $499

Specs:

CUDA Cores: 5888

Base Clock: 1500 MHz

Boost Clock: 1725 MHz

Memory: 8GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s

Total Graphics Power: 220 watts

Pros

  • Matches the RTX 2080 Ti’s performance at half the price
  • Only uses 20 watts more power than the RTX 3060 Ti
  • Ampere architecture

Cons

  • 8GB memory is the same as the RTX 3060 Ti
  • Can fall short in 4k
  • Currently overpriced

The RTX 3070 sits between the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3080, costing $100 more than the former and $200 less than the latter. And since we’ve already recommended buying those as they are Nvidia’s true flagship gaming cards for PC, it would be hard to add in the RTX 3070 without first making clear who should buy it.

So, who should buy the RTX 3070? Probably the same people that would pay a premium going from the RTX 3080 to the RTX 3090 but are a little more conservative about their money. The RTX 3070 is closely similar to the 3060 Ti except it has about 20% more core counts.

This small gain in core units translates into about a 10-15% increase in gaming performance, especially in 1080p and 1440p displays. As you’ll recall, the RTX 3090 shares the same slight advantage over the RTX 3080 but for a much higher premium since the RTX 3090 is leaning towards productivity rather than full gaming.

Upgrading from the previous gen to the RTX 3070 is an okay choice. Our only problem with paying a premium for a mild benefit is that there’s always one card to upgrade to. The RTX 3070 costs $100 more than the RTX 3060 Ti but so does the RTX 3070 Ti to the RTX 3070.

And from there, why not go for the RTX 3080, which is already labeled as one of the best graphics cards for gaming right now? The only excuse we’re willing to accept is urgency. If you really must buy one now in the middle of the shortage, then it doesn’t really matter what latest gaming graphics cards for PC you buy, does it?

Radeon RX 6700 XT

Mid-Range Alternative

MSRP:  $479

Specs:

Stream Processors: 2560

Base Clock: 2321 MHz

Boost Clock: 2581 MHz

Memory: 12GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth: 384 GB/s

Total Graphics Power: 230 watts

Pros

  • Decent in 1440p
  • Has 4GB more memory than the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070
  • RDNA 2 architecture

Cons

  • Underperforms in ray tracing
  • Image upscaling needs work
  • Currently overpriced for a mid-range GPU

AMD would love you to believe that the $480 RX 6700 XT is the counterpart of Nvidia’s $500 RTX 3070. And after putting the two side by side on a test bench, you’ll see that you’re getting about the same FPS for paying $20 less. But that test started on equal footing, which means the DLSS toggle is turned off.

Once turned on, the hierarchy shifts a little bit, with the RX 6700 XT getting pushed back to its proper rival, the RTX 3060 Ti, a graphics card that retails for $80 less. Using DLSS in 1440p, the 3060 Ti takes the lead by offering around 10-20 more FPS than the RX 6700 XT.

To give the RX 6700 XT some credit, it has 12GB VRAM compared to the 8GB that the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070 have. Paired with the best mouse for gamers and sitting on your gaming chair, this mid-range GPU will make you feel like a conqueror.

While you can argue that having a lot of memory is an excess that serves a minimal purpose for gaming, it’s still a good thing to have especially in preparation for the more demanding games in the near future.

Asking what graphics card is best between the RTX 3060 Ti, the RX 6700 XT, and the RTX 3070 can throw you into a loop. If you prefer a card that performs well in ray tracing and can artificially increase your FPS, we recommend going for RTX 3060 Ti. If you play games in 1080p max settings with no ray tracing, choose the RX 6700 XT.

Conclusion

Buying the best graphics card for gaming has never been harder than today. The crypto frenzy that has overtaken the world along with the influence of the pandemic has exhausted the earth’s supply of graphics cards, leaving demand unmet.

Prices have climbed unreasonable heights, and it seems there won’t be anything normal for a while. That being said, you might think this isn’t the right time to make a list of gaming graphics cards for PC.

You’re exactly right, which is why we recommend sticking with your current GPU for now. Good gaming graphics cards like the previous-gen GTX 1660 Super and Radeon RX 5600 XT can provide a great gaming experience even at high settings.

If you own a mid-range GPU and don’t have any problem with it except the nagging feeling that it’s outdated, stay with it. Rest assured that it’s more than enough for gaming even this year, especially in 1080p, the most famous resolution gamers use.

But if for some serious reason you have to buy one now despite the current market—perhaps your current GPU is toast and running flames per second—then we suggest buying Nvidia’s RTX 3080 or AMD’s RX 6800 XT.

While it’s going to hurt your bank account a lot, getting one of these GPUs at a scalper’s price will give you the best value per dollar ratio. As they’re both excellent in gaming at 1440p and 4k, you’ll be able to use them for playing new triple-A games in the future.

On top of that, the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT will give you strong workstation benefits, although the RTX 3080 performs better here since most creativity software that makes good use of the GPU is optimized for Nvidia.

Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2021 FAQ

Should I buy a graphics card in 2021?

We recommend not buying a graphics card at the moment since the prices have reached twice the MSRP, sometimes even thrice depending on the card. If you have a working GPU that only has a few problems, you should consider prolonging its life and upgrading later when prices have landed back on earth.

Which graphic card is best for gaming in 2021?

The RTX 3080 and the RX 6800 XT are the flagship GPUs for gaming in 2021. The RTX 3080 performs much better in ray tracing and features DLSS, an image upscaling technology that significantly boosts frame rate even when gaming at high settings in 4k.

On the other hand, the RX 6800 XT has a beefier VRAM than the RTX 3080 while costing $50 less in MSRP. AMD’s image upscaling technology, called FSR, is far from being on the same level as Nvidia’s DLSS though.

Is GTX 1650 good for gaming in 2021?

The GTX 1650 is a decent graphics card even by today’s standards. It has the feature set of Nvidia’s Turing architecture and can run most triple-A games at more than 60 FPS in 1080p.

What is the most powerful graphics card in the world in 2021?

The most powerful GPU in the world is the Nvidia Titan V. Built for scientists, particularly AI researchers, it features the innovations of Nvidia’s Volta architecture: over 21 billion transistors, 125 teraflops per second, and 640 Tensor Cores for the ultimate crunching of deep learning and other AI-related algorithms.

What is the most expensive graphics card in the world in 2021?

The most expensive GPU you can buy is the $3000 Nvidia Titan V, which also happens to be the most powerful GPU in the world. While it can work magic for playing video games, it’s meant for AI researchers who need powerful hardware for the most demanding supercomputing tasks.

Move to Top
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site