Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2022

Here are the best graphics cards for gaming, from high-end to budget solutions.

The best graphics cards are the beating heart of any gaming PC, and everything else comes second. Without a powerful GPU pushing pixels, even the fastest CPU won’t manage much. While no one graphics card will be right for everyone, we’ll provide options for every budget and mindset below. Whether you’re after the fastest graphics card, the best value, or the best card at a given price, we’ve got you covered.

Where our GPU benchmarks hierarchy ranks all of the cards based purely on performance, our list of the best graphics cards looks at the whole package. Price, availability, performance, features, and efficiency are all important, though the weighting becomes more subjective.

The best news right now is that the long, dark night of GPU shortages and horrible prices is coming to an end. Cryptocurrency mining profitability took a nosedive, and graphics card prices dropped another 6% on average last month. All of the major GPUs are now in stock at online stores, and most can be found at or below the official MSRPs.

Intel’s Arc A380 has finally arrived, along with Nvidia’s GTX 1630 and AMD’s RX 6400— not that any of those make our list, but you can see the performance results in the charts at the bottom. Those are some of the least expensive new GPUs, but a small bump in price generally gets you a much better card. Meanwhile, the latest Nvidia Ada rumors suggest a late Q3 or early Q4 launch, and we expect to hear more about the architecture on September 27. AMD’s RDNA 3 should also arrive before the end of the year, probably in November or December.

Our list consists almost entirely of current generation cards, with the sole exception being the GTX 1660 Super. That’s nearly as fast as the RTX 3050, and while it lacks ray tracing hardware, the current price of $210 at Amazon(opens in new tab) makes up for that.

We sorted the above table in order of performance, considering both regular and DXR performance, which is why the RTX 3090 Ti sits above the RX 6950 XT, and the RTX 3080 is above the RX 6800 XT. Our subjective rankings below also factor in price, power, and features colored by our own opinions. Others may offer a slightly different take, but all of the cards on this list are worthy of your consideration.

Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2022

1. GeForce RTX 3080

Best Graphics Card Overall, for 4K and More


GPU: Ampere GA102

GPU Cores: 8704

Boost Clock: 1,710 MHz

Video RAM: 10GB GDDR6X 19 Gbps

TBP: 320 watts


Excellent performance

Good bang for the buck

Can do 4K ultra at 60 fps or more


Prices remain above MSRP

Requires 320W or more power

Overkill for 1080p displays

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 with the current Nvidia Ampere architecture continues to occupy our top recommendation. However, we want to be clear that this now applies to all RTX 3080 cards, including the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3080 12GB — depending on current prices. Right now, the best deals we can find are $740 for the 10GB card, $760 for the 12GB model, or $800 for the 3080 Ti.

If you’re serious about maxing out all the graphics settings and you want to play at 4K or 1440p, this is the card to get. It’s more than you’ll generally need for 1080p gaming, unless you’re running the latest ray tracing games, in which case DLSS support should also help performance. DLSS also works without ray tracing, and is currently available in over 200 games, so it’s definitely a feature that’s worth a bit extra.

AMD offers the universal FSR 2.0 as an alternative to DLSS, but it’s not in nearly as many games. Intel’s XeSS meanwhile sounds a lot like DLSS, only for Intel GPUs, which we’re still waiting on outside of the entry-level Arc A380.

The one major concern with buying an RTX 3080-series card right now is the looming presence of Nvidia’s next-generation RTX 40-series GPUs. We’ve seen a bunch of leaks and reported specs now, and we expect Nvidia’s CEO will tell us more during his September 27 GTC keynote. If history is any indication, the top RTX 40-series GPUs could launch a week or two later. That makes the prospect of spending $700 or more on a soon-to-be-previous generation GPU a questionable move.

2. Radeon RX 6800 XT

Best AMD GPU, Forget About DLSS


GPU: Navi 21 XT

GPU Cores: 4608

Boost Clock: 2,250 MHz

Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TBP: 300 watts


RDNA2 architecture provides excellent performance

Easily handles 4K and 1440p

Lots of VRAM for the future


FSR 2.0 needs wider adoption

Weaker ray tracing performance

Still overpriced

AMD’s Navi 21 GPUs like the Radeon RX 6800 XT represent the best cards for Team Red. The RX 6800 XT provides a massive boost in performance and features relative to the previous generation RX 5700 XT, as well as adding ray tracing support (via DirectX Raytracing or VulkanRT) thanks to the RDNA 2 architecture. At current prices, which have dropped quite a bit in the past few months, the RX Radeon 6900 XT and RX 6800 are also worth a look. The 6900 XT for example now costs 17% more for about 5% higher performance, while the RX 6800 drops performance by 7% and also costs 7% less.

The Navi 21 GPU was affectionately dubbed ‘Big Navi’ prior to launch by the enthusiast community, and we got exactly what we wanted. It’s over twice the size of the previous generation Navi 10, with twice the shader cores and twice the RAM. Clock speeds are also boosted into the 2.1-2.4 GHz range (depending on the card model), and AMD did all this without substantially increasing power requirements: The RX 6800 XT has a 300W TBP, slightly lower than the RTX 3080’s 320W TBP.

A big part of AMD’s performance comes thanks to the massive 128MB Infinity Cache. It improves the effective bandwidth by 119%, according to AMD. Few if any games need more than 16GB, so the 6800 XT is in a great position in that area.

What’s not to like? The ray tracing performance is mediocre, due to AMD’s lack of hardware BVH traversal (it uses GPU shaders for that). There’s also no Tensor cores or DLSS, though FSR 2.0 at least partially makes up for that. As with Nvidia’s top GPUs, the biggest concern is the upcoming RDNA 3. If you don’t already have one of AMD’s top GPUs, waiting for the RX 7000-series to arrive (before the end of the year) makes more sense than plunking down $600 or more on a GPU from two years ago.

3. GeForce RTX 3090 Ti

Fastest Graphics Card, Great for Creators


GPU: Ampere GA102

GPU Cores: 10752

Boost Clock: 1,860 MHz

Video RAM: 24GB GDDR6X 21 Gbps

TBP: 450 watts


The fastest GPU, period

4K and maybe even 8K gaming

24GB is great for content creation workloads

DLSS continues to see good adoption rates


Over twice the cost of the 3080 for 20–30% more performance

Extreme power requirements

Titan price without Titan enhancements

Nvidia’s Ada architecture is coming

For some, the best graphics card is the fastest card, pricing be damned! Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Ti caters to this category of user. At more than double the official starting price of the RTX 3080, performance is only moderately better (20-30%) in most workloads. It’s also only 5–10% faster than the previous RTX 3090, with an even higher MSRP. But online prices are plummeting from the official MSRP, and the RTX 3090 Ti can now be found for as little as $1,100(opens in new tab).

That’s because even though the RTX 3090 Ti currently reigns as Nvidia’s top GPU, the next generation Nvidia Ada Lovelace GPUs aren’t too far away and Nvidia and its partners are busy trying to clear out “old” RTX 30-series inventory. If you simply must have the fastest graphics card available, especially for 4K gaming, the RTX 3090 Ti fits the bill… until October most likely, at which point there will be a new king of the hill.

The RTX 3090 Ti has uses outside of gaming, and NVLink support means you can pair two cards for professional apps and GPU compute workloads. The 24GB of GDDR6X memory is also helpful in a variety of content creation applications. Blender for example frequently showed 35% higher performance compared to the 3080, and over twice the performance of the Titan RTX. Just watch out for lower than expected performance in some of the SPECviewperf apps, where the Titan RTX has additional features turned on in its drivers that aren’t enabled for GeForce cards. (You’ll need the even more expensive Nvidia RTX A6000 for the full professional driver suite.)

AMD’s RX 6950 XT challenges the RTX 3090 Ti in traditional rasterization performance and wins in a few SPECviewperf tests. But if you want the absolute fastest graphics card right now, Nvidia wins, especially if you run games with ray tracing and DLSS enabled. Just be warned that Nvidia’s next-generation RTX 4090 might soon make the 3090 Ti look like lukewarm gravy.

4. Radeon RX 6700 XT

Excellent Performance at a Reasonable Price


GPU: Navi 22

GPU Cores: 2560

Boost Clock: 2581 MHz

Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TBP: 230 watts


Great 1080p and 1440p performance

Plenty of VRAM

Excelling price to performance ratio


Weaker RT performance

FSR can’t defeat DLSS

Incoming RDNA2 refresh

Start with the Navi 21 GPU and then cut down the various functional units to create a smaller die that can sell at lower prices and you have AMD’s Navi 22 and the RX 6700 XT. The RX 6750 XT is basically the same GPU, with a slight boost to clock speeds, memory speeds, and power consumption — about 5% faster overall, but with a 12% price hike.

The 6700 XT has the same number of GPU cores as the previous generation RX 5700 XT, but significantly higher clock speeds and more cache give it about a 25% boost to performance (at higher settings and resolutions, at least). During testing, the RX 6700 XT hit clock speeds in excess of 2.5GHz while gaming — and that’s at stock, on the reference card. Factory overclocked models can push that closer to 2.7GHz, still without cooking the GPU.

In our performance testing, the RX 6700 XT traded blows with the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti. It’s a bit faster than the latter, and a bit slower than the former, but the going price of around $420 lands below both of those. Still, if we include pretty much any games with DLSS or ray tracing, the 6700 XT comes in behind the 3060 Ti and almost looks like a 3060 competitor.

This card has moved up in our overall rankings thanks to its excellent online prices. It’s currently available at prices starting just below the official MSRP. Keep an eye on the newer RX 6750 XT as well, as it could end up being a better option if prices continue to drop. We don’t expect a mainstream RX 7000 replacement until 2023 either, though we could be wrong about that.

5. GeForce RTX 3060

Great Bang for the Buck Without Breaking the Bank


GPU: Ampere GA106

GPU Cores: 3840

Boost Clock: 1,777 MHz

Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 15 Gbps

TBP: 170 watts


Good 1080p/1440p performance

Plenty of VRAM for the future

Great value now


Tied with the old RTX 2070

12GB of limited benefit

Only 192-bit bus

As we approach the lowest end of the price and performance ladder with Nvidia’s desktop Ampere lineup, the cuts to processing power become more significant. The RTX 3060 uses Nvidia’s GA106 GPU, with a 192-bit memory interface and 12GB VRAM. That’s quite a bit better than the RTX 3050 but still a big step down from the GA104 chip used in RTX 3060 Ti, which has 36% more GPU cores.

Overall performance is similar to the RTX 2070, so two and a half years later, you can now match a $500 graphics card with a $330 alternative. Except, the RTX 3060 still tends to sell for closer to $400. At least the RTX 3060 delivers a great overall value, factoring in ray tracing and DLSS performance.

VRAM capacity isn’t a problem, and there are a few instances where the 3060 starts to close the gap with the 3060 Ti. It never quite gets there, however, and the 3060 Ti may be the better choice if you can find one at a reasonable price. At present, it’s an $80 jump to the 3060 Ti, making this or one of AMD’s offerings a better value.

Discounting ray tracing and DLSS, in our testing the RTX 3060 ends up being roughly the same performance as AMD’s RX 5700 XT, 18 months later. That’s not going to set the world on fire, but then that’s typical of mainstream parts. With DXR and DLSS, however, the 3060 can even trade blows with AMD’s RX 6800. We’ll likely see an RTX 4060 “replacement” some time in 2023.

6. Radeon RX 6650 XT

Good Mainstream Performance, Weak RT


GPU: Navi 23

GPU Cores: 2048

Boost Clock: 2,635MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 18 Gbps

TBP: 180 watts


Faster than 3060 and RX 5700 XT

Power efficient design

Good 1080p performance

Available below MSRP


Only 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit bus

Poor ray tracing performance

Expensive for 1080p

AMD’s answer to the RTX 3060 comes via the Navi 23 architecture. Normally, we’d expect a 32 CU variant of Navi 22, dubbed the RX 6700 non-XT, but AMD trimmed CU counts, memory interface width, and Infinity Cache sizes to get a smaller and less expensive chip that still performs well. (Note that the Radeon RX 6700 now exists, with 10GB of VRAM, though it costs quite a bit more.)

Performance ends up slightly above the previous gen RX 5700 XT, which is impressive considering the memory bus has been cut in half to just 128 bits. There’s understandable concern with the 8GB of VRAM, however, and there are certainly cases where the RTX 3060 ends up as the better choice. Still, it’s surprising how much even a 32MB Infinity Cache seems to boost performance, when you look at the memory bandwidth. This is basically a chip that’s smaller than Navi 10, built on the same TSMC N7 node, and it delivers 10–15% better framerates at 1080p.

There are instances where it struggles, however, ray tracing being a big one. Several games that we tested with DXR (DirectX Raytracing) support couldn’t even do 20 fps at 1080p. Nvidia’s RTX 3060 was about twice as fast, without using DLSS, and typically got an additional 40% faster with DLSS Quality mode. FSR doesn’t really fix that, either, since it provides a similar boost in performance to both AMD and Nvidia — and even Intel — GPUs. After delivering impressive amounts of VRAM on the other Big Navi chips, the the RX 6650 XT and RX 6600 XT feel like a letdown.

That’s reflected in current online pricing, which has helped turn things around a bit. The RX 6600 XT has a $379 MSRP and the RX 6650 XT bumped that to $399, but both are available starting at $300. AMD isn’t due to replace its current midrange offerings until some time later in 2023.

7. GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Good for 1440p Gaming


GPU: Ampere GA104

GPU Cores: 4864

Boost Clock: 1,665 MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TBP: 200 watts


Beats the 2080 Super for $300 less

Good overall value (fps/$)

Great for RT at 1440p with DLSS


Still overpriced at present

4K is a a stretch even with DLSS

8GB might not be enough VRAM long term

When we tested the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, we felt it might be the best of the bunch for Nvidia’s Ampere GPUs. It has all the same features as the other 30-series GPUs, with a starting price of just $399. In theory, of course, as it naturally sold out just as quickly as all the other new graphics cards. Thing have improved, however, and the lowest price we can find right now is down to around $405 — still more than MSRP, but getting closer. <Sigh>

The 3060 Ti beat the previous gen 2080 Super in our testing, winning in every game we ran. It was also only about 9 percent slower than the RTX 3070 but costs 20 percent less. If you’re still sitting on an older GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56, the 3060 Ti is up to twice as fast — sometimes even more, in the latest games.

The only real concern is the lack of VRAM. 8GB is mostly enough, for now, but some games are starting to push beyond that threshold. Of course you can drop the texture quality a notch, and you might not even notice the difference, but deep down inside you’ll feel regret. (Not really — high settings often look indistinguishable from ultra settings.)

AMD’s RX 6650 XT and RX 6600 XT give the 3060 Ti some stiff competition. Nvidia’s part is still faster, particularly in ray tracing games, but the RX 6650 XT currently sells for about $150 less than the 3060 Ti.

8. Radeon RX 6600

Best Overall Value


GPU: Navi 23

GPU Cores: 1792

Boost Clock: 2,491 MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TBP: 132 watts


Power efficient

Runs 1080p max settings and 60fps

Typically costs less than MSRP


Not good for ray tracing

Can’t match the RTX 3060


The Radeon RX 6600 takes everything good about the 6600 XT and then scales it back slightly. It’s about 15% slower overall, just a bit behind the RTX 3060 as well, but in our testing it was still 30% faster than the RTX 3050. It’s also priced to move, with the least expensive cards starting at just $250 — like this XFX RX 6600 card at Amazon(opens in new tab).

That’s a lot less than AMD’s official $329 MSRP, which felt somewhat high at launch — not that we ever saw those prices in meaningful quantities until recent months. But with cards shipping well below MSRP, this represents the market’s best overall bang for the buck.

Midrange graphics cards are a competitive arena, and the RX 6600 goes up against both the RTX 3050 as well as previous generation RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series GPUs. It ended up delivering near-RTX 2070 performance in our testing, at least in non-ray tracing scenarios. With ray tracing enabled, however, it struggled badly, barely averaging 30 fps in our DXR test suite at 1080p medium and trailing Nvidia’s RTX 2060 by 20%.

If you’re not worried about ray tracing, the RX 6600 definitely warrants a look. AMD’s Infinity Cache does wonders for what otherwise looks like a somewhat underpowered GPU, and the card only needs about 130W, far less than competing GPUs.

9. Radeon RX 6950 XT

AMD’s Fastest GPU, Still Expensive


GPU: Navi 21 XTX

GPU Cores: 5120

Boost Clock: 2310 MHz

Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 18 Gbps

TBP: 335 watts


Excellent overall performance

Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache

Fastest in non-RT workloads

Good SPECviewperf results


High starting MSRP

Slower than Nvidia in RT performance

RDNA 3 coming later this year

The RX 6950 XT currently represents the ultimate performance from the RDNA2 architecture, surpassing the old RX 6900 XT by about 9% on average. AMD set the MSRP at a rather high $1,099 at launch, but we’re already seeing cards selling well below that mark. The RX 6950 and 6900 XT are basically the same GPU, but with faster 18Gbps GDDR6 on the 6950 along with a higher power limit and slightly higher GPU clocks.

The RX 6950 XT boasts slightly more GPU cores than the RX 6800 XT, and combined with the difference in clock speeds the 6950 XT is about 15% faster overall. However, the 6950 XT costs about 50% more, while the 6900 XT goes for about $200 less, so opting for AMD’s penultimate GPU over the top card isn’t a terrible idea.

In terms of standard gaming performance, the RX 6950 XT ranks as the fastest GPU around for 1080p and 1440p gaming, but it falls behind at 4K. The usual caveats about lower ray tracing performance and the lack of DLSS support apply as well, and while FSR 2.0 looks good, it’s not widely supported by games yet. If you want the best DXR/RT experience right now, Nvidia still wins — not that you need ray tracing to enjoy games.

Those who just want the fastest AMD GPU may find something to like with the 6950 XT. It’s not a revolution compared to the existing RX 6900 XT, but we didn’t expect it to be. The bigger concern is the upcoming RDNA 3 GPU launch, which should happen before the end of 2022. AMD says it will deliver a 50% improvement in performance per watt, though we’ll have to wait and see what that means in real-world gaming. Waiting a few more months to see how things turn out makes a lot more sense than upgrading to the 6950 XT at this late stage in the RDNA 2 life cycle.

10. GeForce RTX 3050

Good 1080p Graphics With DXR and DLSS


GPU: Ampere GA106

GPU Cores: 2560

Boost Clock: 1,777 MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TBP: 130 watts


Cheapest RTX GPU so far

Full RTX and DLSS feature set

Still provides 8GB VRAM


Slower than the RTX 2060

Also loses to RX 6600

Online prices still inflated

Nvidia tried to create a “budget” RTX 30-series card with its GeForce RTX 3050, though the $250 recommended price still puts it firmly in the mainstream category. It’s also selling at $300 or more right now, which is better than the launch prices but not as low as we’d like to see, considering it ended up being 7% slower than the previous generation RTX 2060 in our testing.

In general, we’d rather pay for an RTX card than plunk down a similar amount of cash for a GeForce GTX 1660 Super(opens in new tab) or RX 5500 XT 8GB(opens in new tab), though the former is now back in stock and going for closer to $200 (see below for our next pick).

In our testing, the RTX 3050 was about 15% faster than a GTX 1660 Super, plus it can legitimately run ray tracing games and it also supports DLSS. That’s more than we can say for AMD’s RX 6500 XT, which probably should have skipped RT support in exchange for more VRAM and bandwidth. On the other hand, AMD’s RX 6600 (above) was 30% faster in standard games and only 13% slower in DXR games, while costing $25 less than the cheapest 3050 we can find right now.

The biggest problem is that $300 or more is still a lot to pay for mainstream levels of performance, and we should hopefully see prices drop down to MSRP in the coming months. For now, AMD offers a better option for those that don’t care about ray tracing and DLSS, so this is strictly for people that prefer to stick with Nvidia, even if the performance on tap isn’t that compelling.

11. GeForce GTX 1660 Super

Still Fast, if you don’t care about DXR and DLSS


GPU: Turing TU116

GPU Cores: 1408

Boost Clock: 1,785 MHz

Video RAM: 6GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TBP: 125 watts


In stock at a decent price

6GB VRAM is better than 4GB

Handles 1080p gaming fine


No ray tracing or DLSS

Not much cheaper than RX 6600

Inventory may dry up

Getting down to a price point of $200 requires making some compromises, which in this case means dropping ray tracing and DLSS and opting for Nvidia’s previous generation GTX 1660 Super. This is still a great card, however, and for just $20 more than the current going price on the GTX 1650 Super, you get a 30% boost to performance. It’s also much faster than the “budget-friendly” RX 6500 XT and similar cards, and it has 6GB of memory.

If you can spend a bit more, moving up to the RTX 2060 for $230(opens in new tab) makes sense. But once you start down that road, there’s the RX 6600, RX 6650 XT, etc. At some point you have to draw a line and not go higher, and this is about as low as you can go on pricing without tanking performance.

The GTX 1660 Super beats up on the RX 6500 XT, wining by over 30% in our 1080p testing. Even if RX 6500 XT can technically run DXR games, it’s so slow that it’s hardly worth the effort. Nvidia’s NVENC hardware also allows for live streaming and encoding your gameplay, which is another feature missing from AMD’s Navi 24 hardware.

Our biggest concern is long-term availability. The GTX 1660 Super was out of stock, along with everything else, for most of the past two years. Other GPUs came back before TU116 supply apparently improved, probably due to the drop in cryptocurrency mining profitability. Still, we could see GTX 16-series GPUs disappear completely in the coming months.

12. Radeon RX 6500 XT

Budget Gaming for Under $200


GPU: Navi 24

GPU Cores: 1024

Boost Clock: 2,815 MHz

Video RAM: 4GB GDDR6 18 Gbps

TBP: 107 watts


Handles 1080p medium

Actually affordable

Current generation architecture


4GB VRAM is limiting

Only two video ports

x4 PCIe link

Still needs a 6-pin power connector

Terrible RT performance

No video encoding hardware

The budget realm of GPUs often ends up going to older hardware, but the Radeon RX 6500 XT at least uses AMD’s RDNA 2 GPU. Except, the Navi 24 chips really got cut down on the chopping block, with only a 64-bit memory interface, 16MB Infinity Cache, an x4 PCIe link, no video encoding support, and only two display outputs. That’s a lot of potentially interesting features that got hacked off.

Still, if price is your driving concern, the RX 6500 XT starts at $176 on Amazon(opens in new tab), which makes it less expensive than most other options. We’d encourage most gamers to try saving up for one of the above GPUs like the RX 6600, but for under $200 your only other choices are cards like the GTX 1650 Super(opens in new tab), GTX 1650(opens in new tab), or Intel Arc A380(opens in new tab) — pick your poison.

The RX 6500 XT mostly wins our sub-$200 budget recommendation by default. We’d much rather have a GTX 1660-series card, RTX 2060, or even the previous generation RX 5500 XT 8GB, but those all cost more than $200 — unless you shop on eBay, but buying a used graphics card represents a risk, with many miners likely offloading cards that have been used hard for the past two years.

How We Test the Best Graphics Cards

Determining pure graphics card performance is best done by eliminating all other bottlenecks — as much as possible, at least. Our 2022 graphics card testbed consists of a Core i9-12900K CPU, MSI Z690 DDR4 motherboard, 32GB Corsair DDR4-3600 CL16 memory, and Crucial P5 Plus 2TB SSD, with a Cooler Master PSU, case, and CPU cooler.

We test across the three most common gaming resolutions, 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, using ‘medium’ and ‘ultra’ settings. Where possible, we use ‘reference’ cards for all of these tests, like Nvidia’s Founders Edition models and AMD’s reference designs. Most midrange and lower GPUs do not have reference models, however, and in some cases we only have factory overclocked cards for testing. We do our best to select cards that are close to the reference specs in such cases.

For each graphics card, we follow the same testing procedure. We run one pass of each benchmark to “warm up” the GPU after launching the game, then run at least two passes at each setting/resolution combination. If the two runs are basically identical (within 0.5% or less difference), we use the faster of the two runs. If there’s more than a small difference, we run the test at least twice more to determine what “normal” performance is supposed to be.

We also look at all the data and check for anomalies, so for example RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti all generally going to perform within a narrow range — 3070 Ti is about 5% faster than 3070, which is about 5% faster than 3060 Ti. If we see games where there are clear outliers (i.e. performance is more than 10% higher for the cards just mentioned), we’ll go back and retest whatever cards are showing the anomaly and figure out what the “correct” result would be.

Due to the length of time required for testing each GPU, updated drivers and game patches inevitably come out that can impact performance. We periodically retest a few sample cards to verify our results are still valid, and if not, we go through and retest the affected game(s) and GPU(s). We may also add games to our test suite over the coming year, if one comes out that is popular and conducive to testing

Choosing Among the Best Graphics Cards

We’ve provided a dozen options for the best graphics cards, recognizing that there’s plenty of potential overlap. The latest generation GPUs consist of Nvidia’s Ampere architecture cards and AMD’s RDNA2 architecture offerings, and the Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs should arrive in the next couple of months. Conveniently, Arc Alchemist, RDNA2, and Ampere all support the same general features (DirectX 12 Ultimate and ray tracing), though Arc and RTX cards also have additional tensor core hardware.

We’ve listed the best graphics cards that are available right now, along with their current online prices, which we track in our GPU prices guide. With many cards now only costing 25% more than MSRP, plenty of people seem ready to upgrade, and supply also looks to be improving. Whether that will continue until the next-gen GPUs arrive remains to be seen.

Our advice: Don’t pay more today for yesterday’s hardware. If you want an RTX 30-series or RX 6000-series graphics card, be patient and you’ll eventually be able to buy one at close to the official MSRP. At this point, you might just give Ampere and RDNA2 a pass and wait for Ada and RDNA3.

If your main goal is gaming, you can’t forget about the CPU. Getting the best possible gaming GPU won’t help you much if your CPU is underpowered and/or out of date. So be sure to check out the Best CPUs for Gaming page, as well as our CPU Benchmark hierarchy to make sure you have the right CPU for the level of gaming you’re looking to achieve.

Our current recommendations reflect the changing GPU market, factoring in all of the above details. The GPUs are ordered using subjective rankings, taking into account performance, price, features, and efficiency, so slightly slower cards may end up higher on our list.

Additional Shopping Tips

When buying a graphics card, consider the following:

• Resolution: The more pixels you’re pushing, the more performance you need. You don’t need a top-of-the-line GPU to game at 1080p.
• PSU: Make sure that your power supply has enough juice and the right 6- and/or 8-pin connector(s). For example, Nvidia recommends a 550-watt PSU for the RTX 3060, and you’ll need at least an 8-pin connector and possibly a 6-pin PEG connector as well.
• Video Memory: A 4GB card is the minimum right now, 6GB models are better, and 8GB or more is strongly recommended. A few games can now use 12GB of VRAM, though they’re the exception rather than the rule.
• FreeSync or G-Sync? Either variable refresh rate technology will synchronize your GPU’s frame rate with your screen’s refresh rate. Nvidia supports G-Sync and G-Sync Compatible displays (for recommendations, see our Best Gaming Monitors list), while AMD’s FreeSync tech works with Radeon cards.
• Ray TracingDLSS, and FSR: The latest graphics cards support ray tracing, which can be used to enhance the visuals. DLSS provides intelligent upscaling and anti-aliasing to boost performance with similar image quality, but it’s only on Nvidia RTX cards. AMD’s FSR works on virtually any GPU and also provides upscaling and enhancement, but on a different subset of games.



  1. […] Here are the results of our analysis and testing. In the following sections, we’ll go over the in-depth details of how we came to our conclusions for each category.AMD’s relentless onslaught with its Zen-based processors has redefined our expectations for both the mainstream desktop and the HEDT markets, originally catching Intel flatfooted as it remained mired on the 14nm process and Skylake architectures. The past several years have seen AMD CPUs go from value-focused and power hungry chips to leading-end designs that deliver more cores, more performance, and lower power requirements.Intel fought back by slowly adding features and cores across its product stack, but that also resulted in negative side effects, like more power consumption and heat generation. That only served to highlight the company’s struggles on the design and fabrication side of its operation.The AMD vs Intel CPU conversation has changed entirely, though, as Intel has now undercut AMD’s price-to-performance ratio entirely with the Alder Lake chips. Additionally, Alder Lake comes with the most disruptive change to Intel’s CPU overall SoC design methodology, not to mention core architectures, that we’ve seen in a decade. They also come with the new ‘Intel 7’ process that has proven to be exceptionally competitive, particularly against AMD’s superior process node that comes from TSMC. That shifted our rankings from a 7-to-4 advantage for AMD to a 7-to-5 advantage in Intel’s favor.Intel even moved forward to PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 technologies, leaving AMD’s PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 support looking rather dated. DDR5 does add significant cost to motherboards, but Alder Lake also supports DDR4 memory. However, Intel still hasn’t eased its draconian segmentation policies that limit features, like overclockability, to pricey chips and motherboards.Intel’s Alder Lake also holds the crown on overclockability. If you spend the cash on a Z690 motherboard, you’ll attain far more overclocking headroom than you’ll get with the Ryzen 5000 chips.AMD’s current mix of price, performance, and value, recently resulted in deep price cuts to its flagship Ryzen 5000 processors. AMD isn’t taking the challenge lying down, though, as it recently released its Ryzen 7 5800X3D, a new CPU with 3D V-Cache. This chip takes the overall leadership spot for gaming courtesy of an incredible 96MB of L3 cache bolted onto the souped-up specialized processor that delivers up to 15% more gaming performance on average. However, it still features the Zen 3 architecture, so it lags Intel’s processors in more general desktop PC application performance.Despite AMD’s recent refresh, Intel wins the CPU war overall right now. An AMD processor could still be the better choice depending on your needs, like if you prize the lowest power consumption or less-expensive motherboards. For now, if you want the best in gaming or application performance, overclocking or software support, or if you want productivity performance without buying a discrete GPU (see our best graphics cards). […]

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