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. Factoring in all of those aspects, these are the best graphics cards that are currently available.
The long, dark night of GPU shortages and horrible prices is coming to an end… sort of. The recently launched GeForce RTX 4090 unfortunately sold out immediately, and we’ve seen scalpers and profiteers offering cards at significantly higher prices. The same happened with the GeForce RTX 4080, though prices are quickly approaching MSRP. Now the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT are following suit after selling out almost immediately.
We’ll need to see what happens in the next month or two, because brand-new top tier cards almost always sell out at launch. But with cryptocurrency GPU mining profitability in the toilet (nearly every GPU would cost more in electricity than you could possibly make from any current coin), and signs that graphics card prices were coming down, we hoped to see better prices than we’re now finding. There was also talk of an excess of supply for now-previous-gen cards, though either that’s dried up or demand has gone back up. Most major GPUs are in stock, but while AMD’s prices are below MSRP and have stayed mostly flat since Black Friday, Nvidia GPUs seem to be trending back up.
Besides the new AMD and Nvidia cards, we also tested and reviewed the Intel Arc A770 and Intel Arc A750, two newcomers that target the midrange value sector and deliver impressive features and performance — assuming you don’t happen to run a game where the drivers hold Arc back. We’ve added the A770 16GB model to our list, along with the A380 as a budget pick. AMD’s RX 7900 XTX has also supplanted the RX 6950 XT as the top pick for a high-performance AMD card.
Note: We’re showing current online prices alongside the official launch MSRPs in the above table, though the “value” column uses the retail price.
Our list consists almost entirely of current generation cards — or “previous” generation now that the RTX 4090/4080 and RX 6900 cards have arrived. There’s one exception with the RTX 2060. That’s slightly faster than the newer RTX 3050, and while it ‘only’ has 6GB VRAM, the current price makes up for that. Unfortunately, prices have trended upward over the past month or two, possibly due to the holiday shopping fervor.
We sorted the above table in order of performance, considering both regular and DXR performance, which is why the RTX 4090 sits at the top. We also factor in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K performance for our standard benchmarks, though it’s worth noting that the 4090 can’t really flex its muscle until at least 1440p. Our subjective rankings below 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
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For some, the best graphics card is the fastest card, pricing be damned. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 caters to precisely this category of user. It’s also the debut of Nvidia’s brand-new Ada Lovelace architecture, and as such will represent the most potent card Nvidia has to offer… at least until the inevitable RTX 4090 Ti shows up.
If you were disappointed that the RTX 3090 Ti was only moderately faster (~30%) than an RTX 3080 in most workloads, RTX 4090 will have something more to offer. Across our standard suite of gaming benchmarks, it was 55% faster than the 3090 Ti on average. Fire up a game with heavy ray tracing effects, and that lead grows to 78%! AMD’s new RX 7900 XTX can’t touch it either, as the 4090 is 25% faster in traditional rasterization games and just over double the performance in ray tracing games.
Let’s be clear about something: You really need a high refresh rate 4K monitor to get the most out of the RTX 4090. At 1440p its advantage over a 3090 Ti shrinks to 30%, and only 16% at 1080p. It’s also just 7% faster than AMD’s 6950 XT at 1080p ultra and actually trails it slightly at 1080p medium, though it’s still more than double the performance at 1080p in demanding ray tracing games.
It’s not just gaming performance, either. In professional content creation workloads like Blender, Octane, and V-Ray, the RTX 4090 is about 80% faster than the RTX 3090 Ti. With Blender, it’s over three times faster than the RX 7900 XTX. And don’t even get us started on artificial intelligence tasks. In Stable Diffusion testing (opens in new tab), besides being difficult to even get things running on AMD GPUs (we had to resort to Linux), the RTX 4090 was eight times faster than the RX 6950 XT — and there are numerous other AI workloads that currently only run on Nvidia GPUs. In other words, Nvidia knows a thing or two about professional applications, and the only potential problem is that it locks improved performance in some apps (like those in SPECviewperf) to its true professional cards, i.e. the RTX 6000 48GB.
AMD’s RDNA 3 response to Ada Lovelace might be a better value, at least if you’re only looking at rasterization games, but for raw performance the RTX 4090 reigns as the current champion. You might also want a CPU and power supply upgrade to get the most out of the 4090. And there’s still the matter of finding RTX 4090 cards in stock — they sold out almost immediately at launch, and scalpers (and companies following their example) have pushed prices well above $2,000 for the time being. Hopefully prices come down quickly this round, but it’s been two months since launch and that hasn’t happened yet.
The Red Team King is dead; long live the Red Team King! AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XTX has supplanted the previous generation RX 6950 XT at the top of the charts, with a price bump to match. Ostensibly priced at $999, it sold out almost immediately, and now we’ll need to wait for supply to catch up to demand. Still, there’s good reason for the demand, as the 7900 XTX comes packing AMD’s latest RDNA 3 architecture.
That gives the 7900 XTX a lot more potential compute, and you get 33% more memory as well. Compared to the 6950 XT, on average the new GPU is 32% faster in our rasterization test suite and 42% faster in ray tracing games. And it delivers that performance boost without dramatically increasing power use or graphics card size. The second string RX 7900 XT falls behind by 15% as well, so saving $100 for the lesser 7900 doesn’t make a lot of sense.
AMD remains a potent solution for anyone that doesn’t care much about ray tracing — and when you see the massive hit to performance for relatively mild gains in image fidelity, we can understand why many feel that way. Still, the number of games with RT support continues to grow, and many of those also support Nvidia’s DLSS technology, something AMD hasn’t fully countered even if FSR2 comes relatively close. If you want the best DXR/RT experience right now, Nvidia still wins hands down.
AMD’s GPUs can also be used for professional tasks, but here things get a bit hit and miss. Certain apps in the SPECviewperf suite run great on AMD hardware; others come up short, and if you want to do AI or deep learning research, there’s no question Nvidia’s cards are a far better pick. But for this generation, the RX 7900 XTX is AMD’s fastest option, and it definitely packs a punch.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX review (opens in new tab)
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 (in non-RT games), 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 over $200 — like this ASRock RX 6600 card at Newegg (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 now 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 ends up delivering near-RTX 2070 performance in our testing, at least in non-ray tracing scenarios. With ray tracing enabled, however, it struggles 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. About the only real potential competition on the immediate horizon is Intel’s as-yet-unlaunched Arc A580; RDNA 3 GPUs likely won’t reach the sub-$250 zone until mid-2023 or later.
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 with the now previous generation Nvidia Ampere architecture continues to be a great option, though it’s now lost some of its luster. The recommendation also 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 $730 for the 10GB card, while the 12GB and 3080 Ti have shot up to well over $1,000, making them questionable choices. But that might change, so check around first.
Two years after it first launched, the RTX 3080 still performs well. It can easily handle 1440p at max settings, and often 4K as well, though stepping down to high quality (or enabling DLSS if that’s an option) may be necessary for the latter. 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.
The biggest problem with buying an RTX 3080-series card right now is the RTX 4070 / 4070 Ti that are undoubtedly coming in the near future. AMD’s RX 7900 cards are also priced within range of the 3080 12GB and 3080 Ti, and frankly we think the RTX 3080 10GB should be selling for far less than the current $700+ asking price. We’ll need to see where the RTX 4070 models land in the coming months, which makes the prospect of spending anything north of $500 on a 30-series GPU rather unappealing.
AMD’s Navi 21 GPUs like the Radeon RX 6800 represent a better value for high-end AMD cards right now. The RX 6800 provides excellent rasterization performance and can handle ray tracing games at 1080p as well, thanks to the RDNA 2 architecture. At current prices, which have dropped quite a bit in the past few months, the RX 6800 is your best bet for a Navi 21 graphics card, with prices starting at around $500 — unless you can find a good sale on an RX 6950 XT, RX 6900 XT, or RX 6800 XT.
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 has a 250W TBP, lower than the competing 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 currently need more than 16GB, so the 6800 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 shares the texture units for that). There’s also no Tensor cores or DLSS, though FSR 2.0 at least partially makes up for that. With RDNA 3 cards now shipping, we also have to wonder how long it will be before something like an RX 7700-series arrives with better performance and efficiency than this two years old GPU.
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 6750 XT. The RX 6700 XT (opens in new tab) is basically the same GPU, with slight lower clock speeds, memory speeds, and power consumption — about 5% faster overall. Give some thought to the RX 6700 10GB as well, which offers less performance but also costs less and gives the other GPUs some healthy value competition.
The 6750 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 30% boost to performance (at higher settings and resolutions, at least). During testing, the RX 6750 XT hit clock speeds in excess of 2.6GHz 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 6750 XT traded blows with the RTX 3070. It’s a bit faster in rasterization performance, but substantially slower in ray tracing games. The good news is that the going price of around $390 lands far below Nvidia’s card (about $500 still). Of course, if we include pretty much any games with DLSS or ray tracing, the 6750 XT looks more like an RTX 3060 competitor. Intel’s Arc A770 also beats it in ray tracing performance.
This card has moved up in our overall rankings thanks to its excellent online prices. It’s currently available at prices starting below $400, basically $100 off the MSRP. We don’t expect a mainstream RX 7700/7600 replacement until the first half of 2023 (maybe sooner?), so if you can’t hold off the RX 6750 XT (and RX 6700 XT) are good options.
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 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 — especially if you factor in DLSS and DXR. Still, it’s surprising how much even a 32MB Infinity Cache boosts 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 quite a lot. The RX 6600 XT has a $379 MSRP and the RX 6650 XT bumped that to $399, but both are available starting at less than $300. Against the RTX 3050, which carries a similar online price, the RX 6650 XT looks awesome. AMD isn’t due to replace its current midrange offerings until some time later in 2023.
As we enter the lower 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 match the performance of a formerly $500 graphics card with a $330 alternative. And hey, right as we commence with the next-generation RTX 40-series cards, the RTX 3060 is finally available for close to its MSRP. The RTX 3060 delivers a decent overall value, especially when you factor 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 might be a better choice if you can find one at a reasonable price. And if you don’t want an AMD card and are still hoping for something extra, check out our wild card pick a couple slots down, the Intel Arc A770 16GB.
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 early 2023.
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Review (opens in new tab)
Testing the Intel Arc A770 Limited Edition was a bit like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At times, performance looked excellent, sometimes even matching the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. Other times, Arc came up far short of expectations, trailing the RTX 3060. The drivers continue to improve, however, and we can’t help but feel there’s a lot of as-yet-untapped potential.
The feature set with the A770 Limited Edition also impresses: a full 16GB of GDDR6 running at 17.5 Gbps, on a 256-bit memory interface. That’s double the AMD competition and 33% more than the RTX 3060. Intel also doesn’t make any apologies for its ray tracing performance, going blow for blow with the 3060 and coming out on top — except in Minecraft where the game doesn’t as yet allow Arc GPUs to enable ray tracing (though we understand support is coming).
Intel was also the first company to deliver hardware accelerated AV1 encoding and decoding support, and QuickSync continues to deliver an excellent blend of encoding performance and quality. There’s also XeSS, basically a direct competitor to Nvidia’s DLSS, except it uses Arc’s Matrix cores when present, and can even fall back into DP4a mode for non-Arc GPUs. But DLSS 2 still comes out on top, and it’s in far more games.
If you discount ray tracing and XeSS, the A770 competes against AMD’s RX 6650 XT with relatively similar performance. Again, drivers can hold it back, so this is a card for hardware enthusiasts that want to give something new a shot. The biggest concern is that the cards are routinely out of stock and currently only found on Newegg (in the US). Still, $350 for a 16GB card (opens in new tab) that legitimately beats the RTX 3060 leaves us looking forward to Intel’s future Arc Battlemage GPUs, though they’re probably at least a year out.
Read: Intel Arc A770 Limited Edition Review (opens in new tab)
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. That was only in theory at the time, but things have finally changed and you can frequently find the RTX 3060 Ti for under $399 (opens in new tab). Just in time for the next-gen GPUs to launch.
The RTX 3060 Ti beat the previous gen 2080 Super in our testing, winning in every game we ran. It was also only about 9%slower than the RTX 3070 but costs 20% 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, though we appreciate the 256-bit bus. 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 6700 XT and RX 6650 XT give the 3060 Ti some stiff competition. Nvidia’s part is still faster than the 6650 XT, and unequivocally faster in ray tracing games, but the RX 6650 XT currently costs about $100 less. The RX 6700 XT meanwhile gives you 50% more memory, 5–10% higher performance in standard games, and costs $30 less.
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Review (opens in new tab)
Getting down to a price point of $200 requires making some compromises, like dropping support for ray tracing and DLSS and opting for Nvidia’s previous generation GTX 1660. For $30 more, we’d much rather have the significantly faster and more capable GeForce RTX 2060. It’s still a great card, even if it is using the older Turing architecture.
The RTX 2060 6GB is about twice as fast as the Arc A380 below, beats the newer RTX 3050 by about 8%, and outperforms the GTX 1660 Super by about 25%. There are a few edge cases where the extra 2GB VRAM helps the 3050, but the increased memory bandwidth and compute performance on the 2060 generally wins out. You could also look for an RTX 2060 12GB if you’re worried about VRAM capacity, but supplies seem to be drying up and those currently cost well over $300.
As an RTX card, even the lowest tier 2060 6GB still has full DXR and DLSS support. Okay, sure, it won’t be able to run the new DLSS 3 algorithm, but that’s true of all RTX 20- and 30-series cards. The 6GB VRAM is a concern, but you can turn down texture settings a notch and you’re still getting more memory than most of the alternatives (other than the RX 6600, which is rated higher than this). 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 RTX 2060 was out of stock for much of the past two years, along with everything else. Now it’s back, chiefly from EVGA which has decided to exit the GPU market. Once the current supply is gone, RTX 20-series GPUs should disappear completely store shelves and will only be available at places like eBay.
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review (opens in new tab)
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 now available starting at $280 (opens in new tab), 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 (see above).
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). 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. Ideally, RTX 3050 would cost closer to $200 than $300, and we may yet see such prices. For now, AMD offers a better option and the RTX 2060 also looks better than the 3050. At least 3050 supplies aren’t expected to dry up in the near future, which is why we’re including this in the list.
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 (opens in new tab)
The budget realm of GPUs often ends up going to older hardware, but the Arc A380 ends up being a bit of a surprise. Our initial review back in September, 2022 wasn’t particularly favorable, noting some driver woes. Things have improved since then, and the overall feature set and compelling price point prove to be better than anything we’re seeing from AMD or Nvidia.
You get a GPU with excellent video encoding/decoding support, including AV1 hardware. The 6GB of VRAM is also better than AMD’s RX 6400/6500 XT with only 4GB, you also get four display outputs, and performance these days ends up being reasonably competitive. AMD might be faster in some cases, but the compromises to get there are painful.
If price is your driving concern, the Arc A380 goes for $139 at Newegg (opens in new tab), which makes it less expensive than most other options. It even includes a game and application bundle (opens in new tab) that’s potentially worth more than the hardware (assuming you’d use the games and apps). We’d encourage most gamers to try saving up for one of the above GPUs like the RX 6600, but for under $150 your only other choices are cards like the RX 6400 or GTX 1650 (opens in new tab) — pick your poison.
We’d generally prefer a faster GPU, even if it’s from a previous generation — a GTX 1660-series card, RTX 2060, or even an RX 5500 XT 8GB would be nice, 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 potentially been used hard for the past two years. At least with a brand-new Arc A380, you know it hasn’t been abused in the mines.
Read: Intel Arc A380 Review (opens in new tab)
How We Test the Best Graphics Cards
Tom’s Hardware 2022 GPU Testbed
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 — see our what makes a good game benchmark for our selection criteria.
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.
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 Tracing, DLSS, 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.
Graphics Cards Performance Results
Our current test suite of games consists of eight titles. The data in the following charts is from testing conducted during the past several months. Only the fastest cards are tested at 1440p and 4K, but we do our best to test everything at 1080p medium and ultra.
AMD’s FSR has now been out for about a year now, with FSR 2.0 having just launched. Nvidia’s DLSS in contrast has been around for a few years and has decent uptake. None of the games in our core suite of benchmarks support FSR, so we’re running at native resolution for all of these tests. We have a separate article looking at FSR and DLSS, and the bottom line is that DLSS improves performance with less compromise to image quality, but FSR works on any GPU. The newer FSR 2.0 does a lot to bridge the gap, but DLSS has a big lead in game support.
The charts below contain all the current RTX 40/30-series, RX 7000/6000-series, and Intel’s Arc A-series. Our GPU benchmarks hierarchy contains additional results for those who are interested, along with performance testing from our 2020-2021 suite running on a Core i9-9900K. The charts are color coded with AMD in red/grey, Nvidia in blue/black, and Intel in black/blue to make it easier to see what’s going on.
The following charts are up to date as of December 13, 2022. All current generation and previous generation GPUs are included.
Best Graphics Cards — 1080p Medium
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Best Graphics Cards — 1080p Ultra
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Best Graphics Cards — 1440p Ultra
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Best Graphics Cards — 4K Ultra
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Power, Clocks, Temperatures, and Fan Speeds
Besides performance, we also test graphics card power consumption, clock speeds, fan speeds, and temperatures. We tested all current GPUs using Powenetics equipment and software, and while Nvidia generally had an efficiency lead on previous generation parts, AMD’s RDNA2 and RDNA3 GPUs are comparable and sometimes superior when it comes to performance per watt. Here are the charts from our testing.
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Finding Discounts on the Best Graphics Cards
Want to comment on our best graphics picks for gaming? Let us know what you think in the Tom’s Hardware Forums.