We purchased the The 4 Best Graphics Card so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
GPUs have quickly become one of the hottest commodities this year since the release of Nvidia’s 30-series graphics cards. Building a new gaming PC right now, in our opinion, is not a good idea. We recommend going through a pre-built PC manufacturer like Ibuypower or Alienware if you absolutely can’t wait or your money is burning a hole in your pocket.
Almost any GPU released this year that wasn’t immediately snapped up by techies has been snapped up by scalpers and resold at exorbitant prices. AMD’s 6000 series GPUs were expected to help alleviate the problem, and while they haven’t necessarily made things worse, neither line of cards has remained available for more than a few hours through online retailers.
While it may be tempting to just buy an RTX 3090 and be done with it, there are a few things to think about before throwing money at the problem. Is there enough power in your PSU to support a new graphics card? Some models, such as the Nvidia RTX 3080, require up to 300 watts and require a 750W power supply. Also, if your CPU is a few generations old, you might want to spend some of your budget on a better processor; otherwise, you risk bottlenecking your GPU and limiting its overall potential.
While any of Nvidia’s 30-series cards would be ideal, we recommend any model of the RTX 2080 Super to temporarily fill the slot in your high-end gaming rig until the 30-series becomes more widely available, as finding one for love or money has been nearly impossible since launch.
Best Overall: Nvidia RTX 3080
Nvidia boasted some pretty remarkable specifications when the 30-series of cards was announced in September, and while there was some skepticism about whether these GPUs could live up to those claims, particularly the RTX 3080’s reported superiority to the 2080 Ti, multiple benchmarks have proven them to be true. The RTX 3080 is a beast of a graphics card that outperforms the 2080 Ti in nearly every category at a fraction of the cost.
Although the 3080 has less VRAM, the new GDDR6X and Ampere architecture allow it to accomplish more with less. In both 1440p and 4K rendering, the 3080 outperforms the 2080 Ti while running cooler under load. Perhaps more importantly, the 3080’s MSRP puts this level of performance within reach. While we don’t know how AMD’s large Navi GPU will affect the game, the RTX 3080 () is currently the card to beat.
Memory: 10GB GDDR6X Vram | Clock Speeds: 1.44Ghz / 1.71Ghz | Dimensions: 11.2″x4.4″ 2-Slot | Power Draw: 320W
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Runner-Up, Best Overall: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Super
Although the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super () has less video RAM than the other models, its GGDR6 VRAM is faster. The card is based on the Turing architecture, with improvements in cooling and core count. The DVI port has been removed from the card, making room for a high-airflow thermal solution to supplement the cooling system, which can reach 75 degrees Celsius.
The card’s base clock is 1,605MHz, with a boost clock of 1,770MHz. This card enables 4K gaming at 60 frames per second. While some users have reported a slight drop in framerate due to their systems and setups, optimized games can run at extremely high framerates in UHD. This impressive technology has a high overclocking potential, is already more affordable than other high-end cards, and will only get cheaper as demand meets supply.
Memory: 8GB GDDR6 Vram | Clock Speeds: 1.65Ghz / 1.84Ghz | Dimensions: 12.9″x5.5″ 3-Slot | Power Draw: 250W
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Best Budget: Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX580
This is AMD’s version of the popular Nvidia GTX 1660 (). It’s small, inexpensive, and capable of handling 1080p. While 4K gaming isn’t perfect, most new games benefit from 60 frames per second in 1080p and high framerates in 1440p. Even so, 4K optimized games like Doom look stunning and can be played at 35 to 40 frames per second.
Armor 2X thermal cooling with torx fan technology and advanced airflow was also designed with overclocking in mind. While this architecture will push your games and VR experience to new heights, Frozr technology will turn off the fans in low-load situations, allowing you to browse in complete silence. It has 8GB of RAM and runs at 1,469 MHz.
Memory: 8GB GDDR5 Vram | Clock Speeds: 1.25Ghz / 1.36Ghz | Dimensions: 9.06″x4.9″ 2-Slot | Power Draw: 185W
Related: The 7 Best Micro Four Thirds Lenses
Best 1080p: ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB
Nvidia’s development went sideways rather than up after the release of their 20-series of GPUs. While everyone was enthralled by ray-possibilities, tracing’s Nvidia quietly slipped their 16-series GPUs into the mix. With its small size, reasonable price, and reliable performance, the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Super () is our pick of the litter. This smaller-than-average card provides exceptional 1080p performance while fitting easily into even the smallest PC.
While the 1660 Super lacks the horsepower to handle games at 1440p or 4K resolution, its 14 Gbps GDDR6 VRAM outperforms both the standard 1660 and the 1660 Ti.
Memory: 6GB GDDR6 Vram | Clock Speeds: 1.53Ghz / 1.85Ghz | Dimensions: 9.6″x5.1″ 2-Slot | Power Draw: 125W
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Runner-Up, Best 1080p: AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
The 5600XT () is another solid entry from Team Red, and it sits on the edge of low and mid-tier performance. The 5600XT is an excellent mid-range gaming PC option, offering superior performance to Nvidia’s vanilla 2060 at a slightly lower price point. According to the specifications, the 5600XT has 6GB of DDR6 VRAM and a maximum boost clock speed of 1560 MHz.
While it lacks the specs to push serious performance at 1440p, it is more than capable of amazing performance at 1080p, which is something to think about if you’re looking for one of the best gaming monitors with a super-high refresh rate.
Memory: 6GB GDDR6 Vram | Clock Speeds: 1.37Ghz / 1.56Ghz | Dimensions: 10.5″x5.3″ 2-Slot | Power Draw: 150W
The Final Word
If you want to get high-end 4K or 1440p performance out of your gaming PC, the Nvidia RTX 3080 is a graphics card that can do it for a reasonable price. The Nvidia 1660 Super, on the other hand, is the more sensible option if you need something a little more affordable or just want to play 1080p games.