Which Graphics Card To Buy
The newly crowned best graphics card on the market is the RTX 4090. It's a behemoth that's capable of incredible performance at 4K, and if you're looking to pin the #1GPU in the world medal on something, the 4090 is tough to beat. It is undoubtedly the most expensive, though, so that's worth keeping in mind. For mere mortals, the RTX 3080 will do the trick. For budget buyers, an RTX 3060 Ti is the one to look for, with the 3050 being a strong fall-back.
which graphics card to buy
Our advice is that 4GB GDDR6 memory should be considered the absolute minimum for graphics card gaming performance in 2022. This is because many modern games are pushing the VRAM to new limits due to increased texture sizes, game worlds, and reliance on the speeds afforded by newer storage drives. A good average to look out would be 8GB GDDR6/GDDR6X VRAM, which you can find in some of the best graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia. This would give you enough overhead for high-FPS 1440p gaming as well as 4K60 in most instances.
There are two types of best graphics cards when you consider gaming PCs, integrated graphics and dedicated graphics cards. The former is weaker, and usually baked onto the processor chip in the form of an APU or SOC. Dedicated graphics cards, like all of those models listed above, as discrete models that are slotted into your computer's PCIe Express port, most being two-slot, but some taking up three-slots depending on size, to deliver far greater visual prowess. There are two main manufacturers, Nvidia, and AMD Radeon. Nvidia is definitely the most popular, and its GPUs can come in many forms from a lot of different gaming brands out there. Intel is also making its plays into the GPU market with the Intel Arc cards.
If you've followed Nvidia's graphics cards for some time then you may not that the company's GeForce lines have rebranded from GTX to RTX. The latter delegation refers to the ray tracing potential of the video cards, which was first seen in the RTX 20-series (Turing) in 2018. Now, since late 2020, with the RTX 30-series (Ampere), the ray tracing performance has been vastly improved. It's currently unknown as to what the successor generation will be known as.
The best graphics cards on the market will be the engine of your gaming PC's sports car. The latest technology from both Nvidia and AMD can produce some stunning gaming performance, and will likely offer better value than the previous generation of cards. What's more, chip shortages are over, so you won't struggle half as much to get your hands on a great GPU these days. More than that, the 40 Series cards are mid-release, and with AMD's Radeon RX 7900 offering incredible value, it's a very exciting time to go shopping for an upgrade.
The latest releases from AMD and NVIDIA feature A.I. upscaling technology, ray tracing support, and can handle high frame rates in 4K. They also might require you to make some serious space in your PC case, especially if you're keen to get an RTX 4090, which is genuinely enormous. Form factor and power requirements are also things to keep note of since an entry-level RTX 3050 will take up far less space than a 4090 that requires a tonne of power to boost your rig into the realms of the best gaming PCs imaginable.
It's worth noting that the newest GPUs are the least friendly on your wallet, although compared to the record-high prices of the 30 series during the pandemic years, we can't complain. The 40 Series cards in particular offer great value, especially when you consider the rumours that the RTX 4060 will offer RTX 3070 prices under $500. Meanwhile, AMD is undercutting prices to try and get a foothold on the market. Either way you choose to go, you might be able to find the latest and greatest options without blowing a hole in your pocket.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is simply put, the best consumer graphics card on the market by a pretty wide margin. It runs circles around the last-gen flagship RTX 3090 Ti and easily chews through any game we throw at it, no matter the settings.
AMD's latest flagship is undoubtedly one of the best graphics cards you can buy right now. It undercuts the price RTX 4080 and more importantly, outperforms it. Where Nvidia's cards are pricey, the AMD Radeon 7900 XTX is remarkably affordable in comparison. Where the RTX 4090 is inconveniently large, AMD's heaviest hitter is compact and practical. In all honesty, if it weren't for the obscene power of the RTX 4090, the RX 7900 XTX would be the best GPU out there.
At an MSRP of only $899 in the US and a lowest price of 859 in the UK, the 7900 XT comes in $150 cheaper than the XTX. That means it's significantly cheaper than the RTX 4080 while offering similar performance. In short, this is an amazing graphics card for folks who want the best gaming performance on the market at the lowest possible price.
The PNY GeForce RTX 4070 Ti offers a decent price point for the controversially priced GPU. Although it's harder to recommend this card over its AMD rivals, this is the most affordable Nvidia RTX 40 series card so far, so it currently offers the best way for folks to get a hold of the best ray tracing performance and DLSS 3.
While we can recommend the 4070 Ti as a strong graphics card for gaming, we'd do so with the caveat that it might give an inadvertent vote with your wallet. If you think GPUs are too expensive, a purchase of the 4070 Ti will only tell Nvidia that you support its high prices. For those who don't know, this board was originally the 12GB model of the RTX 4080. When it was "unlaunched" and repurposed into the 4070 Ti, it was given a $100 price drop despite having completely unchanged specs. This exposed Nvidia a bit, seeing as it could still make a profit after charging $100 under what it originally wanted to.
The RX 6600 XT is built first and foremost with being one of the best graphics cards for PC gamers aiming for fast frame rates in 1080p. It's been geared in the marketing primarily towards the Esports crowd, as the competitive games in the circuit may not be too visually demanding, but require super-high FPS to compensate. The RX 6600 XT is a decent rival to Nvidia's base RTX 3060 model, however, if you're thinking of picking this GPU up for 1440p performance then you may need to cast a wider net in the field of AMD.
While the RTX 3060 Ti generally does ray tracing in Full HD better, the benchmarks for the RX 6600 XT really do speak for themselves. AMD published the full list online, where the GPU managed well above 70 FPS in the likes of Far Cry 6, Hitman 3, Resident Evil Village, Deathloop, and more. If you've wanted to max out the latest titles in Full HD, then this video card will serve you well.
The RTX 3060 Ti offers performance that was previously thought impossible from an entry-level graphics card only three years ago. The benchmarks don't lie; this video card runs circles around the RTX 2080 Super (the previous high-end GPU to beat) while costing half as much. It really is that simple. If you want to marry price to performance up and down this list, this is honestly one of the best options to go for. the 3050 is solid for budget buyers, but if you can stretch to the 3060 or 3060 Ti, we'd recommend doing so, since it will give you a bit more futureproofing.
Now, 4K is more than possible, but won't be the RTX 3060's strong suit. While achieving UHD visuals is doable, it's geared more towards higher frame rates in 1440p and steamrolling through Full HD games pushed to their absolute limit. Again, that's not to say that the GPU can't benefit from Ultra HD, especially with the benefits of DLSS, but it's not a card built with it this resolution in mind.
The RTX 3050 is the newest budget Ampere video card designed with 1080p60 in mind, making it perfect for those budget-minded PC gamers in 2022. Armed with the same 8GB GDDR6 memory that you'll find in pricier RTX 30-series GPUs in our roundup, the RTX 3050 is the best budget graphics card that you can get right now.
In our testing, we found that even more demanding titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Control, and Metro Exodus ran at a rock-solid 60 FPS with ray tracing and DLSS enabled in Full HD. 1440p is also decent in many games, though it's usually going to be a toss-up between having visual fidelity and performance, as a 60 FPS average normally means disabling ray tracing and going heavier on the DLSS upscaling options. Regardless of how you push to that that smooth frame rate, this video card can keep up well under most circumstances.
You need to keep your expectations in check, of course, as the RTX 3050 is a wallet-friendly GPU designed to replace the likes of the perennially popular GTX 1650 and 1660 lines. 4K is on the cards here, it will just mean your frame rate isn't as high as you may want. If you need a budget GPU that still gives you ray tracing, then you really can't go wrong. The RTX 3050 launched with an MSRP of $250, and at the time of writing, you can find RTX 3050 stock for around the $300 mark if you know where to look.
At release, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT was poised to take on Nvidia's RTX 3080, and while this card doesn't quite take that GPU's crown, it does position itself as one of the best graphics cards from AMD. In 1440p, there are definitely instances where the RX 6800 XT is neck and neck with the RTX 3080, such as in Watch Dogs: Legion at Ultra settings, though 4K is where the divide starts to show the most.
The ray tracing capabilities of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT may be admittedly disappointing when stacked up with the higher-end Nvidia GPUs, though, it's in that extra VRAM where the speed of Team Red's video card starts to shine. We're starting to see more Radeon-optimized games demand upwards of 11GB of VRAM, which only the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090 are capable of at the time of writing, in titles such as Far Cry 6 with HD textures. This is a big jump, and it's likely that we'll see more developers in the near future wanting to utilize upwards of 12GB in this current PC gaming generation we're in. 041b061a72