Best Graphics Cards 2023 – Top Gaming GPUs for the Money
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 (opens in new tab) 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.
There’s good news, of sorts, in that prices on most of the latest generation AMD and Nvidia cards are now pretty close to the official MSRPs. The GeForce RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) has been routinely sold out or overpriced since it launched in October, but Newegg currently shows an MSI card for $1,599, and another model for $1,699 — let’s hope inventory has caught up to demand. The GeForce RTX 4080 (opens in new tab) has been trending closer to MSRP and can be had for
$1,199 at B&H (opens in new tab), while the RTX 4070 Ti (opens in new tab) that launched just last month has been mostly available with a starting price of $800–$825.
AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT (opens in new tab) have mostly stayed closer to the official launch prices, at least for some models. There’s an ASRock 7900 XT (opens in new tab) and XFX 7900 XT for $879 (opens in new tab) at Newegg, just a bit below the official $899 MSRP. The cheapest 7900 XTX meanwhile has dropped to ‘only’ $1,099 at Newegg (opens in new tab), but at least it’s a custom model from MSI.
Previous generation RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series cards are a bit of a mixed bag. Newegg has Peladn branded GPUs for the RTX 3080 10GB down to the RTX 3050 at decent prices, but that’s not really a “known” brand in the US. Zotac has RTX 3050 and 3060 at mostly reasonable pricing, but everything else can be anywhere from $50 to $150 higher than the Peladn cards, and in general we don’t recommend paying that much for what is now clearly previous generation hardware. On the AMD side, the RX 6950 XT can be had for $700, while the 6900 XT has jumped up to $988, but prices are fluctuating a lot. There are some good deals on the lower tier RDNA 2 cards, though, like the RX 6650 XT for just $260 after rebate.
Intel meanwhile has official cut the price of the Arc A750 to $249 — which suggests the cards probably aren’t selling all that well. The A770 8GB and 16GB cards remain at their original launch prices, while the A380 still goes for $139. Thanks to the aggressive pricing, a couple of Intel’s GPUs are even on our list, though we have to raise a caution flag still when discussing drivers. Most of Intel’s strides in performance have come from DirectX 9 games, while DX12 titles have generally shown limited improvements in the past three months since launch.
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 4090/4080/4070 TI and RX 7900 XTX/XT 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 — if you’re willing to go with a potentially unknown brand like Mannajue or Peladn.
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 2023
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For some, the best graphics card is the fastest card, pricing be damned. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) caters to precisely this category of user. It’s also the debut of Nvidia’s brand-new Ada Lovelace architecture (opens in new tab), and as such will represent the most potent card Nvidia has to offer… at least until the inevitable RTX 4090 Ti (opens in new tab) shows up.
If you were disappointed that the RTX 3090 Ti (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 — though it also costs about twice as much.
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 (opens in new tab) 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 many of 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. A least we’re routinely able to find RTX 4090 cards selling for close to the $1,600 launch MSRP these days.
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Review (opens in new tab)
The Red Team King is dead; long live the Red Team King! AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XTX (opens in new tab) has supplanted the previous generation RX 6950 XT (opens in new tab) at the top of the charts, with a price bump to match. Ostensibly priced at $999, it sold out almost immediately, and now we need to wait for supply to catch up to demand. That’s mostly happening, with the cheapest cards marked up less than $100 these days and frequent appearances of cards priced at $999 over the past month. Still, there’s good reason for the demand, as the 7900 XTX comes packing AMD’s latest RDNA 3 architecture (opens in new tab).
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.
There have been some issues with some of the reference 7900 XTX coolers (opens in new tab), the “Made by AMD” models. AMD told us there were a “limited number” that didn’t have enough liquid in the vapor chamber, causing them to overheat and throttle, but it’s also replacing affected cards. Hopefully, that’s all in the past now.
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. 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. If you’re willing to step down to the 7900 XT, that’s also worth considering (see below), as it tends to be priced better right now.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX review (opens in new tab)
AMD’s mainstream GPUs at present use 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 (opens in new tab) now exists, with 10GB of VRAM, though it costs more and only delivers a minor bump in performance.)
The RX 6650 XT (opens in new tab) is a refresh and replacement for the existing RX 6600 XT (opens in new tab), offering slightly more performance at basically the same price. (The 6600 XT is officially end of life, now, so prices have started to trend upward.) Performance ends up slightly above the previous gen RX 5700 XT (opens in new tab), 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 ~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 (opens in new tab) 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 6650 XT has an official $399 MSRP, but it’s now available starting at $260 — just $25 more than the former value leader, the RX 6600. Against the RTX 3050 (opens in new tab), 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.
AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT Review (opens in new tab)
The Radeon RX 6600 (opens in new tab) takes everything good about the above 6650 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. Prices have crept back up to $250 right now, though we saw it going for just over $200 for the past couple of months, so hopefully pricing comes back down.
It’s still going for 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 second best overall bang for the buck, right behind the RX 6650 XT. If you’re not interested in the new round of extreme(ly expensive) GPUs from AMD and Nvidia and just want a decent mainstream solution, this is a great option.
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.
Read: AMD Radeon RX 6600 Review (opens in new tab)
We’re in the midst of a transition between old and new generation GPUs, and it leads to some tough decisions. The new RTX 4070 Ti (opens in new tab) didn’t wow us with extreme performance or value… but it’s still 10–15 percent faster than the previous generation RTX 3080 (opens in new tab), comes with the latest Ada Lovelace architecture and features, and only costs about 20% more than the cheapest 3080 (a Peladn model), with many of the 3080 cards now priced higher than the 4070 Ti.
It’s not going to win anyone over to Nvidia’s way of thinking, where it charges the absolute maximum it feels it can get away with. This is basically half of an RTX 4090, for half the price. The previous generation 3070 Ti was more like 65% of the RTX 3090, at 40% of the price. Ah, how we miss the good old days… except cryptocurrency mining totally messed up retail prices for the past two years, so today’s not great prices are actually better than what we were dealing with in 2021 and 2022.
Nvidia is keen to point out how much faster the RTX 40-series is, once you enable DLSS 3. As we’ve said elsewhere, these generated frames aren’t the same as “real” frames, and they increase input latency. It’s not that DLSS 3 is bad, but we prefer to compare non-enhanced performance, and in terms of feel we’d say DLSS 3 improves the experience over the baseline by 10–20 percent, not the 60–100 percent you’ll see in Nvidia’s charts.
So far, the 4070 Ti hasn’t completely sold out, though the $800 models are often out of stock and you might need to spend an extra $20–$50. Hopefully, supply improves and prices come down, which would go a long way toward correcting initial poor impressions against the 4070 Ti. For now, it’s more of a best of the worst in terms of latest generation GPU values.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Review (opens in new tab)
With prices heading up on previous generation cards, we’re left looking for the best options. AMD’s new RX 7900 XT (opens in new tab) generally beats the RTX 4070 Ti (opens in new tab) (above) in rasterization performance but trails by quite a bit in ray tracing games — never mind the extra $100. We would have liked to see closer to price parity from AMD, and maybe that will still happen, but at least you get all the latest AMD RDNA 3 architectural updates.
AMD also doesn’t skimp on VRAM, providing you with 20GB. That’s 67% more than the competing 4070 Ti, and right now street prices are almost the same. Another potential bonus is that there weren’t any vapor chamber cooling problems on the reference 7900 XT cards, unlike its bigger sibling, so you can safely pick one of those up and not worry about a potential RMA delay.
You won’t get DLSS support, and while it’s possible to run AI workloads on AMD’s GPUs, performance can at times be substantially slower. That’s because the “AI Accelerators” in RDNA 3 share the same execution pipelines as the GPU shaders, and FP16 or INT8 throughput is only double the FP32 rate. That’s enough for AI inference, mostly, but it basically only matches a modest GPU like the RTX 3060 in pure AI number crunching. A lot of AI projects are also heavily invested in Nvidia’s ecosystem, which makes them easier to get running.
AMD made a lot of noise about its new innovative GPU chiplet architecture, and it could certainly prove to be a game changer… in future iterations. For now, GPU chiplets (opens in new tab) are apparently more about saving cost than improving performance. Consider the die sizes of AD104 and Navi 31’s GPC are similar, but AMD also has to add five MCDs and you can see why it’s the more expensive card. And yet, performance still slightly favors Nvidia’s 4070 Ti overall — and that’s before accounting for DLSS and DLSS 3.
But what else are you going to buy? The RX 6950 XT, 6900 XT, and 6800 XT prices are fluctuating a lot, and supply may dry up soon. If you’re going to spend $500 or more, we’d rather pay a bit more for the latest generation hardware rather than picking up something that’s now more than two years old.
Read: AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT Review (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab) is basically the same GPU, with slightly higher clock speeds, memory speeds, and power consumption — about 5% faster overall. Give some thought to the RX 6700 10GB (opens in new tab) as well, which offers less performance but also costs less (usually).
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 30% boost to performance (at higher settings and resolutions, at least). During testing, the RX 6700 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 6700 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 $340 lands far below Nvidia’s card (about $480). Of course, if we include pretty much any games with DLSS or ray tracing, the 6700 XT looks more like an RTX 3060 competitor. Intel’s Arc A770 also beats it in ray tracing performance.
We don’t expect a mainstream RX 7700/7600 replacement until likely closer to June 2023, but that’s fast approaching. Mobile GPUs using RDNA 3 have been announced, and we figure desktop variants won’t be far behind, so holding off for one of those might be a better idea.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review (opens in new tab)
AMD Radeon RX 6750 XT review (opens in new tab)
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, Nvidia matched the performance of a formerly $500 graphics card with a $330 alternative. And hey, as we now commence with the next-generation RTX 40-series cards, the RTX 3060 is finally available for close to its MSRP. Still, 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 in a meaningful way, 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 (opens in new tab), 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 the next five or six months… but it may only have 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit interface. Yuck!
Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Review (opens in new tab)
AMD’s Navi 21 GPUs like the Radeon RX 6800 can still represent a better value than some of the latest additions, though the supply of other models like the 6800 XT, 6900 XT, and 6950 XT seems to be disappearing fast and prices are on the rise. 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, the RX 6800 is your best bet for a Navi 21 graphics card, starting at just under $500. We wouldn’t go much above that point, and do keep an eye out for other previous generation deals.
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 does some of the processing for BVH on the shader cores is our understanding). There are no Tensor cores or DLSS either, though FSR 2 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 — and hopefully at a lower price!
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 Review (opens in new tab)
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Review (opens in new tab)
AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT Review (opens in new tab)
Testing the Intel Arc A770 Limited Edition (opens in new tab) was a bit like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At times, performance looked excellent, sometimes even matching the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (opens in new tab). 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 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 beats the similarly priced AMD 6700 XT and Nvidia RTX 3060 competition by 33%. Intel also doesn’t make any apologies for its ray tracing performance either, mostly going blow for blow with the 3060 and coming out on top — except in Minecraft where the game doesn’t do so well (Arc support for that game was only recently added).
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 or people that do lots of video encoding that want to give something new a shot. Another drawback is that cards are mostly available only through 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 (opens in new tab), even if they’re probably 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 supplant it.
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 $20 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-class cards. For $20–$30 more, we’d much rather have the significantly faster and more capable GeForce RTX 2060 (opens in new tab). It’s still a great card for the price, 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 (opens in new tab) by about 8%, and outperforms the GTX 1660 Super (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) if you’re worried about VRAM capacity, but supplies seem to be drying up and those currently cost well over $300 — pass, in other words.
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 (opens in new tab) 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.
If you don’t care much for ray tracing or DLSS, note that the RX 6600 costs about the same price and delivers much stronger rasterization performance — about 20% faster in our testing. The 2060 flips that around and beats the 6600 by 24% in our ray tracing test suite, but that’s mostly a pyrrhic victory as neither one delivers a great ray tracing experience.
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 and priced to move from the lesser known Mannajue brand for $230 (opens in new tab), a Chinese card that seems to be selling in the U.S. now that mining is done. 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)
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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) or GTX 1630 (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 (opens in new tab) represents a risk, with many miners likely offloading cards that have potentially been used hard (opens in new tab) 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’re in the process of updating results with our new 13900K system, but we have about 20 graphics cards we still need to retest.)
We test across the three most common gaming resolutions, 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, using ‘medium’ and ‘ultra’ settings at 1080p and ‘ultra’ at 4K. 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 (opens in new tab) 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 Ada Lovelace architecture (opens in new tab), which improves on the previous Ampere architecture (opens in new tab). AMD’s RDNA3 architecture (opens in new tab) likewise takes over from the previous RDNA2 architecture (opens in new tab) offerings, though we have a few previous generation cards still in our list. Finally, Intel Arc Alchemist (opens in new tab) GPUs have arrived and provided some competition in the budget and midrange sectors. Conveniently, Arc Alchemist, RDNA2/3, and Ada/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 (opens in new tab). With many cards now costing close to MSRP, plenty of people seem ready to upgrade, and supply also looks to be improving. At the same time, a slumping economy and rising inflation seems to have lowered demand, and the supply of new GPUs isn’t being pushed quite as hard as before.
Our advice: Don’t pay more today for yesterday’s hardware. If you want an RTX 40-series or RX 7000-series graphics card, be patient and you’ll eventually be able to buy one at close to the official MSRP. They’re only high-end and extreme offerings right now, but mainstream and budget variants will inevitably arrive.
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 (opens in new tab) page, as well as our CPU Benchmark (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).
• PSU: Make sure that your power supply (opens in new tab) has enough juice and the right 6-, 8- and/or 16-pin connector(s). For example, Nvidia recommends a 550-watt PSU for the RTX 3060 (opens in new tab), and you’ll need at least an 8-pin connector and possibly a 6-pin PEG connector as well. Newer RTX 40-series GPUs use 16-pin connectors, though all of them also include the necessary 8-pin to 16-pin adapters.
• Video Memory: A 4GB card is the absolute 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 still 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 (opens in new tab) and G-Sync Compatible (opens in new tab) displays (for recommendations, see our Best Gaming Monitors (opens in new tab) list), while AMD’s FreeSync tech (opens in new tab) works with Radeon cards.
• Ray Tracing, DLSS, and FSR: The latest graphics cards support ray tracing (opens in new tab), which can be used to enhance the visuals. DLSS (opens in new tab) provides intelligent upscaling and anti-aliasing to boost performance with similar image quality, but it’s only on Nvidia RTX cards. AMD’s FSR (opens in new tab) works on virtually any GPU and also provides upscaling and enhancement, but on a different subset of games. New to the party are DLSS 3 with Frame Generation (opens in new tab) and Intel XeSS (opens in new tab), with yet another different subset of supported games (DLSS 3 also provides DLSS 2 support for non 40-series RTX GPUs).
Graphics Cards Performance Results
Our current test suite of games consists of 13 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 (opens in new tab) has now been out for over a year now, with FSR 2.0 (opens in new tab) having launched more recently. Nvidia’s DLSS (opens in new tab) in contrast has been around for a few years and has decent uptake. A few of the games in our core suite of benchmarks now support FSR, but we’re running all of the benchmarks at native resolution for these tests. We have a separate article looking at FSR and DLSS (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 January 5, 2023. 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 (opens in new tab), clock speeds, fan speeds, and temperatures. We tested all current GPUs using Powenetics equipment and software (opens in new tab), 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
With the GPU shortages mostly over, you might find some particularly tasty deals on occasion. Check out the latest Newegg promo codes (opens in new tab), Best Buy promo codes (opens in new tab) and Micro Center coupon codes (opens in new tab).
Want to comment on our best graphics picks for gaming? Let us know what you think in the Tom’s Hardware Forums (opens in new tab).
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