Introduction

As any PC gamer will tell you, buying a new graphics card can offer your PC a similar leap in performance than what a new console generation can provide. But with so many options available, what is the best graphics card for you?

Our team of experts are here to help answer that question, as we review all of the latest graphics cards, while also assembling this list with those that received the highest scores.

During the review process, we make sure to test each graphics card using both synthetic benchmarks and modern games – we will even conduct the tests at different resolutions, just in case you’ve got a Full HD, Quad HD or 4K monitor.

We also understand that each graphics card also supports a number of important software features, so we make sure to test the likes of ray tracing, DLSS and FSR performance, too.

And don’t worry, we also take the price into consideration, as we know most people can’t afford a $1000 graphics card. In fact, we’ve made sure to cater to a variety of budgets and performance targets so there’s a graphics card here for everyone.

However, it’s worth noting that Nvidia is expected to unveil its new Nvidia RTX 4000 graphics cards in the coming days, where we could see the likes of the Nvidia RTX 4090, RTX 4080 and RTX 4070. The AMD RDNA 3 cards are also expected to arrive shortly.

As a result, it may well be worth holding back on a graphics card purchase. Not only could the newer models offer a better performance, but existing options may well see a price cut. Keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll be updating this list with new high-scoring cards in the near future.

How we test

Learn more about how we test graphics cards

Every graphics card we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including performance, features, thermals, power consumption and overclockability.

These include formal synthetic benchmarks with third-party software, plus a series of in-games tests from some of the most recent AAA PC titles, with optimised picks for both AMD and Nvidia.

We also make sure to use the GPU for everyday tasks and gaming to make sure there are no real-time performance issues.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best graphics card for 4K gaming

Pros

  • Excellent 4K performance
  • Ray tracing is awesome
  • Far cheaper than RTX 2080 Ti
  • HDMI 2.1 support

Cons

  • Very power hungry
  • Not massively overclockable

The Nvidia RTX 3080 is our top recommended graphics card for gaming in 4K. While we found the RTX 3080 isn’t the fastest card available – with the RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti flaunting more power – it’s still more than powerful enough to play most games in 4K with ray tracing activated. 

The Nvidia RTX 3080 managed to play both Control and Battlefield V in 4K, during our latest checks, with a performance over 60fps with their graphics maxed. On top of that, the RTX 3080 Ti typically only renders games around 5-10 frames faster than the base RTX 3080 in 4K with ray tracing and DLSS on. While these gains aren’t to be ignored, we still recommend most buyers opt for the much more reasonably priced RTX 3080 since it represents superior value. 

However, our tests did show that the card can run a little hot and, based on our experience, doesn’t have much room for overclocking. Smaller builds will also want to avoid it due to the card’s high thermals, which exceeded 90 degrees regularly when playing demanding titles in our test rig’s open case. This, plus its large dual-fan design, make it an awkward fit for smaller builds.

Bear in mind that the RTX 3080 could soon be usurped by the incoming Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card, providing an even better performance at a potentially similar price. So maybe you should wait a little longer before upgrading your GPU.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3080 review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Best graphics card for 1440p gaming

Pros

  • Excellent 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Smaller design than RTX 3080
  • Amazing value

Cons

  • No real room for overclocking
  • Uses older VRAM

If you’re not that bothered about 4K or have a 1440p monitor instead, then the Nvidia RTX 3070 is the best graphics card we’d recommend to gamers. The card shares the same Ampere architecture and high-end features as its more expensive sibling, but isn’t quite as powerful. 

During testing, we could not reliably get demanding games (like CyberPunk 2077) running in 4K with ray tracing on and the graphics settings maxed. But with ray tracing off, the card generally performed excellently and proved fantastic value for money. Elden Ring ran smoothly in 1080p, 1440p and 4K with zero issue, as did Cyberpunk 2077 and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland.

However, we found the RTX 3070 generally played games around 15-20 fps slower than the RTX 3080. This meant games, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Control, failed to consistently hit 60fps when ray tracing was activated, averaging between 40-50fps during our tests. These frame rates are still comfortably playable, but they don’t offer the smooth experience you get on the more expensive RTX 3080. 

The compromise is forgivable as the 3070 also manages to outperform its AMD rival’s performance. Putting the RTX 3070 head to head with the slightly cheaper AMD RX 6700XT, the Nvidia card was constantly 10fps ahead in our in-game benchmark tests. This adds up to make it our recommended card for a 1440p resolution, and anyone who doesn’t care about ray tracing in 4K.

But before you hit checkout, it may be worth waiting for the next-gen Nvidia RTX 4070, with reports indicating it could offer an even more efficient performance.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson 
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3070 review

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

Best graphics card for 1080p gaming

Pros

  • Solid 1080p Ray Tracing performance
  • Lowest power consumption of all Ampere cards
  • Cheapest current gen’ card on the market

Cons

  • Still not massively overclockable
  • Only 20% cheaper than an RTX 3070

If you still use an 1080p gaming monitor, then both the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 are overkill options based on our experience. Instead, we recommend opting for the cheaper RTX 3060 Ti. This isn’t the cheapest Nvidia card we’ve tested, with the RTX 3050 costing considerably less. But the RTX 3060 Ti is the cheapest we’ve benchmarked to offer reliable post-60fps performance with ray tracing on in 1080p.

The card shares the same perks and architecture as the RTX 3070, with the main changes being reductions to its clock speeds and general specifications. Specifically, it has less tensor cores and RT cores (the parts of the card that run ray tracing and DLSS). 

But we didn’t notice any serious issues running games in 1080p. The graphic card ran every game in our tests, even with ray tracing activated and their graphics settings maxed out. Control zoomed along at 84fps and Borderlands 3 never dipped below 60fps. As a result, we’d say this is the card to get if you care about ray tracing and other cutting-edge features, but are still gaming at a 1080p resolution.

The only downside is that the Founders Edition model we tested is still fairly large, making it a poor fit for ITX builds. If that’s what you’re after, you’re better off checking a single-fan card, like the Nvidia RTX 3050, despite occasionally struggling to hit 60fps, even in 1080p, during our checks.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti review

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

Best budget graphics card

Pros

  • Strong 1080p performance
  • Low power consumption
  • Wealth of features for Ryzen builds

Cons

  • Struggles with ray tracing without FSR activated
  • Not as powerful as Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

The AMD RX 6600 XT is our current top recommended card for those on a strict budget. It’s the cheapest option in AMD’s current generation lineup and is built on the same RDNA 2 architecture as its more expensive siblings.

During our tests, we found the card can’t match the performance of Nvidia’s more expensive RTX 3060 Ti, especially when it comes to ray tracing. But for the price, it’s still a very capable card for 1080p gaming.

Modern games, including Doom Eternal, Destiny 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 all ran over 60fps in our 1080p benchmarks, while FSR compatible titles (like Godfall) can see the performance boosted even further due to some upscaling smarts. 

If you don’t care about sky-high frame rates or ray tracing when playing games in 1080p, the budget-friendly price makes the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT a solid choice. However, AMD RDNA 3 graphics cards are right around the corner, so it may be worth waiting for their launch before settling for one of AMD’s existing options.

FAQs

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is an advanced rendering technology that can create realistic lighting and shadow effects. Only modern GPUs and select games support this technology.

What is DLSS?

DLSS is Nvidia’s temporal image upscaling technology which boosts the frame rate performance of supported games without compromising on the image quality. Only Nvidia’s RTX 20-Series and 30-Series GPUs support the technology.

What is Ampere?

Ampere is Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture.

Comparison Specifications

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

Manufacturer

Size (Dimensions)

ASIN

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Ports

Power Consumption

Video Memory

Boosted Clock Speed

CUDAcores

Architecture

Ray Tracing?

Trusted Reviews test data

Power consumption

Peak temperature

3DMark Time Spy Extreme

3DMark Port Royal

Borderlands 3 frame rate (4K)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)

Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (4K)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)

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