With the best graphics cards of 2021, you can play games at their full potential and get work done on your computer without any problems. But these days’ computers also need a good video card if we want them to be able to handle photo editing, 3D modeling, or game development smoothly.
For everyday computing needs like streaming video, web browsing and productivity tasks you don’t need the most powerful graphics card for your system. Integrated GPUs are more than enough to handle all of that! However if performance is what’s in store then I would recommend getting a separate discrete GPU instead of an integrated one because they offer better quality visuals when playing games, photoshop, or watching videos which can make these activities so much smoother on systems with low profile GPU and low powered CPUs but high end video cards inside them.
The differences in pricing are not as vast, but should still be considered. For example each company has a GPU that’s competitive with respect to 1080p gaming at similar price points- whether it’s 1440P or 4K.
One way you can save money on your next video game purchase is by checking out our list of the best graphics cards for any level gamer! We have three different categories including entry-, mid-range and high end options so there will always something perfect just waiting within these pages…
Graphics card prices have been tough lately and we’re not expecting a lot of Black Friday deals in the weeks ahead – or Cyber Monday ones for that matter. Regardless, hope springs eternal; if you want to see some great sales on graphics cards then maybe this list will help ease your disappointment? We think it has been quite long enough as well!
Our recommended list of the Best Graphics Card
- AMD RADEON RX 6800 XT
- NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3080
- AMD RADEON RX 6900 XT
- NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3080 Ti
- NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3090
- AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
1. AMD RADEON RX 6800 XT
It seems weird the Radeon RX 6800 XT cost under $1000 when it launched this time last year. At The time,even that price seemed too expensive when it couldn’t outperform the similarly priced GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, but the price has now climbed stratospherically to well over a grand similarly priced GeForceRTX 3080 and RX 6600, but the price has now climbed stratospherically towel over a grand.
It’s based on AMD’s top-end Navi 21 GPU, with 72 compute units enabled, giving it 72 Ray Accelerators for ray tracing and a total of 4,608 stream processors. Like the Radeon RX 6900 XT, it also has 16GB of GDDR6 memory attached to a 256-bit wide memory interface. With a 2GHz(16GHz effective) memory clock, that gives it a total memory bandwidth of 512GB/sec.
That’s a long way behind the 760GB/sec of the RTX 3080 with its GDDR6X memory and 320-bit wide interface, but AMD has also equipped the Radeon RX 6800 XT with a massive 128MB of Infinity Cache to help close the gap, and it has 6GB more memory than the RTX 3080.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT clearly has an awesome amount of shader power at its disposal. Its best showcase is Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where it even beats the GeForce RTX 3090 at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440, and stays ahead of the RTX 3080 at 4K. If you enable Resizable BAR, it even beats the RTX 3080 Ti at 4K, while exceeding our ideal frame rate target in this game.
The Radeon also stayed in front of the GeForce RTX3080 in Doom Eternal The lower two resolutions, clocking up an average of 449fps at 1,920 x 1,080. It couldn’t quite beat it at 4K, but the difference was small. Performance in Metro Exodus was also strong, where the 6800 XT again stayed ahead of the RTX 3080 at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440, although there’s not much The Radeon RX 6800 XT fared better in Metro Exodus with ray tracing, achieving a playable result at 2,560 x 1,440, which is a decent achievement.
Again, though, the RTX 3080 is still faster, and you have the option to enable DLSS to squeeze out more performance. Conclusion If you don’t care about ray tracing, and your priority is fast frame rates, the Radeon RX between them at 4K.
Where the Radeon 6800 XT’s performance started to disappoint was when we enabled ray tracing. It couldn’t even hit a decent frame rate at 1,920 x 1,080 with Medium raytracing in Cyberpunk 2077, let alone higher resolutions, while the RTX 3080 averaged 68fps at these settings, and was also smoothly playable at 2,560 x 1,440 with DLSS enabled.
AMD has a resolution-scaling feature in the form of FidelityFX Super Resolution, but its GPUs don’t have any dedicated matrix processors (like Nvidia’s Tensor cores), so it works quite differently, with inferior image quality, and it’s not supported in any of our test games at the moment anyway.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT fared better in Metro Exodus with ray tracing, achieving a playable result at 2,560 x 1,440, which is a decent achievement. Again, though, the RTX 3080 is still faster, and you have the option to enable DLSS to squeeze out more performance.
If you don’t care about ray tracing, and your priority is fast frame rates, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is a Solid GPU It becomes a bit less competitive at 4K, but it beats the GeForce RTX 3080 in non-ray-traced games at 2,560 x 1,440 and 1,920 x 1,080. However, the fact that it can’t play a game such as Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing even at 1080p is a serious shortfall at this price, and the lack of a hardware-accelerated resolution scaling option hurts it too. It might have 16GB of memory, but the 10GB GeForce RTX 3080 still offers a better overall balance of performance.
2. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3080
Currently topping the ‘hardest GPU to find in stock’ charts is Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080. We eventually found one at cclonline.com going for $1,184, but that demonstrates an extreme hike in price. The Founders Edition originally cost $649 when it launched – that’s a price increase of $535.
When we last compared this GPU with the Radeon RX 6800 XT, back in Issue 211, it was a clear winner, offering a better balance of performance for a similar price. Now that it’s so expensive, the gap has closed a little, but the RTX 3080 is still (just) the better allround option.
It’s based on the same GA102 Ampere GPU as the top-end RTX 3090, but it only has 68 Streaming Multiprocessors enabled, giving it 8,704 stream processors,272 3rd-gen Tensor cores and 68 2nd-gen RT cores for ray tracing.
It also comes with fast GDDR6X memory running at an effective speed of 19GHz and attached to a 320 – bit wide memory interface, giving it a total memory bandwidth of760GB/sec.
The result is a GPU that’s adept at both rasterization and ray-tracing tasks, with its Tensor cores enabling a decent improvement in performance with the Letter Thanks to Nvidia’s Al-based DLSS resolution-scaling tech.
In terms of rasterization, the Radeon RX 6800 XT largely has the edge, particularly in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where it was well in front of the GeForce. The difference is substantial in this game at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440, but it’s also significant at 4K, where the RTX 3080’s 99th percentile result of 39fps is disappointing.
In our other games tests, the Radeon was generally ahead in non-ray-traced games, although the RTX 3080 still always managed playable results at 2,560 x 1,440, and the differences are small at 4K – the RTX 3080 even pulls ahead in Doom Eternal at 4K, despite only having 10GB of memory compared to 16GB on the Radeon.
If you don’t care about ray tracing then the Radeon RX 6800 XT is the better buy, but if you’re paying over a grand for a GPU, we think you should be able to turn on the eye candy too, and this is where the GeForce RTX 3080 pulls ahead. Its average was a good 13fps higher than that of the Radeon RX 6800 XT in Metro Exodus with High ray tracing at 2,560 x 1,440, and it was a massive 27fps higher Cyberpunk 2O77 with Medium raytracing at 1,920×1,080.
If you enable DLSS, the RTX 3080 will also happily play this game with Medium ray tracing at 2,560 x 1,440, maintaining a solid 63fps 99th percentile result and 80fps average. If there’s one disappointment with the RTX 3080, it’s that it can’t quite cope with 4K gaming in some tests. It couldn’t hit our 4K frame rate target in Metro Exodus or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and it couldn’t really handle Cyberpunk 2077 with Medium ray tracing and DLSS enabled either.
At its current price and miniscule stock level, it’s hard to recommend the RTX 3080. It does offer a better balance of rasterization and ray-tracing performance than the cheaper Radeon RX 6800 XT, but the latter has faster raw shader performance, and the RTX 3080 really struggles to justify its current price when it can’t quite handle 4I< gaming. If you’re committed to paying so much money for a GPU, you’re going to be disappointed by the RTX 3080 – it would be better to stump up for the RTX 3080 Ti instead.
3. AMD RADEON RX 6900 XT
As we climb into the next tier of graphics performance, you start to get slightly better value. That might sound like a bit of a laugh when we’re discussing a $1,350 graphics card, but the Radeon RX 6900 XT launched with a $999 price anyway, and was already going for $1,200 in our Issue 211 Labs test. Proportionally, its price hasn’t increased as far as the GPUs immediately below it.
There isn’t an enormous difference between the Radeon RX 6900 XT and the 6800 XT. Both cards have 16GB of 2GHz (16GHz effective) GDDR6 memory attached to a 256-bit wide memory interface, giving you a total memory bandwidth of 512GB/sec along with 128MB of AMD’s Infinity Cache. Both cards also use the same GA102 GPU clocked at the same frequency, it’s just that the Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU has 80 of its compute units enabled, compared to 72 on the 6800 XT. That gives it eight more Ray Accelerators, along with 512 more stream processors for a total of 5,120.
The result is a GPU that offers a chunk more parallel processing power, but doesn’t push up the power consumption. Indeed, there was a difference of just 2 W between the two cards in our test system, with the 6900 XT drawing over 50 W less than the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti at full load. The Radeon cooling requirements exceed the 6800 XT, though, with the AMD reference card having a wider heatsink design.
As with the Radeon RX 6800 XT, the 6900 XT is a monster in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It was the only card to hit our frame rate target at 4K this month at standard settings, and if you enable Resizable BAR, it averages 67fps with a 51fps 99th percentile result. Thanks to its formidable raw shader power, it also coped well with Doom Eternal, outperforming the RTX 3080 Ti at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560×1,440.Unlike the RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800 XT, the 6900 XT also hit our frame rate target in Metro Exodus at 4K, and it outperformed the former in Cyberpunk 2077 at Ultra settings at 2,560 x 1,440, with a great average of 79fps.
As with other RDNA2 GPUs, though, ray tracing is the Radeon RX 6900 XT’s problem, despite having 80 Ray Accelerators. It couldn’t even play Cyberpunk 2077 with Medium raytracing at 1,920 x 1,080, and it lacks a hardware-based Al resolution scaling system such as DLSS. It performed better percentile and 73fps average at 2,560 x 1,440 with High raytracing, but the RTX 3080 Ti was 18fps faster, plus it lets you even step up to 4K in this game if you enable DLSS.
In the current market, the Radeon RX 6900 XT is now surprisingly competitive. Its ray tracing performance can’t match Nvidia’s latest RTX GPUs, and it lacks DLSS, but it does have some awesome shader power. If you love Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, this card will play it smoothly with all the settings maxed out 4K.
The Radeon RX 6900 XT’s main problem is that Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti also hasn’t had the same sort of price bump as other GPUs, and is generally quicker at 4K and has much better ray-tracing abilities. If you really don’t care about ray tracing, this is a fast gaming card, but the RTX 3080 Ti offers a better balance for an extra $140.
4. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3080 Ti
While the RTX 3080 is often harder to find than rocking horse teeth, and other mixed metaphors, the RTX 3080 Ti gpu regularly turns up in stock. When it launched the 3080 Ti got off to a bad start with a $1,099 launch price, but thanks to Nvidia’s low hash rate technology, and a steady stream of stock, its price has ‘only’ gone up by around 50 percent rather than nearly doubling.
The RTX 3080 Ti enables 80 streaming multiprocessors (SMs) on its GA102 GPU, giving you 80 corresponding RT processors, 320 Tensor cores and 10,240 stream processors. That loads more than the 8,704 stream processors on the RTX 3080, and not far off the 10,496 in the RTX 3090. The RTX 3090’s 1695MHz boost clock is slightly higher than the RTX 3080 Ti’s 1665MHz, but there’s not much in it.
Like the RTX 3090, it also has a wide 384-bit memory interface, giving it a total
bandwidth of 912GB/sec with its 1188MHz (19GHz effective) GDDR6 memory. It only has 12GB of memory, compared to 24GB on the RTX 3090, but this doesn’t appear to hold it back – at 4K, the RTX 3080 Ti largely pulls ahead of the Radeon RX 6900 XT, which has 16GB of GDDR6 memory at its disposal.
With such a similar spec to the RTX 3090, the RTX 3080 Ti isn’t far behind it in most tests. The performance of the two GPUs was identical in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 4K, and while the RTX 3080 Ti couldn’t beat the Radeon RX 6900 XT in this test, it still hit our frame rate target, and enabling Resizable BAR will gain you an extra couple of frames per second too.
It’s at 4I< where the RTX 3080 Ti really shines, outperforming the Radeon RX 6900 XT in Doom Eternal and Metro Exodus, and, significantly, even enabling you to switch on ray tracing if you enable DLSS.
The RTX 3080 Ti hit our frame rate target in Metro Exodus with High raytracing and DLSS at 4K, and it wasn’t far off hitting it in Cyberpunk 2077 With Medium ray tracing and DLSS either. Its 99th percentile result of 44fps is pretty solid, and its average of 52fps is only 3fps behind the RTX 3090. Drop a few settings here and there, and it will be smoothly playable.
If you run your games at 2,560 x 1,440 you’re also in for a treat with this card – it averaged a massive 88fps in Cyberpunk 2077 with Medium ray tracing and DLSS at this resolution, only Ifps off the pace of the RTX 3090.
The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is hardly a bargain, with a price of nearly $1,500, but it’s the only card on test that nails every area of gaming, from rasterization to ray tracing, without demanding the silly price of the RTX 3090. If you’re paying over a grand for a high end graphics card, you want a card that can do it all, and that’s currently the RTX 3080 Ti if you can afford it.
5. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3090
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 was already hugely overpriced when it launched for $1,399, but the prices for RTX 3090 cards are now so over the top that it’s perfectly acceptable to point and laugh at them. The cheapest card we could find was going for $2,150 – that’s $660 more than the RTX 3080 Ti, and it really doesn’t get you $660 worth of extra performance.
In fact, that $660 (which could buy you an Alder Lake Core i7-12700K CPU and a Z690 motherboard), only buys you two extra streaming multiprocessors over the RTX 3080 Ti. That translates to 256 more stream processors and two more RT cores for ray tracing .It really isn’t worth it.
There are other factors bumping up the cost, of course. The RTX 3090 comes with a whopping 24GB of GDDR 6X memory clocked at 1219MHz (19.5GHz effective). However, our tests show that 12GB is fine for most people’s gaming needs at the moment, even at 4K, and the RTX 3080 Ti’s memory bandwidth is only slightly behind. The RTX 3090 is also the only current GPU that supports dual-GPU tech, meaning you can pair two of them together to improve performance. However, given the current lack of game support for SLI, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Other than the price, another downside to cramming so much hardware onto one PCB is that the RTX 3090 has hefty cooling and power requirements. You’ll need to measure up your case first if you want to install the monster Founders Edition card, and our system drew a massive 679W from the mains with the RTX 3090 running at full load – 153W more than with the RTX 3080 Ti.
But if you have money to burn, is it actually the fastest gaming GPU at the moment? The answer is largely ‘yes’. The RTX 3090 was beaten by the Radeon RX 6900 XT in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 4K, and even by the Radeon RX 6800 XT at2,560 x 1,440, but it otherwise leads the performance charts.
However, while it is indeed a little faster than the RTX 3080 Ti, it still doesn’t have enough power to make a meaningful difference to performance. It still can’t hit a 60fps average in Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with Medium ray tracing and DLSS, for example, nor can it get a 99th percentile result above 40fps in this game without DLSS.
We could almost forgive a GPU costing this amount of money if it actually offered a substantial bump in performance over the RTX 3080 Ti but the difference is miniscule for the extra cash involved. Arguably, the GeForce RTX 3090 is more useful for compute tasks than gaming, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not worth paying the extra money for the latter. The lack of a low hash rate (LHR) version means the price is likely to stay high as well.
Unless you’ve recently slain a dragon and shipped all its gold back to your house, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a GPU to avoid. Yes, it’s fast and has loads of memory, but the RTX 3080 Ti costs much less money and is almost as fast in real game tests. You don’t need 24GB of memory for today’s games, even at 4K, and the RTX 3090 draws a lot of power as well. If you want a 4K gaming GPU, save yourself some money and buy the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti instead.
6. AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming Graphics Card
If you’re looking for a graphics card to power your next PC, the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is one of our favorites. Powered by their new RDNA 2 architecture and armed with 24 Next-Gen Compute Units (NCU), this GPU delivers high performance in any application without compromising on gaming presets like The Witcher 3 or Rise Of Tomb Raider at 1080p resolution as well!
Today’s advanced video games are pushing the boundaries of visual fidelity and performance. The all-new AMD Infinity Cache combines with 12GB GDDR6 memory to deliver an experience like no other, at 1440p resolution!
Get more performance in select titles through new levels of communication between AMD Ryzen desktop processors and AMD Radeon graphics cards over PCI-E 4.0, which is an emerging high bandwidth bus standard for computing devices like computers to communicate with each other efficiently so they can share data quickly without having any bottlenecks along the way!
The 3D Active Fan is a great way to keep your system cool, without putting unnecessary strain on its power supply. With the semi-passive mode enabled and an LED indicator that will let you know when it’s time for maintenance or if anything goes wrong with the fan speed settings; this product has got everything needed in one package!
After giving our verdict on the sub-$1,000 GPU previously, this buying guide is dedicated to the cream of the crop – the top-end, 4K-capable GPUs that already cost a veritable arm and a leg when they were released, but now threaten to leave you with just your head and torso intact. If you’re willing to spend the cash necessary to get a top-end GPU, though, which one should you buy? Nvidia’s Low hash rate cards have lowered demand (a bit) over the past few months, while the price of AMD’s RDNA2 cards has steadily increased. Where does that Leave us now?
In order to make sense of the situation, we’ve tested five $1,000+ GPUs listed at the cheapest prices, and tested them in a number of games. As with last month’s test, none of them is an award winner at these prices, but our testing and analysis will show you which cards are worth buying if you can afford them, and which ones to look for if you’re buying a new system.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a high-profile and challenging game for even the latest GPUs. We run our own custom benchmark, which incorporates a 60-second drive around Night City recorded with Frame View. We run it at the Ultra preset with no ray tracing, and with the Medium Ray Tracing preset. You ideally want a 99th percentile result above 45fps with an average above 60fps.
Our second new test is the specially awesome Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. We run the built-in benchmark at the Ultra High preset with resolution scaling at 100 percent, recording the results with FrameView. Again, a 99th percentile result above 45fps and an average over 60fps will do the job.
Meanwhile, Doom Eternal is an undemanding game that scales superbly with more GPU power, making it great for monitors with a very high refresh rate. Again, we record the frame rate with FrameView. Finally, we run Metro Exodus with and without ray tracing, with the latter set to High.
All tests are conducted on an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X test rig with 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL3600MHz DDR4 memory, an Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming motherboard and Windows 10 Professional 64-bit.
Finally, we measure the total system power consumption of the whole test rig at the mains, while the GPU goes through three runs of our Metro Exodus ray-tracing benchmark at 2,560 x 1,440. We record the peak power draw of the whole system.