Finding good quality graphics cards has become much more difficult with the latest release available in the market. So, our expert tested and listed below the best graphics cards available in the market right now.
With the arrival of AMD’s RX 6000 series, we now know how the high-end graphics cards look for this GPU generation. At the pinnacle of performance, you’ve got Nvidia’s RTX 3090 sparring off with the RX 6900XT. That’s a fierce match, but the Nvidia card takes the win.
Performance doesn’t come cheap—the RTX 3090 will set you back $1,499, somehow making the $999 RX 6900 XT look cheap. Well, definitely cheaper. As ever it’s the more affordable cards that have the biggest impact on PC gaming as whole. Or they would, if it were possible to find any of them in stock.
It’s important to know exactly what you’re after before attempting any risque back alley purchases. And that’s where I come in, PC Gamer’s resident graphics card fixer.
Back with the introduction of the GTX1080 Ti, gaming at over 60Hz frame rates while at a 4K resolution has been a possibility with Nvidia’s high-end kit. With the introduction of the RTX 30-series, we’re looking at 4K performance right the way down to the RTX 3060 Ti.
Not only is it cheaper than ever to buy a 4K-capable graphics card, it’s possible to pick up a decent 4K gaming monitor for less. The entire ecosystem for high-fidelity gaming is getting cheaper by the day.
But Nvidia is only one side of the coin. AMD went from zero to hero in the high-end, and its latest RX 6000-series graphics cards are more than a match for those pesky eight million or so pixels required every frame at 4K.
List of Top rated Best Graphics Cards
Here is our roundup for the top 10 rated graphics cards for gaming, 4k and other pro tasks in 2021.
- GeForce RTX 3080 (Best Graphics Card)
- Radeon RX 6800 XT (Best High Rated Graphics Card)
- GeForce RTX 3070 (Best Budget 4K Graphics Card)
- GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (Best Cheapest Graphics Card)
- Radeon RX 6900 XT (Best Expensive Graphics Card)
- GeForce RTX 3090 (Best Graphics Card For Pro Gamer)
1. GeForce RTX 3080 (Best Graphics Card)
The RTX 3080 houses a monster of a GPU in the 8nm GA102. With 8,704 CUDA cores, 68 RT cores, and272 Tensor cores, it breezes past the Turing generation and makes ray tracing look easy. It’s an ultra enthusiast card, and as such it often makes the RTX 3090 and RX 6900 XT look a little silly.
It’s hardly a cheap graphics card though, starting out at $699, but it swiftly dispatches both the RTX 3090 and RX 6900 XT in terms of performance per penny. It’s also more than a match for AMD’s RX 6800 XT, which is a little cheaper at $649. On top of that you’ve got the best of the RTX feature set that Nvidia has been building brick-by-brick over the past few years. Reflex, ray tracing, DLSS, and Broadcast all sweeten the deal for our favorite graphics card today.
The RTX 3080 sets the standard for ray tracing performance. While the ‘holy grail’ of rendering is still a detriment to overall framerates, the RTX 3080 makes swift work of it, especially with Nvidia’s Al super sampling, DLSS, turned on.
2. Radeon RX 6800 XT (Best High Rated Graphics Card)
There are few finer alternatives to Nvidia than the RX 6800 XT. A highly competitive card that comes so close to its rival, with a nominal performance differential to the RTX 3080, it is truly an enthusiast card worth consideration for any PC gamer with 4K in their sights.
It’s a tough call between it and the RTX 3080, but the latter just pips AMD to the post with the final touches a la RTX. The RX6800 XT delivers high 4K performance and a hefty VRAM increase over the RTX 3080 while being $20 cheaper. However, it’s easy to argue that an extra $20 dropped on the RTX 3080 is a small price to pay for greater 4K performance, much improved ray tracing, and DLSS. All available today, and with two years’ worth of developer support in the bank.
Yet we’re still big fans of what AMD has managed to accomplish with the RX 6800 XT, a return to form that injects some much needed competition into the GPU market, and offers a worthy red team alternative for any high-end gaming PC build.
3. GeForce RTX 3070 (Best Budget 4K Graphics Card)
A Budget 4K graphics card which doesn’t require too much fiddling. Perhaps the only high-end Ampere that’s anything close to reasonably affordable, the RTX 3070 is also impressive for its ability to match the Turing graphics card, the RTX 2080 Ti, for less than half of its price tag.
At $499 it’s still a significant sum—we’re talking next-gen console equivalent pricing here—but it’s hardly exorbitant when compared to PC gaming’s top graphics silicon today. In return, you’re gifted a 4K-capable graphics card which doesn’t require too much fiddling to reach playable, if not high, framerates. And it’ll absolutely smash it at 1440p, no question about that.
Its gaming performance credentials are undoubtedly impressive, but what makes the RTX 3070 our pick for the sensible PC gaming connoisseur is the entire Nvidia ecosystem underlying the RTX stack today. DLSS is a neat trick for improving performance, with only a nominal loss in clarity, and other features such as Broadcast and Reflex go a long way to sweetening the deal.
4. GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (Best Cheapest Graphics Card)
The cheapest Ampere to date, the RTX 3060 Ti is a close relation to the RTX 3070. While both utilize the same GA104 GPU, the RTX 3060 Ti has fewer SMs enabled. Memory capacity and capability remain the same at 8GB GDDR6 across a 256-bit bus.
While 17% less capable in core count, the RTX 3060 Ti makes up for it with some judicious GPU Boost frequencies. That partially explains why the RTX 3060 Ti can be within 17% to just single digits off the pace of the RTX 3070, despite operating at a silicon disadvantage. Not bad for a $399 card.
If you haven’t already done the maths, the RTX 3060 Ti is 20% cheaper than the RTX 3070, and so performance per pound is on the up with the diminutive graphics card. That’s why we love it; it’s a great GPU for the full stack of resolutions, and has decent ray tracing capability to boot, courtesy of its second-generation RT cores.
If the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 seem out of reach, the RTX 3060 Ti makes for a decent stand-in.
5. Radeon RX 6900 XT (Best Expensive Graphics Card)
The RTX 3090 may have sat unchallenged at the top of graphics performance at launch, but we knew it wouldn’t be long until AMD rustled together a challenger. The RX 6900 XT hopes to knock Ampere’s finest from its perch on high and send it spiralling back down to Earth.And it gets kind of close, too, with 4K performance a little off the pace of the RTX 3090—and all for one third off the asking price.
For that reason, it’s simply the better buy for any PC gamer without any ulterior motives of the pro creator variety. But there’s a reason it’s not a number.
one in our graphics card guide today, and that’s simply due to the fact it’s not that much better than an RTX 3080, and sometimes not at all.
But the RX 6900 XT does come with assurances that the RTX 3080 can’t make, such as its 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which is a whole 6GB greater than the 10GB of (faster) GDDR6X memory on the green team card. The RX 6900 XT is a cheaper alternative to the RTX 3090.
6. GeForce RTX 3090 (Best Graphics Card For Pro Gamer)
This colossal graphics card is powerful, but far more fitting of Titan credentials than GeForce ones.It’s not built with your average gamer in mind, instead it’s targeting creative professionals and compute intensive application acceleration, and that’s why it doesn’t come with your average price tag, either.
As immense in price tag as it is in stature, the question on everyone’s lips is whether it’s worth it. For gamers, no. It’s not much quicker than the RTX 3080. But for pro-creators, for whom time is money, and where lower render time has a direct correlation with how much they can earn, the RTX 3090 comes into its own.
It’s for that reason that we’ve placed this card last on our list, but since we know PC gamers will undoubtedly spend ungodly quantities of cash just in order to save face and ensure bragging rights, it’s still worth a mention. After all, it’s the most powerful gaming graphics card on the planet right now, whether it’s a great deal or not.