4 Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2023
When it comes to finding the best graphics card for your needs, it’s important to consider more than just raw power. The graphics card is the most crucial component of any gaming PC, as it serves as the beating heart that drives the entire system. Without a powerful and reliable graphics card, all other components become secondary and cannot deliver the best gaming experience.
Spending a lot of money on the most powerful GPU doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get the best value for your money. Instead, you should consider your specific needs and find a card that provides the best performance for your use case.
Thankfully, finding the right graphics card has become easier in recent years. With top models from Nvidia and AMD becoming more accessible, you can easily find the right GPU for your gaming PC or workstation. However, this doesn’t mean that every graphics card is a good choice for you. Let’s explore how to get the most value for your money when shopping for a graphics card.
Also Read: Graphics Card Under $100
I will help simplify your decision-making process by presenting the best graphics card options for your upcoming PC build. Whether you have a budget of $200 for an average graphics card or are willing to spend up to $2000 for a high-end GPU, I have provided some quick recommendations for cards that excel at various resolutions, such as 1080p, 1440p, and 4K gaming.
Best AMD GPU for Gaming?
- Best for 4K: 7900 XTX
- Best for 1440p: RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070 Ti (If you can spend more)
- Best for 1080p: MSI RTX 3060
Best NVIDIA GPU for Gaming?
- Best for 4K: RTX 3080 (Budget option) or RTX 4090 (If you can spend more)
- Best for 1440p: RX 6700 XT
- Best for 1080p: RX 6600 or RX 6650 XT (If you can spend more)
AMD is the winner when it comes to 1080p gaming – AMD 6650XT is even better than Nvidia RTX 3060 in terms of performance.
Overall Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2023
1. AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX
Core Clock: 2510 MHz (2,680 MHz boost) | Memory: 24GB GDDR6 | Outputs: 2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort
The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is the current flagship graphics card from AMD, and it comes packed with features that make it a powerful contender in the market. With its latest RDNA 3 architecture, it has 33% more memory and a lot more potential compute power.
This translates to a 32% boost in rasterization tests and a 42% boost in ray tracing games, making it a clear winner over the previous generation RX 6950 XT. Despite its high price of, the demand for the GPU has been overwhelming, and it has been selling out almost immediately.
The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a great option for anyone who is looking for a high-end GPU that delivers top-notch performance without increasing power usage or graphics card size dramatically. Although there have been some issues with the reference 7900 XTX coolers, AMD has promised to replace affected cards, and the problem seems to have been resolved.
The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a powerful graphics card with a base clock speed of 2.3GHz, which can boost up to 2.5GHz. Although it falls short compared to NVIDIA’s RTX 40 series GPUs in terms of core count, it makes up for it with faster clock speeds and higher memory bandwidth.
The 24GB of GDDR6 on a 384-bit bus provides an impressive memory bandwidth of 3,500GB/s, making it perfect for demanding games and applications. AMD recommends using the RX 7900 XTX with a Ryzen CPU to unlock additional benefits related to memory.
Overall, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a powerful graphics card that is worth considering if you’re looking for a flagship GPU that delivers excellent performance without breaking the bank.
It is an excellent option for professional tasks, and comes with all the high-end features, including ray tracing support and AMD’s Radeon Super Resolution. If you’re willing to pay the high price tag, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a great option to consider.
- Excellent overall performance
- Abundant VRAM and cache
- Ideal for non-real-time workloads
- Impressive SPECviewperf results
- High starting price
- Significantly lower real-time performance
- Presently out of stock or excessively priced
2. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090
Core Clock: 2,520 MHz | Memory: 24GB GDDR6X | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1
3x DisplayPort 1.4a
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is a powerhouse of a graphics card that is sure to please anyone who demands the best performance possible. It’s the fastest card that Nvidia has to offer, thanks to its brand-new Ada Lovelace architecture.
This card is targeted at the most demanding users who want the best gaming and professional content creation experience available on the market. It provides a stunning performance on a high refresh rate 4K monitor.
The RTX 4090 is the first NVIDIA GPU with support for hardware AV1 encoding and the first to support DLSS 3.0. The GPU is also suitable for professional content creation workloads like Blender, Octane, and V-Ray, where it is about 80% faster than the RTX 3090 Ti.
In terms of gaming performance, the RTX 4090 is simply unbeatable. It outperforms its closest competitor, the AMD RX 7900 XTX, by a significant margin, especially in ray tracing games where it performs more than double the speed of the RX 7900 XTX.
However, to take advantage of the RTX 4090’s full potential, you’ll need a high-refresh-rate 4K monitor. At lower resolutions, the performance advantage over other cards diminishes.
The advantage of RTX 4090 over RTX 3090 Ti shrinks to 30% at 1440p and only 16% at 1080p. Though it’s still more than double the performance at 1080p in demanding ray tracing games. Moreover, the RTX 4090 is about 25% faster in traditional rasterization games than AMD’s new RX 7900 XTX, but it costs about twice as much.
Apart from gaming, the RTX 4090 is also an excellent choice for professional content creators. It’s almost 80% faster than the previous generation RTX 3090 Ti in programs like Blender, Octane, and V-Ray. The RTX 4090 also offers significant gains in artificial intelligence tasks, making it a great choice for machine learning applications.
One thing to keep in mind is that the RTX 4090 is a very expensive card, with a price tag of more than $2,000. It’s also power-hungry and requires a high-capacity power supply unit to work properly.
Despite these drawbacks, the RTX 4090 is an excellent investment for anyone who wants the absolute best performance available and can afford it.
Overall, if you are looking for raw performance, then the RTX 4090 is the current champion. It is an excellent investment for gamers who are willing to pay a premium for a graphics card that offers stunning performance, as well as professionals who need the best possible performance in content creation workloads.
It will remain best until the next iteration of the card comes out. The high price point is the main reason we put it on the second number.
Also Read: Dual graphics cards
- Undoubtedly the fastest GPU available
- Outstanding for 4K and perhaps even 8K gaming
- Robust ray tracing hardware
- DLSS 3
- 24GB is perfect for content creation tasks
- Requires significant power and carries a premium price
- Current market conditions have driven the cards to sell for 25% over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price
- Demands a fast CPU and a substantial power supply unit (PSU)
3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Core Clock: 1,665 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a game-changer in terms of graphics cards. It has impressed gamers with its exceptional value for money, offering high-quality 1440p gaming at an affordable price.
With the GA104 GPU and 4,864 CUDA cores, it outperforms the previous gen 2080 Super and is only slightly slower than the RTX 3070 but costs 20% less. The clock speed of 1.4GHz and boost of 1.7GHz are impressive, and the 8GB GDDR6 memory is enough for most games, although the lack of VRAM is a concern for some.
Although the 256-bit bus is appreciated, the lack of VRAM remains the primary concern. While 8GB is sufficient for most games at present, some newer games are starting to exceed this threshold. Lowering the texture quality may be a workaround, but the difference may not be noticeable. However, one may regret having to compromise on texture quality in the future.
The only downside to the RTX 3060 Ti is its 8GB VRAM, which may not be enough for some games that push beyond that threshold. However, the 256-bit bus is a plus. The RTX 3060 Ti features the GA104 GPU with a total of 4,864 CUDA cores, more than even the RTX 2080 Super. The clock speed of 1.4GHz, boost of 1.7GHz, and memory bandwidth of 448GB/s are also impressive.
While AMD’s RX 6700 XT and RX 6650 XT give the RTX 3060 Ti some competition, the RTX 3060 Ti is still faster than the RX 6650 XT and better in ray tracing games.
The RX 6700 XT offers 50% more memory and slightly higher performance in standard games, but it also costs more. The RTX 3060 Ti’s TDP of just 200W means it can be installed in a mid-range PC without requiring a power supply upgrade.
The RTX 3060 Ti has a memory bandwidth of 448GB/s, which is comparable to more powerful hardware. It also supports 38 ray tracing and 4,864 processing cores, allowing you to crank up the visual settings and even play around with ray tracing in select games.
With a TDP of just 200W, you can install it in a mid-range PC without upgrading the power supply. The RTX 3060 Ti is capable of handling even the most recent PC games, making it a great choice for gamers.
Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a brilliant little graphics card that offers amazing value for money. It may not be suitable for 4K gaming, but it is a powerhouse for 1440p gaming. Its performance rivals that of the RTX 2080 Super while keeping its price tag incredibly affordable for most people.
Its sleek design and excellent cooling make it a stylish addition to any gaming setup. If you’re in the market for a new graphics card, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the best option for most people.
Also Read: Newbies Guide to Power Supplies
- Offers a reasonable value for its overall performance (fps/$)
- Outstanding for real-time (RT) rendering at 1440p when used in combination with DLSS
- Available for less than $400
- 4K is a a stretch even with DLSS
- 8GB VRAM can be limiting
- Now two years old
4. AMD RX 6650 XT
Core Clock: 2,635 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Outputs: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1
The AMD RX 6650 XT is a budget-friendly graphics card that offers impressive performance. It uses the Navi 23 architecture and is a smaller and less expensive chip that still performs well, despite having fewer CUs, memory interface width, and Infinity Cache sizes.
Compared to its predecessor, the RX 6600 XT, the RX 6650 XT offers slightly more performance at almost the same price. However, the card comes with only 8GB of VRAM, which may be a concern for some users.
The RX 6650 XT delivers around 15% better framerates at 1080p, which is impressive considering the memory bus has been cut in half to just 128 bits. However, the card struggles with ray tracing, with several games tested with DXR support not even reaching 20 fps at 1080p.
The RTX 3060 from Nvidia was found to be about twice as fast, even without using DLSS, and typically got an additional 40% faster with DLSS Quality mode.
The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT is a decent update to the RX 6600 XT, boasting faster clocks that result in a minor increase in performance. However, it appears that the pricing of this card was not set correctly, as it only makes sense to purchase it if other options, such as the RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3060, are unavailable.
Overall, the RX 6650 XT is a decent graphics card that offers good performance. However, it may not be the best choice for users looking for a card that can handle ray tracing well. The 8GB of VRAM may also be a concern for some users, especially those who want to future-proof their system.
Nonetheless, it is a good option for those who want to play games at 1080p without compromising on performance.
Also Read: 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K
- Frequently outperforms the RTX 3060
- Designed for energy efficiency
- Provides solid performance at 1080p resolution
- Can be purchased for a price well below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)
- Only equipped with 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit bus, which may be limiting in certain situations
- Provides lackluster performance in ray tracing tasks
Every gamer asks himself the same question, how vital a graphics card is for better gaming. GPUs are somewhat overrated by players, but for a gaming PC, the graphics card is the essential hardware component. Unfortunately, when it comes to the performance of a graphics card, gamers are confused about the features and specifications that affect its performance.
The description of GPUs given by manufacturers is often so overwhelming with technical stuff that it’s hard for someone to make a choice or compare them. Thus, the best solution is that you search for reviewers on google rather than manufacturers. The performance of GPUs is calculated with different aspects, and many sites will let you compare cards with almost every possible detail.
In this guide, we will break down some of the most important aspects of how to choose a graphics card according to your requirements. We will try to provide you a basic understanding of what is the difference between the different models and what kind of performance they deliver. Whether you are thinking about buying the AMD RX 5700 or one of the best Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, we will help you select the one that fits your requirements.
Understanding the Brands
There are countless graphics cards from different companies you may not even hear of. Like when I started building a gaming PC, I only knew about AMD and Nvidia. This guide will help you understand the difference between GPUs and graphics cards, and once you know the difference, choosing the best option for yourself won’t be a problem.
GPU is a processor that handles the rendering of graphics in games. The actual difference in the performance of a GPU won’t be much in different models. Pick a GPU that is relevant to your gaming needs and compare it with the GPUs you are looking at.
Intel has shown its interest in entering the graphics card market this year. While there are only two big names AMD and Nvidia with the biggest shares in the market right now, both companies have some excellent performing graphic cards, and both have their niches in which they perform better than each other.
- In terms of sheer raw power, graphics cards with Nvidia GeForce GPU quickly takes the lead. Powerful GTX 1080 Ti by Nvidia can deliver hands down the best performance over any card that AMD has to offer, and Nvidia still has more powerful cards than that. Performance-wise the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the best video card out there for gaming. These high performing cards by Nvidia don’t come cheap and will cost you more than $1000, and the price can go higher for more advanced ones.
- Most of the gamers try to build the whole PC under $1000, and these cards by Nvidia alone cost that much money. Gamers with a limited budget are not going to spend that much money on a graphics card alone. AMD is not on the same level as Nvidia in delivering high performance, but they have enough power at a lower price. AMD provides the best value for gamers who are seeking out the best in a budget.
How much space does your motherboard have for a graphics card? Space in your motherboard will have an impact on which graphics card you will be able to fit there. A larger graphics card will lessen the space for other hardware components on your PC. Make sure that your PC has enough space for that card before making a purchase. Fortunately, there aren’t that many choices available.
- Usually, graphics cards need a dual-slot for connection, and you will need two PCIe ports and two expansion slots to function. It seems like a lot, but you should know that the gaming graphics card is the most crucial hardware component in a gaming PC that you are going to fit in. Getting the right card is worth it, even if you have to make sacrifices with other components.
- Some graphics card takes 2.5 slots and doesn’t need the 3rd PCIe slot, but they cover half of the 3rd slot leaving not enough space for another component to be connected. This is where you got to be creative to use utilize all of the slots and make most of the area.
- Some graphics cards take 2.7 slots, and they are bigger than the cards that take 2.5 slots. They will leave even less space to use the 3rd PCIe slot.
GPU should be your number one priority when building a Gaming rig rather than the motherboard. Scale up your motherboard when you want a specific card to get the performance you wish to rather than scaling down the graphics card because graphics cards are a more important part of your PC when it comes to the quality of gaming than the motherboard.
Which slot should you choose for your GPU? Sometimes it matters, and sometimes it doesn’t. The slot that is closer to CPU is considered the primary slot, and you should try to install your graphics card there. Make sure you PC casing supports the card you are purchasing.
Dual Card Setups
Some of the latest motherboards have the capability to install two cards and combine their power and performance. We believe that installing a single powerful card is better than installing two weaker ones. But if you already have two cards and don’t want to purchase a new one. Then you can buy a motherboard that will happily fit both cards.
How much should you spend on a graphics card for your gaming PC? It all depends on your requirements. You will get what you pay for, but high-end graphics cards won’t matter to the majority of the gamers. We’ll break the most common graphics cards down below in different price ranges.
- Cheapest price range includes the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1030 and the AMD Radeon RX 550. Both graphic cards didn’t make it to our list because they are not up to the mark in terms of performance. These cards are for casual gamers who occasionally play games and want the cheapest card to have some fun.
- Entry-level graphics cards can handle almost all the best and latest games, but you shouldn’t expect outstanding performance at higher settings. Entry-level cards include the AMD Radeon RX 560, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, and GTX 1050 Ti model, and you can expect a price range of $100 to $200. These cards can efficiently deliver 1080p HD performance.
- There is barely a little difference between the entry-level graphic cards and the AMD Radeon RX 570, AMD Radeon RX 580, and AMD Radeon RX 590. While the NVIDIA GTX 1060 and NVIDIA GTX 1070 represent the first substantial financial disparity between NVIDIA and AMD card design. In either case, these mid-range cards are the types of cards we recommend for most gamers. While you’ll still mostly be gaming in 1080p, they offer about the smoothest performance you could want at Full HD as well as compatibility with the current generation of VR headsets.
- The market is getting day by day, crowded with high-end graphics cards. The NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti and 1080 Ti stands between mid-range and high-end cards, while the GeForce RTX 2060, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, and GeForce RTX 2080 sit comfortably in the expensive high-end category. This is where AMD’s starts to the left behind, RX Vega 56 and the RX Vega 64 are the best examples. These graphics cards can easily play games and stream video on144 Hz curved gaming monitor at 60 FPS.
- Top shelf cards are not for every gamer, but the pro gamers and those who can afford it. These top of the line best graphics cards require heavy specs in all of your gaming PC. These cards efficiently cost over $1000. This is where the NVIDIA is the lone wolf with little to no competition. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and the NVIDIA Titan V provide the best power and graphics performance, and these are the only GPUs reasonably good for playing games at decent 4K settings. They also come with the latest ray tracing technology.
One of the advantage is that they have their dedicated ram, which allows your CPU to make the most out of its processing power. This helps it render graphics smoothly. RAM is used for multi-purposes like storing textures, performing anti-aliasing, and post-processing. To play games on full 1080p or 14400p, 4GB of VRAM is more than enough. 8GB of VRAM is overkill, and you don’t need that much of a RAM to play even the latest games on 4K settings.
How much memory is required for the best performance? A general thumb of rule is that if you have a graphics card with 2GB VRAM of then, you need 4GB of RAM. So, you need double the amount of VRAM, but that is just for the best performance. If you are playing games on 4K settings, then make sure you have the right Monitor for the job.
GPU clock speed indicates how fast the cores of a graphics processing unit (GPU) are. Clock speeds are an indicator of what sort of performance you’ll get out of your graphics card. All the cards use standard core GPUs, which makes it easier for you to know exactly what you’re going to get from a model name.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX will perform better than NVIDIA GeForce GTX. Every GPU has its clock speed mentioned for easier understanding. There’s an almost entirely direct correlation between clock speed and frame rate for each video resolution. Overclocking helps you squeeze out better performance from a graphics card. The function of these cores is to render graphics; therefore, the higher the GPU clock speed, the faster the processing.
Cooling systems are used to prevent GPUs from overheating. Manufacturers use different techniques and components to cool their GPUs. Usually, fans are used to avoid the overheating problem, but some companies also use heat sinks and some other factors to keep the heat to a minimum. There are plenty of sites that let you evaluate the cooling system in terms of numbers, which makes it easier for you to compare the cooling system of different cards.
Also Read: Water Cooling Kits for Gaming PC
Ray Tracing & A.I.
The latest new technology is ray tracing and artificial intelligence, but you will need a top of the line card like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti to get the most of it. Nvidia has included this in the latest graphics cards, but AMD doesn’t have it in any of the cards at all. These new features have started to become noticeable in GeForce RTX 2070 models.
Nvidia is using these new features for its marketing strategy to sell its top of the line graphics card. At this point, it’s tough to tell how important these technologies are in the cards. RT is a new rendering process that allows for more elegant and realistic lighting and rain effects. Artificial intelligence can similarly be used to make asset generation more spontaneous and detailed.
Let’s see how many manufacturers use these features in the upcoming months. For now, we recommend that you consider performance and don’t worry about these new features. By the time these new technologies become common, it will be time for you to upgrade your card for the best performance anyway.