Remember that the best graphics cards can vary wildly depending on what kind of PC you’re planning to build, so finding the best one can be hard. Luckily, we went ahead and gathered together all the best graphics cards on the market, at every price point and use case. So, before you go out to pick up one of the best graphics cards, we’ll help you find the perfect one for your rig.
Graphics cards fall into two distinct classes: consumer cards meant for gaming and light content creation work, and dedicated cards meant for professional workstations and geared toward scientific computing, calculations, and artificial intelligence work. This guide, and our reviews, will focus on the former, but we’ll touch on workstation cards a little bit, later on. The key sub-brands you need to know across these two fields are Nvidia’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon RX (on the consumer side of things), and Nvidia’s Titan and Quadro, as well as AMD’s Radeon Pro and Radeon Instinct (in the pro workstation field). As recently as 2017, Nvidia had the very high end of the consumer graphics-card market more or less to itself, and it still dominates there.
Best Entry-level Graphics CardsThe first category will be devoted to the absolute cheapest graphics cards that you can get. These are highly basic but can handle most games, usually achieving acceptable framerates of around 30 FPS in 1080p, though the performance will, naturally, vary based on the game.For the most part, these cards should only be your first choice if:You are on an extremely tight budgetYou only intend on playing eSports or games that aren’t very demandingBelow, you will find the two best entry-level graphics cards that you can get at the moment, one from AMD and one from Nvidia.
Best Enthusiast Graphics CardsAnd finally, we get to the very best consumer graphics cards, the ones that settle for nothing less than flawless performance in every resolution, including 4K. And while these cards will hardly be able to push a steady 60 FPS consistently in every newer title, they are as close as you can get to that kind of performance in such demanding without using multiple GPUs.In this category, we once again include two cards, both of which come from Nvidia – one Pascal model and one Turing model.
In terms of best value, we’ve provided two different looks at what the cards offer, both in frames per second per monetary unit. The top charts show the graphics cards in isolation, which can be useful if you have a PC and you’re only looking to upgrade your GPU. The bottom charts look at framerates in terms of total system cost, using a decent (i7-8700K) build as a reference point. Neither approach is a perfect representation of value, but the two give a better view of how the cards rate.
Over the last two years, at times buying a video card felt like dishing out for a rare flower bulb, not a PC component, amid some 21st-century tulip frenzy. The cryptomining crazes of 2017 and 2018 drove wild demand for graphics horsepower—the kind of computing muscle best suited to amateur and professional digital currency mining—and thus for certain video cards. Prices for even modest mainstream cards flew sky-high. For a time, the market went downright bonkers. Some cards traded for double or more than their list prices, if you could find them in stock at all.
Best High-End Graphics CardsMoving on, we enter the high-end, featuring graphics cards that master 1440p gaming and are fully capable of taking on 4K. This category is dominated by Nvidia cards, as AMD has consistently been unable to produce any competitive GPUs beyond the mid-range.True, the RX Vega 56 and 64 came out in 2017 and initially seemed to present solid high-end competition for Nvidia, but due to the expensive HBM2 memory used in their design, their prices quickly shot through the roof due to high demand, and they are not as readily available as Nvidia cards right now.
If your goal is a high-end graphics card (we define that, these days, as cards at $500 or more) for playing games at 4K, and you plan to use the card for three to five years, the upper end of the market is mostly Nvidia’s game at the moment. But that could shift as 2019 progresses, with AMD’s next-generation “Navi” cards expected later this year. Based on a new 7nm manufacturing process, these cards could change AMD’s fortunes in the graphics space. The Radeon VII, its first 7nm-built video card, is a competent offering for 1440p/4K play and content creators, but it doesn’t quite topple the RTX 2080 in most respects. (See our face-off AMD Radeon VII vs. Nvidia RTX 2080: Which High-End Gaming Card to Buy?)
Cooling solutions: Many graphics cards are available with custom coolers that lower temperatures and fan noise. The vast majority perform well. Liquid-cooled graphics cards run even cooler, but require extra room inside your case for the tubing and radiator. Avoid graphics cards with single-fan, blower-style cooling systems if you can help it, unless you have a small-form-factor PC or plan on using custom water-cooling blocks.
We also don’t really know what’s going on with AMD’s next-gen Navi cards either. They could be another bunch of high-end cards like their recently released Radeon 7, or they could be an entire suite of budget to mid-range cards. We just don’t know. It’s possible we may see some more announcements in June when Computex takes place over in Taiwan, but we may well have to wait until Gamescom in August like Nvidia did with their original RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti launch last year. It’s just too early to say. read more here