Whether you are upgrading an existing gaming rig or building a new PC, the graphics card (GPU) is one of the most integral components that ultimately decides your gaming performance. To help you achieve the best visual experience, high frame rates, and smoother gaming, we have covered all the best GPUs for gaming in this guide. We tell you about the highest-performing graphics cards from NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel at various price points.
We have recommended GPUs across a variety of price points such as mid-range, high-end, budget, and even sub-$200 entry level models; supporting up to 4K gaming. So, it doesn’t matter if you have only $200 to spend on a budget GPU, or if you are looking for the top-of-the-line performer, we have you covered.
Things to Remember Before Buying a Graphics Card
Before you decide on the graphics card you want to install in your PC build, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Your GPU will perform at different capabilities based on your setup, so make sure that the graphics card you wish to buy is suitable for your PC build. Firstly, the CPU should adequately support the GPU without causing bottlenecks. Do you play at 1080p? If so, then you don’t need a super high-end graphics card. Anything below 4K, and you start to see diminishing returns with the highest-end models of the latest generation GPUs. So, remember to research on the GPU’s capability based on aspects such as your monitor’s resolution, CPU performance, so you can avoid having a bottleneck, or getting an overkill GPU for your resolution.
- NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel all offer a different set of features, so remember to check which ones appeal to you. These include brand exclusive features like DLSS vs FSR , G-Sync & Freesync, etc. AV1 encoding is a new factor to consider, and available on all the latest models from the three GPU brands.
Apart from the points listed above, remember to ensure that your new GPU will be compatible with the existing PC build, by checking the power requirements against the overhead available in your power supply. There are other things to confirm too, such as the sizing, which we have talked about in our tutorial on how to install a graphics card. With that out of the way, let’s look at the best GPUs for gaming you can buy.
Top Graphics Cards (GPU) to Buy for Gaming in 2023
1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 – Best 4K Gaming Graphics Card
- Current Price: Starts from $1,799.99
- MSRP (at launch): $1599 (Founders Edition)
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 24GB GDDR6X 21 Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 2520MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 450W
- CUDA Cores: 16,384
- Transistor Count: 76,300 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 4 nm
The RTX 4090 is at the top of our list in the high-end GPU category, because it beats everything on the market in terms of all-out performance. With its insane TDP of 450W (requires 3x or 4x 8-pin connectors) and 4-slot sizing (for the FE variant), this graphics card is quite the behemoth. This is the most expensive GPU in this entire list, but also the fastest-performing graphics card in the world currently. It has up to 24GB of GDDR6X memory, which runs at an effective 21Gbps. How does it perform compared to the previous-gen flagship? Well, when it comes to 4K Gaming, in many games the RTX 4090 performs almost twice as fast when compared to the RTX 3090 Ti. To know more, read our dedicated comparison between RTX 4090 and RTX 3090 Ti here.
In terms of features, the RTX 4090 has many new improvements that the new Ada Lovelace architecture brought to the table. We will talk about what’s important to gamers, and the first one is NVIDIA DLSS 3. This is the new generation of DLSS that includes something called AI Frame Generation. For a long time, your GPU and CPU’s overall performance ultimately decided how much FPS you will get, right? Well, DLSS 3 leverages AI to create artificial frames, which then results in a higher overall FPS and contributes to the smoothness of your game. It has its merits and demerits but is definitely a revolutionary feature. Apart from this, the RTX 4090 also has AV1 encoding.
Before you jump ship on buying the RTX 4090, there’s something you must know. While it is literally the fastest GPU currently, you should really be playing at 4K to take full advantage of this video card. People who are using 1440p high-refresh rate monitors might also find this GPU appealing, but generally speaking, fewer games benefit from the RTX 4090 at resolutions below 4K. Basically, you can really see this card flex its muscles and showcase its complete capability at 4K – but anything lower and you will start to see diminishing returns. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 are so heavily GPU-dependent, that even at 1440p you can see a clear difference with the RTX 4090. But, like we said before, fewer games benefit from the RTX 4090 at the 1440p resolution.
Pros Cons World’s fastest graphics card for gaming & professional use Expensive but worth it for those looking for the best performer Best 4K Gaming GPU, futureproof for years to come Demands lots of power from the PSU, has proprietary power connector, massive overall size Overkill but appealing to users with high-refresh rate 1440p monitors Diminishing returns below 4K resolution Has innovative features like DLSS 3 & AV1 Encoding, NVENC makes it better for streaming compared to AMD
2. AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT – Best AMD Graphics Card
- Current Price: Starts from $879.99 for XT, $1079.99 for XTX
- MSRP (at launch): $899 USD for XT, $999 USD for XTX [Reference Design]
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 20GB GDDR6 20 Gbps (XT), 24GB GDDR6 20 Gbps (XTX)
- Boost Core Clock: 2394MHz (XT), 2499MHz (XTX) [Higher depending on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 300W (XT), 355W (XTX)
- Stream Processors: 5,376 (XT), 6,144 (XTX)
- Transistor Count: 57,700 Million (XT & XTX)
- Manufacturing Process: 5 nm + 6 nm
The RX 7900 XTX & XT graphics cards are both extremely capable GPUs, released at price points that are slightly more accessible to people. They’re both smaller & consume less power, compared to NVIDIA’s offerings. Hence, these GPUs support a wider range of PC cases and don’t require people to change their power supplies as long as it comes with 2x 8-pin power connectors. AMD has increased its ray-tracing performance quite a lot here, and while NVIDIA pulls ahead in certain titles, you can still expect competitive performance from these GPUs in the occasional cases you turn on ray-tracing in your games. To know more, read about AMD’s RDNA 3 GPU lineup here.
The RX 7000 Series also come with FSR 3, which will be released later this year with improvements featuring AMD’s Fluid Motion Frames technology, that they say will result in a 2x FPS increase compared to FSR 2. It is a competitor to NVIDIA’s DLSS 3 technology. You can read more about AMD FSR here. Another major highlight is support for DisplayPort 2.1, which is exclusively only present on AMD GPUs currently. The port will support up to 8K 165Hz, 4K 480Hz, or 1440p 900Hz making this GPU quite futureproof compared to other offerings. Users have also been able to overclock the RX 7900 XTX after which the results were quite close to the RTX 4090 in certain games.
When we talk about performance, these are capable of being excellent 4K graphics cards and you should definitely have a 4K monitor to pair with these GPUs with. Both these GPUs are quite appealing to 1440p high refresh rate gamers, but these GPUs are pretty overkill for that resolution in our opinion. Compared to the predecessors, the RX 6900 XT & RX 6950 XT, these graphics cards perform up to 1.5 to 1.7 times better respectively at 4K, in select titles, according to AMD.
Pros Cons AMD’s fastest next-gen offerings, available at better prices compared to NVIDIA Expensive, more so during stock issues Top-notch performance, great for 4K at Max Settings Diminishing returns below 4K resolution Overkill but appealing for 1440p High Refresh Rate gaming Competitive but worse performance with ray-tracing enabled Features AV1 Encoding and upcoming FSR 3 Wider compatibility with PC Cases & power supplies when compared to NVIDIA flagships DisplayPort 2.1 Support makes the RX 7000 Series very futureproof for upcoming monitors that will take advantage of it
Buy from Amazon: XFX Speedster MERC310 Radeon RX 7900 XT ($879.99, including on-going 12% discount), PowerColor Hellhound Radeon RX 7900 XT ($899.99), PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 7900 XTX ($1,079.99), Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 7900 XTX ($1,259)
3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
- Current Price: Starts from $1,259.99
- MSRP (at launch): $1,199 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 16GB GDDR6X 22.4Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 2505MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 320W
- CUDA Cores: 9,728
- Transistor Count: 45,900 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 4 nm
The RTX 4080 is another new graphics card released by NVIDIA under their RTX 4000 Series lineup, which you can read about here. Previously, there were going to be two models (one being 16GB, and the other being 12GB) but NVIDIA ‘unlaunched’ the lower-end variant citing confusion caused by two models existing under the same name. Nevertheless, the RTX 4080 16GB is an excellent graphics card, albeit very expensive. Although comparing it to its big brother, the RTX 4090, this one is more reasonably priced.
This GPU is also similar to the RTX 4090 in size, coming in at about 4 slots of width and a TDP of 320W. The MSRP is around 25% lesser than the flagship 4090, and accordingly, the specs have been cut down to 9728 CUDA cores with 16GB of GDDR6X instead of 20. It has the same new features brought upon by the new architecture like DLSS 3, which includes AI-powered frame-generation which improves your FPS like some kind of black magic. Apart from that, we see the AV1 encoder here too, which brings better streaming quality for content creators.
How does the RTX 4080 perform? Compared to its predecessor, the RTX 3080, NVIDIA claims that this graphics card can operate up to 2x faster. This GPU is a very capable performer and excellent for 4K Gaming, at maxed-out settings. As we said for other options in this category, we hope that you can pair this GPU with a 4K monitor. If you’re playing at 1440p and debating whether to get a 4090 or 4080, both are somewhat overkill at that resolution. Some might still buy it for 1440p high refresh rate gaming though, but in our opinion, the mid-range category of this guide contains the best 1440p GPUs. The RTX 3080 is great if you have the money for it. We highly recommend you consider it over the RTX 4090 since it is at a slightly more attainable price point. You get the same feature set, just with negligibly lower performance.
|Top-notch performance in gaming, great for 4K at Max Settings||Diminishing returns below 4K resolution|
|Overkill but appealing for 1440p high refresh rate gaming||Proprietary power connector on FE model|
|Not as power demanding as the 4090|
|Has innovative features like DLSS 3 & AV1 Encoding, NVENC makes it better for streaming compared to AMD|
4. AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT & RX 6900 XT
- Current Price: Starts from $759.99
- MSRP (at launch): $1,099 USD (6950 XT), $999 USD (6900 XT)
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 16GB GDDR6 18Gbps (6950 XT), 16GB GDDR6 16Gbps (6900 XT)
- Boost Core Clock: 2310MHz (6950 XT), 2250MHz (6900 XT) [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 335W (6950 XT), 300W (6900 XT)
- Stream Processors: 5,120 (both)
- Transistor Count: 26,800 Million (both)
- Manufacturing Process: 7 nm
The RX 6950 XT & RX 6900 XT were the previous-gen flagships released by AMD. Today, they are available under MSRP and offer a much better price-to-performance ratio, compared to many other GPUs. But is the performance impressive enough? Well, both of these offer very similar performance when compared to NVIDIA’s new generation mid-range offering, the RTX 4070 Ti. We will discuss that GPU next, but these rank ahead because of their value proposition. Both these GPUs support ray-tracing, but the performance is somewhat worse. But if you don’t turn on ray-tracing much, these GPUs make for an excellent choice. Depending on stocks, go for whichever model is cheaper. You might also get 3 bundled games with your purchase, as part of an AMD promotion.
These GPUs have a TDP of 335W and 300W respectively, and both offer 16GB of GDDR6 memory. Speaking of other features, the RX 6950 & 6900 XT support AMD ReLive, AMD FSR 2.0, and AMD Smart Access Memory. This generation was focused on bringing competitive performance but did not bring a new & better streaming encoder. Streaming quality is underwhelming for these GPUs, with the competing NVIDIA cards being better suited for that job. Still, to a gamer who focuses on performance, the RX 6950 & 6900 XT are highly appealing options. There are also people with new Ryzen 5 & 7 systems who could stream with their CPUs if needed.
The Radeon RX 6950/6900 XT are quite solid for 4K Gaming, even at half the prices of the current flagships. They are excellent cards at the 1440p resolution too, especially for high-refresh rate gaming. These GPUs are a clear recommendation from us in the mid-range category, given their current pricing and performance levels. Did you know that after AMD’s driver optimizations, the RX 6900 XT is closer to the RTX 3090 than it was before? So, the performance output of this card is pretty serious, and the only major cons that remain are lower ray-tracing performance and no high-quality streaming capabilities
Pros Cons Available under MSRP, one of the best cards when it comes to price to performance Streaming encoder not as good as NVIDIA Capable of 4K Gaming at Medium-High settings, quite viable for 1440p high-refresh rate gaming Competitive but worse performance in ray-tracing titles High VRAM quantity offered Close to RTX 3090 in performance with driver updates
Buy from Amazon: MSI Gaming X Trio Radeon RX 6950 XT ($759.99, including on-going 5% discount), XFX Speedster MERC310 Radeon RX 6950 XT ($728, including on-going 14% discount), ASRock OC Formula Radeon RX 6900 XT ($819)
5. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti – The Best 1440P GPU Right Now
- Current Price: Starts from $819.99
- MSRP (at launch): $799 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 12GB GDDR6X 21Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 2610 MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 285W
- CUDA Cores: 7,680
- Transistor Count: 35,800 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 4 nm
The RTX 4070 Ti is the most affordable next-generation GPU available from NVIDIA today. This is actually the same RTX 4080 that was ‘unlaunched’, and has now been re-branded to become the RTX 4070 Ti of this lineup. In terms of power, the RTX 4070 Ti has a TDP of 285W which is somewhat demanding but pretty good for the performance it offers you. It has 12GB of GDDR6X memory, which is plenty for today’s games.
Being part of the RTX 4000 Series, this GPU comes with DLSS 3 and its AI-Frame generation feature which helps in gaming, by providing additional smoothness to the experience through artificially generated frames. It’s definitely a very intriguing and revolutionary feature and makes the 4070 Ti highly appealing when put on top of its other advantages. Ray-tracing performance is better than AMD’s offerings in this range, and it also includes the AV1 codec for better-quality streaming. Even without AV1, NVIDIA’s streaming quality has been far more preferable.
This card is quite solid at 4K gaming, and an excellent choice for 1440p. High refresh-rate gamers will also love this GPU, because when paired with an adequate CPU and DLSS 3 turned on, the games that support the new feature will have very enjoyable frame rates. This is definitely the best 1440p GPU to consider – given its all-around performance, new RT hardware, DLSS 3 support, and the fact it’s the most affordable next-gen GPU from NVIDIA. A clear recommendation from us, based on the various new features this architecture brings. While the market’s response on this card has been controversial, it’s a solid pick in this range.
Pros Cons Most affordable next-gen GPU from NVIDIA, reasonably priced when compared to flagship variants Still expensive, launch price equal to RTX 3080 ($799) Capable of 4K Gaming at Medium-High settings, quite viable for 1440p high-refresh rate gaming Has innovative features like DLSS 3 & AV1 Encoding, NVENC makes it better for streaming compared to AMD According to NVIDIA, it’s better than a RTX 3090 Ti
Buy from Amazon: PNY XLR8 Gaming Verto Epic-X GeForce RTX 4070 Ti ($819.99, including on-going 5% discount), Zotac Trinity OC GeForce RTX 4070 Ti ($829, including on-going 6% discount), MSI Ventus 3X GeForce RTX 4070 Ti ($860)
6. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
- Current Price: Starts from $699.99
- MSRP (at launch): $599 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 8GB GDDR6X 19Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 1770 MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 290W
- CUDA Cores: 6144
- Transistor Count: 17,400 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 8nm
The RTX 3070 Ti is another last-gen GPU on this list, but it made this rank because of its competitive performance and feature-set it brings. If your budget doesn’t dictate enough money for the RTX 4070 Ti, this one is still an excellent choice being plenty of stock available at around the FE Model’s MSRP, and sometimes even lower, when GPU deals are taking place. Being an NVIDIA card, it includes features such as G-Sync, DLSS 2, the excellent on-board NVENC streaming encoder, and capable ray-tracing performance in games.
The power consumption is also somewhat lower than the flagship models, at a stock TDP limit of 290W which requires 2x 8-pin power connectors. We personally have an ASUS RTX 3070 Ti Strix as part of the test bench used in the i9-13900K review, and the card runs really quiet, cool, and under the TDP range too. The same goes for the FE and many AIB models – unless you heavily overclock this card, it will literally run at sub-70 degree temperatures without breaking a sweat.
While it only has 8GB of GDDR6X memory, the GPU packs enough punch for 4K gaming at medium settings and does very well as a 1440p card. Only a few games will require you to lower a few settings to reduce VRAM consumption. If you’re looking for something like a dedicated 1080p high-refresh-rate gaming GPU that also has good ray-tracing performance, the RTX 3070 Ti is definitely a great choice to consider.
Pros Cons Capable of 4K Gaming at Low-Medium settings, most suited for 1440p gaming 8GB VRAM feels less at this price NVENC makes it better for streaming compared to AMD Cost should be lesser being a last-gen GPU, but stock issues make the price higher Has come down in price and is available around MSRP during deals Ray-tracing performance is more optimized on NVIDIA
Buy from Amazon: ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Ti ($699.99), MSI Ventus 3X GeForce RTX 3070 Ti ($729.99, including on-going 9% discount), GIGABYTE Gaming OC GeForce RTX 3070 Ti ($748.23, including on-going 12% discount)
7. AMD Radeon RX 6700 & RX 6700 XT – Best Budget AMD GPU
- Current Price: Starts at $329.99 (non-XT) and $369.99 (XT)
- MSRP (at launch): Unknown for non-XT, $479 (XT)
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 10GB GDDR6 16Gbps (non XT), 12GB GDDR6 16Gbps (XT)
- Boost Core Clock: 2450MHz (non-XT), 2581MHx (XT) [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 175W (non-XT), 230W (XT)
- Stream Processors: 2304 (non-XT), 2560 (XT)
- Transistor Count: 17,200 Million (both)
- Manufacturing Process: 7 nm
The RX 6700 & 6700 XT are awesome GPUs at the prices they are sold currently. With the XT variant being on par in performance with the RTX 3070, and sometimes better, we love this GPU for its bang-for-the-buck pricing and availability at deal prices. Also, many of the models you buy could have promotional offers going on, which include two free games. It’s quite an efficient card only having a 175W TWP for the non-XT, and 230W for the XT variant.
It has its usual features like FreeSync and AMD Smart Access Memory technologies. Ray-tracing performance is not as good as the competing cards from NVIDIA, but it works well enough if you wish to enable it. NVIDIA’S NVENC is also a superior streaming solution compared to AMD’s VCE encoder. Then again, there are people who already have multi-core Ryzen CPUs that they could stream with, and also those might not turn on ray-tracing as much. So nonetheless, these are excellent choices to consider. There’s also the RX 6750 XT at a slightly higher price if you can extend your budget.
What these cards are really amazing at, is performing above expectations. For the price, they have become one of the most value-for-money GPU options available in the current market. You also get plenty of VRAM at 10GB and 12GB of GDDR6 memory respectively for both models, so you can turn up the texture quality easily in your games. This card is enough for 1440p gaming, and extremely capable of being a 1080p high-refresh-rate gaming GPU, making it one of the best affordable GPUs available in this price range.
Pros Cons Available under MSRP, one of the best cards when it comes to price to performance Streaming encoder not as good as NVIDIA Capable of 4K Gaming at Low-Medium settings, most suited for 1440p gaming Competitive but worse performance in ray-tracing titles High VRAM quantity offered Close to RTX 3070 in performance with driver updates
8. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti & RTX 3060 – Best Budget NVIDIA Graphics Card
- Current Price: Starts at $359.99 (Non-Ti) and $455.99 (Ti)
- MSRP (at launch): $329 (Non-Ti), $399 (Ti) [Founders Edition]
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 8GB GDDR6 14Gbps (3060 Ti), 12GB GDDR6 12Gbps (3060)
- Boost Core Clock: 1777 MHz (Non-Ti), 1665 MHz (Ti) [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 170W (Non-Ti), 200W (Ti)
- CUDA Cores: 3584 (Non Ti), 4684 (Ti)
- Transistor Count: 12,000 Million (Non-Ti), 17,400 Million (Ti)
- Manufacturing Process: 8 nm
The RTX 3060 Ti & RTX 3060 is from the previous gen of NVIDIA 30-series cards, but they have come down in price considerably since the crypto-mining days are over. They are currently available for prices that are slightly higher than the Founder’s Edition MSRP, but you could find them at deal prices sometimes. These are one of the most efficient cards in the 30 Series lineup. They have a stock TDP of 200W & 170 W respectively, and unless you’re playing very intensive titles, the GPU remains well under the power consumption limit. The VRAM offered here is 8GB for the RTX 3060 Ti Model, and 12GB for the RTX 3060 Model. If you’re confused as to why the higher-end model has less VRAM, do remember the 3060 has a 192-bit memory interface, while the 3060 Ti has faster VRAM as it features a 256-bit interface instead.
Many models will run quite cool & silently at their stock profiles, and if you buy triple fan models with more power connectors there is a decent OC potential too. Both of these GPUs are well suited for 1440p, especially the Ti model, but you might need to turn down the settings a bit to get smoother gameplay in more intensive games. Entry-level 4K Gaming is possible too here, but don’t expect much unless you’re playing less demanding titles. Both these GPUs offer a good overall proposition when you consider the performance combined with NVIDIA’s advantages, like in ray-tracing or streaming scenarios. Those who wish to play at 1080p at high refresh rates will love how this GPU performs.
The RTX 3060 Ti model performs similarly to the RTX 3070, and the lower-end 3060 variant is plenty good for today’s games. With features such as DLSS, G-Sync, NVIDIA NVENC for streaming, and satisfying performance in today’s RT-enabled Games, both of these become compelling options in this range. While we would have liked to see higher VRAM on the 3060 Ti, it’s still very fast and things work out well in modern games. Only in a few games, you’ll have to turn some settings down if VRAM consumption is over 8GB. Considering everything, right now, the RTX 3060 & RTX 3060 Ti are the best budget graphics cards from NVIDIA.
Pros Cons Capable of 1440p Gaming at Medium-High settings, quite viable for 1080p gaming Should be cheaper, still sold above FE model’s MSRP in most markets 12GB VRAM on 3060 Model, albeit at slower speeds Fewer triple-fan variants available at good prices Runs really efficiently, cool & quiet graphics card Ray-tracing performance is more optimized on NVIDIA
Buy from Amazon: GIGABYTE Gaming OC Triple Fan GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GDDR6 ($455.99, including on-going 21% discount), ZOTAC Twin Edge Dual Fan GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GDDR6 ($459.95, including on-going 13% discount)
9. AMD Radeon RX 6600 & RX 6600 XT – Kickass Cheap Graphics Card from AMD
- Current Price: Starts at $249.99 (non-XT) and $299.99 (XT)
- MSRP (at launch): $329 USD (non-XT), $379 (XT)
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 8GB GDDR6 14Gbps (non XT), 8GB GDDR6 16Gbps (XT)
- Boost Core Clock: 2491MHz (non-XT), 2589MHz (XT) [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 132W (non-XT), 160W (XT)
- Stream Processors: 1792 (non-XT), 2048 (XT)
- Transistor Count: 11,060 Million (both)
- Manufacturing Process: 7 nm
The Radeon RX 6600 & RX 6600 XT are the fastest GPUs you can find under the $300 range. They are available well under MSRP and even have ongoing promotions where you can get two bundled games for free with your purchase. The TDP is 132W for the lower-end variant and 160W for the XT one. Both of them require a single 8-pin power connector and run quite efficiently at their stock settings. It also has 8GB GDDR6 memory which is in both models.
Being part of the RX 6000 Series these GPUs feature the usual support for things like FSR, AMD Smart Access Memory, and Radeon Anti-Lag. AMD’s streaming encoder didn’t get any major updates in this generation, and while they have improved things in the updates, this card is simply not very well-suited for those who wish to stream. Nonetheless, it is really fast and also has support for ray-tracing if you wish to enable it. However, ray-tracing performance is not as good when comparing these GPUs to their NVIDIA counterparts. There’s also the RX 6650 XT that you can consider if you’re okay with extending the budget.
In terms of performance, as we said this is the fastest entry-level GPU on this list. Getting this kind of performance in the entry-level price range will surely surprise you – this is a killer GPU for 1080p gaming, so good that we would consider the RX 6600 & RX 6600 XT the sweet spot for 1080p gamers. For 1440p too, you can get away with smooth frames in many optimized games, or if you lower the settings in the more intensive titles. If you want to consider 4K, then you could play titles at that sweet UHD clarity but don’t expect any crazy performance numbers from a GPU of this class. You might find it hard to believe that we are talking about 4K gaming in the entry-level segment of GPUs, but this GPU packs a lot of punch for its sub-$300 price. Both these GPUs are one of the best cheap graphics cards you can buy today.
Pros Cons Available under MSRP, one of the best cards when it comes to price to performance Streaming encoder not as good as NVIDIA Capable of 1440p Gaming at Low-Medium settings, perfect for 1080p gaming Competitive but worse performance in ray-tracing titles Only requires single 8-pin power connector on both models Good amount of VRAM (8GB) for the price
Buy from Amazon: XFX Speedster SWIFT 210 RX 6600 ($249.99, including on-going 11% discount), Powercolor Hellhound RX 6600 ($279.99), XFX Speedster SWFT 210 RX 6600 XT ($299.99), ASRock Challenger RX 6600 XT ($320.10)
10. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 – Cheapest RTX Graphics Card
- Current Price: Starts from $279.99
- MSRP (at launch): $249 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 8GB GDDR6 (14Gbps)
- Boost Core Clock: 1777MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 130W
- CUDA Cores: 2560
- Transistor Count: 12,000 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 8 nm
The RTX 3050 is the cheapest graphics card from NVIDIA, and it is an entry-level model of the RTX 30 Series. With a stock TDP of just 130W, many of its AIB models will definitely fit into most people’s existing rigs. It requires a single 8-pin PCI-e connector and the power consumption is definitely much higher than the predecessor, the GTX 1650. So, while it might not be ideal for office PC power supplies, it has enough performance to justify the higher TDP. It has 8GB of GDDR6 memory, which is pretty good considering you could only get this kind of VRAM in higher-end GPUs a few years ago.
You get all the usual features of the RTX 3000 Series such as DLSS 2, G-Sync, NVIDIA’s excellent NVENC streaming encoder, and being an RTX card it has support for ray-tracing. How well does it work in the most intensive ray-tracing titles though? You’ll definitely want to turn on DLSS and lower the graphics settings a bit in your games, but if you really love ray tracing and want it to be on in your games, this GPU can handle it quite decently. This is the cheapest ray-tracing GPU, and while the RTX 2060 is around the same price, this has more VRAM and runs more efficiently.
The RTX 2060 is a good alternative to this, if you can find it at a good price, and your PC can support the higher power requirement. But remember, this RTX 2060 has 6GB of memory which might start to feel less in games that take advantage of higher VRAM. When we consider the performance of the RTX 3050, it is well suited for 1080p gaming and could pull off decent performance at 1440p if you lower the settings. Many optimized titles will work surprisingly well at higher resolutions, including older titles. The overall performance is pretty good. Compared to the previous-gen GTX 1650, the RTX 3050 is around 2x faster. An excellent choice for many gamers, with plus points such as NVIDIA’s streaming encoder & ray-tracing capabilities.
|Readily available around MSRP pricing||Fewer triple-fan variants available at good prices|
|Capable of 1080p Gaming at Medium-High Settings, good enough for entry-level VR too|
|Ray-tracing performance is more optimized on NVIDIA, plus it’s the most affordable graphics card with ray-tracing support|
|Good amount of VRAM (8GB) for the price|
|NVENC makes it better for streaming compared to AMD|
Buy from Amazon: PNY Verto Dual Fan RTX 3050 ($279.99, including on-going 14% discount), MSI Ventus Dual Fan RTX 3050 ($299.99, including on-going 23% discount), GIGABYTE GAMING OC Triple Fan RTX 3050 ($309.99, including on-going 18% discount)
11. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
- Current Price: Starts from $239.99
- MSRP (at launch): $229 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 6GB GDDR6 14Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 1785MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 125W
- CUDA Cores: 1408
- Transistor Count: 6,600 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 12 nm
The GTX 1660 Super is another last-gen pick and was released sometime after the RTX 20 Series, to cater to the lower price points. This ‘Super’ variant performs similarly to an RTX 2060, so its only disadvantage is that it doesn’t have the RT cores necessary to support ray tracing. Like the RTX 2060, this one has 6GB of VRAM. It’s good enough for 1080p, but you won’t be maxing out textures on recent games with this GPU. In terms of power consumption, it sits at around 125W and will need a single 8-pin on most models. It’s not a good pick for upgrading office PCs, but there’s a good chance that your existing PC build’s power supply will easily be able to support this GPU as an upgrade.
Apart from no ray-tracing support, it also doesn’t support NVIDIA’s new DLSS feature. However, AMD FSR works universally across GPUs so you still have the option of an AI-based anti-aliasing setting that you can turn on in your games, for better frame rates. You do get a very good NVENC encoder here still, with equal streaming capabilities to the other RTX 30 Series GPUs of the lineup. That does make this GPU an extremely appealing option for those who are looking to get a high-quality stream.
How does the GTX 1660 Super perform in today’s games? If you don’t max out everything and play at 1080p Medium to High settings, this card will still perform quite admirably in many games. In more optimized titles, you could max out the quality and even increase the resolution sometimes. The GTX 1660 Super is a very good option to consider as your next graphics card, as long as you’re okay with no support for ray-tracing and DLSS.
Pros Cons Readily available around MSRP pricing No ray-tracing or DLSS support Capable of 1080p Gaming at Medium Settings, still supports entry level VR gaming Includes Turning-based NVENC encoder for awesome streaming quality 6GB VRAM offered. Worse than having 8GB, but much better than relying on 4GB
Buy from Amazon: ZOTAC Gaming Dual Fan Super Compact GeForce GTX 1660 Super ($239.99, including on-going 17% discount), ASUS TUF Gaming Dual Fan GeForce GTX 1660 Super ($269.99, including on-going 18% discount), MSI Ventus XS OC Dual Fan GeForce GTX 1660 Super ($269.99, including on-going 25% discount)
12. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 – Most Popular GPU in Steam Survey
- Current Price: Starts from $179.99
- MSRP (at launch): $149 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 4GB GDDR5 8Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 1665MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 75W
- CUDA Cores: 896
- Transistor Count: 4,700 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 12 nm
The GTX 1650 is a very popular GPU, and if you look at the Steam’s Hardware Survey of December 2022 it’s actually used by most Steam users currently. It overtook the GTX 1060 recently which was previously at the top of this survey. Well, considering that so many people still use it, is it still viable in 2023? For most games, yes. While you’ll have to turn the settings down to meet adequate performance targets, it’s not really a bad performer and we definitely think this GPU will work well for users under a strict budget. It is a sub $200 card making it the cheapest option on this list.
With a TDP of just 75W, you could easily install this GPU as a major upgrade to many office PCs. It doesn’t have any demanding power requirements at all, so most power supplies can run this with ease. Not every model of this GPU requires a power connector from the PSU either, so it can definitely run off the PCI-e slot’s power limit too. If you do have a 6 or 8 pin PCI-e power connector in your PSU, we recommend buying a model that does require a power connector, so you can extend the power limits and get better performance out of the GTX 1650.
This GPU doesn’t come with many of the next-gen features that NVIDIA cards offer, like ray-tracing support or DLSS. But, it still supports AMD’s FSR (it works universally), so you can still increase your FPS output to a very satisfactory number in demanding titles by using the FSR Performance or Balanced setting. The GTX 1650 is a good enough option to consider, and while you will be making a few sacrifices, if the budget doesn’t dictate any other choice, you can get this GPU and be quite happy with the purchase. Just optimize the graphical settings of your games and turn on FSR if needed, and this GPU could last you longer than what you’d expect.
Pros Cons Readily available around MSRP pricing, very affordable with its sub $200 prices No DLSS support, can’t expect ray-tracing at this price Capable of 1080p Gaming at Low-Medium Settings Most models have previous-gen NVENC encoder which is comparatively worse at streaming Runs at just 75W, many models don’t come require 6/8 pin PCI-e connector Not good enough for VR Can last longer than you’d expect with lower settings in games and FSR enabled Newer titles might have issues with 4GB VRAM
Bonus Gaming Graphics Card: Intel Arc A770
- Current Price: Starts from $412.48
- MSRP (at launch): $329 USD
- VRAM & Effective Memory Clock: 16GB GDDR6 16Gbps
- Boost Core Clock: 2400 MHz [Depends on AIB]
- Thermal Design Power (TDP): 225W
- Xe Cores: 32
- Ray Tracing Units: 32
- Transistor Count: 21,700 Million
- Manufacturing Process: 6 nm
The Intel Arc A770 is the bonus picks of this buyer’s guide. We had been waiting to talk about this GPU at the end, because it’s more of a wildcard pick that might not be suitable for many people. The A770 (and its younger brother, the A750) are both GPUs with a TDP of 225W, and they require a 1x 6-pin + 1x 8-pin connection on the Intel’s reference design model. They’re not as big as some of the monstrous sizes we have seen recently, so compatibility is good with many PCs. Intel has focused a lot on making these Arc GPUs an affordable, high-performance graphics cards in the mid-range/budget segment.
The Arc A770 has 16GB of GDDR6 memory. You get a good amount of features on Intel Arc – like support for Intel Xe Super Sampling, Ray Tracing, and even AV1 encoding, which makes it as capable as the latest & greatest of NVIDIA & AMD when it comes to streaming quality. Read more about the Intel Arc in this article, where we tell you more about the architectural design of the GPU & its various features. The lower-end variant, the A750, has 8GB of GDDR6 instead, although both of them are just as fast, unlike the 3060 & 3060 Ti NVIDIA models
What about performance? Well, the A770 is a very capable performer, just not at everything. Older titles that use DirectX 9 don’t perform as per expectations, but Intel has been improving things with driver updates. Under the best case scenarios, these are excellent GPUs for gaming at 1440p (medium to high settings), and more than enough for 1080p. But many games, for example Star Citizen and Tarkov, have performance issues on Intel Arc GPUs. So, you’ll have to research into whether the Arc is suitable for the titles you are going to be playing. Otherwise, the Intel Arc GPUs are a pretty good contender from Team Blue that could have made this list, if it wasn’t for the mixed results people have been having with it. It also doesn’t support VR properly, which is fixable through drivers, but remains to be a major con for now.
Pros Cons Extremely competitive performance in optimized titles Poor VR support (fixable with drivers) Good amount of VRAM (16GB) for the price Enough games are having performance or stability issues which makes Intel Arc a hard bargain for most users Includes AV1 Encoder for streaming, just like the new high-end AMD & NVIDIA GPUs Driver issues, slowly improving in time Includes features like Intel XeSS, Ray-Tracing support, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
It could, but it completely depends on the manufacturing side of things. Some GPUs currently are still priced above the MSRP, while some are sold actively way under their launch price. The crypto-mining craze is over, and GPU stock issues have been resolved mostly. But, we still don’t see attractive prices a lot of models. New cards that will come out later this year can also cause GPU prices to drop further in 2023.
The RTX 4090 is by far the best graphics card in the world currently. The power consumption is 450W, and it’s also a quite a big graphics card. It does output insane performance numbers which makes 4K high refresh-rate gaming seem like a piece of cake.
This completely depends on how the GPU has been running so far. Don’t overclock it beyond what is considered safe. And, monitor the temperatures ensuring it runs without overheating. You should also replace the thermal paste when needed, and clean the fans regularly. A well maintained graphics card can last anywhere from 5 to even 10 years.
Stock issues, combined with an increased demand of GPUs, is causing them to be pretty expensive nowadays. Even the prices of the new-gen cards from AMD & NVIDIA are pretty high, if you compare them to MSRP of last-gen cards. People are eagerly waiting for mid-range and budget categories to come out. After that, we can expect GPU prices to fall more and become more accessible.
While Intel has some catching up to do in terms of optimization, both NVIDIA & AMD have similar feature-sets when you compare the latest generation of GPUs. Still, one brand might have a more favorable feature-set than the other, so the best GPU brand depends on the user’s needs and preferences.
You can check if a GPU supports ray-tracing after observing its specs. Currently, everything that has the RTX prefix supports ray-tracing. AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series support ray-tracing too, but with slightly worse performance when compared to the competing cards from NVIDIA. Intel Arc also has dedicated RT hardware for ray-tracing support.