The Best Graphics Cards for Every Budget in 2021


The newest graphics playing cards from AMD and Nvidia aren’t model new, however they’re nonetheless the very best graphics playing cards you should buy. In 2021, there are a number of choices for 4K, 1440p, and 1080p avid gamers, every of which delivers excessive body charges within the newest AAA video games — do you have to rating a GPU at an inexpensive worth, that’s.

Though not the most recent of the bunch, the extremely coveted Nvidia RTX 3080 continues to be our go-to suggestion in 2021. That stated, AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 playing cards supply some robust competitors.

We are able to’t ignore the elephant that’s been within the room for over a yr. The GPU scarcity continues to be in full swing, making it not possible to purchase practically any graphics card, not to mention top-of-the-line ones. We don’t need to suggest an overpriced, underpowered graphic card, so let our rating function a shortlist do you have to get fortunate when shopping for a graphics card.

The perfect graphics playing cards at a look

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

Why do you have to purchase this: Though nearly half the worth of the 3090, Nvidia’s 3080 delivers near-comparable efficiency at 4K.

Who’s it for: Players with a 4K show who need to play the newest AAA video games at excessive body charges.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080:

The RTX 3080 is finest fitted to the 4K gamer who doesn’t need to compromise. It outpaces final gen’s RTX 2080 Ti by a major margin whereas launching at about half of the worth. It may keep above 60 frames per second for 4K gaming in titles like Murderer’s Creed Odyssey, providing easy gameplay in even essentially the most demanding video games.

Its options shouldn’t go unnoticed, both. This Nvidia graphics card comes full of the newest ray-tracing cores for correct gaming lighting, and you may leverage the Tensor cores for dynamic upscaling by way of Nvidia Deep Studying Tremendous Sampling (DLSS). The RTX 3080 gives sufficient efficiency to warrant a purchase order, and these two options push it over the sting.

The Nvidia RTX 3080 is the very best graphics card for 4K gaming. It hits a candy spot within the high-end market, delivering sufficient energy to deal with essentially the most demanding AAA titles with out bogging down the cardboard with additional reminiscence that isn’t helpful for almost all of avid gamers. The RTX 3080 is a real gamer’s graphics card, and it’s the go-to possibility in 2021.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition graphics card.

Why do you have to purchase this: The RTX 3070 is the candy spot in Nvidia’s present line-up, providing up sufficient energy to push some video games to 4K with out the worth of an RTX 3080.

Who’s it for: The mainstream PC gamer that desires a number of energy at an inexpensive worth.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070: 

Though the RTX 3080 represents the very best bang on your buck in Nvidia’s present line-up, the RTX 3070 isn’t far behind. It’s a 1440p monster, permitting you to make the most of excessive refresh price shows with ease. It may push some video games to 4K, too, although you may battle to keep up 60 fps in video games like Murderer’s Creed Valhalla with max settings.

For extra affordable video games, the RTX 3070 is a monster. It may blow previous 60 fps at 4K in video games like Fortnite and Battlefield V, all whereas clocking in considerably much less expensive than the RTX 3080. It’s a graphics card for the PC gamer that’s prepared to compromise in a couple of demanding video games to avoid wasting cash.

Why not the newer RTX 3070 Ti? Nicely, the RTX 3070 represents a greater worth. On common, we discovered about an 8% enchancment with the Ti mannequin in our RTX 3070 Ti overview. That’s not unhealthy for a $100 premium, however the RTX 3080 represents a 14% enhance over the RTX 3070 Ti. Due to that, we suggest sticking with one of many non-Ti fashions.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang holding the RTX 3090 graphics card.

Why do you have to purchase this: The RTX 3090 is a monster of a graphics card, that includes Titan-esque efficiency at a (comparably) reasonably priced worth.

Who’s it for: PC fans who need the very best of the very best and have the finances to purchase it.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090:

Nvidia went a unique route with its 30-series GPUs, changing final gen’s Titan RTX with the RTX 3090 (that’s what we discovered, not less than, in our RTX 3080 versus 3090 comparability). It’s a monster GPU, sporting 24GB of GDDR6X reminiscence, a large 10,496 CUDA cores, and a lift clock of 1.7GHz. In order for you the very best of the very best and don’t thoughts paying for it, the RTX 3090 is finest fitted to you.

You need to solely purchase the RTX 3090 in the event you can make the most of its large quantity of reminiscence, although. The RTX 3080 Ti is nearly an identical in 4K gaming efficiency. The perfect case for the RTX 3090 is in the event you use it for gaming with some productiveness duties on the facet. It may shred rendering and 3D animation duties, in addition to CAD packages.

When you favor Group Purple, the RX 6900 XT is a superb various to the RTX 3090. The 6900 XT really holds the GPU overclocking world document, and AMD not too long ago launched a liquid-cooled model that runs even sooner than the bottom mannequin. That stated, the RTX 3090 comes with options like DLSS and ray tracing.

Simply don’t purchase the GeForce RTX 3090 hoping to fit it into an exterior GPU enclosure. It’s a monster of a graphics card that can make even bigger circumstances really feel small.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition on a pink background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Tendencies

Why do you have to purchase this: The RTX 3060 Ti punches nicely above its weight class.

Who’s it for: 1440p avid gamers who need the entire visible bells and whistles.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti:

The RTX 3060 Ti is a particularly highly effective graphics card, contemplating its spot in Nvidia’s Ampere gaming lineup. Beneath the RTX 3070, the 3060 Ti nonetheless delivers 8GB of GDDR6 reminiscence on a 256-bit bus and options solely a slight discount in clock pace — 1.67GHz on the 3060 Ti versus 1.72GHz on the 3070. It’s finest fitted to 1440p avid gamers that need excessive body charges with out the excessive worth.

In benchmarks, the RTX 3060 Ti scores above final gen’s RTX 2080 Tremendous. The cardboard can ship above 70 fps in demanding titles like Purple Lifeless Redemption 2 with Extremely settings at 1440p. In video games like Management, you may make the most of options like DLSS to spice up your efficiency, too.

The RTX 3060 Ti shines as the very best graphics card for 1440p. It’s extremely succesful, providing body charges north of 60 fps in demanding AAA titles, even with all of the sliders turned up. Ray tracing would usually be an issue for a card like this, however due to DLSS, you may nonetheless hit efficiency marks with all of the visible bells and whistles.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

AMD RX 6600 XT sitting on a table.

Why do you have to purchase this: It’s the very best 1080p gaming graphics card round, and secondhand fashions are cheaper than the Nvidia RTX 3060.

Who’s it for: The 1080p gamer with a excessive refresh price show.

Why we picked the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT: 

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT isn’t nice worth — however in a time when GPU choices are so overpriced, that hardly issues. What issues for the RX 6600 XT is that it outperforms Nvidia’s RTX 3060 by an honest margin, and on the secondhand market, it’s as a lot as $150 cheaper.

In a mean of 5 gaming benchmarks, the RX 6600 XT supplied about an 11% enchancment over the RTX 3060 at 1080p. Throughout our benchmarks, it averaged 117.6 fps, making it an excellent possibility for 1080p avid gamers with a excessive refresh price show. It’s merely top-of-the-line 1080p graphics playing cards you purchase proper now.

Even in a recreation as demanding as Cyberpunk 2077, the Radeon RX 6600 XT can put up above 60 fps with the entire sliders turned up. Aside from ray tracing, after all, which stays one of the crucial demanding gaming duties for a graphics card. The RX 6600 XT doesn’t deal with ray tracing in addition to its Nvidia counterpart, however neither card is actually reduce out for it.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Black and silver AMD RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

Why do you have to purchase this: The RX 6800 XT is as highly effective because the RTX 3080, and much more highly effective in the event you overclock it.

Who’s it for: AMD followers who’re inquisitive about overclocking.

Why we picked the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT:

The Radeon RX 6800 XT is AMD’s reply to the RTX 3080. It’s positioned to compete straight with Nvidia’s flagship card, nevertheless it’s full of wildly completely different specs. Essentially the most fascinating spec is 16GB of GDDR6 reminiscence. Nvidia’s card makes use of sooner reminiscence, however AMD’s card gives extra. You should purchase this card if you wish to play in 4K however don’t need the worth tag of an Nvidia GPU.

For efficiency, the Radeon RX 6800 XT matches the RTX 3080 in most titles with ray tracing turned off. When you’re prepared to overclock your graphics card, the 6800 XT really edges forward. AMD’s Infinity Cache that reveals up on the RX 6800 XT permits the cardboard to hit very excessive clock speeds, leading to critical efficiency good points. It’s finest fitted to avid gamers who don’t care about ray tracing, although.

Ray tracing adjustments issues a bit, as DLSS provides an enormous increase in efficiency to Nvidia playing cards. That stated, AMD launched the Tremendous Decision function as a part of the FidelityFX suite, which is analogous to DLSS. The suite additionally consists of a wide range of different visible enhancements, similar to Distinction Adaptive Sharpening, which restores sharpness to a picture after temporal anti-aliasing is utilized. The Radeon RX 6800 XT can make the most of all of the FidelityFX options.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous

EVGA GTX 1660 graphics card on an orange background.

Why do you have to purchase this: The GTX 1660 Tremendous can nonetheless maintain up immediately, even with how far graphics playing cards have come.

Who’s it for: 1080p avid gamers searching for a discount.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous:

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous appears quaint in comparison with the Ampere playing cards of immediately, however don’t underestimate it. The Nvidia GTX 1660 Tremendous is the very best finances GPU possibility in 2021. It performs excellently at 1080p, delivering a body price above 30 fps in extremely demanding video games like Metro Exodus. When you’re prepared to show down a couple of settings, you may hit a lot increased body charges.

Though the GTX 1660 Tremendous can maintain up within the video games releasing immediately, it may well’t use visible options like ray tracing. The cardboard isn’t an RTX card like the opposite Nvidia choices on this checklist, so it doesn’t include devoted ray-tracing cores or assist for options like DLSS. Nonetheless, for a finances possibility that may annihilate most video games at 1080p, it’s laborious arguing with the GTX 1660 Tremendous. Don’t get tripped up by the PCIe model or different specs, both. The GTX 1660 Tremendous is a tremendous match for a contemporary gaming PC.

We suggest sticking with the GTX 1660 Tremendous. The GeForce GTX 1650 is shut within the lineup, nevertheless it’s far off by way of efficiency. The Nvidia GTX 1660 Tremendous is above the minimal specs for the Oculus Rift S, too, so it’s an amazing possibility in the event you’re inquisitive about VR gaming.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 cellular

Razer Blade 15 laptop running Battlefield V.
Dan Baker/Digital Tendencies

Why do you have to purchase this: It gives nice efficiency with out including undue bulk to trendy laptops.

Who’s it for: Energy avid gamers on the transfer.

Why we picked the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 cellular:

Nvidia’s RTX 3060 is the newest iteration of its leaner cellular gaming options, however that doesn’t imply it lacks energy. It gives a better variety of CUDA cores than earlier generations of Nvidia cellular chips and delivers a large efficiency enchancment over the previous technology.

Though the RTX 3060 falls behind its full-scale desktop and cellular counterparts, its actual power lies in not outputting anyplace close to the extent of warmth generated by big-scale GPUs. Meaning you’ll nonetheless discover the RTX 3060 in laptops which might be modern and skinny and don’t weigh an excessive amount of. You possibly can see the outcomes on this older Razer Blade that we beforehand utilized in testing that weighs simply 4.5 kilos and gives efficiency that in years passed by you’d solely discover in chunky gaming machines that weigh near double that.

There are some stable alternate options on this area, with each AMD and Nvidia providing cellular choices with better and lesser efficiency relying in your wants. In our opinion, RTX 2070 Max-Q gives all of the efficiency most customers might need, all in a low-profile chipset. It’s an amazing resolution for many who need optimum video efficiency from a smaller laptop computer. When you’re a gamer or simply need some enhanced graphics in your small type issue laptop computer, it is a nice alternative.

Questions on the very best graphics playing cards

How have you learnt which graphics card will finest fit your wants?

Discovering the graphics card that can finest fit your wants comes all the way down to the decision of your show and the sorts of video games you play. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is nice for 4K, for instance, nevertheless it’s overkill for 1080p the place the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT shines. The decrease your show’s decision, the much less you might want to spend on a graphics card.

Past that, take into account the video games you need to play and at what body charges. You should utilize the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous for every thing from Counter-Strike: World Offensive to Borderlands 3, however you may have to step as much as the GeForce RTX 3070 to play video games like Murderer’s Creed Valhalla. 

How a lot do you have to spend on a graphics card?

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to dedicate about 30% of your finances to a graphics card for a gaming PC. For 1080p, it’s best to spend round $300 to $400; for 1440p, round $400 to $500; and for 4K, $600 or above. The Radeon RX 6600 XT targets 1080p at $379, the GeForce RTX 3070 is nice for 1440p at $500, and the GeForce RTX 3080 is the right video card for 4K at $700.

Graphics playing cards are vastly overpriced in 2021, although. Because it stands now, you may count on to pay double what it’s best to for every decision. Hopefully, that can change within the coming months.

How are you going to discover the appropriate energy provide for a graphics card?

Nvidia and AMD suggest energy provide wattage for his or her most up-to-date graphics card. The Radeon RX 6800 XT, for instance, attracts 300W of energy and AMD recommends a 750W PSU not less than. Equally, the GeForce RTX 3080 video card attracts 320W and Nvidia recommends a 750W PSU. These suggestions aren’t at all times excellent, although, so we suggest utilizing a PSU calculator.

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