The 5 Best PC Video Cards for Under $250 in 2022

Updated on April 25, 2022

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PC video cards that cost less than $250 likely to be at least a few generations old. A captivating gaming experience may be had without breaking the bank thanks to their ability to accomplish graphically intense activities without breaking the bank. If you want to play the latest games and applications, you’ll have to upgrade to a more modern graphics card.

In the end, the PC isn’t going to deliver a faultless 4K gaming experience or be able to play cutting-edge titles at anything better than medium settings, but it’s also an incredible repository of gaming memories that have been amassed over the years. There is a wide range of virtual experiences that can be played even on low-end, outdated visual cards. DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Minecraft, for example, are all terrific current games that are expressly designed and maintained to run on older technology. Our top selection, the MSI GTX 1660 Super, is able to run most recent games at 1080p with reasonably high settings. In order to assist you in your quest for the cheapest PC possible, we’ve studied the top graphics cards available for under $250.

What We Like

  • Good performance for modern games
  • Relatively new
  • Overclocking capable
  • Quiet and effective cooling system

What We Don’t Like

  • Not the best value compared to AMD equivalent

Despite the name’s resemblance to that of the previous generation of Nvidia graphics cards, this MSI Nvidia GTX 1660 Super graphics card is a current graphics card. Even with this model, MSI’s attempts to raise the clock speed of the GTX 1660 Super to 1815-MHz make it a serious challenger to the GTX 1070. Most recent games can be played at 1080p on high settings with GDDR6 VRAM, and it can even handle greater resolutions with lesser settings.

With its quiet and efficient cooling system, it is capable of running at higher clock rates without being too disruptive. Our overall recommendation for the best AMD card is a better value, but this one has a little more raw power. The MSI GTX 1660 Super is an excellent choice for a budget PC’s graphics card.

What We Like

  • Inexpensive modern card
  • Good performance at 1080p
  • Cool and quiet
  • Durable build quality

What We Don’t Like

  • Somewhat underpowered

In terms of value for money and a recently announced GPU, the ASUS TUF GeForce GTX 1650 is a good option for 1080p gaming at high quality at a low price. In OC mode, the card’s boost clock only goes up to 1680 MHz, but that’s more than enough to get you 60 frames per second in most games at FullHD resolution and high settings on most titles. It’s quiet and cool, which is great for low-noise systems, and the card features ASUS’s TUF manufacturing quality, which includes IP5X dust protection, so it should last a long time.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly less powerful than the GTX 1660 Super

Fearsome, modern, and affordable, the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT is one of the best graphics cards on the market today. Modern games and creative apps will benefit from this card’s 8GB of DDR6 VRAM. The card’s clock speed can be increased to an eye-popping 1845 MHz with a little tinkering, allowing it to run the latest games at 1080p high settings. Compared to the GTX 1660 Super, the GTX 1060 is much less expensive.

Because of AMD’s unique architecture, this card uses very little power despite its high performance, and the RGB lighting and appealing design make it ideal for PC designs that showcase your internal components. You get a lot for your money with the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT.

What We Like

  • VR ready
  • Multi-GPU support
  • External GPU support

What We Don’t Like

  • Not 4K ready
  • No RGB lighting

Sapphire’s Radeon Pulse RX580 is a good example of an AMD card that offers good value for money. The 8GB of VRAM on this low-cost card is critical for modern games and other graphics-intensive apps with increased VRAM requirements. It’s also a good choice for VR gaming because of its low price point. Even though it can handle 1440p games at up to 60 frames per second, it falls short when it comes to 4K gaming. In addition to a large number of inputs and outputs, this card also supports up to five screens.
The RX580 is a good choice for a dual-GPU system thanks to AMD Crossfire and may be utilised as a portable external GPU to boost your laptop’s performance. Additionally, this card is compatible with AMD Freesync, which eliminates tearing on the screen.

What We Like

  • OC and Gaming modes
  • 1-click overclocking
  • Nvidia G Sync

What We Don’t Like

  • No 4K
  • No VR
  • No RGB

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Low Profile is as small as you can imagine a card of this calibre to be if you’re designing a truly tiny PC. In spite of its age, it’s one of the best options for low-profile gaming PCs. Modern games in 1080p resolution can only be played at low to medium settings due to the system’s limited power and 4GB of VRAM. Small but powerful, this card has an overclocked and game mode that can boost up to 1442MHz, as well as bundled software that makes this procedure a lot easier for the user.
A display port, DVI and two HDMI inputs are all included in this card’s tiny form factor. It also features Nvidia G Sync, which provides a smoother gaming experience when used with compatible screens.

Final Verdict

The MSI GTX 1660 Super (see at Amazon) is our top selection for an Nvidia card since it gives the highest performance for the money. In terms of value for money, the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT (see at Amazon) is a great option that has even less of an impact on your pocketbook.

About Our Trusted Experts

To date in 2019, Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire as a PC gamer and technology enthusiast who enjoys custom-building gaming setups. Games and video editing tools that require a lot of processing power are Andy’s favourite pastimes.

It’s been nearly three years since Taylor Clemons began writing about video games and consumer electronics for various publications. She has written for a number of publications, including IndieHangover, GameSkinny, TechRadar, and her own, Steam Shovelers.

For the past ten years, David Beren has worked as a freelance tech journalist, covering topics such as PC hardware, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. Previously, he’s written for T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless, among other tech companies.

What to Look for in a PC Video Card

Memory

Look at the onboard VRAM while comparing two identical GPUs. Even while many games require only 2GB of RAM, it’s ideal to have at least 4GB. In fact, there are cards on this list that have up to 8GB of VRAM. As long as it has at least 2 or 3 GB of VRAM, you should go with the faster GPU if you have the option.

Size

You don’t have to worry about the size of your video card if you constructed your own gaming setup in a tower case. Consider a low-profile card that consumes less than 75 watts of power if you’re upgrading an existing system that’s housed in a smaller case.

VR Support

What better reason to upgrade your video card than to get one capable of running a virtual reality headset? The minimum requirements for Oculus, Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality vary, although each provides a wide range of suitable options.

5 BEST GRAPHICS CARDS UNDER $250 IN 2022

By Robin Owens 14 days ago, SD and Graphics Cards

The best graphics cards under $250 from famous brands.

It’s possible to get an excellent gaming experience with the finest graphics card for under $250, even though a GPU is a relatively pricey piece of hardware. Although it won’t be able to run most AAA games at 4K 60fps, many resource-intensive games can still run at 1080p.

Nvidia’s last-generation GPUs are available in a wide variety of configurations. Buying them at a discount makes them an attractive alternative for gamers.

Top 5 Best Graphics Cards under $250

  1. MSI GeForce GTX 1650 – Our Choice
  2. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 – Compact design
  3. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 – Affordable
  4. Biostar Radeon RX 550 – Fan is extremely quiet
  5. PNY GeForce GT 710 – For gaming

When you’re looking for the finest graphics card under $250, you need to pay attention to a number of factors. In order to begin, you must first determine which games you intend to participate in. It’s also critical to have a good monitor. No need to buy a high-tech graphics card if you are still using an older model that creates films with lesser resolution and frame rates (without additional features like HDR support).

1. MSI GeForce GTX 1650

Our Choice
best graphics card under 250

Stream Processors: 1280 | Core Clock: 1755MHz ( MHz boost) | Memory: 4GB | Memory Clock: 12 Gbps | Power Connectors: 6-pin x 1 | Outputs: 1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort

  • ✚ Excellent 1080p performance at a reasonable price
  • ✚ Noiseless cooling system
  • ✚ Comes with additional features
  • ✚ ROG Strix model incorporates extras for $10
  •  Similar performance to older Radeon RX 580
  •  Thick 2.4-slot Strix design
$479.66

Rating

Although it costs $170, this graphics card comes with a number of handy features. A better cooling system is made possible thanks to the Fan Connect II header, which links the linked case fans directly to the graphics processing unit. The Aura Sync programme can also be used to alter the RGB lighting elements. You can sync the RGB lighting effects on the Asus motherboard.

One-button OC mode can also be activated with Tweak II’s ability to monitor performance, manage temperature, and even activate overclocking capabilities. FHD gaming is supported by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super, which costs less than $250. Custom Asus ROG Strix models are also available, which include additional features.

2. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650

Compact design
graphics card for under 250 dollars

Stream Processors: 8‎96 | Core Clock: 1‎710 Hz ( MHz boost) | Memory4GB | Memory Clock: 8 Gbps | Power Connectors: 8-Pin | Outputs: 2x HDMI,1 x DisplayPort

  • ✚ Small size
  • ✚ Factory overclocking
  • ✚ 4 GB of RAM
  • ✚ Passive GPU cooling
  •  Previously-released Radeon RX 570 is faster
$315.99

Rating

Turing-based GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 4GB is a solid 1080p gaming graphics card at a fair price point. The GPU’s core clock is cranked up to 1710 MHz by the manufacturer, giving it a performance gain of 5-8 percent above the Reference graphics card’s 1665 MHz.

A GeForce GTX 1650 doesn’t require an additional power connector and has great cooling capabilities with low temperature and silent fan work. During non-demanding loads, the fans remain dormant. If you’re building a HTPC using older PC components, a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 is a great $250 graphics card. To save money, you might buy a graphics card on the mining market.

3. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650

Affordable
best gpu under 250

Stream Processors: 896 | Core Clock: 1695 MHz ( MHz boost) | Memory: 4GB | Memory Clock: 8 Gbps | Power Connectors: 8-Pin | Outputs: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 1 x HDMI 2.0b 1 x DVI-D DL

  • ✚ Excellent cooling system even during heavy workloads
  • ✚ Compact
  • ✚ Doesn’t require a PSU power connection
  •  Overclocking beyond the factory adjustments isn’t effective
  •  Pricier than more powerful GPUs
$378.00

Rating

A 75-watt Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC is an excellent alternative to a GeForce GTX 1050 or older compact graphics card if your PC case is small or your power supply does not support many connections. This is especially true when considering the larger dimensions and higher requirements of Radeon RX 570 CPUs.

Find More  Best GPU for Valorant - The Ultimate Guide

The new NVIDIA Turing architecture and GDDR6 high-speed memory were used in Zotac’s latest line of graphics cards.

You’ll get a decent amount of performance for your money with this graphics card. It has a compact design that is ideal for PC cases with limited space. Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1650 OC is a good choice for people seeking for a low-cost, compact GPU. An fantastic power-efficient model, but the price is too much for it.

4. Biostar Radeon RX 550

Fan is extremely quiet
best video card for 250

Stream Processors: 512 | Core Clock: 1183 MHz ( MHz boost) | Memory: 4GB | Memory Clock: 8 Gbps | Power Connectors: 8-Pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort 1.4 and 1xDVI

  • ✚ 4 GB of RAM
  • ✚ Silent fans
  • ✚ Supports triple-monitor setups
  •  Convoluted software
  •  Not the best option for low-profile devices
$279.00

Rating

The Radeon RX 550 requires a 400W power supply to run. It has a lot of capability for graphics processing because of its 4 GB of RAM. Without making extra adjustments, you may play games at maximum or high settings.

If you’re looking to build a tiny PC, this graphics card isn’t for you. A big motherboard, such as an ASRock X470 Taichi, is required to fully utilise this GPU’s capabilities.

5. PNY GeForce GT 710

For gaming
250 dollars graphics card

Stream Processors: 192| Core Clock: 954 MHz( MHz boost) | Memory: 2GB | Memory Clock: 8 Gbps | Power Connectors: 8-Pin | Outputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x D-SUB /1 x Dual-link DVI-D

  • ✚ Easy to install
  • ✚ Perfect for Windows 10
  •  Outdated interface

Rating

Take use of the latest NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 graphics card. A discrete graphics card can provide 10 times the performance of an integrated graphics card. If you want a pleasant gaming experience, this is the greatest video card under $250 you can get.

Triple HD monitor setups can also be supported by an NVIDIA GeForce GT 710. The fast and consistent performance is due to the use of top-tier NVIDIA drivers. All of your game settings can be tweaked with ease thanks to GeForce Experience support.

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
best graphics card under 250

OUR CHOICE

  • Stream Processors: 1280
  • Core Clock: 1755MHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Memory Clock:12 Gbps
CHECK PRICE 
graphics card for under 250 dollars

COMPACT

  • Stream Processors: 896
  • Core Clock: 1‎710 Hz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Memory Clock: 8 Gbps
CHECK PRICE
best gpu under 250

AFFORDABLE

  • Stream Processors: 896
  • Core Clock: 1695 MHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Memory Clock: 8 Gbps
CHECK PRICE 

How to Choose the Best Graphics Card under $250?

best graphics card under 250

Memory

Consider a graphics card with built-in VRAM if you’re looking for the finest graphics card around $250. 2 GB models can handle many games, but if you want to increase your gaming experience, you should go for 4 GB of VRAM models. 8 GB of VRAM is available in a few of the above models. It’s better to go with a high-speed graphics card than a large amount of memory if you have a choice between the two.

Size

Using a full-sized case, you don’t have to worry about the size of a graphics card. Upgrade a pre-built PC in a compact case? Look for a low-profile GPU that’s under 75 Watts of power output.

graphics card for under 250 dollars

VR Support

Choosing a graphics card capable of supporting a virtual reality headset is an excellent option if you’re wanting to upgrade. Consider the likes of Oculus, Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. The minimal requirements for each model vary, but they all come with a wide range of compatibility options.

FAQ

For a graphics card, what are the most crucial factors to keep in mind?

The amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) is an important consideration for gamers who intend to play resource-intensive games (RAM). It takes a lot of processing power to display visuals smoothly in demanding games. You’ll also need more RAM if you connect your PC to a 4K monitor. Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of RAM available.

Whether a graphics card is good, how can you tell if it is?

The memory operates at a constant frequency of 1250 MHz (5000 MHz divided by four). Check to see if you’re using the same value when comparing multiple graphics cards. Additional bandwidth is preferable than more RAM, even if the latter is adequate.

The amount of data that can be transported over a memory bus is measured by its bandwidth. The memory bit rate is the technical term for it.

If I’m not going to be playing games, do I really need a graphics card?

There are some PCs that don’t require a graphics card, and there are even those that don’t have one at all. Nonetheless, it is essential to have a means of displaying data on the screen. As a result, a motherboard with an integrated graphics chip is required. It is referred to as an iGPU, which stands for integrated graphics processing unit.

The answer to this question is: “Yes.”

Desktop computers can be built without the need for a specialised graphics card. The PCI-E slot on the motherboard is all that is needed to attach a graphics card. However, a processor with integrated graphics is required if you want to display visual information on your screen.

Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2022

The Best Graphics Cards: GeForce RTX 3080 FE

Graphics cards are the heart of any gaming PC, blasting out stunningly-rendered pixels to your monitor. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we’re here to separate the must-haves from the wish-list items. For some, the fastest graphics card is more important than others. For others, the best value is more important than others. Your gaming experience depends on the graphics card, and no other component has as big of an impact on that experience as the graphics card.

In contrast to our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, our ranking of the top graphics cards takes a more holistic approach. When it comes to determining a product’s value, price, availability, performance, features, and efficiency all play an essential role. Supply chain concerns and cryptocurrency and Ethereum miners appear to be stealing GPUs from manufacturers, making it difficult to find reasonably-priced graphics cards.

Apart from the Radeon 6500 XT or GeForce 3050, you may also wait for the Intel Arc Alchemist to arrive. AMD and Nvidia have theoretical MSRPs of $199 and $249, respectively, but the first two are already available (and sold out). GPU costs continue to fall in tandem with bitcoin mining profits, but it will be a long time before graphics cards return to their pre-pandemic levels. That hasn’t happened yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Graphics Card Deals

GPU pricing has been affected by supply shortages, price gouging, and scalping for more than a year now. You may save money on either the graphics card or the prebuilt system itself by looking at our RTX 3080 offers, RTX 3070 deals and RTX 3060 deals sites on our site. We also recommend that you look at our RTX 3060 deals page. If you’re looking for the best prices, you should expect to pay between 25 and 50 percent more than the advertised price. If you’re searching for a whole system upgrade, you may want to consider purchasing a pre-built PC, which frequently has lower costs on the GPU.

The Best Graphics Cards Shortlist
GPU Performance Rank DXR Rank Value Rank – eBay (MSRP)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 2 – 124.6 fps) 1 – 75.7 fps 13 – $2,341 ($1,499)
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 1 – 128.4 fps 4 – 49.5 fps 11 – $1,421 ($999)
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT 3 – 122.9 fps 5 – 45.8 fps 10 – $1,176 ($649)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 4 – 114.5 fps 2 – 66.6 fps 12 – $1,440 ($699)
AMD Radeon RX 6800 5 – 110.1 fps 7 – 39.1 fps 9 – $1,033 ($579)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 6 – 98.4 fps 3 – 49.7 fps 8 – $988 ($499)
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT 7 – 95.0 fps 9 – 30.5 fps 6 – $783 ($489)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 – 90.3 fps 6 – 43.3 fps 7 – $847 ($399)
AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT 9 – 84.0 fps 10 – 24.1 fps 4 – $568 ($379)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB 10 – 69.4 fps 8 – 31.9 fps 5 – $636 ($329)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 11 – 44.3 fps N/A 3 – $422 ($229)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super 12 – 33.1 fps N/A 1 – $265 ($159)
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 13 – 36.2 fps N/A 2 – $277 ($169)

The prices of most graphics cards are still messed up, so keep that in mind. Please note that these prices are based on recent eBay averages and do not include the official MSRPs. It’s not uncommon for these cards to sell for prices that are more than twice what they’re advertised to be.

However, we’ve ranked the following cards based not only on their performance, but also on our own subjective opinions, which we’ve taken into account while sorting the cards. As a result, we take into account our personal preferences when it comes to performance, price, power, and features. In addition, the existing prices make it difficult to assign a value to anything.

Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2022

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Best Graphics Card Overall, for 4K and More

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Ampere (GA102)
GPU Cores: 8704
Boost Clock: 1,710 MHz
Video RAM: 10GB GDDR6X 19 Gbps
TDP: 320 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent performance

+

Good price compared to 3090

+

Can legitimately do 4K ultra at 60 fps or more

+

Substantially faster than previous gen GPUs

REASONS TO AVOID

Availability is severely limited

Requires 320W of power

Overkill for 1080p displays

Usually priced much higher

The updated and upgraded Ampere architecture is included on Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card. The new 2080 Ti is purportedly 30 percent quicker than the previous generation, and it’s rumoured to be $500 cheaper. RTX 3080 Ti’s much higher price tag prevented it from overtaking the incumbent. It’s overkill for 1080p gaming unless you enable all ray tracing effects in games that support it, but 1080p is still reasonable if you’re serious about maxing out all of your graphics settings.

The RTX 30-series may finally get you on board the ray tracing train if you bypassed the initial generation of RTX GPUs. The RTX 3080 is your best bet if you want to experience ray tracing in all its glory without breaking the budget, thanks to titles like Cyberpunk 2077, which use even more ray tracing effects.

DLSS, which doesn’t require in-game training by a supercomputer any longer thanks to Ampere’s enhanced tensor cores, will likely appear in more games in the future. To get it running in Unreal Engine and Unity you just need to toggle and change the UI. This has led to an increase in the number of games using DLSS 2.0. There are some advantages to Nvidia’s RX 6000 cards over AMD’s RX 580 cards in terms of performance, but Nvidia still lags behind when it comes to classic rasterization (which is what our raw numbers are based on).

When it comes to the RTX 3080, the most difficult part will be locating one in stock at a reasonable price. In the last month, the average eBay price was almost $1,440. Although the 3080 Ti and 3090 are more expensive, this is still our top option for a fast GPU right now.

Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Review

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Best AMD GPU, Forget About DLSS

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 21 XT
GPU Cores: 4608
Boost Clock: 2,250 MHz
Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps
TDP: 300 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

New RDNA2 architecture provides excellent performance

+

Beats 3080 in rasterization games

+

Easily handles 4K and 1440p

+

Lots of VRAM for the future

REASONS TO AVOID

Weaker ray tracing performance

FSR needs wider adoption

Supply might be even worse than Nvidia

Team Red’s best GPU is AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT. Even while it’s technically 7-7% quicker than the RX Radeon 6900XT in terms of performance, it costs more than five times more. Even if you get more VRAM or other goodies, this isn’t a terrific price. In terms of performance and functionality, the RX 6800 XT is a considerable improvement over the RX 5700 XT, which was released in 2012. Using DirectX Raytracing or VulkanRT, it adds support for ray tracing and is 70-90 percent faster in our tests than its predecessor.

Before its release, the GPU was called “Big Navi” by the enthusiast community because of its impressive performance. Navi 21 has twice as many shader cores and RAM as Navi 10, making it more than twice as large. As a result, the GPU now runs at clock speeds of up to 2.1-2.3 GHz, which is 300 MHz faster than the previous record set by a reference GPU. As a result, AMD’s RX 6800 XT has a TDP of 300W, which is somewhat lower than that of the RTX 3080’s 320W TDP.

The enormous 128MB Infinity Cache is responsible for a significant portion of AMD’s speed. It boosts the bandwidth by a whopping 119%. (according to AMD). As far as we know, very few games will require more than 16GB in the near future, and so the 6800 XT is in a strong position in that regard.

How can you dislike this? To put it simply, ray tracing performance is below average. It’s possible that contemporary games are better suited to Nvidia’s RTX GPUs because of this, but the 6800 XT is just marginally faster than the RTX 3070 when it comes to ray tracing, and it lags behind in some games by up to 25%. Without DLSS, which even in Quality mode can increase the performance of RTX cards by 20% to 40%.. (sometimes more). Because of this, AMD is developing FidelityFX Super Resolution, although it hasn’t been ready to compete with DLSS.

Sadly, as with other contemporary GPUs, pricing and availability are as bad as they have always been. Last month, the RX 6800 XT sold for an average of over $1,200 on eBay. Technically, it’s better than the RTX 3080, but the MSRP is still more than twice as high as the AMD equivalent.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Review

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Fastest Graphics Card, Great for Creators

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Ampere (GA102)
GPU Cores: 10496
Boost Clock: 1,695 MHz
Video RAM: 24GB GDDR6X 19.5 Gbps
TDP: 350 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

The fastest GPU, period

+

4K and maybe even 8K gaming

+

24GB is great for content creation workloads

+

Up to 30% faster than 3080 in professional apps

REASONS TO AVOID

Over twice the cost of 3080 for 10-15% more performance

Extremely limited availability for now

High power requirements

Titan price without Titan enhancements

As far as some people are concerned, speed is more important than price! It’s Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 that caters to this group. Performance is only somewhat better (10-15 percent) than the RTX 3080, which costs more than twice as much. It’s essentially a Titan RTX replacement, albeit at a much higher price. For those who are looking for a more affordable option, the RTX 3080 Ti’s 12GB of GDDR5X isn’t going to do anything to change things.

Until the RTX 3090 Ti is released, Nvidia’s top GPU is set to be the RTX 3090. The Ampere architecture GA102 chip is nearly ready, therefore a new Titan card is out of the question. According to Nvidia, the 3090 offers Titan-class performance and features to the GeForce brand (particularly the 24GB VRAM). The RTX 3090 is the fastest graphics card currently on the market. As of this writing, the average price on eBay last month was over $2,300, so expect to pay a lot for the privilege of owning one.

But it’s not just about games, you know. This is the only GeForce Ampere with NVLink capability, which is arguably more helpful for professional applications and GPU computation than SLI is. Various multimedia creation apps benefit from the 24GB of GDDR6X memory. When comparing the 3080 to the Titan RTX, for example, Blender frequently reported a 30% increase in performance. Some of the SPECviewperf 13 apps may perform worse than expected if you use a GPU powered by Titan RTX since the driver has additional functionality enabled that aren’t available to GPUs powered by GeForce.

RX 6900 XT from AMD is a direct competitor to the RTX 3090 in classic rasterization. A handful of the SPECviewperf tests give it a few victories as well. But if you’re looking for the fastest graphics card on the market right now, Nvidia is the clear winner. The GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, on the other hand, is set to be on sale at the end of the month and is expected to take the performance crown thanks to its higher clock speeds and additional GPU cores.

Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Review

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Best Bang for the Buck Graphics Card

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Ampere (GA104)
GPU Cores: 4864
Boost Clock: 1,665 MHz
Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps
TDP: 200 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Beats the 2080 Super for $300 less

+

Good overall value (fps/$)

+

Great for RT at 1440p with DLSS

REASONS TO AVOID

Sold out and currently overpriced

4K is a a stretch even with DLSS

8GB might not be ‘enough’ VRAM long term

What may be Nvidia’s finest Ampere yet is on the horizon. An entry-level GPU with all of the same functionality as higher 30-series models costs just $399. This is only true in theory, as it was outsold by every other new graphics card release in the past year. Currently, the average eBay price is approximately $850, which is more than twice the original MSRP. <Sigh>

The 3060 Ti outperforms the previous generation 2080 Super in every test we conducted. Only 9% slower than the 3070 and 20% cheaper, it’s a great deal. As long as you’re still using a GTX series or equivalent GPU, such as a GT 1070 or RX Vega 56, the 3060 Ti is up to twice as fast as the 3060.

The absence of VRAM is the only serious issue. While 8GB is sufficient for most games, a few are beginning to test the limit. If you lower the texture quality a notch, you won’t notice much of a change, but you’ll feel guilty about it in the long run. (It’s not really a difference, because high and ultra settings are typically indistinguishable in appearance.)

Even though AMD’s more modern RX 6600 and RX 6600 XT cards compete with the Nvidia 3060 Ti, the latter’s performance remains superior in ray tracing games. For what it’s worth, you can get an RX 6600 XT for over $250 less than an RX 3060 Ti right now. It’s impossible to find a competitor for the 3060 Ti’s $399 price tag. All at the same low price. It’s 35-45 percent faster than the 2060 Super and 25-30% quicker than RX 5700 XT.

Right now, the most pressing worry is locating a card like this for sale. The 3070 (at least for non-LHR variants) and AMD’s newest gen cards are comparable in terms of mining performance, which means pricing are still outrageous. Aside from the fact that the GTX 1070 had 8GB of memory five years ago, 8GB feels a little underwhelming in comparison.

Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Review

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Excellent 1440p Performance

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Ampere (GA104)
GPU Cores: 5888
Boost Clock: 1,730 MHz
Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps
TDP: 220 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

2080 Ti performance at half the cost

+

All the Ampere enhancements

+

Not as power hungry as 3080

REASONS TO AVOID

Totally sold out and/or expensive

Can’t do 4K ultra in some games at 60 fps

8GB VRAM feels stingy

Next-generation architectures and Ampere’s ambush continue with GeForce’s RTX 3070. In comparison to AMD’s RX 6800 series, it is a significant step down in performance and has less than half the VRAM. AMD’s new cards, on the other hand, are significantly more expensive than the 3070, but the 3070 still boasts greater ray-tracing performance, as well as DirectX 12 support. Unfortunately, all of the 3070 cards have sold out at any price near to the recommended retail price. Our recommendation is to remain with the non-Ti RTX 3070 for the time being because it offers slightly higher performance for $100 more, but it also consumes 30% more power.

In comparison to the 3060 Ti’s $400 price tag, the 3070 is less appealing. In principle, it’s 10-12 percent faster, but it costs 25% more. On eBay, the 3070 Ti was selling for roughly $150 more than the 3060 Ti last month. Extra money for a non-Titan GPU isn’t that much of an issue when you take into account the rest of your gaming PC’s components. It’s hardly worth spending more than $300 on a new gaming PC right now unless it has an Ampere or Big Navi GPU. However, we have some misgivings about this.

1440p and 4K gaming are both viable, however at their highest settings, 4K often has frame rates that are less than 60 frames per second (fps). If a game supports DLSS, it can be fixed, however ray tracing even with DLSS often results in a frame rate of 40 to 50 fps on a 4K display. We’re also concerned about the GDDR6’s 8GB capacity. Not only is there less memory on a smaller bus, but the 3080 is also running at a lower clock speed. A few games have already shown that 8GB isn’t enough to run at full resolution, and it’s just going to grow worse in the future. To make matters worse for Nvidia, AMD added 16GB of RAM on its Navi 21 GPUs, while Nvidia pushed the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti to 12GB of RAM, making their 8GB of RAM look even worse.

The 3060 Ti is the best Nvidia GPU at the lowest feasible price. With an extra $100, you can buy the 3070, which then leads to the 3070 Ti, and at that point why not purchase the 3080? It is, after all, the best all-around card. That’s the issue with focusing on more expensive cards and the principle of declining marginal utility. It’s now possible to get into an RTX 2080 Ti for a fraction of the price you’d previously had to pay.

Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Review

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT reference model (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Good 1440p Graphics Card, Lower Price

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 22
GPU Cores: 2560
Boost Clock: 2581 MHz
Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 16 Gbps
TDP: 230 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Good 1440p performance

+

Plenty of VRAM

+

Comes close to the 3070 in non-RT

REASONS TO AVOID

Out of stock like everything else

Mediocre RT performance

FSR can’t defeat DLSS

AMD’s Navi 22 and the RX 6700 XT are the result of starting with the Navi 21 GPU and reducing the numerous functional parts in order to make a smaller die that can be sold for a lower price. More cache and faster clock speeds give it a 25 percent performance gain despite having the same number of GPU cores as the previous generation RX 5700 XT (at higher settings and resolutions, at least).

The reference card for AMD’s RX 6700 XT clocks in at stock at 2.5GHz, which is among the highest clock speeds we’ve ever seen on a GPU. A little tweaking and overclocking allowed us to achieve speeds of 2.7-2.8GHz without overheating the graphics card. We’re a little disappointed that it only has 2,560 GPU cores, though.

RX 6700 XT and RTX 3070 and Ti trade blows in our performance testing. RX 6700 XT comes out on top. The $479 price tag is reasonable, considering that it’s a touch quicker than the previous and a bit slower than the previous. Unless, of course, we add games that use DLSS or ray tracing, in which case the 6700 XT seems more like a 3060 Ti rival.

In the end, it boils down to the same thing as any other problem. RX 6700 XT sells out immediately, even at exorbitantly high pricing. The card’s current eBay price is roughly $775. Better than the 3060 Ti, but still more than we’d advocate paying for a $500 high-end offering that should ostensibly cost that much.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review

AMD Radeon RX 6800 reference model (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Great 1440p Graphics Card, Okay Ray Tracing

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 21 XL
GPU Cores: 3840
Boost Clock: 2105 MHz
Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps
TDP: 250 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent overall performance

+

Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache

+

Easily beats the 3070 in non-RT

REASONS TO AVOID

Good luck finding one

Middling RT performance

FSR will take a while to catch up to DLSS

Not much cheaper than 6800 XT

In order to get the RX 6800, all you have to do is cut 10% off of the new Navi 21 GPU that powers the xt version of the card (above). Only 96 ROPs and somewhat lower clock speeds are provided, however the 16GB GDDR6 and 128MB Infinity Cache remain fully functional. Although it’s a reasonable compromise, we believe the 6800 XT is a superior handset in every way (unless pricing eventually drops a bit more on the vanilla cards).

On eBay, the RX 6800 is currently selling for $1,033, which is $140 less than the 6800 XT and somewhat more than the 3070 Ti. Is it really necessary to point out how outrageous these prices are? Nvidia’s RTX 3070 is outperformed by the RX 6800 by 12 percent, and the 3070 Ti is outperformed by 5 percent, both without ray tracing or DLSS.

Nvidia’s previous generation RTX 2080 Super has the same ray tracing performance as Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Super. There are some advantages to using AMD’s FSR, but it isn’t utilised in as many games and it doesn’t have the same quality as DLSS. At native rendering, the RTX 3070 already outperforms the 6800 by 12 percent in terms of ray tracing performance; however, when using DLSS Quality mode, the difference widens to more than 50 percent.

In the short term, AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) may offer a competitive advantage, however FSR also works with Nvidia GPUs. We’d rather have the rasterization power of the RX 6800 than the ray tracing of the RTX 2080 Ti. When it comes down to it, we’d rather wait until the price of this particular card falls below $600. RDNA 3 and Lovelace are more likely to come first, hopefully by the end of 2022.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6800 review

GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 12GB XC (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
An Excellent Mainstream Graphics Card

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Ampere (GA106)
GPU Cores: 3840
Boost Clock: 1,777 MHz
Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 15 Gbps
TDP: 170 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Lowest cost latest gen GPU

+

Great overall value for 1080p/1440p

+

Plenty of VRAM for mainstream

REASONS TO AVOID

Sold out and overpriced

Tied with old RTX 2070 performance

12GB of limited benefit

With Nvidia’s desktop Ampere series, we’re getting closer to the bottom of the price and performance ladder, and the power cuts may have gone too far. An improvement over RTX 3050 in terms of memory interface and 12GB VRAM, this is the first GA106 card. It is still a significant step down from GA104 in terms of memory interface and 12GB VRAM. Overall performance is barely on par with the RTX 2070 due to the GPU’s reduced core count of 26% and decreased memory bandwidth. So, two and a half years later, a $330 graphics card can now compete with a $500 graphics card.

In theory, at least. Unfortunately, the demand for RTX 3060 12GB cards is now selling for over $625 on eBay due to a significant gap between supply and demand. Nvidia’s attempts to reduce Ethereum mining performance by 50% were rendered ineffective when the company’s own drivers were hacked (on accident). It is apparent that miners are still utilising the cards even after the firmware was upgraded to “fix” the mining lock.

While VRAM capacity isn’t an issue, the 3060 12GB does start to closing in on the 3060 Ti in a few situations. Until then, if you can get your hands on a 3060 Ti for a fair price, it’s the superior option.

Despite having the same amount of VRAM, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT performs significantly better thanks to its 96MB Infinity Cache. If you’re looking for a better deal right now, AMD’s RX 6600 XT has slightly better non-ray tracing performance and costs roughly $5 less (on eBay).

In terms of raw performance, the RTX 3060 is essentially equivalent to AMD’s RX 5700 XT, even after 18 months. Typical of mainstream parts, this isn’t going to set the world on fire. There is little we can do but hope that supply and pricing return to their normal levels sooner rather than later.

Read: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Review

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

ASRock Radeon RX 6600 XT Phantom Gaming OC (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 23
GPU Cores: 2048
Boost Clock: 2,589MHz
Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 16 Gbps
TDP: 160 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Faster than 3060 and RX 5700 XT

+

Power efficient design

+

Good 1080p performance

+

32MB Infinity Cache still works

REASONS TO AVOID

Only 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit bus

Poor ray tracing performance

Expensive for 1080p

Still limited supply

With the Navi 23 architecture, AMD has a solution to the RTX 3060. AMD reduced the number of CUs, the width of the memory interface, and the size of the Infinity Cache in order to provide a smaller, less expensive chip that performs just as well as the RX 6700 non-XT.

Even with the memory bus halved to only 128 bits, the RX 5700 XT manages to outperform its predecessor in terms of performance. Even though 8GB of VRAM is an issue, the RTX 3060 is still a superior option in some circumstances because to its lower price. Even a 32MB Infinity Cache appears to enhance performance when compared to the memory bandwidth, which is remarkable. At 1080p, this is essentially a smaller version of Navi 10, built on the same TSMC N7 node, and it produces 10–15 percent greater framerates.

However, ray tracing is one area where it fails miserably. Many games with DirectX Raytracing (DXR) compatibility couldn’t even run at 20 fps at 1080p when we tried them. Without DLSS, the RTX 3060 from Nvidia was nearly two times as quick (where available). Even if you’re using an Nvidia or AMD GPU, you’ll get the same performance increase with FSR as you would from using an Intel GPU. The RX 6600 XT feels like a letdown after the other Big Navi processors delivered tremendous quantities of VRAM.

It’s also disappointing to see a $379 price point for an RX 5600 XT replacement that was launched for $279 in the first place. The RX 6600 XT is now sold out in retail stores and fetches prices at least 50% more on places like eBay, where it presently sells for roughly $570. This is in contrast to the initial launch supply at retail stores, which was quite good.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Review

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT reference model (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
AMD’s Fastest GPU, Severely Expensive

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 21 XTX
GPU Cores: 5120
Boost Clock: 2250 MHz
Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps
TDP: 300 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent overall performance

+

Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache

+

Second place in non-RT workloads

+

Good SPECviewperf results

REASONS TO AVOID

Impossible to find at acceptable prices

Not much faster than 6800 XT

Poor value overall

The opposite end of the Navi 21 spectrum is here. The RX 6900 XT raises performance slightly while increasing the (theoretical) price by nearly 50% compared to the 6800. To put it another way, you’re paying a lot of money for very little benefit (the one saving grace of the RTX 3090). It’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to find one for that price right now.

With the RX 6900 XT, AMD went all out. Its rarity can be explained in part by the fact that it has a fully functional Navi 21 GPU. As a result, AMD would be better suited producing additional Zen 3 CPUs or console processors rather than trying to mass-produce Big Navi. AMD. Even as a mining solution, it falls short of the RX 6800’s hashing performance when it comes to Ethereum.

Red flags such as poor raytracing performance and lack of an immediate replacement for DLSS are still present. DLSS, on the other hand, is solely supported by Nvidia and has had a three-year head start in getting game developers to use it. Nvidia is still the best option if you’re looking for the finest current RT experience (not that you need RT to enjoy games).

The 6900 XT is still a good choice for those who just want the fastest AMD GPU. When it comes to mining performance, the old Radeon VII is still more than 30 percent quicker than the new one. These days, you can get your hands on something for a price that isn’t quite reasonable.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT review

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super (Image credit: Nvidia)
Best Mainstream Esports / 1080p High Graphics Card

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Turing (TU116)
GPU Cores: 1408
Boost Clock: 1,785 MHz
Video RAM: 6GB GDDR6 14 Gbps
TDP: 125 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Available at decent prices

+

GDDR6 gives it a healthy performance boost over the vanilla 1660

+

Turing is very power efficient, even at 12nm

REASONS TO AVOID

Pricing is trending up right now

No hardware ray tracing support

Last gen tech and no DLSS

The RX 5500 XT 8GB, the RX 6500 XT, and the GeForce GTX 1660 Super are all available for less than $200 (again, sort of). We’ve tested them all (see the results below) and the GTX 1660 Super is 15% quicker than the normal 1660, over 20% faster than the RX 5500 XT 8GB, and even 20% faster than the 6500 XT. For the most part, we recommend that you pay the extra money to have a better performance. You could get one for under $230, or we would. On the other hand, paying over $400 for a GTX 1660 Super is a bad deal.

Nvidia’s card, the GTX 1660 Super, beat the AMD RX 5500 XT in our comparison, but we also believe that the Nvidia card is superior to the RX 5500 XT. The RTX 2060 and RX 5600 XT used to be even better in our opinion, but the rising pricing of both cards have made them less desirable recently. The RX 6500 XT and RTX 3050 are expected to outperform the 1660 Super in terms of performance. Maybe. To discover out, tune in at the end of the month.

Since TSMC’s 12nm FinFET chips are utilising TSMC’s 7nm FinFET, their power consumption is nearly equal to AMD’s Navi 14 CPUs. Even though Nvidia is employing an earlier manufacturing node, they are faster and use the same amount of electricity. The GTX 1660 Super offers the same level of performance as the GTX 1070 for $230 less than the GTX 1070. Streaming video is a breeze with the improved Turing NVENC included.

Since Ampere and RDNA 2 cards are currently under $250, the GTX 1660 Super has a significant price disadvantage. At least that’s what they hope to do, based on how long the shortages last. If you’re in the market for a new graphics card, the GTX 1660 Super is a great option, but the current market conditions make it difficult to make a decision.

Read: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super Review

Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 Super (Image credit: Future)
Best Budget Gaming Card That’s Not Ancient Tech

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: TU116
GPU Cores: 1280
Boost Clock: 1,725 MHz
Video RAM: 4GB GDDR6 12 Gbps
TDP: 100 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Runs every game at decent fps

+

High efficiency architecture

+

Latest NVENC is great for video

REASONS TO AVOID

4GB VRAM is limiting

Prices are inflated

Still needs a 6-pin power connector

Even in the low-cost GPU market, we’re already one generation behind the freshest and greatest thanks to the arrival of Ampere and RDNA 2. The RX 570 4GB, which was retailing for $120-$130 for what felt like an eternity, has finally been superseded by the GTX 1650 Super. The 1650 Super improves performance by roughly 30% while utilising less power. Aside from that, it’s also more expensive than a comparable AMD card, or at least what the 570 used to be.

Budget GPUs are not exempt from the current shortages, which is unfortunate if cost is your primary concern. The 1650 Super used to sell for $150-$160, but today it’s nearly impossible to locate one for less than $250. Many other GPUs (such as the 8GB R9 5500 xt) have also seen their prices soar that they are now competing with the (also exorbitantly priced) GTX 1660 Super. We’d be wary of buying a secondhand RX 570 4GB card on eBay for $190 right now.

Nvidia’s inclusion of the latest NVENC hardware on the 1650 Super is greatly appreciated. As a result, if you’re looking for a low-cost PC capable of streaming games like CSGO or League of Legends, this will do the job just fine. Video conferencing apps, which are becoming increasingly popular in our COVID-pandemic environment, can also benefit from it. Just keep in mind that unlike the GTX 1050, the 1650 Super requires a 6-pin power connector.

Read: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super review

ASRock RX 5500 XT (Image credit: ASRock)
Best AMD ‘Budget’ Gaming Card

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU: Navi 14
GPU Cores: 1408
Boost Clock: 1,845 MHz
Video RAM: 4GB GDDR6 14 Gbps
TDP: 100 watts

REASONS TO BUY

+

Fast enough for any current game

+

Efficient 7nm tech

+

Not as overpriced as 8GB models

REASONS TO AVOID

4GB VRAM is still limiting

Prices are also inflated

Requires a 6-pin power connector

The GTX 1650 Super and RX 5500 XT 4GB are virtually neck-and-neck. In terms of performance and power, they’re all about the same, and the prices are just as messed up here as they are anywhere else. It’s possible to save money by purchasing a used GTX 970, but you’ll be receiving a really old GPU and who knows what it’s been through. Even though the RX 6500 XT is an option, the older Navi 14 GPU is faster at high resolution settings and costs the same as the newer RX 6500 XT.

In 1080p and medium to high resolution, the RX 5500 XT can handle most games, though not always at 60 frames per second. Waiting for prices to fall before upgrading is a good strategy. Our tests at 1080p medium averaged over 60 frames per second, providing you the freedom to experiment with visual quality if you can’t wait.

In theory, the RX 6500 xt should have rendered prior generation cards “obsolete,” but with pricing of $450 and $270, we’re still not seeing a “affordable” answer.