Updated on August 14, 2022
In a game as fast-paced and aggressive as Overwatch, having enough frames per second is critical to making sense of everything that’s flying about on your screen. As a result, 99 percent of Overwatch pros, according to our data, have a system and display capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from studying all of these professionals (across all of our titles), it’s that upgrading your FPS setup is one of the first things you should do if you really want to take your gaming to the next level.
On the other hand, getting a high-refresh-rate display isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need a powerful PC with a good processor, enough RAM, and, perhaps most importantly, a dedicated graphics card that can handle whatever game you throw at it, as well as a good processor, adequate RAM, and, perhaps most importantly, a dedicated graphics card that can handle whatever game you throw at it.
In this essay, we’ll look at some Overwatch alternatives. We’ve put together this list of GPUs based on our experience and extensive data on professional gamers to ensure that there’s something for every budget and configuration.
What makes a GPU good for Overwatch?
144 frames per second is the minimum competitive limit these days, as we indicated in the introduction. 144 frames per second or higher is used by 100% of the experts we studied. We can learn that 74 percent of professionals prefer a 240 FPS setup, and the Overwatch League employs 240Hz monitors on stage if we delve a bit more. The message is clear: you’ll want to keep your framerate as high as possible in this game.
Overwatch, thankfully, isn’t a (very) difficult game. It’s gotten heavier to run since its release with all of these new screen-filling characters and abilities, but it’s still not in the category where you need the best system in the world to comfortably run the game. However, you’ll need a powerful PC to get a consistent 240+ frames per second at the higher settings, but if you’re willing to turn down some settings (which is a good idea because some visual settings are distracting for performance; see our settings guide here), you can get by with some less expensive options.
We’ll give you with a number of options from which you can choose based on your budget and monitor. Always keep in mind the importance of a well-balanced system. While a GPU is necessary for gaming, it’s not logical to spend all of your money on one and then have to bottleneck your system by selecting a CPU that can’t keep up, for example.
On Nvidia Reflex
The shooter games we look at have a lot of variations, but they also have a lot in common. Consider the fact that you’ll want to get the most out of your frame rate. Players often do not play at higher resolutions in all of our analysed games (including Overwatch), even if their PCs are capable of doing so. Because professional (and competitive) players value framerate over visual fidelity, this is the case. High frame rates not only improve the visual quality of the game, but they also minimise overall system latency.
Nvidia’s Reflex Low Latency technology was released alongside their 30 series cards (though it’s also available for GeForce 900 GPUs and newer), and it’s designed to do two things: reduce overall system latency (click here for Nvidia’s explanation, or click here for our own more basic article), and allow you to measure your system latency. The catch is that it only works in certain games (albeit 7 out of 10 of today’s most popular shooters are already compatible), and since Overwatch is one of them, we thought we’d include a part in this guide on it.
Nvidia with the gold medals
If D.Va were a real person, she’d most likely be using an Nvidia GPU like practically every other pro gamer. Nvidia has been dominating the graphics card market for a few years now, as you may or may not be aware. As a result, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of Overwatch pros use an Nvidia graphics card, which is reflected in this ranking.
Overwatch isn’t the most resource-intensive game, so if you’re on a tight budget, you can look for a secondhand last-gen card, but we only recommend cards that are currently being manufactured and sold. Going for a newer card has the added benefit of future-proofing your build, which is always a smart idea, especially with Overwatch 2 (and a totally overhauled engine) on the horizon.
Almost every pro plays at 1920×1080, so that’s what we’re focusing on in our GPU rankings, although these new GPUs are so strong that they all easily surpass 240 frames per second. If that’s your objective, you can just buy the most budget-friendly GPU on our list, but because all of these cards are capable of running the game at 1920x1080p, we’ll be focusing on performance at higher resolutions in this post.
Take these estimations with a grain of salt because the average FPS you obtain ingame will be heavily influenced by your in-game settings as well as the rest of your system (CPU, RAM, etc.).
On uncapping framerate
Overwatch’s framerate is capped at 300 frames per second, however most professionals use a simple method to unlock the framerate.
To do the same, open the game and go to Options -> Video settings, then change the settings to:
Fullscreen Resolution – Your native resolution + refresh rate; for example, if you have a 1080p 240 Hz monitor, you should set it to 1920 x 1080. (240)
Off Limit FPS – Custom Frame Rate Cap – 300 VSync
After you’ve double-checked everything, click ‘apply.’
Then exit Overwatch and navigate to DocumentsOverwatchSettings, where you’ll see Settings v0.ini. Replace FrameRateCap=”300″ with FrameRateCap=”400″ in [Render.13], then save the file. When you launch Overwatch, you should be able to breach the 300 FPS barrier. It’s critical that you don’t go into settings after you’ve done this, or the game will revert to 300 frames per second.
Best GPU for Overwatch
1. RTX 3060
You can argue a lot of things about Overwatch, but you can’t deny that it’s really well optimised. As a consequence, we think the RTX 3060 is the best card for most Overwatch gamers. It won’t quite have enough juice if you have a 360Hz panel, but for everything else, the RTX 3060 easily gets the requisite frames.
The average framerate at 1080p is around 340, with dips into the low 300s (amusingly, these dips are the identical across all of the GPUs in the list), which is more than enough for 1920x1080p gameplay.
If you plan on playing at higher resolutions, we recommend looking a little further down the list: this card is still a good pick for 1440p 144Hz because it nearly never drops below 144 at that resolution, but it won’t be powerful enough for anything higher/faster.
If Overwatch is your main game to compete in, this is an excellent pick because most competitive gamers play at 1080p and emphasise framerates.
2. RTX 3060 Ti
This RTX 3060 Ti is a ‘endgame card’ if you’re playing at 1080p: on average, it stays around the framerate cap of 400 frames per second, making more powerful cards unnecessary if you’re playing at 1920×1080 and focusing on Overwatch.
If you play at 1440p, this is a good choice: it handles 1440p 144Hz just as well as its cheaper sister, but it can also handle 240 frames per second at that resolution, making it our top pick for 1440p gaming.
If you have a 4K 144Hz panel, it’s also a good choice because it never drops below 144 frames per second.
3. RTX 3070
If you’re only going to play Overwatch, we recommend the RTX 3060 or 3060 Ti, but if you want to play other games on the side (be it tryhard multiplayer games or aesthetically spectacular single player games), the RTX 3070 is impossible to beat.
We really appreciate the value/performance ratio that this card provides, and if you want to play a wide range of games without having to spend a lot of money on the latest and greatest (and most costly) hardware, the 3070 is the best card to acquire right now.
4. RTX 3080
If you’ve been reading the article, you’ll already know what we’re about to say, but if you just want a quick summary, this card will be too powerful if you play at 1080p or 1440p.
Unless you’re playing at 4K and higher refresh rates, we’d recommend a lesser card than this beast of an RTX 3080 if Overwatch is your main game and you rarely play anything else.
This card will sit at the framerate cap for the most majority of the time at 1080p and 1440p, while at 4K it will give you an average of 235 frames per second. Unless you have a higher refresh rate 4K monitor and a huge budget, a lower tier card is still a good idea unless you have a great budget and want to make a high tier rig. This is certainly overkill as an Overwatch card, but given that the RTX 3080 is one of the world’s most powerful cards, it’s the natural pick for folks who want to play other games with their video settings maxed up.
As you can see, Overwatch is not a particularly taxing game to play. As a result, when buying for an Overwatch card, keep your other demands in mind. It’s never a bad idea to go for a strong card if you like to dabble in other games and love gazing at images, but if you exclusively play Overwatch, it’s certainly feasible to go for a more budget-friendly GPU. This is evident in the screenshot on the right, where all but one GPU easily achieves the 1080p framerate cap.