Updated on August 14, 2022
A competitive shooter (then known as “Project A”) was initially unveiled by Riot, and the (gaming) world was ecstatic. The people behind one of the most popular esports in recent memory are venturing into the field of competitive shooting? I’m excited! Although there were (and still are) those who doubted Riot’s intentions, it’s evident that they are doing everything they can to create what they believe to be the ideal competitive shooter when considering the level of buzz and the community behind Valorant.
There are serious first-person shooters, and there are also serious gamers. You’ll need your aim to be on point, but you’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting enough frames per second to climb to the top rankings. It’s nearly impossible to play a competitive shooter without a rig and monitor capable of displaying at least 144 frames per second, which provides them an undeniable advantage over others who play on 60Hz systems. Valorant isn’t the most difficult game to run (like Riot promised), but if you want to play at 240 frames per second like the pros, you’ll need a good graphics card.
For your convenience, we’ve let our analysts loose and they’ve come up with this list of graphics cards that should work with any budget or system configuration.
1. RTX 3060 TI
2. RTX 3070
3. RTX 3080
4. RTX 3060
What makes a GPU good for Valorant?
At least 144 frames per second is required for every single Valorant professional, with 90% of those having a 240Hz or higher setup. You’ll need a GPU that can display the game at 240 frames per second if you wish to match the performance of the pros.
Valorant is a game that can run at 60 frames per second even on a budget, thanks to the increased power of today’s graphics cards over earlier generations.
We understand that a 240 frames per second monitor isn’t for everyone, but it’s also feasible that your GPU can produce enough frames but you don’t have the money for a 240Hz monitor. If you’re on a tight budget, the 144 is a good option, but if you’re serious about the game, we don’t advocate going any lower. Choosing a higher refresh rate in games like Valorant can and will improve your performance. In this essay, you’ll learn that it’s not a magical ‘move up X number of ranks’ kind of thing, but the benefits are undeniable.
So, if we’re going by what the pros are doing, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second (but ideally 240). Fortunately, Riot kept its word and didn’t make Valorant overly taxing, so you don’t have to buy the most expensive, top-tier GPU just because you want the best possible framerates. It is crucial that you obtain a well-balanced construction, so we’ve included a variety of options to help you make an informed decision. If you’re going to be using an RTX 3080 with a budget CPU and 8GB of RAM, for example, it doesn’t make sense to buy one.
Nvidia’s ‘Reflex Low Latency Technology,’ which they call a ‘low latency gaming platform,’ was also released with the 30 series of GPUs. You can both test your system latency (and so determine if there is a latency problem elsewhere) and reduce your system latency with this technology. You can achieve this by using the low latency option to make your CPU and a Reflex-capable GPU work together more effectively. For a more in-depth look at how this works, check out the Nvidia page or our own, which is a little easier to understand. However, because a lower system latency is always preferable, it’s worth trying out. Even if you’re currently running a high-end system, you’ll still notice the difference here if you’re coming from a 60Hz configuration.
Keep in mind that not all peripherals are compatible with the latency analyzer feature. You’ll also need a compatible monitor and other devices to complete the setup.. To see the most recent list, click here.
Most popular manufacturer
All of our GPU recommendations for studied games have made it quite evident that Nvidia is a clear winner at this time. Nvidia graphics cards are used by nearly all of the professionals we’ve examined, therefore it’s only logical that we recommend Nvidia graphics cards in this post.
You’ll also notice that the GTX 1080 isn’t on our list of recommended graphics cards. For the simple reason that these older cards are no longer in production, we’ve decided to only use cards that are in production at the moment. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Nvidia’s 30 series cards offer an excellent value/performance proposition, so we would definitely recommend going for one of those cards rather than a card from the (now discontinued) 20 series, though of course if you can get an older card at a great clearance sale or second hand from someone you trust you can always consider that.
Keep in mind that your in-game settings and the rest of your system (CPU, RAM,…) will have a significant impact on your average frame rate, thus these estimates should be treated with caution.
NVIDIA IS THE MOST POPULAR GPU MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD.
99 percent of the remaining 1 percent, or all of the analysed valuable professionals, have NVIDIA cards in their systems.
1. RTX 3060 Ti
Best for dedicated Valorant players
As long as you don’t plan on playing many high-demanding games with your major competitive fix in Valorant, the RTX 3060 Ti is a superb value for money offering. Anyone who doesn’t want to run the latest eye candy games at their absolute top settings will be pleased to know that this card is capable of delivering above 240 frames per second.
It’s a great investment for Valorant and other less demanding games, but if you also play more demanding games (like as Apex, Fortnite, and PUBG) competitively, you might want to consider going a little farther up the ladder.
2. RTX 3070
Best overall card for gaming
After you’ve had your fill of competitive gaming, the RTX 3070 is the card to have if you want to play a wide range of games (including more graphically demanding single-player titles). For the same price, you can obtain comparable performance to last year’s top-tier card (the 2080 Ti), but with a lot more power.
When playing at 1440p, this card is capable of maintaining a smooth 360Hz refresh rate, making it ideal for those who prefer playing at that resolution. If you’re a competitive gamer, we don’t advocate playing at 4K resolution, but this card should be able to manage it without a lot of trouble even at higher refresh rates.
We can’t stress enough how much we love this card from the 30 series.
3. RTX 3080
Best ‘all out’ card
In the end, the RTX 3080 may be too strong for most Valorant players, if we’re being honest. For those who have a lot of money, this is the best option, but if you’re mostly playing competitive games like Valorant, you may want to check into a card a little lower in price.
Of course, if you want to run your games at their highest settings while still getting good performance (this is largely true for other games, since Valorant runs like butter on a card like this), or if you just want the most frames possible, this is the card for you. For the most part, the 3080 and even the 3090 are the preferred choice of professional gamers who have converted over to the 30 series, so whether or not you believe this is ‘overkill’ will mostly rely on your budget and what you’re hoping to achieve. Purchasing this card may make sense if you’re already playing at the highest levels and want to take advantage of whatever advantages you can gain, but if you’re not, go elsewhere.
However, the RTX 3090 is more than twice as expensive as the 3080 (at least at MSRP), so we’ll stick to the 3080 and 3080 Ti for this review. There’s always the option of settling for the most expensive option if that’s what you’re looking for, though.
The budget RTX option
The cheapest RTX card on the market isn’t necessarily the best for Valorant, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get poor results from it. If you have a 360Hz monitor, this RTX 3060 will be able to run the game at 144 frames per second, 240 frames per second, and even 360 frames per second without a hitch.
We advocate against playing at higher resolutions (unless on 4K) if you’re a competitive gamer, so if you’re only going to play Valorant and don’t mind lowering your settings for other games, this is a wonderful investment.
Conclusion: The best GPU for VALORANT
VALORANT isn’t a particularly taxing game, as you’ve no doubt deduced from the foregoing. When Riot set out to create a game that would run smoothly on low-cost hardware, they succeeded admirably, as far as we can tell.
The most recent generation of GPUs can easily meet the competitive standard refresh rate of 240 frames per second, so the one you purchase will largely rely on your budget and your other gaming needs.
As you can see, the best cards are always sought after by professional players, therefore they tend to gravitate toward the most expensive ones. If money is no object, you may of course do the same, but if not, a mid- to low-tier current-generation graphics card seems to be the ideal choice for this game.
Thank you for reading!