The best graphics cards 2022: all the top GPUs for gaming

Updated on April 24, 2022

Three graphics cards against a green background

Dig into our list and let us guide you to the best graphics cards for your needs. (Image credit: Future)

When it comes to PC gaming, you’ll need one of the top graphics cards, whether you build your own rig or buy one of the greatest gaming PCs. While many processors can handle basic graphics without one, a graphics card is essential if you want to play the greatest PC games or do heavy-duty creative work.

One of the main reasons it’s so difficult to find one right now is because of this. Graphics cards have been notoriously difficult to come by since the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was released in 2020. It’s a shame, however, because today’s graphics cards are better than they’ve ever been, and PC games are becoming increasingly difficult to run.

We’ve whittled down the options to make it easier to pick the best one for you. It’s no secret that graphics cards of all kinds have been difficult to come by recently, and finding one is a whole different matter. Fortunately, we keep an eye out for the greatest graphics card discounts so you can save some money.

Right now, the top graphics cards can be found at:

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best graphics card

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 4,864
Core Clock: 1.41 GHz (1.67 GHz boost)
Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin (adapter to 1x 12-pin included)

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent 1080p performance

+

Ray tracing performance is solid

REASONS TO AVOID

Only entry-level 4K performance
Is AMD the king of low-cost graphics cards any longer? The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti puts that boast to the test with its price-to-performance ratio. This graphics card, the newest member to the RTX 3000 series, outperforms the RTX 2080 Super while remaining incredibly affordable for most customers. That’s with some excellent ray tracing thrown in for good measure. Gaming in 1080p has never been more enjoyable or cost-effective.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
The best graphics card, hands-down

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 8,704
Core Clock: 1.44 GHz (1,71 GHz boost)
Memory: 10 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 19Gbps
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent 4K gaming performance

+

Low temperatures

REASONS TO AVOID

Still kind of expensive
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has made 4K gaming much more accessible. Previously, the RTX 2080 Ti required more than $1,000/£1,000 to get playable framerates. However, owing to the RTX 3080, the cost of 4K gaming has been dropped in half with the latest generation of Nvidia graphics cards. It offers one of the most significant generational leaps in GPU history, with a 50-80% performance boost over the RTX 2080 and a 20-30% performance improvement over the RTX 2080 Ti, all while maintaining the same pricing point as the RTX 2080. If you have a little extra cash laying around, this is both an amazing powerhouse of a graphics card and a wonderful deal.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)
Nvidia’s new Ampere leader

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 10,240
Core Clock: 1.37 GHz (1.67 GHz boost)
Memory: 12 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Outputs: HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent performance

+

Beautiful graphics card

+

Same size as RTX 3080

REASONS TO AVOID

Very expensive

Power-hungry
There’s a new Nvidia champion in town, and it lowers the barrier to entry for power and performance. The long-awaited RTX 3080 Ti delivers RTX 3090-level performance, which is a great feat in and of itself, but it also comes with an even better price tag, making all that raw power more accessible than ever. With its astonishing 4K at 60fps performance and a few hundred dollars off the expensive 3090 pricing, it continues what the RTX 3080 started – bringing 4K gaming into the masses. This is the greatest graphics card available right now, especially if ray tracing is important to you.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best graphics card for creatives

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 10,496
Core Clock: 1.40 GHz (1,70 GHz boost)
Memory: 24 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 19.5Gbps
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

REASONS TO BUY

+

GPU performance to beat

+

Up to 8k performance

REASONS TO AVOID

Extremely expensive

Very large
When it comes to performance, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is unrivalled. With a huge 24GB of RAM, no game or, more critically, any graphics-intensive project would run slowly. In reality, the 3090 can deliver 8K performance at 60 frames per second. It’s an extraordinarily pricey gadget that’s also quite large, so most people won’t be able to afford it. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is essentially a Titan replacement, therefore it’s aimed at the creative user who works with demanding 3D and video rendering rather than the casual gamer. Despite this, it is significantly less expensive than the Titan, even if it remains beyond of most people’s reach.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: AMD)
A 1080p powerhouse

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream processors: 2,048
Core clock: 1,968
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16Gbps
Power connectors: 1 x 8-pin
Outputs: 1.4 with DSC DisplayPort, HDMI 2.1 VRR and FRL

REASONS TO BUY

+

Strong 1080p performance

+

Great thermal efficiency

+

Low power consumption

REASONS TO AVOID

Should be cheaper

Only slightly better than the RTX 3060
You can’t go wrong with the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT for rock-solid 1080p gaming. Not only is the card fast, but it also consumes less power, allowing it to be installed in a system with a smaller power supply. You also don’t require an extremely expensive water cooling system installed into your PC because of its high thermal efficiency. Unfortunately, it is more expensive than its immediate competitor, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, and it lacks ray tracing.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 at an against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
One of the best graphics cards of all time

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 5,888
Core Clock: 1.50 GHz (1.73 GHz boost)
Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin (adapter to 1x 12-pin included)
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

REASONS TO BUY

+

Amazing performance

+

Best value graphics card today

+

Awesome ray tracing performance

REASONS TO AVOID

Same inflated prices as Turing
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 is the greatest graphics card on the market for most people, delivering exceptional performance — on par with the RTX 2080 Ti – without spending an arm and a leg. Before this card, 4K gaming was out of reach for the majority of consumers. As a result, the RTX 3070 introduces it to the mainstream for the first time, and without requiring you to compromise on settings in most games. Did we mention that this GPU is really affordable? The RTX 3070 is at the top of our list because of its low pricing and ability to play 4K games at high quality settings.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT on a maroon surface

(Image credit: AMD)
Another high-end swing from AMD

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 2,560
Core Clock: 2.32 GHz (2.58 GHz boost)
Memory: 12GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 16 Gbps
Power Connectors: 8 pin + 6 pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent 1440p performance

+

Ray tracing

+

Lightweight card with no sag

REASONS TO AVOID

Ray tracing performance is weak

No FidelityFX Super Resolution
AMD’s next high-end offering will appeal to those who are comfortable dealing with their BIOS and seeking for a 1440p graphics card that is significantly more affordable. This Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti competitor offers good 1440p performance as well as ray tracing. It also arrives at a good moment, given the increased popularity of 1440p gaming monitors. Although it costs a little more than the more powerful RTX 3070, if you’re an AMD lover, it’s still a great option.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6800 at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: AMD)
AMD’s return to the high-end graphics card market

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 3,840
Core Clock: 1.82 GHz (2.10 GHz boost)
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 16Gbps
Power Connectors: 2 x 8 pin
Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, HDMI 2.1 VRR and FRL

REASONS TO BUY

+

Excellent performance

+

Finally, AMD ray tracing

REASONS TO AVOID

Divisive design
Think again if you think AMD is still stuck in the budget and mid-range sectors. AMD’s comeback to the high-end graphics card market is marked with the AMD Radeon RX 6800, which is a premium ace without the really premium price. Because of its VRAM, this GPU offers greater value than its direct competitor, the RTX 3070, while also delivering good 4K gaming performance and superb ray tracing at 1440p. It will also be speedier thanks to AMD’s Smart Access Memory technology.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6800

MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio against a white background

(Image credit: MSI)
For when you need the very best

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream processors: 2,176
Core clock: 1,650
Memory: 24GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19.5Gbps
Power connectors: 3 x 8-pin
Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4a x3, HDMI 2.1

REASONS TO BUY

+

Incredibly powerful

+

Stylish RGB

REASONS TO AVOID

 So expensive
If you want to get your hands on an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, you’ll need one with a cooler that can withstand the full brunt of the power on offer. The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has adequate cooling power to not only handle this GPU at default settings, but also to overclock it for even greater performance. This added power is merely icing on the cake for a GPU that already laughs in the face of all PC games at 4K.

Read the full review: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio

MSI RTX 3050 next to its retail package on a white background.

(Image credit: MSI)
The closest thing to a budget graphics card right now

SPECIFICATIONS

Stream Processors: 2,560
Core Clock: 1.78 GHz
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory Speed: 12Gbps
Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin
Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI

REASONS TO BUY

+

Affordable

+

Excellent 1080p performance

REASONS TO AVOID

Expensive for a ‘budget’ card

The top graphics cards released in recent years have all had one thing in common: they’re quite pricey. This is partly due to the graphics card scarcity we’ve all been experiencing, but it’s also due to Nvidia and AMD’s long neglect of the affordable graphics card market.

Thankfully, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 has arrived. While this GPU is more expensive than previous Nvidia 50-series graphics cards, it is still less expensive than almost anything else in the current generation.

If you retain the resolution at 1080p, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is more than capable of playing pretty much any game you throw at it at high settings. Esports fans will adore this card because it is reasonably priced (ish) and capable of running games like Overwatch and League of Legends without a sweat.

Read the entire review here: GeForce RTX 3050 from Nvidia

Which graphics card is best for gaming?

The greatest graphics card for gaming, in general, will be determined by a variety of variables. What kind of games you want to play, what resolution you play at, and whether or not you care about fancy features like ray tracing and DLSS are all really essential considerations.

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You can get away with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or an AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT if all you want to do is play the latest games at 1080p with high settings. However, if you want to play anything at 4K with ray tracing, you’ll need a card like the RTX 3080 Ti.

How we test the best graphics cards

It’s critical to ensure that we’re testing everything on an equal footing when it comes to the top graphics cards. That’s why, whenever a new graphics card is released, we put it through its paces in a suite of 11-12 games at various resolutions, all while using the latest drivers.

This implies that whenever a new generation of graphics cards is released, we re-test them all. We also ensure that all of the cards are tested on the same hardware, which includes the same processor, same memory at the same speed, same motherboard, and same SSD. That way, we can be confident we’re assessing the graphics card’s performance, and we’ll be able to compare it more accurately to its competitors.

We also keep track of how much electricity it uses and what temperatures it achieves under load so that we can recommend it to clients who are concerned about their computers overheating.

Finally, we look at the features that each graphics card has to offer, but these often do not change from generation to generation. However, the performance of something like ray tracing can drastically shift.

What is the best brand for graphics cards?

The age-old debate over whether Nvidia or AMD makes the greatest graphics cards will almost certainly never be resolved. Right now, both GPU makers are on roughly similar footing, and what’s best for you won’t necessarily be best for someone else.

In general, if you enjoy ray tracing, Nvidia will likely have the upper hand, whereas AMD was previously the better option for those on a budget.

What GPU should I buy in 2022?

The truth is that purchasing a graphics card is more difficult than ever before. You’ll seldom see one on a store shelf, and if you do, it’ll be gone in a matter of seconds. So, in 2022, the best GPU to buy is whatever you can get your hands on (and you can afford).

You should definitely avoid paying more than twice the normal price for a graphics card — a $1,000 RTX 3060, for example, isn’t worth it – but if you need one right now, be prepared to take whatever is available.

However, if you currently have a strong graphics card, such as one from the last 5 years or so, you might want to wait until the present global supply situation begins to stabilise. You won’t receive ray tracing, but if you can still play games, you’ll be alright while you wait.

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