The best graphics cards in 2022

Updated on April 24, 2022

Two of the best graphics cards from top down and side on view, on a pastel yellow background

(Image credit: AMD and Nvidia)

As far as PC gaming goes, the finest graphics card is one that not only improves your games, but one that you can really get your hands on in today’s market. We’ve had a lot of high-end GPUs from Nvidia and AMD this generation, but obtaining them has been difficult recently. At least, not for the recommended retail price.. More people will attempt to overprice a card on Ebay if it is really good.

Despite this, we were able to check out the newest graphics cards and put them to the test. To come up with a definitive list of the best graphics cards on the market (at around MSRP). Prebuilt gaming PCs(opens in new tab) may be the quickest way to get your hands on the finest graphics cards in 2022, so this information is especially helpful if you want to do some comparison shopping.

It’s at least a good thing that the GPU industry is starting to get competitive again. When AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT was released, the competition between Nvidia and AMD took a dramatic turn. The GeForce RTX 3080(opens in new tab) comes within a hair’s breadth of taking first place. Both the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070(opens in new tab) are among of Nvidia’s most impressive graphics cards to date. Intel’s Arc Alchemist(opens in new tab) graphics card, due out soon, will further confuse the GPU environment.

If you’re not sure where to begin your search for a graphics card, we have lots of advice on how to do so right now(opens in new tab). In the meantime, check out our Nvidia and AMD suggestions to determine which one best suits your needs.

Best graphics card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card shot in Dave's kitchen. Not Jen-Hsun's

(Image credit: Future)
The best graphics card for PC gaming right now

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 8,704
Base clock: 1,440MHz
Boost clock: 1,710MHz
TFLOPs: 29.76
Memory: 10GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 760GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Incredible gen-on-gen performance

+

Makes 2080 Ti look mid-range

+

Ray tracing no longer a sacrifice

REASONS TO AVOID

Needs a beefy PSU

In high demand

There’s no arguing that Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 is the greatest graphics card currently on the market. An enormous leap in performance over the previous generation of RTX 20-series. Compared to the RTX 2080 or 2080 Super, this is impressive, but when compared to the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti, it really sunk in for me.

We found that ray-tracing performance improved significantly as a result of our testing. A large frame rate compromise was required for the first generation of ray-tracing-capable cards, but this generation doesn’t have the same problem.

When you can achieve ray-traced performance that exceeds the frame rates you’d get out of the top card in the RTX 20-series when operating without it, you know this is a whole new beast. And, hey, the RTX 3080 can run Crysis on it (opens in new tab).

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Adding a lot more CUDA cores and upgraded Tensor Cores (for additional DLSS goodness) and second-generation RT Cores to this 8nm GPU allowed Nvidia to achieve this.

Even while the RTX 3080 requires a lot more power—at a minimum, you’ll need an 850W power supply—and can be difficult to locate, it is the most sought-after graphics card on the market today. That’s why it’s so hard to get your hands on.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 3080 review(opens in new tab) (10GB Founders Edition).

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT reference graphics card shot from above on a grey background

(Image credit: AMD)
AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture at its best

SPECIFICATIONS

RDNA cores: 4,608
Base clock: 1,825MHz
Boost clock: 2,250MHz
TFLOPs: 20.74
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 512GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

4K excellence

+

Cheaper than an RTX 3080

REASONS TO AVOID

Moderate ray tracing performance

Slower than the 3080 at 4K

The RX 6800 XT is an excellent alternative to Nvidia’s high-end graphics cards. If you’re a PC gamer who wants to play at 4K, you should definitely consider this card. It’s a very competitive card that’s only slightly slower than its opponent, the RTX 3080.

A close race between it and the RTX 3080, but the latter wins out thanks to the RTX-inspired final touches.. The RX 6800 XT is $50 less expensive than the RTX 3080, but it also offers better 4K performance and more VRAM. The RTX 3080 costs $50 more, but it’s easy to argue that this is a tiny price to pay for better 4K performance, much improved ray tracing, and DLSS improvements. All of these products are accessible right now, and they all come with free developer support for the next two years. FidelityFX Super Resolution, on the other hand, has gained ground in the minds of game creators, and is well worth activating in those games that support it.

Even yet, we’re still great fans of the RX 6800 XT, a return to form for the Radeon Technology Group that injects much-needed competition into the GPU market and provides a legitimate red team alternative for any high-end gaming PC setup.

Read our full AMD RX 6800 XT review(opens in new tab).

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition graphics card shot from above on a blank background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
More affordable Ampere

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 4,864
Base clock: 1,410MHz
Boost clock: 1,665MHz
TFLOPs: 16.20
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Finally! Something a little more affordable

+

2080 Super performance

+

Under $400

REASONS TO AVOID

Annoying 12-pin power connector

Not quite good enough for 4K

In terms of Amperes per dollar, the RTX 3060 Ti is superior to the RTX 3070. While the RTX 3060 Ti has a smaller number of shader units (SMs) activated, both cards share a single GA104 GPU and an identical 256-bit bus with the same 8 GB of GDDR6 memory.

Even though it has a lower core count (by 17 percent), the RTX 3060 Ti makes up for it in GPU Boost frequency (by 10 percent). Due to this, the RTX 3060 Ti is just 17 percent to a few decimal places slower than the RTX 3070 even though it is working at a silicon disadvantage. An excellent value for the money, considering it only costs $399! (if you can find it for that price).

Do the math if you haven’t done it already: The RTX 3060 Ti is 20% less expensive than the RTX 3070, thus performance per dollar is on the rise with the little graphics card’s price tag. Why we appreciate it so much is because it is a wonderful GPU for all resolutions and has a decent ray tracing capability as a result of the second-generation RT Cores.

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If an RTX 3080 or 3070 is out of your price range, the RTX 3060 Ti is a good substitute. As far as graphics cards go, this one has a lot going for it. It beats the RTX 2080 Super in almost every test.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti review(opens in new tab) (Founders Edition).

Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition graphics card shot from an angle on a grey worktop

(Image credit: Future)
Finally, a reason for every 10-series gamer to upgrade

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 5,888
Base clock: 1,500MHz
Boost clock: 1,725MHz
TFLOPs: 20.37
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Turing-topping frame rates

+

Relatively low power

+

This FE card is smol

REASONS TO AVOID

Annoying 12-pin power connector

The RTX 3070 is one of the few high-end Amperes that can compete with the Turing-based RTX 2080 Ti for less than half the price.

We are talking about next-generation console price here, so $499 is a hefty sum, but it’s not an outrageous sum when compared to PC gaming’s best graphics chips today. A 4K-capable graphics card that doesn’t require much adjusting to get playable, if not high, framerates is given in exchange for your cooperation No doubt about it, the 1440p version will be a slam dunk.

What makes the RTX 3070 our selection for the PC gaming enthusiast is the complete Nvidia ecosystem that is behind the RTX stack today’s performance capabilities are undeniable. Broadcast and Reflex, as well as DLSS, significantly improve performance while sacrificing only a little amount of clarity.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 3070 review(opens in new tab) (Founders Edition).

Best CPU for gaming(opens in new tab) 

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT reference graphics card shot from above on a blank background

(Image credit: AMD)
If you’ve money to burn

SPECIFICATIONS

RDNA cores: 5,120
Base clock: 1,825MHz
Boost clock: 2,250MHz
TFLOPs: 23.04
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 512GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Occasional RTX 3090 performance…

+

…but cheaper!

REASONS TO AVOID

Can lag behind RTX 3080 at times

Mediocre ray-tracing performance

AMD’s RX 6900 XT, dubbed ‘Big Navi,’ arrived not long after Nvidia’s RTX 3090 remained undefeated at the pinnacle of graphics performance. By knocking out Ampere’s best, the RX 6900 XT intends to bring it back down to Earth. With 4K performance a little off the pace of the RTX 3090—and all for a third of the asking price—the RTX 2080 is a good option.

For this reason, it’s a no-brainer purchase for any PC gamer who has no desire to become a professional game developer. There is a reason why it’s not the top choice in our graphics card recommendation today, and that’s because it’s not that much better than an RTX 3080, and in some cases, it’s not even that good. In addition to the RTX 3080’s $300 price tag, you might expect better performance in rasterized and ray-traced tasks with this card. However, its ray-tracing acceleration is always going to lag behind its rivals.

In terms of memory, however, the 16GB of GDDR6 memory found on the RX 6900 XT is significantly more than the 10GB of (faster) GDDR6X memory found on the RTX 3080. The RX 6900 XT, on the other hand, is a more affordable option to the RTX 3090, but it is still a victim of its own extreme price tag when it comes to gaming.

Read our full AMD RX 6900 XT review(opens in new tab).

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU on a gray background.

(Image credit: Nvidia)
The new king of GeForce gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 10,240
Base clock: 1,365MHz
Boost clock: 1,665MHz
TFLOPs: 34.10
Memory: 12GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 912.4GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Superb 4K performance

+

Nearly an RTX 3090 for less cash

+

Excellent ray tracing capability

REASONS TO AVOID

A lot pricier than the RTX 3080

Power hungry at 350W

Runs pretty hot

Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti isn’t their strongest GeForce graphics card. This honour belongs to the RTX 3090, but only by the thinnest of margins. The RTX 3090 Ti(opens in new tab) will surely overtake it when it is released. That being said, if you’re seeking to go all out on your next PC build, we recommend the super high-end RTX 3080 Ti.

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The RTX 3080 Ti is just as powerful of a gaming graphics card as its predecessor, the RTX 3090. This card is capable of crushing any game you throw at it, thanks to its large number of CUDA Cores and lightning-fast GDDR6X memory. With 80 RT Cores, it’s also capable of real-time ray tracing.

Its price, however, is the reason why this card doesn’t make our list of the top graphics cards. The RTX 3090 is just a few hundred dollars away from the $1,200 RTX 3090. Disregarding outrageous pricing or a scarcity of inventory.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti review(opens in new tab) (Founders Edition).

Zotac RTX 3060 Twin Edge graphics card

(Image credit: Zotac)
Nvidia’s shot at a more affordable Ampere GPU

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 3,584
Base clock: 1,320MHz
Boost clock: 1,777MHz
TFLOPs: 12.74
Memory: 12GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 15GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 360GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

Ready for 60fps at 1440p or greater

+

Decent gen-on-gen performance improvement

+

More readily available to purchase in pre-built PCs

REASONS TO AVOID

Not always massively faster than an RTX 2060

RTX 3060 Ti is a better buy at $399

When the RTX 3060 was announced, it seemed like an odd choice to have 12GB of GDDR6 memory. The RTX 3080 Ti has more RAM, but it’s slower. It also tops the RTX 3060 Ti. With that in mind, the RTX 3060 is able to outperform its predecessor in most games, as well as in enough of the remainder to make it useful.

THIRD MACHINE OF YOUR LIFE

(Future) (Image courtesy of Future)
The best pre-built gaming PCs from the pros are here.
Perfect laptops for mobile gaming, the best gaming laptops(opens in new tab)

As for VRAM, we’re not going to sneer at 12GB if we can get away with 6GB in the near future.

A graphics card with a decent generation-on-generation improvement and lots of speed at 1080p and 1440p is the RTX 3060 12GB. While the RTX 2060’s launch price was nominally lower than the RTX 2070’s, it isn’t as easy to locate the precise number currently. Pre-built gaming PCs commonly include this GPU, and it is available for a reasonable all-in price.

Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB review(opens in new tab) (Zotac Twin Edge).

Gigabyte RTX 3050 graphics card

(Image credit: Gigabyte)
The best sub-$300 graphics card, in theory

SPECIFICATIONS

CUDA cores: 2,560
Base clock: 1,552MHz
Boost clock: 1,777MHz
TFLOPs: 9.098
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 224GB/s

REASONS TO BUY

+

DLSS and ray tracing support

+

Way faster than an RX 6500 XT

REASONS TO AVOID

Should be at least RTX 2060 performance

Long term stock and pricing unknowable

The GeForce RTX 3050 is the only graphics card under $300 we would suggest. Although AMD’s Radeon RX 6500 XT was easily defeated. Although the RTX 3050 isn’t widely available or affordable, it’s still a challenging GPU to endorse enthusiastically.

A good PC player would prefer the larger RTX 3060 12GB over an RTX 3050, which is smaller. In that case, the RTX 3050 will give GTX 1660 Ti performance with DLSS if you’re on a tight budget.

It has support for ray tracing, but its feeble heart won’t be able to handle it for long.

The RTX 3050 is a better value for a prebuilt gaming PC than anything else available at this price point. It’s worth noting that RTX 3060 12GB PC bargains are available rather frequently, and with a little patience and persistence, you may get your hands on an entirely new and more powerful graphics card.

Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 review(opens in new tab) (Gigabyte Eagle).

Graphics card FAQ

Top down shot of an Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card without a cooler on so you can see the GPU itself

How do I get a GPU in the the graphics card shortage?

You might try to manually reload every store page in the aim of finding the next resupply; that’s an option. It’s also possible to sign up for a trusted app that does the shopping for you. Because it handles the refreshing for you, you don’t have to worry about a bot trying to scoop up stock the wrong way.

There are similar services in the US such as Stock Informer(opens in new tab), but we haven’t used them ourselves to score stock. In the UK, we’ve had luck using the app HotStock.

Similarly, several free Discord servers, such as the well-known StockDrops server, have stock alert bots and community members that keep an eye out for price changes (opens in new tab).

Streams on Twitch are also worth noting. You may hear a deafening klaxon from those who are dedicated to finding your stock. For Nvidia GPUs, we recommend Falcodrin on Twitch(opens in new tab), but there are a slew of generous individuals doing the same thing elsewhere.

Is there an easy way to get a new graphics card?

Buying a prebuilt gaming PC may not be for everyone, but if you want a current graphics card for less than MSRP this year, this is the way to go. If you’re planning a complete rebuild in the future, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind. Graphics cards are more readily available to PC builders, and while some still foresee delays, you can rest assured that a PC with a GPU will be delivered at some point.

Which is better GTX or RTX?

To distinguish older Nvidia graphics cards that lack the AI and ray tracing technology of the RTX-level GPUs, the GTX prefix is now used. It was first used on the RTX 20-series cards three years ago, and it indicates which GPU models include both the Tensor Core and RT Cores needed for real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling.

Is ray tracing only for RTX cards?

There are no specific ray tracing GPUs in the RTX prefix, but they are still using Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing API, which is used by AMD’s RDNA 2 GPUs as well. It is possible to run real-time ray tracing on these AMD GPUs, however it does so at a cost to performance.

It is expected that Intel’s new Xe-HPG GPUs, which will be used in the Alchemist graphics cards, will also support Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing API when they go on sale in early 2017.

Is SLI or CrossFire still a thing?

In the past, you would run two graphics cards in SLI or CrossFire to get the most out of your system. It’s becoming more typical for large games to overlook multi-GPU players. All DXR games are included in it. Additionally, there are fewer next-generation cards that can be linked together. NVLink is only available on the $1,500 GTX 3090 for creative applications from Nvidia.

To that end, the answer is a flat no. There isn’t anything like it.

Do I need a 4K capable graphics card?

Only if you’re using a 4K gaming monitor, of course (opens in new tab). However, other factors should be taken into account, such as the types of games you enjoy. If you’re a competitive shooter who places a high value on frame rates, you’ll want to aim for games with extremely high frame rates. For the time being, 1440p or 1080p resolutions are the best bet.

As a result, the more games like CoD: Warzone use DLSS, the more Nvidia GPUs will be able to make a close approximation of 4K images on your 4K monitor, but at greater frame rates.

What’s a Founders Edition graphics card?

Only Nvidia-designed graphics cards are included in the Founders Edition line. Most of these are stock-clocked “reference” cards.

The Founder’s Editions of the RTX 20-series from Nvidia feature factory overclocks. As Founders Edition cards serve as a benchmark for performance comparisons, this has made it more difficult, but Nvidia has subsequently started producing them again as reference cards.