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Greatest graphics playing cards 2021: the highest gaming GPUs – Rock Paper Shotgun


In case your PC is struggling to play the newest video games at respectable body charges, then upgrading to one in every of at the moment’s finest graphics playing cards is the proper method to turbocharge your PC’s gaming efficiency. Having a quick CPU and SSD may help, however nothing will give your PC a shot within the arm like a brand new GPU. That will help you discover the very best graphics card on your PC, I’ve put collectively this record of all my prime GPU suggestions for 1080p, 1440p, 4K and ultrawide. Whether or not you are on the lookout for one thing low cost and cheerful or a 4K powerhouse, we have got you lined.

Earlier than we start, I need to stress that now will not be the very best time to be shopping for a brand new graphics card. Regardless of a number of new launches from Nvidia and AMD on the finish of final 12 months, inventory ranges throughout the board are virtually non-existent, making it tough to search out something (even older playing cards) that is truly in the stores. Low inventory ranges have additionally pushed up costs in consequence, so even for those who do handle to discover a GPU in inventory, it is in all probability way more costly than it ought to be. As such, I would strongly advise ready till issues settle down a bit, since you’ll doubtless find yourself spending much more than it is advisable over the approaching months. That will help you gauge how a lot you ought to be paying for these graphics playing cards, I’ve listed their beginning costs of their specs field.

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Ray tracing and video games

As soon as costs calm down, although, the next graphics playing cards all include the RPS seal of approval. I’ve ordered them by decision, as I discover this is among the finest and most sensible methods of gauging what sort of graphics card is best suited for you PC. Our prime picks are all able to taking part in the newest video games on max settings at 60fps, however you will additionally discover cheaper price range choices for every decision which might be nonetheless completely able to hitting 60fps on decrease graphics settings for those who’re not that fussed about maxing out your PC. With all that in thoughts, listed below are our greatest graphics card picks for 2021.

The very best graphics playing cards for gaming

AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT

The very best low cost 1080p graphics card

For individuals who do not need to spend greater than £200 / $200 on their graphics card, the 4GB model of the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT presents greater than sufficient efficiency to play video games at 1080p. It is also obtainable in a costlier 8GB mannequin, however you are not likely getting that rather more on your cash. The 4GB model continues to be a unbelievable graphics card in its personal proper, providing near-60fps speeds on Prime quality settings in just about each huge recreation going, and properly over 60fps when taking part in on Medium.

The 8GB model is price choosing up if yow will discover one at an excellent worth, however my assessments confirmed it delivered nigh-on equivalent body charges on Medium and Prime quality settings. The one space the place the 8GB model actually comes into its personal is supplying you with a bit extra room to play with on Extremely, as some video games demand greater than 4GB of reminiscence for his or her fanciest texture packs. The 8GB model is not fairly highly effective sufficient to hit 60fps on max settings, although, so that you’re actually not gaining a lot general. For 60fps hunters, then, the 4GB presents a nigh-on equivalent expertise for a a lot decrease price.

It is doubtless to get replaced later this 12 months with one in every of AMD’s new RX 6000 sequence graphics playing cards, although, so this entry might properly change in a number of month’s time. For now, although, we suggest AMD’s Radeon RX 5500 XT over almost all of Nvidia’s rival GTX 16-series GPUs, as beneath regular circumstances we predict it is significantly better worth for cash.

What we like:

✔️ Nice 1080p efficiency on a price range

✔️ A lot sooner body charges than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650

✔️ Equivalent efficiency to the (usually costlier) GTX 1660

Learn extra in our AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT overview

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

The very best 1080p graphics card, and finest low cost 1440p graphics card

The RX 5500 XT is a superb little graphics card, however if you wish to play video games at max settings at 1920×1080 and have the choice of pushing into the realms of 2560×1440 gaming, then the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is arms down the very best graphics card for the job. It is sooner than Nvidia’s similarly-priced GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous and GTX 1660 Ti, and presents clean speeds of 60fps in just about each one in every of at the moment’s largest blockbusters on Extremely high quality settings at 1080p – and even sooner body charges on Excessive when you have a excessive refresh price gaming monitor, typically hitting at the very least 80fps.

The RX 5600 XT is simply as quick as Nvidia’s RTX 2060, too, producing equivalent speeds at 1080p and 1440p for lots much less. It may hit a gentle 60fps on Excessive or Medium high quality settings at 1440p, and might even handle playable speeds on max high quality settings in some video games as properly. It does not help ray tracing, however by way of general worth, the RX 5600 XT is a tricky act to beat.

Very like the RX 5500 XT, although, AMD will doubtless substitute the RX 5600 XT with a extra highly effective RX 6000 mannequin later this 12 months. In the meanwhile, we do not know if the inevitable RX 6600 XT will help ray tracing simply but, however we must always know extra earlier than the tip of June.

What we like:

✔️ 60fps speeds on max settings at 1080p

✔️ Able to hitting 60fps on Medium to Excessive settings at 1440p

✔️ Equivalent efficiency to Nvidia’s RTX 2060 for much less

Learn extra in our AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT overview

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

The very best 1440p graphics playing cards

Taking part in video games on max settings at 2560×1440 requires much more horsepower than it does at 1920×1080, however Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is at the moment the cardboard to beat for 60fps speeds on most settings. Like all graphics playing cards in the meanwhile, it is bought out just about in all places proper now, however for those who’re on the lookout for flawless, 1440p perfection, this card ought to undoubtedly be on the prime of your record as soon as costs and inventory ranges begin to calm down.

There’s merely nothing else prefer it in its worth vary proper now, as AMD are but to announce their next-gen successor to the RX 5600 XT. We would see a brand new competitor from AMD earlier than the tip of June, however till then, the RTX 3060 Ti is the one to place in your want record. Not solely is it able to hitting 60fps speeds on max settings in at the moment’s newest video games, akin to Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, nevertheless it’s additionally able to delivering body charges upwards of 70-80fps in barely older blockbusters as properly.

The RTX 3060 Ti additionally has considerably improved ray tracing efficiency in comparison with Nvidia’s earlier technology of RTX playing cards, which means you’ll be able to truly play at the moment’s crop of ray tracing video games at 1440p as a substitute of getting to accept 1080p. If ray tracing is especially vital to you and you have got the price range, it’s possible you’ll need to take into consideration the RTX 3070 as a substitute, although, particularly for those who’ve bought a excessive refresh price monitor. For more information and benchmark outcomes, try our RTX 3060 Ti vs RTX 3070 article.

What we like:

✔️ Delivers 60fps speeds on max settings at 1440p in all of at the moment’s largest video games

✔️ Greater than doubles the efficiency of the GTX 1070

✔️ Gives RTX 2080 Tremendous ranges of energy for lots much less

Learn extra in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti overview

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

The very best graphics card for ultrawide gaming screens

Taking part in ultrawide PC video games is nearly as demanding as taking part in them at 4K, however fortunately the decrease 3440×1440 decision of most ultrawide screens means you may get away with a barely cheaper graphics card in consequence. For us, that is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, though an older RTX 2070 Tremendous or AMD’s new Radeon RX 6800 may even get the job performed as properly based mostly on our testing.

In equity, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 is one other positive selection for ultrawide monitor homeowners, and people decided to play video games on the highest attainable settings and the quickest refresh charges will little doubt get loads of profit from its further horsepower. For us, although, the cheaper RTX 3070 is significantly better worth general, able to delivering extremely playable body charges at 3440×1440 and beneath, and it is in all probability the closest factor to a ‘low cost 4K graphics card’ you are going to get, too, if you do not have the price range for the RTX 3080.

Certainly, the RTX 3070 is greater than able to hitting 60fps in most of at the moment’s huge video games that help ultrawide resolutions, and it is bought buckets of energy for taking part in video games at a daily, 16:9 decision of 2560×1440, too, when video games have no ultrawide decision help. Certainly, the RTX 3070 can hit speeds of at the very least 70-80fps on max settings at 2560×1440, and 60fps at 4K on Medium to Excessive settings. It is a terrific card for ray tracing at 1440p as properly, making it probably the most versatile graphics playing cards round for top decision monitor homeowners.

What we like:

✔️ Units a brand new benchmark for 1440p speeds in its worth vary with 80fps+ on max settings

✔️ 4K 60fps efficiency on Prime quality settings in all of at the moment’s huge blockbusters

✔️ Roughly doubles the efficiency of the GTX 1070

Learn extra in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 overview

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The very best graphics card for 4K

I have never included a ‘low cost 4K graphics card’ choice right here, as a result of let’s face it, whenever you’re spending this type of cash on a brand new GPU, it pays to get the very best, and at the moment that is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. Not solely is it able to delivering a clean 60fps on max settings in just about all of at the moment’s huge blockbusters (there are, naturally, a few exceptions however they’re few and much between), nevertheless it’s additionally a significantly better purchase than AMD’s next-gen 4K rival, the Radeon RX 6800 XT.

Like all new graphics playing cards proper now, the RTX 3080 has been bought out for months, making it very tough to get of. In principle, the RX 6800 XT is technically a smidge cheaper than the RTX 3080, nevertheless it’s simply not fairly as quick as Nvidia’s new flagship, each by way of uncooked efficiency and the way it fares with ray tracing.

The RTX 3080 additionally has the advantage of Nvidia’s DLSS tech to assist enhance its ray tracing efficiency in appropriate video games (which is more and more loads of the massive ray tracing video games), and AMD’s DLSS equal is not at the moment obtainable. It is attainable the RX 6800 XT might supplant the RTX 3080 as soon as AMD’s FidelityFX Tremendous Decision tech is out within the wild, however within the meantime, the RTX 3080 is the 4K graphics card to purchase proper now.

What we like:

✔️ 4K 60fps efficiency on max settings in nearly each recreation going

✔️ Considerably improved ray tracing and DLSS efficiency over Nvidia’s RTX 20 sequence

✔️ Units the benchmark for next-gen 4K graphics playing cards

Learn extra in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 overview

Continuously requested questions

Why are graphics playing cards so costly proper now?

For those who’ve tried to purchase a brand new graphics card lately, you will know it has been nigh-on unattainable to pay money for one. Inventory ranges are at all-time lows, and demand for brand new {hardware} has by no means been larger – and it does not seem like it’ll get significantly better any time quickly, both, as Nvidia have warned that the present GPU scenario might not resolve itself till 2022. It is the identical scenario for these attempting to purchase a brand new console, too, with the Xbox Collection X and Collection S and PlayStation 5 all affected by comparable delays and inventory shortages.

On the graphics card entrance, this is because of a mix of Covid-19-related manufacturing delays from 2020, with many factories shutting down simply as they need to have been gearing as much as prepare for all the brand new {hardware} launches resulting from happen on the finish of the 12 months, and a brand new growth in cryptocurrency mining. GPUs are sizzling commodities for crypto-miners, as many depend on having a number of GPU energy to mine their respective currencies. The cryptomining scenario is more likely to have an effect on SSDs quickly, too, and should lead to additional {hardware} shortages later this 12 months. It is a grim scenario, as the additional demand from cryptominers means there are much more folks vying for these playing cards than regular, making it tough for normal folks to get our arms on one. This example is not distinctive to 2021, although, as we noticed in the good graphics card scarcity of 2018. Issues will type themselves out ultimately, however we might be in for an extended wait earlier than costs return to regular.

Which graphics playing cards have ray tracing?

Ray tracing is the new new graphics tech of next-gen {hardware}, however you want a particular graphics card to benefit from it. Proper now, that is all of Nvidia’s RTX 20 sequence and 30 sequence GPUs, and AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 playing cards. On the Nvidia aspect, that features all the pieces from an RTX 2060 to RTX 2080 Ti, and RTX 3060 to RTX 3090, whereas AMD’s ray tracing GPU household begins on the RX 6700 XT and ends on the RX 6900 XT.

Intel are additionally resulting from launch graphics playing cards with ray tracing help later this 12 months with the launch of their upcoming Xe GPUs, however we do not know when these will likely be obtainable but.

Which is healthier, AMD or Nvidia?

An age outdated query that modifications with each technology of graphics playing cards. Proper now, Nvidia graphics playing cards at the very best for taking part in video games at excessive resolutions, akin to 1440p or above. AMD playing cards are higher for these on a price range, as they’re typically higher worth than their Nvidia counterparts – and you may see that break up fairly clearly within the playing cards we have picked above.

Certainly, whereas AMD’s new Radeon RX 6000 playing cards are sometimes simply as highly effective as their Nvidia counterparts at excessive resolutions, each by way of their uncooked efficiency and ray tracing capabilities, they undergo from two huge issues. The primary is that they are not as keenly priced as Nvidia’s high-end GPUs, and infrequently supply much less efficiency for the same amount of cash. Additionally they do not benefit from Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS tech, both, which may actually make a distinction to your body price whenever you’ve bought ray tracing switched on. AMD are resulting from launch their very own model of DLSS, at the moment often known as FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (or FSR), later this 12 months, so it is attainable they can claw again some high-end cred in consequence, however till then, Nvidia’s RTX 30 playing cards are the next-gen playing cards to beat.

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