Best graphics card 2018

What's the best gaming graphics card? We've benchmarked all the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards to help you find out

Best Graphics Card

We’ve tested them all, run the numbers, and these are the best graphics cards to buy today. The GPU is the silicon heart of your gaming PC and we’ve reviewed and benchmarked all the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. But should you go for a cheap graphics card or go all in for 4K? We can help…

If you want the absolute pinnacle of graphical prowess you could drop a cool $3,000 on Nvidia’s Titan V, but now that the RTX 2080 Ti is finally here, serious 4K performance is actually within reach. I mean yes, it is some $1,200, but that’s less than half the price of a Titan V for better performance. Bargain, right?

So, what should you buy right now? Nvidia graphics cards are starting to creep down in price in the short-term, now that Nvidia’s Turing architecture, and subsequent RTX 2080RTX 2080 Ti have been nominally released. The more mainstream RTX 2070 is finally available on the shelves now, too. Hell, even AMD might be prepping an RX 590 for launch in the near-future.

Whether you’re chasing a good, cheap graphics card, a top-end 4K graphics card, or just simply the best overall GPU, we’ve got you covered.

The best graphics cards are:

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AMD RX 580 8GB

Winner: Best graphics card

AMD RX 580 8GB

Approx. – $200 | £200

RX 580

AMD's finest is cheaper than ever after the mining boom, and putting pressure back on the GTX 1060.

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN Cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5
  • Memory Bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Large video memory capacity
Tick Great price/performance ratio
Tick Quality DirectX 12 performance

Cons
Cross The GTX 1060 6GB is sometimes faster

Until there are affordable next-gen mainstream Turing GPUs in play the price/performance heroes will remain the AMD RX 580 and GTX 1060. And, finally, pricing has returned to a vaguely sensible level where the RX 580 8GB is once more the cheaper option, and the go-to card for non-billionaire PC gamers.

The Polaris-based Radeon cards perform better than the GTX 1060 competition in a handful of DX12 titles and in Doom’s Vulkan build. They have a superior memory setup, too. Not only does the RX 580 have an extra 2GB of VRAM at its disposal, useful for high-res textures and large open-world games, it’s also got that running over a wider, 256-bit, aggregated memory bus.

Read our full AMD Radeon RX 580 review.

AMD RX 590

Runner-up:

AMD RX 590

Approx. – $279 | £250

RX 590

AMD's RX 590 may not beat the RX 580 by much, but it's enough to give Nvidia's GTX 1060 a kicking.

  • GPUPolaris 30
  • GCN cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Most powerful sub-$300 GPU
Tick Tops the GTX 1060 6GB
Tick Quality DirectX 12 performance

Cons
Cross The RX 580 is still better value for money

The RX 590 isn’t all that different to our favourite graphics card, the RX 580. AMD has copy and pasted its 36 CU GPU onto either GlobalFoundries 12nm or Samsung’s 11nm process, resulting in significantly higher clock speeds over its predecessor. It’s not a hugely impactful change when it comes to gaming performance, but AMD has tweaked the formula just enough to earn the RX 590 the title of most powerful sub-$300 graphics card.

That said, it’s not the card we’d recommend in the mainstream GPU segment. One of the best things the RX 590 has done for the market is make the RX 580 just that much more tantalising with its sub-MSRP prices right now. Still, if you want the newest silicon, the RX 590, in various third-party garb, is the fastest going without needing to break the bank.

Read our full AMD Radeon RX 590 review.

Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB

runner-up:

Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB

Approx. – $230 | £220

GTX 1060

The mainstream Pascal GPU is finally affordable again, but is just pipped to the top spot by the RX 580.

  • GPUGP106
  • CUDA cores1,280
  • VRAM6GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus192-bit

Pros
Tick Great gaming performance
Tick GeForce Experience backend
Tick Quality legacy DX 11 frame rates

Cons
Cross Not so great in Vulkan and DX12

We’re still a long way off from having genuinely mainstream Nvidia Turing graphics cards, with even the upcoming RTX 2070 costing at least $499 for the reference chip. So, until the 2060 – whether it gets RTX or GTX designation – appears, the graphics card we recommend for the vast majority of PC gamers is either the GTX 1060 or the RX 580.

AMD’s RX 580 has just pipped the GTX 1060 as the go-to card at the moment, thanks to its improved framebuffer, lower price tag, and better performance in modern APIs. But if you love yourself some Nvidia features – G-Sync, GeForce Experience, Shield’s GameStream, and the like – then the GTX 1060 6GB is still an absolutely brilliant gaming GPU.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1060 review.

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti

Winner: best 4K graphics card

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti

Approx. – $1,199 | £1,099

RTX 2080 Ti

The pinnacle of 4K, 60fps gaming... even if it will cost you an arm and a leg. And a couple of kidneys too.

  • GPUTU 102
  • CUDA cores4,352
  • VRAM11GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus352-bit

Pros
Tick Serious 60fps 4K gaming
Tick Faster than a $3K Titan V
Tick Future ray tracing and AI goodness

Cons
Cross Titan-level pricing

The RTX 2080 Ti is the true next-gen graphics card of the new Turing GPU generation. The RTX 2080 only delivers current gaming performance at the same level as the GTX 1080 Ti, but the RTX 2080 Ti goes well beyond it, offering genuine 4K gaming at 60fps in all but the most demanding of PC games.

There’s also the promise of real-time ray tracing… when Microsoft updates its Windows 10 OS with a new version of DirectX 12. Then there’s AI-based super-sampling that will make your games look prettier and run better. As well as all the other goodness AI will bring to gaming in the future via Microsoft’s WinML API, and the new shader techniques Nvidia has created for Turing. Buy it if you want the ultimate in 4K gaming now, and then bask in the knowledge there’s even more to come.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti review.

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Runner-up:

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Approx. – $876 | £720

GTX 1080 Ti

The Pascal generation's poster child, and the card the RTX 2080 had to beat in order to be in any way relevant.

  • GPUGP102
  • CUDA cores3,584
  • VRAM11GB GDDR5X
  • Memory bus352-bit

Pros
Tick 4K gaming chops
Tick Hefty 11GB VRAM capacity

Cons
Cross A little behind the RTX 2080
Cross Stock is dwindling and prices are rising

The GTX 1080 Ti is an outstandingly fast graphics card with a frame buffer that chews through high-fidelity 4K content. It’s not on par with the level of 4K gaming you can squeeze out of the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti, but then it is almost half the price too.

The RTX 2080 is the closest competition for the GTX 1080 Ti, but it’s more expensive and only just a few frames per second ahead. That said, it does have a lot more to offer on both the gaming fidelity and potential performance front later on down the line. Until the prices of the 10-series inevitably rise beyond the new-gen GPUs as stock dries up, the GTX 1080 Ti is still an incredibly tempting option.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti review.

Nvidia RTX 2080

Runner-up:

Nvidia RTX 2080

Approx. – $799 | £699

RTX 2080

The new RTX 2080 is a tough sell given its higher price tag than the GTX 1080 Ti, and its similar performance.

  • GPUTU104
  • CUDA cores2,944
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Outperforms the GTX 1080 Ti
Tick Future ray tracing and AI power…

Cons
Cross … but we’re still waiting for it
Cross Super-expensive for a 2nd tier GPU

The second-tier 20-series GPU from Nvidia is still a massively expensive card and yet is only delivering a little more performance than the previous generation’s GTX 1080 Ti. But stock of the top Pascal GPU is dwindling and so prices are inevitably rising.

And there is more to come from the RTX 2080, and we’re confident it will eventually deliver on Nvidia’s fresh fine wine approach. For now, though, with few affordable reference card versions, it’s a tough sell. But as prices for the GTX 1080 Ti go up as stock volume goes down, and the reverse happens to the RTX 2080, it will become the go-to card compared to the Pascal GPU.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 review.

Nvidia RTX 2070

RUNNER-UP:

Nvidia RTX 2070

Approx. – $500 | £469

RTX 2070

The third-tier Turing GPU can out-do a GTX 1080 for almost the same price, getting surprisingly close to a 1080 Ti.

  • GPUTU106
  • CUDA cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Faster than a GTX 1080
Tick Entry level for ray tracing

Cons
Cross Overclocked cards aren’t really worth it
Cross It’s a 3rd tier GPU for $500…

Nvidia’s third-tier Turing GPU is a really impressive graphics card, it’s just a shame that it’s arrived at GTX 1080 pricing rather than at the old GTX 1070 level. But it does outperform the old Pascal cards, and gets mighty close to the 1080 Ti when you throw some serious overclocking its way. But those factory-overclocked cards are hard to recommend given their super-high pricing.

We still don’t know what the real-time ray tracing and AI processing will eventually offer, but the RTX 2070 does seemingly represent the cheapest entry point if you want to get in at the ground floor of the new tech.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2070 review.

Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti

RUNNER-UP:

Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti

Approx. – $409 | £384

GTX 1070 Ti

The most recent addition to Nvidia's current generation of cards, and close to the might of the GTX 1080.

  • GPUGP104
  • CUDA cores2,432
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5X
  • Memory bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Generous 4K performance
Tick Prices are still dropping

Cons
Cross Stock will soon run dry
Cross Some OC cards are still expensive

The GTX 1070 Ti offers a little more bang for your buck than the GTX 1070, and along with the RTX 2070 now makes the GTX 1080 essentially redundant. Thanks to the near-full performance GP104 GPU, at 2,432 CUDA cores, this card only suffers at the hand of its cut-down GDDR5 memory, as opposed to the GDDR5X found on the GTX 1080.

The GTX 1070 Ti is more than capable of 4K gaming, although as with the GTX 1070, you may need to drop the graphic fidelity a little to smooth out those stutters at times – especially in memory-intensive games. It’s worth considering if you can’t stretch to an RTX 2070… while stocks last.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti review.

AMD RX 570 4GB

Winner: BEST cheap GRAPHICS CARD

AMD RX 570

Approx. – $150 | £150

RX 570

This great-value little GPU is back to being a price/performance hero again, giving the 1050 Ti trouble.

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,048
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

Pros
Tick Finally a great price
Tick Serious 1080p performance
Tick Wider memory bus than 1050 Ti

Cons
Cross The RX 580 is only a little bit more

The RX 570 is finally at a non-ridiculous price now that stock is starting to filter back into the channel. Actually, with the card sitting cheaper than the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti at the moment, it is actually a kind of ridiculous price… in a good way. Even at its standard sub-$200 level it’s not a bad option.

You are missing out on the higher level of video memory you get with the 8GB version of the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 6GB, but 4GB is absolutely fine if you’re still rocking a 1080p monitor. With its only slightly cut-down Polaris 20 GPU it’s still got the gaming goods, and if you can’t stretch to the price of an RX 580 or GTX 1060 then the second-tier Polaris card won’t disappoint.

Read our full AMD RX 570 4GB review.

Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti

Runner-up:

Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti

Approx. – $154 | £150

GTX 1050 Ti

A fantastic update to the GTX 750 Ti, offering 1080p gaming to low-end PCs with just a simple, affordable upgrade.

  • GPUGP107
  • CUDA cores768
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus128-bit

Pros
Tick Great 1080p gaming performance
Tick Bargain price
Tick Doesn’t need a PSU connection

Cons
Cross 4GB VRAM might become restrictive

The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is a fantastic little card; a welcome surprise given just how capable the GP107 GPU is when dealing with the latest games running at their highest 1080p settings. With seriously GPU-taxing titles you’ll need to knock back your in-game graphics settings a touch, but for something like Grand Theft Auto V you can hit just under 60fps comfortably.

Where the GTX 1050 Ti really stands out is in opening up PC gaming to a wider audience. Because its efficient GPU draws all its power from the PCIe bus, without needing an extra connection from the PSU, it can be an instant upgrade for any off-the-shelf office PC. You can turn pretty much any ropey old PC from the last five years or so into a 1080p gaming machine to be proud of. You can’t ask much more than that.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti review.

Nvidia GeForce GPU

Not everyone is lucky enough to be totally weapons free on budget when it comes to the most important component in a gaming PC: the graphics card. That’s why it’s so important – if you can’t afford an RTX 2080 Ti – you make sure your money is well-placed in hardware that is going to deliver the best performance for your given budget.

While the RTX 2080 Ti is the boss of 4K gaming, the GTX 1060 and RX 580 are fighting it out for the all-important price/performance crown. The RX 580 is a little cheaper right now, so it just about noses ahead right now, however, both offer fantastic frame rates even when the settings are cranked up to the max, and you won’t be left high and dry with either Nvidia or AMD in your system.

The entry-level is almost entirely dominated by the green team, however. The GTX 1050 Ti is a great card for middling performance in AAA titles, and fantastic performance in some of the most popular, and less demanding, competitive games around. Perfect for Fortnite on a budget.

But the RX 570 4GB is starting to drop down to a price that makes it almost the same price point as the 1050 Ti. It’s sporting the same VRAM capacity, but has a much wider memory bus, and higher gaming performance too.