What is the best graphics card in 2019? GPUs for every wallet… | PCGamesN

What is the best graphics card in 2019? GPUs for every wallet…

We've benchmarked all the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards to help you figure out the right GPU for you

Best graphics card 2019

What goes into the best graphics card has changed drastically over the last year. With Nvidia launching the RTX 20-series and recently joined by the RTX 2070 Super and the RTX 2060 Super cards, and AMD launching its new RX 5700 XT and RX 5700, things have certainly been hotting up.

We’re still waiting for AMD to really crank the heat up on Nvidia in the mainstream market – the segment where most of us will pick out our graphics cards – with Navi. AMD is still holding onto Polaris at the volume end of the market, hoping that its aggressive pricing can keep it relevant against the higher-performing Nvidia GTX Turing cards. The company has announced the Radeon RX 5500 and RX 5500M, yet discrete cards are still yet to enter the market.

If you have no reservations about money, however, there are treats indeed for you. The RTX 2080 Ti still being the fastest consumer graphics card on the planet, and still rocking a four-figure price tag, and there’s also the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super ready to bring you its best for a little less.

What is the best graphics card in 2019?

For all the high-performance GPUs getting released this year, the best graphics card for our money is the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti. Spending over $300 on a GPU might be alright for some, but for a great many of us that’s far too rich for our blood or our cash flow.

And so Turing’s non-RTX little brothers, along with AMD’s last-gen Polaris RX 590, would be our recommendation for most PC gamers on a reasonable budget.

Best graphics card - Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti

Best graphics card under $300

Nvidia geforce GTX 1660 Ti

Approx. $275 | £279

GTX 1660 Ti specs

  • GPUTU116
  • CUDA cores1,536
  • VRAM6GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus192-bit
Amazon
$289.99
$279.99
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Best Buy
$299.99
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What we like…
Tick GTX 1070 frame rates
Tick GTX 1060-level pricing
Tick Turing shader goodness

The latest mainstream GPU from Nvidia still uses all the Turing shader features introduced by the 20-series cards, but lacks the real-time ray tracing or AI finery which marked them apart from the rest of the world’s graphics cards. Though, given that there are precious few titles taking advantage of this holy grail of gaming graphics, that’s not a big loss when it’s all about price/performance ratios at this level.

The GTX 1660 Ti just about takes top spot as best graphics card thanks to the fact it’s fast enough to justify the extra cost over the RX 580’s bargain price. Overclocked cards, such as the STRIX GTX 1660 Ti, are too expensive, and too close to the RTX 2060 and RX 5700, but at MSRP the GTX 1660 Ti is a winner.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti review.

 

Great for 1080p gaming

Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660

Approx. $228 | £200

GTX 1660 specs

GTX 1660 specs

  • GPUTU116
  • CUDA cores1,408
  • VRAM6GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus192-bit
Amazon
$229.99
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Best Buy
$249.99
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What we like…
Tick Still has the gaming edge over Polaris
Tick Turing architecture

Now the last Polaris GPU has crashed in price from its $300 highs it’s a far more tempting card compared with the GTX 1660. This cut down Turing chip still has the edge in performance terms, but only by a hair’s breadth, and at this level having the price lead is almost more important than the frame rate one. Almost.

For our money we still want to know we’ve got the card with the highest frame rate for the cash, and the Nvidia GPUs still have that edge. And hey, you get integer scaling and the new low latency gaming features too, something the last-gen AMD cards don’t have.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1660 review.

 

Great for black friday sales

AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB

Approx. $216 | £184

RX 590 specs

RX 590 specs

  • GPUPolaris 30
  • GCN cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$289.00
$215.98
View
Best Buy
$249.99
$219.99
View

What we like…
Tick Stunning value
Tick Still serious performance

AMD’s last spin of the Polaris dice gave us a 12nm chip that delivers a huge amount of gaming performance for its modest price tag. It’s a little off the pace compared with the GTX Turing cards, but thanks to its original placing as a relatively high-spec GPU it’s still got a lot to offer. Though it will likely get a little toasty…

That’s long been part of the problem with Radeon GPUs, but if you can find an affordable option in a custom-cooled trim then that might be a problem you can ignore.

Read our full AMD Radeon RX 590 review.

Nvidia RTX 2070 Super

best graphics card under $500

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super

Approx. $499 | £499

RTX 2070 Super specs

  • GPUTU104
  • CUDA cores2,560
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$579.99
$539.31
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Best Buy
$499.99
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Adorama
$549.99
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What we like…
Tick GTX 1080 Ti performance
Tick No Founders Ed. tax
Tick Ray tracing skillz

The new RTX 2070 Super was born to beat AMD’s new Navi GPUs. With AMD targeting the old RTX 2070 Nvidia has created a new version, with the non-Founders Edition price, but with the RTX 2080’s own silicon. It’s a slightly cut-down version of the TU104 GPU, with 2,560 CUDA cores and higher clock speeds too.

And it’s quick, mighty quick. You’ll get impressive 4K gaming performance out of this card, which you would expect given the fact that it’s delivering frame rates that are generally ahead of Pascal’s best, the GTX 1080 Ti. Considering it’s shipping for $200 less than that classic old card, you can see just how strong an offering the new RTX 2070 Super is.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2070 Super review.

 

Great for tech-savvy players

AMD Radeon RX 5700

Approx. $330 | £320

RX 5700 specs

RX 5700 specs

  • GPUNavi 10
  • RDNA cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$379.99
$329.99
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Newegg
$349.99
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Best Buy
$349.99
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What we like…
Tick Same Navi GPU as the XT
Tick Often matches RTX 2060 Super
Tick …and the RX 5700 XT

Closely behind the XT, because of the aforementioned price cut, is this straight RX 5700. It’s running the same Navi GPU as the XT card, but has been hobbled in terms of clock speed to ensure it remains behind its stronger sibling.

However, we’ve chosen this card above its sibling for one reason and one reason alone: none of the above matters if you’re happy with a little behind-the-scenes tweaking to overclock and undervolt your GPU. With your GPU unlocked and some carefully fiddling with the frequencies, the RX 5700 can reach the performance of the RX 5700 XT. Crackin’.

Read our full AMD RX 5700 review.

 

Great for high-end performance

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

Approx. $400 | £377

RX 5700 XT specs

RX 5700 XT specs

  • GPUNavi 10
  • RDNA cores2,560
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$449.99
$399.99
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Best Buy
$399.99
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Adorama
$399.99
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What we like…
Tick  Not far off RTX 2070 Super performance
Tick Cheaper than RTX 2070 Super
Tick Doubles as a radiator

It’s a close run thing because, thanks to a rapid pre-launch price cut, AMD has created a monster of a GPU in the RX 5700 XT. It’s a great card, that’s only just shy of the RTX 2070 Super’s gaming performance, but with a fair bit of a saving on the reference card MSRP. The GeForce GPU has a little more to offer, but it’s tight.

The impressive thing is that we’re getting dangerously close to high-end GPU territory here, and AMD is actually seriously competitive with the GeForce gang. If only the reference card didn’t get so hot and so loud.

Read our full AMD RX 5700 XT review.

Best graphics card - Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti

BEST 4K Graphics card

Nvidia geforce RTX 2080 Ti

Approx. $1,049 | £980

RTX 2080 Ti specs

  • GPUTU102
  • CUDA cores4,352
  • VRAM11GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus352-bit
Amazon
$1,369.00
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Adorama
$1,189.00
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What we like…
TickSerious 60fps 4K gaming
Tick Faster than a $3K Titan V
Tick Future ray tracing and AI goodness

The RTX 2080 Ti is the true next-gen graphics card of the Turing GPU generation and, if pure performance was king, it would be an easy pick for the best graphics card. The RTX 2080 and 2070 Super cards only deliver current gaming performance around 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 in the future. No matter how you might feel about the next-gen visual effects they’re here to stay, and that was made abundantly clear at E3 this year. Not only have many more RTX/DXR titles been announced, but Sony and Microsoft have both announced that hardware-based ray tracing will be there in both next-gen consoles. So devs are going to be all over ray tracing in 2020 as they fight for the best looking games on the new platforms.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti review.

 

Great for sensible(ish) people

Nvidia geforce RTX 2080 Super

Approx. $720 | £695

RTX 2080 specs

RTX 2080 specs

  • GPUTU104
  • CUDA cores2,944
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$699.99
View
Best Buy
$699.99
View
Adorama
$749.99
View

What we like…
Tick The best affordable ray tracing GPU
Tick Serious 4K gaming performance
Tick RTX Turing architecture

The RTX 2080’s days were numbered the instant Nvidia committed to releasing the Super version. This new card packs in the full TU104 GPU, giving it a little more raw silicon than the original card, but for the same price. The latest version delivers a more gaming performance than the GTX 1080 Ti, with have more cores and faster memory, for even moar framez. Per second.

The issue is that the RTX 2070 Super is such a good card from both a price and performance standpoint that it’s really hard to make the case for the RTX 2080 Super instead. What you can say, however, is that this GPU offers the highest ray tracing performance this side of $1,000…

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 Super review.

Best graphics card - AMD RX 570 4GB

best cheap graphics card

AMD radeon RX 570

Approx. $135 | £122

RX 570 specs

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,048
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$249.99
$159.99
View
Newegg
$279.99
$129.99
View
Best Buy
$159.99
View

What we like…
Tick Superb price
Tick Serious 1080p performance
Tick Wider memory bus than 1050 Ti

Originally the second-tier Polaris GPU, the RX 570 has got a lot of silicon for something that’s only the cost of a cheap night out over $100. And that means it delivers a hell of a lot of gaming performance for the amount you’re going to spend on it. It also makes Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti look utterly ridiculous, and actually now rather irrelevant.

There are affordable 8GB versions of the RX 570 available too, but spending any more than the price of the 4GB card means you’re getting into RX 580 territory, which itself is a great price now. And for 1080p gaming a 4GB RX 570 will deliver great performance at the highest quality settings. It’s a budget hero.

Read our full AMD RX 570 4GB review.

 

Great for everyone

AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB

Approx. $170 | £156

RX 580 specs

RX 580 specs

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit
Amazon
$379.99
$179.99
View
Newegg
$259.99
$179.99
View
Best Buy
$189.99
$179.99
View

What we like…
Tick Still around, and still a great 1080p card
Tick Full 8GB of VRAM
Tick Great value

Now the RX 580 is available for well below the $200 mark it’s getting on for budget gaming territory. That’s maybe a little bit of a stretch for most, but where this was once the pinnacle of AMD’s GPU tech it’s now a great price for the level of gaming performance that you can get out of this Radeon card.

We are, after all, talking about a card that a few years ago was at the top of its game in terms of AMD GPUs. And that means it will nail any 1080p game you throw at it with some serious 1440p performance too.

Read our full AMD RX 580 review.

Best graphics card

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 picking the best graphics card for your needs is so important – if you can’t afford an RTX 2080 Ti you still need to 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 1660 Ti and RX 590 are fighting it out for the all-important price/performance crown. The RX 590 is a the cheaper option, but the latest Turing GPU does have the performance edge, and the GTX 1660 Ti can kind of now do ray tracing. Kind of. 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.

Looking a little further up the price range and the RTX 2070 Super is the performance king, but the Navi-powered RX 5700 XT runs it mighty close, even if it doesn’t have the same sort of AI or ray tracing chops.

The entry-level is almost entirely dominated by the red team, however. The RX 570 is now at such a great price that the GTX 1050 Ti looks incredibly tired by comparison. What it does have going for it is the ability to operate without PSU power connections, but the RX 570 hoses it in gaming terms.