The battle between AMD and Nvidia to produce the best graphics card shows no signs of slowing down, with the Radeon RX 6000 and GeForce RTX 3000 series hot on each other’s heels. However, the state of play could change significantly with the arrival of Intel Arc Alchemist cards later this year, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll be enough to stand up to upcoming RDNA 3 or RTX 4000 GPUs.
Whatever your budget, we’re confident you’ll find the best graphics card for your needs among AMD and Nvidia’s current product stacks. That said, you could save even more cash by grabbing a GPU of yesteryear on the used market. Even pixel pushers from a few generations ago are still more than capable of running the best PC games, providing you’re willing to turn a few settings down.
Don’t forget that you’ll want to equip your gaming PC with the best gaming CPU you can buy in addition to your new graphics card, else you may encounter processor bottlenecks in many videogames. This is particularly important if you play on one of the best gaming monitors, with a high refresh rate.
Here are the best graphics cards in 2022:
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
The best graphics card for gaming is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.
While the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti might be the most powerful GPU you can buy, you’re better off spending your cash on an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti for gaming. It offers comparable performance to its bigger brother and is a whopping $800 cheaper.
An AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT may cost less, at just $999 USD, but the RTX 3080 Ti will deftly outperform team red’s flagship when it comes to ray tracing. It’s no slouch when it comes to traditional rendering either, making it the perfect card for 4K high refresh rate gaming.
What we like:
- RTX 3090 gaming performance at a cheaper price point
- Better ray tracing performance than the RX 6900 XT
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti specs|
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
The best cheap graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050.
At just $249 USD, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 makes putting Ampere in your gaming PC a more affordable prospect. Despite its lower price tag, the RTX 3050 doesn’t miss out on features like Nvidia DLSS. This upscaling technology can help the budget card significantly boost fps in even the most demanding games, with little-to-no impact to image quality.
It’s also capable of ray tracing, and offers greater performance than its main competition, the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT. If you predominantly play esports titles like Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, or Valorant, the RTX 3050 is a perfect fit for your system with support for Nvidia Reflex as well.
What we like:
- Access to Nvidia DLSS and Nvidia Reflex at a more affordable price
- Solid 1080p ray tracing performance
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 specs|
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
The best AMD graphics card is the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT.
Sitting at the top of its RX 6000 series graphics cards, the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is team red’s frontrunner for the GPU performance crown. At $999 USD, it’s much cheaper than either the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090 Ti, and can turn in very similar frame rates to those cards.
It unfortunately can’t quite compete with team green’s flagships when it comes to ray tracing, with Nvidia’s RT cores wiping the floor with AMD’s ray accelerators. If standard rendering is your priority, the RX 6900 XT is the best of the bunch from team red and should be on your shortlist.
What we like:
- 4K gaming at less than $1000 USD
- Can sometimes outperform the RTX 3080 Ti
|AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT specs|
|GPU Model||Navi 21 XTX|
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti
The most powerful graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.
Nvidia’s flagship Ampere graphics card is the most powerful consumer GPU in the world right now. However, the only real advantage you’ll gain by spending $1,999 USD on it is bragging rights, as it only delivers marginally higher performance in games compared to the cheaper RTX 3080 Ti.
That said, the card’s 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM dwarfs the 12GB found on the RTX 3080 Ti, so it might be one to consider if you need something for production workloads and gaming.
What we like:
- The most powerful consumer GPU bar none
- Unparalleled performance in production workloads
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti specs|
|Memory bandwidth||1,008 GB/s|
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
The best graphics card for the money is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080.
If you’re looking for the sweet spot between cost and performance, then you’ll want the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. It comes from the same GA102 family as its bigger, more expensive siblings, the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090, but is substantially cheaper at $699 USD.
Even those with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti can expect a significant uplift in frame rates, and it only gets better for those still holding on to GTX 10 series cards. It also supports Nvidia software features like Nvidia DLSS, Nvidia Reflex, and Nvidia ShadowPlay for a wonderfully robust toolset.
What we like:
- Generational leap even over the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
- Better features and performance than the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 specs|
Why are graphics cards so expensive right now?
There’s been an ongoing GPU shortage for the past two years, with several major contributing factors. The global pandemic has placed constraints on supply lines, which simply cannot meet the demand for graphics cards coming from gamers and crypto miners alike.
Thankfully, with recent cryptocurrency crashes and winding down of the pandemic, both prices and stock levels should slowly return to normal.
Budget vs high-end GPU
Not everyone is fortunate enough to allocate an unlimited budget on one of the most important components in a gaming PC: the graphics card. After all, you still need to set some cash aside for a good CPU if you want to avoid bottlenecking. This is why picking the best graphics cards for your individual needs is essential.
If you can’t afford the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, don’t worry! While it’s currently our pick for the best value graphics card, there’s still plenty of great GPUs to be had that are cheaper. If you’re looking for something under $500 USD, consider the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT.
Much as the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT might be the cheapest graphics card on the market, we’d advise that you stay clear of it. Yes, it’s $199 USD MSRP is tempting, but it offers significantly worse performance compared to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, especially if you’re still using PCIe Gen 3.