Choosing the best graphics card can enhance your gaming PC tenfold, enabling you to enjoy lofty resolutions and frame rates. While GeForce RTX 4000 and Radeon RX 7000 GPUs will soon fight for the crown, Intel could win over gamers on a budget with its Arc Alchemist range.
With that in mind, what makes the best GPU? If you’re rocking a high-spec rig, you’ll likely want a powerhouse card that can run the latest games at 4K and still boost fps. Of course, premium parts come at a price, as flagship RTX 4000 offerings like the Nvidia RTX 4090 cost more than an entire system.
Thankfully, you don’t need a GPU kaiju to build the best gaming PC for your needs, and there is a range of different Nvidia, AMD, and Intel options out there to choose from. So to help unmuddy the sea of specs, we’ve compiled a list of the best graphics card choices on the market right now.
Here are the best graphics cards in 2023:
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti – our top current-gen choice
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 – the best cheap and cheerful card
- AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX – the best AMD GPU
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 – a graphics card kaiju
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 – great value for money
1. The best graphics card for gaming
The best graphics card for gaming is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti.
Expect to pay $799 USD / £799 GBP.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti specs|
|Memory bandwidth||504.2 GB/s|
- DLSS 3 and Frame Generation
- Performance on par with RTX 3090
- $400 cheaper than RTX 4080
- Isn’t a true midrange graphics card
- Still fairly expensive
The Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti isn’t exactly the midrange gladiator the graphics card scene needs, but it’s cheaper than the RTX 3080 Ti and packs a greater performance punch. It also costs $400 USD less than its RTX 4080 Lovelace sibling, all while boasting the same DLSS 3 AI upscaling abilities.
Our Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti review delves into why it’s a midrange GPU by name alone, as its price and performance are what we’d consider premium. Yet, for $799, you’ll get a graphics card that feels next-gen, and it can keep up with previous GeForce frontrunners like the RTX 3090. Not bad when you consider current RTX 3000 pricing situation, as even the RTX 3070 costs over $600 on the likes of Amazon.
The RTX 4070 Ti boasts impressive raw performance, and it can boost fps in the best PC games at 4K with ultra settings enabled. However, the card’s DLSS 3 superpowers give it even more of an edge, as tricks like Frame Generation will help you churn out triple-digit frame rates in the likes of F1 2022.
In terms of efficiency, the 4070 Ti puts the rest of the Lovelace lineup to shame, with a max power draw of 285W. Pretty impressive considering the RTX 3070 Ti is rated at 290W and the RTX 4080 guzzles 320W.
Sadly, there’s no Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti Founder’s Edition, so you’ll have to make so with a custom version. You’ll still be able to grab one for close to MSRP (for now), but you’ll have to pay more for factory-overclocked cards like the MSI Ventus 3X 12G OC.
Nvidia is reportedly gearing up to produce the RTX 4060 Ti and RTX 4070, and both may end up being better value for money. Until then, the 4070 Ti is an all-around current-gen winner, even if its name is a bit misleading.
2. The best cheap graphics card
The best cheap graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050.
Expect to pay $249 USD / £239 GBP.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 specs|
- Access to Nvidia DLSS and Nvidia Reflex at a more affordable price
- Solid 1080p ray tracing performance
- Might age faster than other GPUs
- Custom models might cost the same as RTX 3060
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 on 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.
It’s worth noting that GPU prices are still a little weird at the moment, and some custom RTX 3050 models cost almost as much as an RTX 3060. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the market to make sure prices stay reasonable, as drastic changes could cost the entry-level card its place on the list.
If you can get one for near MSRP, the RTX 3050 is a great budget option that provides a modern gaming experience. It might age faster than higher-end alternatives, but it’ll still run games at a fraction of the price.
3. The best AMD graphics card
The best AMD graphics card is the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
Expect to pay $999 USD/ £999 GBP.
|AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT specs|
|GPU Model||Navi 31|
- Cheaper than Nvidia RTX 4080
- Displayport 2.1 support
- Robust next-gen performance
- Can’t compete with RTX 4090
- AI frame generation support not available at launch
RDNA 3 graphics cards are finally available to buy, and the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX leads the charge against next-gen GeForce GPUs. While the newbie is team ted’s top contender, it actually trades blows with the RTX 4080, rather than Nvidia’s flagship RTX 4090.
Right off the bat, AMD has set a precedent when it comes to RDNA 3 pricing, as the Radeon 7900 XTX undercuts both Nvidia’s premium options. Despite this, the card provides a robust next-gen experience that’ll help your rig run the latest big-budget releases with ease, and it’ll even be able to handle native 8K output down the line, thanks to its included DisplayPort 2.1 support.
Just like RTX 4000, the RX 7900 XTX will use AI to ramp up fps, but the ‘Fluid Motion Frames’ tech won’t be available until later this year. We’ll need to try out AMD’s frame rate trickery for ourselves before knowing how it holds up against Nvidia DLSS 3 and Frame Generation, but it should provide Radeon gaming PCs with a performance hike, especially if used in conjunction with FSR.
If you’re a loyal AMD enthusiast who’s looking for the best graphics card the company has to offer, the RX 7900 XTX won’t let you down. Its sibling, the RX 7900 XT is a decent alternative if you’re looking to save $100, but we reckon it’s worth paying that bit extra. Admittedly, both still cost more than we’d like, but the Radeon RX 7800 XT may soon arrive with a lower MSRP, so watch this space.
4. The most powerful graphics card
The most powerful graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
Expect to pay $1,599 USD / £1,679 GBP.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 specs|
|Memory bandwidth||1,008 GB/s|
- The most powerful GPU on the market
- Staggering gaming performance
- Impressive DLSS 3.0 capabilities
- Premium price point
- Ridiculously large
- Ravenous for power
The Nvidia RTX 4090 has officially booted the RTX 3090 Ti from the performance throne, and it’ll take a lot to slay the Lovelace leviathan. The AD102 GPU’s raw abilities alone are worth ranting about, but additional DLSS 3.0 tricks will help protect the next-gen card’s position at the top.
Our Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 review puts the GPU kaiju through its paces, and its gaming PC capabilities are staggering. The flagship makes short work of demanding games like Hitman 3, Total War: Warhammer 3, and Cyberpunk 2077, even with ray tracing and ultra settings switched on.
With great power comes greater caveats, and the RTX 4090 is far from flawless. For starters, you’ll need to pair the ravenous RTX 4000 card with the best power supply, and older PSUs will have to rely on a PCIe 5.0 adapter.
Price is also a bit of an RTX 4090 sore spot, as it comes in at $100 more than the RTX 3090 did at launch. That said, there’s a significant performance gap between the flagship and the RTX 4080, and both cost over $1,000.
Power isn’t everything, but if you’re itching to own a PC that provides triple-digit framerates with no caveats attached, the RTX 4090 is the card for you. Otherwise, we’d advise checking out the RTX 4070 Ti above if you’re looking for a cheaper next-gen experience.
5. The best value graphics card
The best value graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080.
Expect to pay $699 USD / £649 GBP.
- Generational leap even over the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
- Better features and performance than the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- Power hungry
- Still expensive
- Less VRAM than high-end alternatives
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.
The RTX 3080 is by no means a cheap GPU, and you’ll pay more than Founder Edition MSRP for overclocked variants. Yet, it’s still a chunk cheaper than the upcoming RTX 4080, as even the now canceled 12GB model was set to cost a whopping $899 USD.
Sure, the RTX 4080 boasts DLSS 3.0 AI upscaling, but its lofty price only adds to the RTX 3080’s appeal. Who knows, perhaps the RTX 4070 will eventually offer more bang for your buck. Until then, Ampere is a wiser investment.