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The best graphic cards for gaming?

By that, I mean the graphic cards that offer the best performance in video games.

I do realize that you may not have the time to read reviews and to understand graphic card specifications.

Why I write this guide for you: To help you save your time and money by doing the research for you.

Summary

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you, or scroll down to see them all, in this order.

The Best graphic cards for gaming:

  1. Best Entry-level Graphic Cards
  2. Best Mid-range Graphic Cards
  3. Best High-end Graphic Cards
  4. Best Enthusiast Graphic Cards

Best Budget Graphic Cards:

For playing video games at a resolution of 1920 x 1080

Radeon RX 570 4GB
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $153.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The Radeon RX 570 4GB is an easy recommendation at current prices. Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1650 is more expensive (~$150 USD) and can’t quite match its performance.

Unless you are upgrading an old computer with a limited power supply and need a graphic card that gets all its power from the PCI-Express 16x slot, in which case the GeForce GTX 1650 does make sense. Otherwise, get the Radeon RX 570.

What video games can the Radeon RX 570 4GB run smoothly?

It’s capable of running newer games smoothly at a resolution up to 1600 x 900 smoothly with high frame rates.

It will run games at 1920 x 1080, but you may have to turn down visual quality and the game play might not be as smooth, with lower frame rates, depending on how demanding the game is.

What about the Radeon RX 580 or RX 590?
The RX 580 offers a small performance bump over the RX 570 and the RX 590 offers a small performance bump offer the RX 580. Considering the price of the RX 580 and RX 590, I find them to be poor value, offering only a small performance increase for a much bigger price increase. I recommend either getting the RX 570 or simply skipping the RX 580/590 and moving up to the next Tier of performance recommended below.

Best Mid range Graphic Cards:

For playing video games at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with higher frame rates and higher visual quality

GeForce GTX 1660
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $219.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Don’t be fooled by the name:
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 is based on the same Turing architecture as the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti.
– It’s the successor to the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, which are becoming increasingly rare.
– Performance wise, it offers on average 28% more performance than the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, according to AnandTech.

Then why is it called GTX 1660 and not say, RTX 1660, or RTX 2050?
Because to reduce die size and thus costs, Nvidia removed the dedicated ray tracing hardware cores.

GeForce GTX 1660 V.S. GTX 1660 Ti V.S. RX 590 V.S. GTX 1060 3GB:
Which one should you pick?
The Radeon RX 590 is roughly 7% slower than the GTX 1660.
Power consumption wise, the GTX 1660 uses a bit over half the power consumption of the Radeon RX 590.
The RX 590 is currently priced around the same as the GTX 1660, so I see no reason to recommend it.

As for the GTX 1060 3GB, it’s hardly less expensive and offers 28% less performance.

Basically, the GTX 1660 is the least expensive new generation mid-range graphic card to get at the moment.

What video games can the GeForce GTX 1660 6GB run smoothly?

It is capable of running games smoothly at a resolution up to 1920 x 1080 smoothly with high/max details with high frame rates.

Gaming at 2560 x 1440 is also possible. However, you might have to turn down visual quality down a notch or two in more demanding games to get acceptable frame rates.

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $269.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Don’t be fooled by the name:
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is based on the same Turing architecture as the GeForce RTX 2060, 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti.
– It’s the successor to the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, which are becoming increasingly rare.
– Performance wise, it offers on average 36% more performance than the GeForce GTX 1060 GB, according to AnandTech.

Then why is it called GTX 1660 Ti and not say, RTX 1660 Ti, or RTX 2050 Ti?
Because to reduce die size and thus costs, Nvidia removed the dedicated ray tracing hardware cores.

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti V.S. 1660 Non-Ti V.S. RX 590 V.S. GTX 1060 6GB:
Which one should you pick?
The GTX 1660 Ti offers, on average, 14% more performance than the GTX 1660 Non-Ti.

The Radeon RX 590 sells for about the same price as the GTX 1660 Ti.
The GTX 1660 Ti cleanly beats it in performance and power efficiency, delivering 25% better performance for a bit over half the power consumption, according to AnandTech.

As for the GTX 1060 6GB, it also sells around the same price and it offers lower performance than the RX 590 and GTX 1660.

Basically, the GTX 1660 Ti is the mainstream mid-range graphic card to get at the moment.

What video games can the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB run smoothly?

It is capable of running games smoothly at a resolution up to 1920 x 1080 smoothly with high/max details with high frame rates.

Gaming at 2560 x 1440 is also possible. However, you might have to turn down visual quality down a notch or two in more demanding games to get acceptable frame rates.

Best High End graphic cards:

Great for 1080p/1440p

AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $349.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 V.S. AMD Radeon RX 5700

Launched in July 2019, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 on based on AMD new 7nm RDNA architecture.

The RX 5700 outperforms the RTX 2060 by 11-12% on average. With both at the same price and with similar power consumption, the Radeon RX 5700 is easy to recommend here.

Not to mention, the Radeon RX 5700 has 8GB of VRAM, as opposed to 6GB for the GeForce RTX 2060.

It even trade blows with the $300 GeForce GTX 2060 Super. Even though it is slower overall, this is competitive performance from a $250 card compared to a $300 card.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $394.89 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Launched in July 2019, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT on based on AMD new 7nm RDNA architecture.

Nvidia replied with the GeForce 2060 Super, which is replacing the GeForce 2070 (which is being discontinued).

The RX 5700 XT outperforms the RTX 2060 Super by 10-11% on average.

The Radeon RX 5700 XT even competitive with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 Super, being 5% slower on average, while costing 20% ($100) less!

If you’re looking for a graphic card that can keep up with 4K and high graphic details with decent frame rates, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT  is a good choice. If you want even more performance, look into the RTX 2070 Super, the soon to launch GeForce RTX 2080 Super or the RTX 2080 Ti below.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super 8GB

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $499.99 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Replacing the GeForce RTX 2080, the RTX 2070 Super offers 96% of the performance of the RTX 2080, or 87% of the RTX 2080 Super but its MSRP is $499 instead of $699.

If you’re looking for a graphic card that can keep up with 4K and high graphic details, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 2070 Super is a good choice. Need the best? See the RTX 2080 Super or 2080 Ti below.

V.S. AMD

AMD offers the Radeon RX 5700, which is 5% slower on average, but also costs $100 less, so unless you want ray-tracing, don’t mind paying more for a more quiet cooling, or want a Nvidia graphic card for a specific reason, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super is hard to recommend at its current price.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $719.99 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super was launched on July 23rd 2019.

It replaces the GeForce RTX 2080. Performance wise, it slots between the RTX 2070 Super and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

At 4K, it offers:
– 8% more performance than the RTX 2080 (Non Super)
– 13% more performance than the RTX 2070 Super
– 24% more performance than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
– 15% less performance than the vastly more expensive GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

It’s the uncontested leader at this price point.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1099.99 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

While the GTX 1080 Ti brought good 4K gaming performance, it still wasn’t offering very high frame rates at 4K.

Offering on average 32-37% higher performance at 4K than the Geforce GTX 1080 Ti, according to AnandTech, the Geforce RTX 2080 Ti takes performance to the next level.

If you’re looking for a graphic card that can keep up with 4K and high graphic details, with higher frame rates, the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti is the fastest single-GPU graphic card currently available.

Which cooling system works best?
With a case that has a decent amount of cooling, the open air cooler will be more quiet. In a case with less fans or a small case, a closed cooler is a better choice because it exhausts the heat outside of your case, keeping your other components cooler.

V.S. AMD

Unfortunately, AMD currently has no product that can compete with the RTX 2080 Ti.

Two Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB

Get two: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
For two: – $2199.98 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Do you want even more performance? Take the Geforce RTX 2080 Ti, the current most powerful graphic card and buy a second one!

That’s right, get two Geforce RTX 2080 Ti and put them in SLI.

Do you want more performance than what the fastest GPU can offer and don’t mind messing with SLI profiles, not getting a performance boost in VR and sometimes having to wait a bit for SLI support with newer games?

In that case, get two Geforce RTX 2080 Ti and team them up in SLI for even more performance than a single RTX 2080 Ti in games that support SLI.

Remember that you’ll need a NVLink bridge to connect the two card together. Pick the correctly spaced one, depending on your spacing between the cards on your motherboard.

Multiple graphic cards drawbacks:
Other than the obvious increase in noise, power consumption and heat from having multiple graphic cards, SLI won’t give you a 100% performance boost. Expect a 30 to 70% performance boost on average, depending on the game, resolution and SLI support. Worse case scenario? You only get the performance of a single card.

Also, on the release date of a new game, SLI profiles may or may not be ready. Usually available in a matter of days, you might have to wait weeks or months for SLI support.

Note that I don’t recommend 3 or 4 graphic cards in SLI for the GTX 10xx or 20xx series. Games won’t benefit from more than 2 cards, because Nvidia no longer support 3 or 4 way SLI outside of benchmarks such as 3D Mark Fire Strike.

Closing notes:

I hope that you enjoyed the latest edition of The Best Graphic Cards For Gaming article.

If you have a question or feedback, I invite you to leave a comment below this article.

A few important recommendations and notes regarding graphic cards:

1- Get the latest version of the graphic card drivers directly from AMD or Nvidia. This will ensure that you get the latest bug fixes and the best performance possible from your graphic card(s).

2- To confirm whether Crossfire or SLI is working or not, use GPU-Z which will show that information to you in the last field at the bottom of the program.

3- SLI Guide: How to enable SLI, check if SLI is enabled, actually working in your game and what to do if it’s not is a great guide from the Notebook Review forums.

4- When using two or more graphic cards in Crossfire or SLI, you want to connect your monitors into the top graphic card, i.e. the graphic card that is the closest to the CPU.

5- Most graphic cards require one or two PCI-Express 6 or 8 pin power connector(s) to be plugged into them to function properly. Make sure that your power supply comes equipped with enough 6 and/or 8 pin connectors for your graphic cards.