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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.

Prices for B&H as of September 24th 2020. Click on Amazon links to see prices. Note that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Prices and availability are subject to change.

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:

GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB
– $159.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
Dual fans: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $169.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Nvidia launched the GeForce GTX 1650 Super on November 22nd 2019.

Performance wise, it trades blows with the Radeon RX 580, while costing less and consuming way less power, resulting in a more quiet card and a lower electricity bill.

Versus the Radeon RX 5500 XT 4/8GB
The Radeon RX 5500 XT and GeForce GTX 1650 Super offer somewhat similar performance, trading blows depending on the game, but the GeForce GTX 1650 Super is a few % faster overall. Power consumption is similar and not a factor in my recommendation.

Considering the ever so slightly better performance and lower cost of the the GeForce GTX 1650 Super, I currently recommend the GTX 1650 Super over the Radeon RX 5500 XT.

As for the 8GB Radeon RX 5500 XT, it’s even more expensive and hardly faster at 1080p, making it a tough recommendation versus the $160 1650 Super which offers similar performance or the $200-210 GTX 1660 which offers better performance.

What video games can the GeForce GTX 1650 Super 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.

If you plan on running games 1080p with Ultra settings, opt for a graphic card with more memory.

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:

Single fan: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $209.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
Dual fans: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $214.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

GTX 1660 Super:

Single fan: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $229.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
Dual fans: – Click here to see the price on Amazon
$229.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

GTX 1660 versus GTX 1660 Super

Nvidia launched the GeForce GTX 1660 Super on October 30th 2019. It’s the successor to the GeForce GTX 1660, with GDDR6 memory instead of GDDR5.
Performance wise, it offers on average 10% more performance than the GeForce GTX 1660 and is only 3% slower than the $279 GTX 1660 Ti, according to AnandTech.

If you hesitate between the regular 1660 non-Super and the 1660 Super: Better spend just a bit more to get that extra 10% in performance in my opinoon.

Don’t be fooled by the name:
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super is based on the same Turing architecture as the GeForce GTX 1660, 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti.

Then why is it called GTX 1660 Super 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 1660 Super V.S. GTX 1660 Ti V.S. RX 590 V.S. Radeon RX 5700:
Which one should you pick?
– The GTX 1660 remains a good choice and is a worthwhile alternative is you have less to spend.
– The GTX 1660 Super is roughly 10% faster and $20 more than the GTX 1660 non-Super
– The Radeon RX 590 was slower than the GTX 1660 Non-Super and is no match for the GTX 1660 Super.
– The GTX 1660 Ti is only 3% faster than the 1660 Super and costs $50 more, so it makes no sense to recommend it.
– The Radeon RX 5700 is a lot faster, but also $100 more.

Basically, the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Super are the best bang mid-range graphic cards to get at the moment.

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

They are 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, but I’d recommend an higher-end card with 8GB of memory.

Radeon RX 5600 XT:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $279.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Radeon RX 5600 XT versus GTX 1660 Super
In January 2020, AMD launched the Radeon RX 5600 XT, with a MSRP of $279. It offers performance that’s 11% higher than the GTX 1660 Ti, 15% higher than the $219 GTX 1660 Super, 6% lower than the ~$320 RTX 2060 and ~17% lower than the $350 Radeon RX 5700.

Considering the current prices, it makes sense to recommend it. At $280, it fits between the $230 GTX 1660 Super and the $350 Radeon RX 5700.

As for the GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, I find it hard to recommend: It costs roughly $40-60 more for only 6% higher performance. At that point, might as well spend $70 more to get 17% higher performance with the Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB.

What video games can the Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB can 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, but I’d recommend an higher-end card with 8GB of memory, such as the recommendations below.

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 similar prices 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 $400 GeForce GTX 2060 Super. Even though it is slower overall, this is competitive performance from a $345 card compared to a $400+ card.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $389.99 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 a lot 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 GeForce RTX 2080 Super or the RTX 2080 Ti below.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070 8GB:
Launching on October 15th

AMD Radeon RX 6000 series:
Launching on October 28th

Nvidia is set to launch their GeForce RTX 3070 on October 15th. It will be replacing the GeForce RTX 2070 Super at the same $499.99 price. Expect a significant boost in gaming performance.

Can’t wait? See the RTX 3080 and 3090 below.

V.S. AMD

AMD will be launching their Radeon RX 6000 series on October 28th. It will be interesting to see what level of performance they will bring, as well as the prices for which these new cards will be selling for.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080

– Click here to search the RTX 3080 on Amazon
– Starting at $719.99 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was launched on September 16th 2020. Due to very high demand, availability is limited, hence why I linked to search results pages on Amazon and B&H.

It replaces the GeForce RTX 2080 Super. Performance wise, it slots between the the RTX 3070, which will launch October 15th and the GeForce RTX 3090 which will launch on September 24th.

According to Techpowerup, at 4K, it offers:
About 32% more performance than the RTX 2080 Ti
About 56% more performance than the RTX 2080 Super

At 1080p, it offers:
About 15% more performance than the RTX 2080 Ti
About 31-32% more performance than the RTX 2080 Super

It’s the uncontested leader at this price point.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090

– Click here to search the RTX 3090 on Amazon
– Starting at $1499.99 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 was launched on September 24th 2020. Due to very high demand, availability is limited, hence why I linked to search results pages on Amazon and B&H.

It doesn’t replace any specific previous generation GeForce card. Rather, it slots in price between the previous $1,000 RTX 2080 Ti and $2,500 TITAN RTX.

Performance wise, it has no competition. It is the fastest gaming graphic card, faster than the RTX 3080 and anything from AMD.

According to Techpowerup, at 4K, it offers:
About 10% more performance than the RTX 3080
About 45% more performance than the RTX 2080 Ti
About 72% more performance than the RTX 2080 Super

At 1080p, it offers:
About 4% more performance than the RTX 3080
About 21% more performance than the RTX 2080 Ti
About 35% more performance than the RTX 2080 Super

It’s the uncontested leader. That said, it is not a good deal for the price, when you consider that you can get most of the gaming performance for half the price with the RTX 3080. The 3090 is meant for those who want only the absolute best, or professionals who need such performance. If all you need or want is more VRAM than the 10GB on the RTX 3080, I suggest waiting for the launch of the rumored RTX 3080 20GB, which should slot in price between the $720 RTX 3080 and $1500 RTX 3090.

Two Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090 in SLI?
Not recommended!

Before, the solution to get more gaming performance than was available on the highest end graphic card was to get a second one to team them up in SLI.

However, this is no longer a solution. Implicit multi-GPU (the classic SLI you know) is not available—only explicit multi-GPU is supported. Explicit multi-GPU requires that game developers invest their own time and money to add support for the technology, which simply isn’t going to happen because of the tiny market size for the feature. Only a handful of games and benchmarks support explicit multi-GPU.

To use even this mode, you’d need to buy a new-generation NVLink bridge separately; the NVLink cable from the RTX 20-series cards won’t physically fit.

On top of that, Nvidia reportedly will stop the developpment of SLI profiles for newer games in 2021.

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.