The best graphics card is the lifeblood of any gaming PC, it will be responsible for turning all the zeros and ones into stunning pixels on your screen. While there’s no single solution that’s right for everyone, we’re here to sort out the must-haves from the wanna-be. Some want the fastest graphics card, others the best value, and many are looking for the best card for a given price. Balancing performance, price, features, and efficiency is important because no other component affects your gaming experience as much as a graphics card.
Good news to you and all, with China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining.
What previously made the price of graphics cards expensive and rare, now prices are starting to fall and are approaching normal prices.
(News from the market, saw a 15% drop last month, hopefully with more to come.)
Some analysts even think we may see ‘normal’ prices before the end of the year, although that may just be wishful thinking as demand from gamers remains high.
The fact that the prices of Ethereum and Bitcoin have rebounded in the past week or two doesn’t help.
But if you insist on buying a graphics card in the near future, we have compiled some of the Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2021
1. GeForce RTX 3080
GPU: Ampere (GA102) | GPU Cores: 8704 | Boost Clock: 1,710 MHz | Video RAM: 10GB GDDR6X 19 Gbps | TDP: 320 watts
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 features the new and improved Ampere architecture. It’s 30% faster than the previous-gen 2080 Ti, for about $500 less.
The new RTX 3080 Ti doesn’t manage to replace the incumbent, thanks to its much higher price tag.
If you want to get the most out of all your graphics settings and you want to play at 4K or 1440p, this is the card to get — mostly overkill for 1080p gaming, although enabling all the ray-tracing effects in games that support those features makes 1080p still reasonable.
If you missed the first round of RTX GPUs, the RTX 30 series might finally get you on the ray-tracing train. With twice the potential for ray tracing performance than Turing, and games like Cyberpunk 2077 using even more ray-tracing effects, the RTX 3080 is your best bet for gaming in all its glory without breaking the piggy bank.
Ampere also features an improved tensor core for DLSS, a technology that we’re sure to see more of in future games now because it doesn’t require any per-game training by a supercomputer. We’re seeing more games with DLSS 2.0 lately, helped by the fact that it’s basically a toggle and UI update to make it work on the Unreal Engine. Nvidia’s RT and DLSS performance is also slightly faster than what you’d get from AMD’s new RX 6000 cards, which is a good thing since Nvidia sometimes lags behind in traditional rasterized performance (which our raw numbers are based on).
The biggest problem with the RTX 3080 so far is finding one in stock, at a price that isn’t too bad. Given the 3080 Ti’s high price tag, it remains our top pick for a fast GPU right now.
2. Radeon RX 6800 XT
GPU: Navi 21 XT | GPU Cores: 4608 | Boost Clock: 2,250 MHz | Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps | TDP: 300 watts
The RX 6800 XT will deliver major improvements in performance as well as features, compared to the previous generation RX 5700 XT series.
This adds ray tracing support (via DirectX Raytracing or VulkanRT), and is 70-90% faster across our entire test suite.
The GPU was nicknamed ‘Big Navi’ before it was launched by the enthusiastic community, and we got what we wanted. The Navi 21 is more than twice the size of the Navi 10, with twice the shader core and twice the RAM.
The clock speed is also increased to the 2.1-2.3 GHz range (depending on the card model), the highest clock we’ve seen from a reference GPU is around 300 MHz. And AMD does all this without substantially increasing power requirements: The RX 6800 XT has a TDP of 300W, slightly lower than the RTX 3080’s 320W TDP.
Most of AMD’s performance comes thanks to its massive 128MB Infinity Cache. This increases the effective bandwidth by 119% (according to AMD). We believe that some if any games in the years to come will require more than 16GB, so the 6800 XT is well-positioned in that area.
What’s not to like? Well, its ray tracing performance is rather mediocre. Maybe because today’s games are more likely to be optimized for Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, but overall the 6800 XT is only slightly ahead of the RTX 3070 in ray tracing performance, and there are some games that lag by up to 25%. And that’s without enabling DLSS, which even in Quality mode can increase RTX card performance by 20-40% (sometimes more). AMD is working on the FidelityFX Super Resolution to compete with DLSS, but it’s not here yet and is badly needed.
3. Radeon RX 6700 XT
GPU: Navi 22 | GPU Cores: 2560 | Boost Clock: 2424 MHz | Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 16 Gbps | TDP: 230 watts
For graphics cards, the Radeon RX 6700 XT offers advantages with good quality 1440p Graphics Cards and Cheaper Prices
The AMD RX 6700 XT hit the highest clock speeds we’ve seen on a GPU, boosting at 2.5GHz and more during gaming sessions — and it’s available, on a reference card. With some tuning and overclocking, we were able to hit speeds of 2.7-2.8GHz, still without cooking up the GPU. That’s very impressive, although we’re a little sad that it ‘only’ has 2560 GPU cores.
In our performance tests, the RX 6700 XT competed with the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti. It’s a bit faster than the latter, and slightly slower than the former, so a launch price of $479 seems okay. Except, if we include almost all games with DLSS or ray tracing, the 6700 XT starts to look more like a competitor to the 3060 Ti.
4. Radeon RX 6800
GPU: Navi 21 XL | GPU Cores: 3840 | Boost Clock: 2105 MHz | Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps | TDP: 250 watts
The RX 6800 displays good performance and can compete with Nvidia’s RTX 3070 series. In our current 9-game test run, 9% faster overall.
Of course, the cost is also 16% higher, but we think having twice as much VRAM is a fair trade.
The real concern is the same as the 6800 XT: Ray-tracing performance looks a bit soft, basically matching Nvidia’s previous-generation RTX 2080 Super.
The lack of a DLSS alternative is even more of a problem. Take the RTX 3070 in DXR performance. Without DLSS, the 3070 is already 12% faster. Activate DLSS Quality mode and the gap increases to over 50%! Also, DLSS can be used without ray tracing, and usually looks better than temporal AA (or at least as good).
So, AMD needed to roll out FidelityFX Super Resolution and then needed game developers to actually implement the feature. It’s open-source, plus AMD RDNA2 GPUs are in all next-gen consoles, meaning Super Res will probably see a lot of uptakes… eventually. For now, we’ll take 6800 more for rasterization prowess and not worry too much about ray tracing. Not that you can find it in stock.
5. RX 5500 XT 4GB
GPU: Navi 14 | GPU Cores: 1408 | Boost Clock: 1,845 MHz | Video RAM: 4GB GDDR6 14 Gbps | TDP: 100 watts
You can definitely make a choice, to pick up an older used GPU like the GTX 970 for less, but then you get a very old GPU and who knows what it has gone through?
The RX 5500 XT offers a decent amount of performance and can handle any game at 1080p and medium to high quality, though not necessarily at 60 fps. This really should be a $150 graphics card, so if you can find a way to hold off on upgrading for now, we’d suggest waiting for the price to drop again. If you’re impatient, the 5500 XT averaged nearly 90 fps in our tests on 1080p media, giving you room to experiment if you want to increase visual fidelity.
We’ll likely see RTX 3050 and RX 6500 cards in the coming months, which could squeeze into the under $200 range for the latest generation of hardware. Whether you can actually afford it is another matter.