Current state of graphics cards
Nvidia, AMD, and Intel are in a three-way fight to offer the best performing graphics cards at a given price.Prices are still artificially high, but Intel is doing something to bring them back down to earth.
Determining the worth of a graphics card
The worth of a graphics card is whatever anyone is willing to pay for it.Graphics cards are invaluable to gamers as they directly determine a game’s frames per second and control how smooth the game is.More powerful cards also let you enable Next Generation features with the graphics processing unit (GPU) consisting of dedicated hardware for real-time ray tracing, artificial intelligence, video encoding and decoding, as well as acceleration for creative apps like video editing or 3D modeling.
Understanding the GPU market
Nvidia, Intel, and AMD make the GPU itself, which is then sent to a manufacturer like PowerColor.The manufacturer puts together their own graphics card, which is what you’ll buy in the shops.When shopping for a graphics card, the number one thing to do is to look at some benchmark graphs to see exactly how a card will perform in the games of your choice.
Things to consider when buying a graphics card
Buy your graphics card based on your needs, not anybody else’s advice.Ask yourself three simple questions:
Q:What games will you actually be playing?
Q:What screen are you actually going to be playing it on (resolution and refresh rate)?
Q:What’s your budget?
Consider the amount and speed of video memory (VRAM) to allow high-resolution gaming and store textures for the games to display 3D worlds in great detail.As a general rule of thumb, 6GB or more VRAM is great for 1080p, 8GB for 1440p, and 10GB or more for 4K, but it is entirely game dependent.Pay attention to display outputs as different cards have different ports.
Ray tracing is the key to environments looking truly realistic, but it’s demanding and reserved for the most expensive GPUs.Look at some ray tracing benchmarks before purchasing a graphics card.
Factors to consider when buying a graphics card
- Running multiple monitor setups or having a high-end display can be a challenge, especially if the display requires HDMI 2.1.
- Size and thermal performance are important, as larger cards are usually quieter and can overclock better, but they are also more expensive and require a larger case cooler and power supply.
- More expensive GPUs consume more power and may not always be worth the cost, so it’s important to check the requirements for your chosen card online.
- Nvidia and AMD are both good choices, but AMD’s support software is arguably easier to use, while Nvidia seems to deliver stable drivers with game-ready timings.
Best budget graphics cards
For a budget option, used cards like the GTX 1070 or RX 5700 XT are a good bet.For brand new cards with full warranties, AMD’s RX 6600 and RX XT offer great value for money compared to Nvidia.
High-end gaming graphics cards
For 4K at over 60 FPS with no compromise, the RX 6800 XT or RTX 3080 are recommended.These cards have above 10GB of video memory, support hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and are fast enough to target a minimum of 60fps. Using FSR or DLSS may be necessary.The RTX 4070 and 7800 XT are likely to be fast enough to game at 4K comfortably.
For turning on ray tracing at 4K or aiming for 4K 120 in the most demanding titles, a budget of around $1000 is necessary.The RTX 470gi is a decent option for top-spec 4K gaming, supporting Nvidia’s DLSS frame generation for higher FPS in ray-traced games
.The 7900 XTX is a more powerful card with more memory and DisplayPort 2.1, making it a good pick if the RRP is reasonable.The RTX 4080 is not recommended for most people due to its high price, with the 4070 TI likely to perform similarly in the real world.The RTX 4090 is the most expensive option for those who want everything, but it’s not necessary for most users.
Performance of the most powerful GPU in 2023
The most powerful GPU in 2023 will crush anything and everything, even 4K Ray tracing Max settings.It’s so powerful that you need the latest spec Intel 3900k or Ryzen 7000 X 3D chip to properly keep up with this thing.If you don’t have the latest specs, you will be bottlenecked even at 4K.
The latest games will look and run their absolute best with the most powerful GPU.It’s worth the investment for a great gaming experience.