The best graphics cards 2019: all the top GPUs for gaming
There has never been a better time to be on the market for the best graphics cards. Whether you’re updating an older PC or researching the upgradable options on that new PC you’re about to buy, you’re going to be looking at options like the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2060, powered by Nvidia Turing architecture or AMD’s recently unveiled next generation of AMD Navi GPUs or even the new Super RTX cards.
However, the best graphics cards for some people might not be the best for you. Do you want to drop the equivalent of a new PC on just the GPU, like top-of-the-line flagships, or do you want a budget card that will just get the job done, like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660? It all depends on what your priorities are. Whatever that might be, the best graphics cards will still handle the best PC games from Rage 2 to Sekiro Die Twice.
And yes, finding that perfect GPU available right now can be a confusing process so let us make it a bit easier. Each of the best graphics cards we’ve listed has been thoroughly tested here at TechRadar. So take a look at our recommendations for the best graphics cards before you break open that piggy bank.
This absolute behemoth of a graphics card is still basically brand new, and it’s already topping our list of the best graphics cards, booting former reigning champion and its direct rival, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, off the top spot. At $349, this powerful mid-range card brings 1440p gaming at Ultra or Max settings to the masses, making it affordable and accessible to everyone. At that price point, it doesn’t need to be perfect – those looking for ray tracing will have to wait. But, for what it offers and how much it costs, it’s well-deserving of its title as the best graphics card of 2019 for most people.
If you need the best graphics card, and you don’t want to settle, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti may be one of the best graphics cards for you. This is the most formidable graphics card you can buy without jumping for a professional graphics solution. And, now that games like Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider actually implement the RTX features, there’s never been a better time to jump on the ray tracing bandwagon. Just prepare yourself for that sky-high price.
The souped up Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super isn’t just remarkable because it’s a supercharged version of the very popular RTX 2070, offering exceptional 1440p gaming. It’s also striking because it offers all that power at a very reasonable price, making it a compelling buy for most users, even for those on a budget. Plus, if you’re wondering about ray tracing, here’s the best card to jump in – you don’t have to break open that piggy bank for the RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti anymore.
While the GeForce RTX 2060 Super is now taking the 1440p gaming world by storm, its predecessor, the RTX 2060, is still king of 1080p gaming. This mid-range GPU will get you in the door with ray tracing maxed out at 1080p. Plus, it is more than capable of handling 1440p experiences, as well as 4K ones, if you don’t mind the less remarkable frame rate of 30 fps. And, while this card was more expensive at launch than the one it replaced, its fantastic 1080p performance should be enough to make that price tag irrelevant.
We’ve been longing for a new top-of-the-line graphics card from AMD since 2017’s Radeon Vega 64, but things have drastically changed in the graphics market since then – most notably Nvidia Turing. With the AMD Radeon VII, Team Red has attempted to reclaim a piece of the high-end graphics market, and it largely triumphed. The AMD Radeon VII holds its own in 4K gaming, but it particularly excels in content creation. Packed with 16GB of HBM2 memory, the AMD Radeon VII can keep up with much more expensive creative-focused competitors, making it one of the best graphics cards 2019 has on offer.
If you’re all about the best VR games, you’re going to need the best graphics cards to do that job. And, nowadays, that honour goes to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super. VR-ready and filled with the latest Turing architecture, you won’t have to worry about a rough VR experience that will make you sick. Outside of VR, it should also be able to handle all your favourite PC games at 1440p and 4K without any issue. The best part might just be that it’s a lot cheaper than the RTX 2080, offering a much better value.
Looking to put together a microATX or a mini-ITX gaming PC? You shouldn’t need to settle for a low-end GPU. Take a look at mini graphics cards like the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini instead. It’s not the latest and greatest GPU out there now, but the 1080 Ti still has a lot of juice, and it’s among the best graphics cards to power your microATX. And, when you can get that power in a card that’s only 211 x 125 x 41mm, the tiny loss in performance is absolutely worth the beautiful mini PC you’ll get.
With all those fancy (read: expensive) graphics cards cornering the market, the budget-friendlier ones sometimes fly under the radar. That’s unfortunate, particularly since cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 deserve a spot in the limelight for delivering excellent 1080p performance at a very affordable price. With the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G, you’re also getting a healthy factory overclock and all the outputs you’ll ever need, so you can play all your favorite games with several monitors attached. We’d call that a bargain, maybe even the best we’ve ever had, and it certainly warrants a spot in our best graphics cards list.
When Nvidia first revealed its Turing lineup, it was hard to find a model that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Nonetheless, with the launch of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – especially the PNY XLR8 Gaming OC model – next-generation performance became accessible to everyone. You won’t have access to 4K 60 fps gaming with this card, but it’s one of the best graphics cards for anyone still using a 1080p display, and it can handle most esports games well above 60fps. At that resolution, you’ll have trouble running into any title that it can’t handle.