The best graphics cards 2021
It’s all thanks to this raging battle between AMD and Nvidia. Both are not only rolling out the best graphics cards we’ve seen in years, but also clamoring for sales by making them more accessible than ever to the general masses. The best part is that these graphics cards don’t compromise on power and are guaranteed to boost performance pretty much no matter what you’re doing on your computer.
Of course, those with deep pockets can still fork over for something extreme like an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, an RTX 3090, or an RTX 3080. But those with a tighter budget will certainly find the more affordable options like the Radeon RX 6800, RTX 3060 Ti and the newer RTX 3060 just as competent.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the best graphics cards are incredibly hard to find right now. And, anything that gets restocked sells out within minutes, which means you have to keep a close eye on retailers to even get a chance to get your hands on one. Our suggestion is this: go through our top picks of the best graphics cards below. Once you’ve found a couple of options, we suggest visiting our guides on where to buy the RTX 3080, RTX 3070, RTX 3060 Ti, and RTX 3060. If you’re more of an AMD fan, we’ve got guides on where to buy AMD Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6900 XT, and Radeon RX 6800 XT as well.
While it really comes down to luck at this point, these should give you a bit of an edge over the rest. We just beg you not to buy from a scalper – it’s really not worth the inflated price.
- Where to buy an Nvidia RTX 3080
Best graphics cards at a glance
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
- AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
- AMD Radeon RX 5700
- AMD Radeon RX 6800
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G
- PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming OC
Is AMD no longer the king of great value GPUs? The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti certainly threatens that claim with its price to performance ratio. The newest arrival in the RTX 3000 line, this graphics card punches way above its weight class, delivering a performance that could rival that of the RTX 2080 Super while keeping its price tag incredibly affordable for most people. And, that’s with impressive ray tracing included. 1080p gaming has never been this good and this affordable.
Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, 4K gaming just became a lot more accessible. Before, you had to shell out more than $1,000/£1,000 to get playable framerates with the RTX 2080 Ti. However, with the next generation of Nvidia graphics cards, the price of 4K gaming has been cut nearly in half, thanks to the RTX 3080. It boasts one of the largest generational leaps in GPU history, delivering a 50-80% performance boost over the RTX 2080 and a 20-30% boost over the RTX 2080 Ti, all while keeping the same price point as the RTX 2080. This is both an absolute powerhouse of a graphics card and a great value, if you have a bit of extra cash lying around.
Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
You can’t beat the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 when it comes to performance. With a whopping 24GB of RAM, no game or, more importantly, heavy graphics project will suffer performance issues. In fact, you can even get some 8K performance at 60 fps out of the 3090. It is an incredibly expensive unit, and quite large too, so it will probably be too much GPU for most users. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is, in essence, a replacement for the Titan so it’s meant more for the creative user tackling intensive 3D and video rendering than for the avid gamer. Even so, it comes with a massive reduction in price compared to the Titan, even if it’s still out of most people’s budget.
Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
- We just tested the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
If you’re looking for the best graphics card out there for 1080p gaming, you might want to look into what the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT has to offer. This AMD card beats the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with its more affordable price tag, delivering high frame rates and plenty of software features while requiring less power. Sure, it doesn’t have the competition’s ray tracing and deep learning supersampling (DLSS), but for raw performance and value, AMD’s contender comes out the winner.
Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
The best graphics card on the market for most people, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 delivers excellent performance – on par with the RTX 2080 Ti even – without costing an arm and a leg. Before this card, 4K gaming was out of a lot of people’s budget. The RTX 3070, therefore, brings it to the mainstream for the first time, and that’s without you having to compromise on settings for most games. And did we mention the fact that this GPU is incredibly cheap? A cheap price tag plus 4K gaming on quality settings equals great value, and that’s why the RTX 3070 tops our list.
Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
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 2021 for most people.
Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 5700
If you think AMD is still stuck in the budget and mid-range markets, think again. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 marks AMD’s return to the high-end graphics card market, and it’s a premium ace without the incredibly premium price. This GPU delivers a solid 4K gaming performance and impressive ray tracing at 1440p, while being a better value than its direct rival, the RTX 3070, thanks to its VRAM. Plus, AMD’s Smart Access Memory technology will make it even faster.
Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6800
If you’re after the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, you’re going to want one with a cooler that’s more than powerful enough to handle the full brunt of the power on offer. The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has the cooling power not only to handle this GPU at its stock settings, but has enough oomph to overclock it to make it even more powerful. For a GPU that already laughs in the face of all PC games at 4K, this extra power is just icing on the cake.
Read the full review: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
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.
Read the full review: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G
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.
Read the full review: PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming OC
Michelle Rae Uy has also contributed to this article.