Best Graphics Cards

At the time of purchase, PC gamers need to know what the best GPU for the money is. And if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, fear not, we've compiled a simple up-to-date list of the best GPUs for gaming at the most popular resolutions, virtual reality, and eSports.

MORE: Best Deals

Best GPUs For Gaming

1/26/2018 Update: removed AMD Radeon RX 580 for Best FHD & Good QHD recommendation and replaced it with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. Modified AMD Radeon RX 560, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti entries.

11/19/2017 Update: reviewed the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (not listed), and modified the AMD Radeon RX 580 entry (no recommendation changes).

10/2/2017 Update: added the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 to the Best eSport & HD recommendation and replaced the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB with the AMD Radeon RX 580 as the Best FHD & Good QHD recommendation.

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content


It’s not a good time to build a gaming PC. There’s just no way to sugar-coat it. Graphics cards, some of which are coming up on two years old, sell out the moment they appear for sale. The beefiest power supplies are similarly in high demand. And it’s rumored that next-gen desktop architectures aren’t far off.

But rather than decry cryptocurrency miners or vilify distributors for taking steep mark-ups, we’ll spend a little time talking about what we see happening in the market.

First off, expect to find nothing but mainstream cards in stock if you’re casually window shopping. Think GeForce GTX 1050 Ti- or Radeon RX 560-class and down. Above that performance level, you’ll see a lot of “out of stock” and “notify when available.” Newegg has several bundles combining graphics cards and monitors or motherboards, diverting some of its inventory to builders who need other parts for their PCs. They don’t add any value, though—you pay a big premium on the card and full-price for the “free” extra.

Although you can sign up for notifications when higher-end cards land back on the shelves, obscene pricing is still a problem. We like to keep our recommendations general, and we rarely call out specific vendors or their models. But EVGA, specifically, is doing a fair job of keeping prices reasonable on its own storefront. Just sign up for an email when your card of choice becomes available and be quick to order when the notice arrives.

Don’t hold your breath for a better supply situation any time soon. We put out feelers to one large distributor, asking for availability on a big order of GP104-based cards. The consensus was that we’d see fewer than 50 boards fulfilled every couple of weeks, and pricing would go up if we didn’t get our order in before February.

If you can hang tight for now, delay that graphics card upgrade. Otherwise, shop carefully. Fans of AMD hardware are at the mercy of vendors bagging hefty profits, unfortunately. Some of Nvidia’s board partners sell direct, giving you a better shot at a decent deal. And Nvidia says its own online store continues receiving shipments of Founders Edition cards.

As such, we’re currently removing AMD’s Radeon RX 580 from our list of recommendations and leaving the GeForce cards (for anyone willing to camp out a “fair” price). Hopefully, the weeks to come surprise us with more hardware gamers can get their hands on. But we’ll keep a look-out for the best deals in case supply stays lean.  

MORE: AMD Radeon RX 480 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Roundup

Good @ 720p & eSports

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Roundup

Best @ 720p & eSports

MORE: Best Builds

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Good @ 1080p

MORE: Best Cooling

MORE: Best CPUs

Best @ 1080p | Good @ 1440p

MORE: Best Gaming Laptops

MORE: Best Memory

Best @ 1440p & SLI | Good @ VR

MORE: Best Monitors

MORE: Best Motherboards

Good @ 4K | Best @ VR

MORE: Best Power Supplies

MORE: Best SSDs

Best @ 4K

MORE: Best Virtual Reality Headsets

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  • blackmagnum
    These prices are outrageous! Game with the on-board gpu or buy from the big box brands (Dell, Acer, HP...); I've heard the prices for the included gpu is at pre-mining level.
    1
  • Kenneth_72
    Get back to providing real news
    -4
  • brenro12
    Sad to say but pre-built seems to be the way to go these days.
    0
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Hi Chris, thanks for the update. I actually browsed the old version of the article to refer it to a friend on Thursday and I wondered when the next update would be, seeing as it was a good, what? five months old.

    I think that it would be fairer, given the large periods of time that have occurred between the last three or so updates, to show the "normal" pick that you would've made if prices and availability weren't insane, and the "pricing at time of going to print" pick. I think that this would help the article stay relevant for longer, especially when the prices start going down and availability increases. (Yes, I am an optimist, why do you ask? :-)
    0
  • cangelini
    Anonymous said:
    Hi Chris, thanks for the update. I actually browsed the old version of the article to refer it to a friend on Thursday and I wondered when the next update would be, seeing as it was a good, what? five months old.

    I think that it would be fairer, given the large periods of time that have occurred between the last three or so updates, to show the "normal" pick that you would've made if prices and availability weren't insane, and the "pricing at time of going to print" pick. I think that this would help the article stay relevant for longer, especially when the prices start going down and availability increases. (Yes, I am an optimist, why do you ask? :-)


    Thanks for the note. Yeah, that last update was from November and was horribly out of date, given today's climate. And it's hard to make recommendations based on what all of these cards were launched at a year or two ago. So, I'll be keeping a close eye on any changes that happen moving forward, and should be much quicker to identify when availability improves or pricing falls back into line. Hopefully that helps keep the column more applicable to this "new reality" of gamers and miners sharing whatever AMD and Nvidia can deliver.
    1
  • chalabam
    This article is useless without the old list of cards grouped by comparative performance, because I have no idea on how obsolete, if obsolete is my GPU compared to the ones listed here.
    0
  • bit_user
    If you check the GTX 1030 review, it's often bested by the RX 550. In a few titles, the RX 550 is even running against the GTX 1050.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gt-1030-2gb,5110-8.html
    1
  • chargerfan2
    Went to the local Fry's electronics by my house today and just out of curiosity I strolled by the video card isle and it was completely empty.
    3
  • USAFRet
    Articles like this are often not good, simply due to market volatility.
    GPU prices have doubled or tripled since late November, strictly due to the mining craze.

    The GPU specs are still identical, but the prices are meaningless.
    0
  • hannibal
    Actully prices Are very relevant... don’t buy graphic card now unless it is absolutely nesessary...
    0
  • matthew_258
    500$ for a 1060??? OMG...Happy to have my 1080ti for 719$
    0
  • crenwelge
    Could you add another category for quietest air cooling? Noise is the biggest drawback to installing a graphics card.
    0
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Anonymous said:
    If you check the GTX 1030 review, it's often bested by the RX 550. In a few titles, the RX 550 is even running against the GTX 1050.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gt-1030-2gb,5110-8.html
    That's quite true, actually. An example of which is BF1 (I always check BF1 on reviews first. AND NO I'M NOT ADDICTED! I CAN STOP PLAYING IT ANY TIME I WANT!!!):

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gt-1030-2gb,5110-4.html







    0
  • DbD2
    You've basically got to buy "founders editions" direct from Nvidia now (well click notify and then buy fast when you get the notification) - ironically after all the hatred over Nvidia screwing people with overpriced founders edition cards they are now the cheapest cards you can buy.
    0
  • littleleo
    Basically for Nvidia anything above a GTX 1050, is sold out, and for AMD anything above RX 560 is sold out. I've never seen it so bad before I guess we have new crypto currencies popping up. I hear stories of guys selling off old cards at prices higher than they paid when new it is just nuts! I guess this is like the California Gold rush, but online. Personally I don't trust those currencies they seem easily manipulated by 3rd parties.
    0
  • artk2219
    Anonymous said:
    Basically for Nvidia anything above a GTX 1050, is sold out, and for AMD anything above RX 560 is sold out. I've never seen it so bad before I guess we have new crypto currencies popping up. I hear stories of guys selling off old cards at prices higher than they paid when new it is just nuts! I guess this is like the California Gold rush, but online. Personally I don't trust those currencies they seem easily manipulated by 3rd parties.


    Welcome to a world with no market regulations! :bounce: Seriously it just goes to show why there are regulations and why traders aren't allowed to always run wild.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    Chris, the 1080 Ti Amazon link seems to point to used offers.


    Anonymous said:
    Went to the local Fry's electronics by my house today and just out of curiosity I strolled by the video card isle and it was completely empty.


    Reminds me of this Frys tour I found recently (skip to about 3 minutes in):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSS3O9R19xY


    Anonymous said:
    Welcome to a world with no market regulations! :bounce: Seriously it just goes to show why there are regulations and why traders aren't allowed to always run wild.


    On the contrary, this is how a free market is supposed to operate in large part, supply/demand variance; what's broken here is the nature of the supply due to the fickle source of the demand. In theory NVIDIA/AMD could solve the pricing issue by producing a lot more cards, but they're afraid of a used GPU dump when the mining scene shifts in some way, flooding the market and spoiling the demand for their newer products. It wouldn't be so bad if the two companies actually made [i/gaming cards, but they don't, right now they're making AI/compute cards the table scraps of which are spun off for gamers. The Good Old Gamer covered this nicely ages ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkeKx-L_E-o

    NVIDIA/AMD could make a card for gaming, ie. an architecture which didn't depend on the sort of hw solution that naturally matches mining algorithms, but they won't do that because gaming is not where the big money increasingly lies. As long as these GPUs are designed primariy for compute (with fast RAM), it's extremely likely they'll continue to be attractive for mining. When was the last time a graphics card review article (GPU is the wrong name/abbreviation for them now IMO) actually talked mainly about new innovative features to improve 3D realism, new shader techniques, AA methods, voxels or basically anything related to 3D graphics? It's been ages.

    Either way, the last thing we need is more state interference in how or why a consumer wants to buy a product. I might not like it that someone's buying GPUs for mining, but it's not up to me or anyone else to tell them how they can use what they've paid for. People are calling for driver or firmware lockouts, all sorts of things, all of which would set a terrible precedent. The nature of this demand pressure is what should force either company (if they have half a clue), or some rival, to produce a card that's actually aimed at gamers. Perhaps it's time for a 3rd player to enter the market, because atm NVIDIA/AMD are hell bent on going after the AI/compute market before gaming even gets a nod (and why shouldn't they, lots more money to be made in the former sector).

    IMO gamers are partly responsible for this though, as the focus on high-refresh and/or high-res/VR gaming has put pressure on game devs not to make new games too visually complicated, otherwise they just won't run that well (or be perceived to) by a rather vocal section of the market. Look at the way site reviews cover new CPUs, testing an 8700K at 1080p, referring to 100+ frame rates as normal. I can't remember the last time I saw gamers in forums talk about wanting new visual 3D features in their games, such as properly modelled fire, smoke, water, lava, mud, destructible environments, etc., the sort of thing which would be great for the interactive world mechanics of games like Tomb Raider. Instead, we just get annually updated tripple A shooter titles and all the other usual run of the mill stuff. There's little innovation these days in games realism. If anything, the hype around VR and high-res displays have moved the technical demands backwards, because all that's needed to satisfy such customers is greater fill rates, not new 3D features.

    We'll see how much all those complaining about high prices remain true to their own standards; will they complain equally strongly when the mining craze eventually flips in some way and the market is flooded with cheap GPUs? I very much doubt it. What I definitely don't want to see is any govt. sticking its nose in, telling consumers what they can or can't use their purchases for, it's none of their business, especially not when we're talking about here is the beginning of a potentially fundamental shift in the way wealth is controlled at the level of the individual. In this respect, crypto currencies have great potential, but it's a young field with no doubt numerous further hurdles to overcome, including security issues and increasing state interference. Govts. are not going to stand idly by while a means of monetary exchange evolves that's outside their control, something they cannot devalue at will. Govts. love conventional money supply systems because it's an easy way to give out free stuff to keep voters happy, but it depends on having control over printing more paper.

    The best thing one can do right now in response to this pricing spike is to simply not buy the product. Retailers will send feedback to AMD/NVIDIA, the pressure will do what it's supposed to do. People are complaining, but so what, try deferring gratification for a while, do something else, or buy a used older model. Both companies could make a proper gaming card if they wanted to; it's up to them whether the $3B/year market is worth bothering with. If not, that's a market opportunity for someone else. What's happening has had a profound effect on used pricing on ebay for normal auctions, I see GTX 980s going now for over 250 UKP, while 980 Tis are approaching 400, which isn't that far away from their original launch price.

    Smaller high street retailers btw are a good place to check, they may have stock purchased earlier which remains unaffected by the new higher pricing. Maplin in the UK may have 1050 Ti cards at a decent (old) price, ditto 1060 3GB/6GB. Shop around. Or join the fight for the used cards on ebay or elsewhere (780 Ti is still a good choice). Anyone wanna buy a 970? :D

    Ian.
    2
  • thinkspeak
    Never thought when i bought my 980 TI that it would become more valuable than its purchase price performance wise lol
    0
  • Sam Hain
    I'm half tempted to slap my two Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming (WF's) back in my rig and sell my GTX 1080 Ti, for a decent profit... Then, keep that money for the next gen (or two) GPU that releases OR use the money for a next-gen CPU (and board) that is meltdown/spectre proof.
    1