Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2018

Your computer's graphics card (GPU) is the most important component when it comes to determining gaming performance. To help you choose the right graphics card for your rig, we thoroughly test and review all the major cards, ranking each platform in our GPU hierarchy and publish our list of specific make and model recommendations on this page.

Quick Shopping Tips

When buying a graphics card, consider the following:

  • Resolution: The more pixels you're pushing, the more performance you need. You don't need top-of-the-line to game at 1080p.
  • PSU: Make sure that your power supply has enough juice and the right 6 or 8-pin connector. For example, AMD recommends a 750-watt PSU for the Radeon RX Vega 64
  • Video Memory: We recommend at least a 4GB card for 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 (QHD resolution) play at the highest quality settings and 8GB of memory for 3840 x 2160 (4K resolution).
  • FreeSync or G-Sync? If your monitor supports AMD's FreeSync anti-tearing tech, you need a Radeon card. G-Sync-capable displays require  Nvidia GeForce cards to do their magic.

1. Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Ti

Best Overall (When Price is No Object)

GPU: Turing (TU102) | Core Clock: 1,350 MHz | Video RAM: 11GB GDDR5X | TDP: 260 watts

Rating: 4.5 / 5

  • Smooth performance at 4K, High Settings
  • Packed with future-looking tech
  • Great thermal solution supports boost clocks
  • Price is out of reach for most users

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the first card we’ve tested able to deliver smooth frame rates at 4K with detail settings maxed out, something the previous-generation GeForce GTX 1080 Ti couldn’t quite manage. The GTX 2080’s halo features aren’t used in many games yet, but as those come online, the Turing architecture is expected to shine even brighter.

Nvidia also did a good job improving the cooler on its Founders Edition version of the card, leading to high sustained clock speeds. That said, the $1,200-plus price means this card is out of reach for the vast majority of gamers. Only those who are truly after a no-compromise 4K gaming experience should consider this card. Both the GTX 1080 Ti, and the one-step-down RTX 2080 are capable of smooth UHD gaming, providing you’re willing to switch off a few settings.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce TX 2080 Ti



2. Nvidia RTX 2070

Best for VR

GPU: Turing (TU106) | Core Clock: 1,410 MHz | Video RAM:  8GB GDDR6 | TDP: 185 watts

Rating: 3.5 / 5

  • Faster than GTX 1080
  • Quiet under load
  • Good cooling
  • Expensive

Enthusiasts with VR headsets need to achieve a certain level of performance to avoid jarring artifacts. An Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 is fast enough to keep up with the 90 Hz refresh rates of modern head-mounted displays (HMDs). Moreover, it includes a VirtualLink port for connecting next-generation headsets with a single cable. That’s not really a useful feature today, but it will likely come in handy the next time you consider upgrading your VR headset.

While stock remained high for the previous-generation GeForce GTX 1080, keeping prices low, it was easy to recommend that card over newer RTX options. But now that’s no longer the case, and pricing for the RTX 2070 has occasionally slipped below the starting MSRP of $499. With more than enough pixel punch to handle smooth VR and prices generally below that of the older GTX 1080, the GeForce RTX 2070 is our new pick for VR.Those who want more performance future-proofing may also consider the GeForce RTX 2080, but with pricing for that card starting around $700, the 2070 is easily a better value for a couple hundred dollars less.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070




3. AMD Radeon RX 580

Best for 1080p Gaming

GPU: Polaris 10 (GCN 4.0) | Core Clock: 1,411 MHz | Video RAM: 4GB / 8GB GDDR5 | TDP: 185 watts

Rating: 
4/5

  • Smooth frame rates at 1920 x 1080
  • Low power consumption with multiple monitors
  • Available in both 4GB and 8GB capacities

AMD’s Radeon RX 580 is based on the same Polaris 10 GPU as the Radeon RX 480 that preceded it. AMD simply dialed in higher clock rates to improve performance. While we’re always appreciative of higher frame rates, this also had the side-effect of increasing power consumption. Still, Radeon RX 580 generally outperforms the similarly-priced GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, particularly in DirectX 12 games, earning it a spot on our list.

The newer AMD Radeon RX 590 that debuted in late 2018 is yet another refresh of the same Polaris GPU, which bumps up performance compared to the competing Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. But better performance comes at the cost of higher power consumption, necessitating larger coolers that sometimes chew up three expansion slots on your motherboard. Factor in a $279 MSRP and AMD’s newer card becomes tough to recommend when so many similar-performing RX 580s are still available for significantly less money.

Read Review: AMD Radeon RX 580

4. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

Best for 2K Gaming

GPU:  Pascal (GP104) | Core Clock: 1,506 MHz | Video RAM: 8GB GDDR5 | TDP: 150 watts

Rating: 4.5 / 5

  • Great performance at 2560 x 1440 and best settings
  • Good for VR
  • Only requires one 8-pin auxiliary power connector
  • Being replaced by the RTX 2070

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 gives us very little gripe about. It’s an excellent card for gaming at 2560 x 1440. Not only does it use less power than AMD’s competing Radeon RX Vega 56, but also the lower-end Radeon RX 580. The 1070’s high performance, cool temperatures, and quiet fans were revolutionary when it launched in 2016.

The newer RTX 2070 is faster, and able to accelerate real-time ray tracing for more-realistic lighting and reflections. But that card’s starting MSRP of $499 ($599 for the Nvidia FE model) puts it in a higher price bracket than the GTX 1070 it’s designed to replace.


Read Review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

5. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (3GB)

Best Budget GPU

GPU:  Pascal (GP107) | Core Clock: 1,392 MHz | Video RAM: 3GB GDDR5 | TDP: 75 watts

Rating:
 3.5 / 5

  • Smooth 1080p fps at reduced settings
  • Generally faster than the 2GB version
  • No need for an auxiliary power cable
  • Can't do VR

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 3GB is mostly an upgrade over the older 2GB GTX 1050 version, offering reasonable performance at 1920 x 1080, so long as you're willing to dial back quality. In our gaming tests, the card delivered between 45 and 110fps at medium settings. Older 2GB 1050 cards should perform nearly as well, but in most cases in our testing, the 3GB versionperformed slightly better.

The 50 percent increase in physical memory for the 3GB model should come in handy for high-res texture packs and future titles that demand more memory. Most of these cards are also compact enough to fit in Mini-ITX systems and get all the power they require from the PCIe x16 slot. But of course size, power requirements, and other features (like ports) can vary between models. So be sure the card you’re considering meets your needs before buying.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (3GB)



All GPUs Ranked

We've tested all the current AMD and Nvidia GPUs and ranked them in order of performance, from best to worst.


Score
GPU
Base/Boost
Memory
Power
Buy
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti100
TU1021350/1635 MHz11GB GDDR6260W $1,199.99Best Buy
Nvidia GeForce RTX 208096.3
TU1041515/1800 MHz8GB GDDR6225W $799Nvidia
Nvidia Titan Xp
96.1
GP102
1405/1480 MHz12GB GDDR5X
250W
$1200Nvidia
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
96
GP102
1480/1582 MHz11GB GDDR5X
250W
$694.99Newegg
Nvidia GeForce RTX 207088.9
TU1061410/1710 MHz8GB GDDR6185W $599.99Best Buy
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
85.4
GP104
1607/1733 MHz8GB GDDR5X180W $701Newegg
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
85.1
Vega 10
1274/1546 MHz8GB HBM2295W $679Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
79.4
GP104
1607/1683 MHz8GB GDDR5
180W
$479Newegg
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
76.7
Vega 10
1156/1471 MHz8GB HBM2
210W
$642Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
70.3
GP104
1506/1683 MHz8GB GDDR5
150W
$409.99Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB
62.2
Polaris 30
1469/1545 MHz8GB GDDR5225W
$279.99Amazon
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB
58.8
Polaris 10
1257/1340 MHz8GB GDDR5
185W
$495Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
54.2
GP106
1506/1708 MHz6GB GDDR5
120W
$314Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
43.6
GP106
1506/1708 MHz3GB GDDR5
120W
$229Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 570
49.5
Polaris 10
1168/1244 MHz4GB GDDR5
150W
$289Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
32.3
GP107
1290/1392 MHz4GB GDDR5
75W
$189Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 560
28.9Polaris 11
1175/1275 MHz4GB GDDR5
80W
$149Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
25.1
GP107
1354/1455 MHz2GB GDDR5
75W
$139Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 550
17.9
Polaris 12
1100/1183 MHz4GB GDDR5
50W
$119Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GT 1030
10.1
GP108
1228/1468 MHz2GB GDDR5
30W
$92Newegg
Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject
38 comments
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    Top Comments
  • markbanang
    Please don't give up on the GPU Performance Hierarchy Table. I see it's now been renamed "Legacy GPU Hierarchy", so I hope that doesn't mean you intend to stop updating it.

    For many years this table has been the single best resource for quickly comparing graphics cards. Detailed reviews are great for comparing cards within a category, but for quickly dismissing a card or prompting further research, there is nothing else on the web which compares to it. It would be a real shame for it to fall into neglect.
  • Other Comments
  • markbanang
    Please don't give up on the GPU Performance Hierarchy Table. I see it's now been renamed "Legacy GPU Hierarchy", so I hope that doesn't mean you intend to stop updating it.

    For many years this table has been the single best resource for quickly comparing graphics cards. Detailed reviews are great for comparing cards within a category, but for quickly dismissing a card or prompting further research, there is nothing else on the web which compares to it. It would be a real shame for it to fall into neglect.
  • somidiot
    Dang, what happened to the around $100 and under market? Does it all suck right now? Or have GPU's tied into the CPU advanced that much?
  • dshumilak
    1070 Simple. Runs Well,, Can Hold A Very Large PUSH.
  • dshumilak
    Oh and Remember don't run it on a shit CPU.
  • spdragoo
    Anonymous said:
    Please don't give up on the GPU Performance Hierarchy Table. I see it's now been renamed "Legacy GPU Hierarchy", so I hope that doesn't mean you intend to stop updating it.

    For many years this table has been the single best resource for quickly comparing graphics cards. Detailed reviews are great for comparing cards within a category, but for quickly dismissing a card or prompting further research, there is nothing else on the web which compares to it. It would be a real shame for it to fall into neglect.


    I think they're going to keep it...although I do wish they'd kept a 3rd column for Intel's integrated graphics (as well as the Vega-equipped Ryzen/Athlon chips).
  • SR TEE
    If you want to do 4K gaming I'd hold off on the GTX 2080TI until AMD releases their RX 680 to see what it can do or save yourself some money and get the GTX 1080TI for $450 to $550 cheaper. $1200 is a total ouch for most people I personally know, but if you want the best at the moment and newest Ray Tracing tech(which there's no 100% guaranty it will catch on) and have the money to burn be my guest.

    Just my opinion and please feel free to disagree.

    Happy gaming all.
  • imhassanpiracha
    ZOTAC 1070ti AMP Xtreme should make this list. It is going for around USD $420. Can be overclocked above 2000 MHZ easily. it is one of the most silent cards I have seen with lowest temps at full stress. IMO
  • apk24
    Anonymous said:
    Dang, what happened to the around $100 and under market? Does it all suck right now? Or have GPU's tied into the CPU advanced that much?


    The under $100 market has always sucked. If you're looking in that price range, look at buying a generation older cards used. A GTX 960 4GB performs in the neighborhood of a 1050/1050 Ti and can be had for around a 100 if you hunt around craigslist or ebay.
  • suau
    1) The GTX 1050 3GB didn't earn a spot on this list.
    The RX 580 4GB consistenly beats the GTX1050 by a landslide (~20-50% FPS), costs 10$ less AND it comes with the newest Assassins Creed: Odyssey for free (50-60$ value and two other games).
    (PowerColor RED DRAGON Radeon RX 570 is 159.99$ Newegg link below)

    2) The RX 580 8GB is available for 50$ less than displayed here on the same retailer AND it comes with the newest Assassins Creed: Odyssey for free (and two other games).
    (PowerColor RED DEVIL Radeon RX 580 is 229.99$ Newegg link below)

    P.S. No I don't work for PowerColor, I picked the cheapest card with the free game bundles.

    3) Recommending any Nvidia card for the midrange is just plain wrong simply because of G-sync. The best improvement for any gaming machine is adding FreeSync or G-sync to eliminate tearing or avoiding V-sync, which most probably will drop your framerate to 30fps or even 15fps in newer games on those weaker cards.
    24in-1080p-144Hz-FreeSync monitors are available for less than 200$.
    24in-1080p-144Hz-G-sync monitors start around 350$.
    That's a 150$ difference that has to be considered.

    4) Even the not so midrange GTX 1070 isn't a clear winner, as the Vega 56 is in the same price range and has about the same performance, offers a free game bundle (60$+ value) and still has the FreeSync (150$) advantage. No one in their right mind will drop ~400$ on a graphics card and then play without FreeSync/G-sync.
    My take on this tier:
    Buy AMD Vega 56 if:
    - you want to get "Assassins Creed: Odyssey" anyways.
    - you already own a FreeSync monitor or will upgrade your monitor in the foreseeable future.
    - you don't have a monitor yet.
    - you do have a FreeSync TV or plan to buy one and enjoy playing controller/couch-games like Assassins Creed, retro emulators, Street Fighter, GTA, Batman, Dirt etc.
    Buy Nvidia GTX 1070 if:
    - you are upgrading your PC and your Power supply has less than 650W
    - you already own a G-sync monitor

    @chris_angelini
    Not sure if this was just lazy research or biased advice.

    Links:

    PowerColor RED DRAGON Radeon RX 570
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131717&cm_re=rx_570-_-14-131-717-_-Product

    PowerColor RED DEVIL Radeon RX 580
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131713&cm_re=RX_580-_-14-131-713-_-Product

    GTX 1050 3GB vs RX570 4GB:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7snPy5O48m0
  • suau
    Sorry typo in my comment above
    "The RX 580 4GB consistenly beats the GTX1050" ... should be "The RX 570 4GB"
  • dang10010
    Here's my version
    $100 - $120 budget card- the RX 560 https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&N=100007709%20601296397
    These cards are almost neck and neck with the 1050 in most games and is currently $70 less than the 1050.

    $150 - $175 FHD- the RX 570 https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20601296379%20601296377&IsNodeId=1
    The RX 570 has come back down to Earth in the past month or so and has plenty of power to game at the 1080 resolutions plus you get AMD freesync, it's also $100 cheaper than the rx 580, look around for an open box or sale and you just might pick up a 580 for $10 - $20 more.

    $400 QHD- the 1070ti https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20601305993&IsNodeId=1
    Why not spend another $10 to $20 and get the ti version instead, for most games it's neck and neck with the 1080 and consumes less power. Use a rebate and it's under $400. This is also a very good card for pushing past that 120 fps limit if high frames is your thing.

    $750 Best for VR- the 2080 https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20601321570&IsNodeId=1
    Spend a few more dollars and get a new generation card, wait for Xmas and save $?

    Obviously the fastest card out there is a 2080ti, so go out and get one now after you sell your car and start taking the bus.
  • tejayd
    I think we all loved the gpu hierarchy table. Mostly as an easy way to compare our older gpu's. I am a fan of the "best for" rankings they use in these articles. Just to help put it in perspective for amateur builders.
  • thealmightyeyeball
    I think there should be some AMD options at the top just because of the fact that Freesync costs about $200 less than G-Sync for those who want a nice system but are on a tighter budget.
  • hectormifflin
    rx 570 is the best value by far.
  • vaughn2k
    For U$320, Vega 56 will kick the ass off that 1070, Even the Vega 64 at U$380.00.. 'cmon...
  • zthomas
    I got a titan xp before there was even a hint of new cards coming out.. the card has worked perfectly since plugging in replacing four year old used 980.. that started have a few issues with the newest games. Love seeing blowing hair and steam and fire radiating from a battle bruised in titan2
  • bobbl1235
    Shouldn't the graphic at the beginning of the Article list the RTX 2080 Ti (shown as GTX 2080 Ti) be corrected?
  • araczynski
    my 1080Ti is rocking 4k quite nicely is most games. Granted I'm playing on a 49" Sony TV and not a 1000MHZ monitor, nor wasting time with AA at 4K.
  • turgaism
    Competely agree! Please keep the GPU Performance Hierarchy Table going!

    MARKBANANG 1 month ago
    Please don't give up on the GPU Performance Hierarchy Table. I see it's now been renamed "Legacy GPU Hierarchy", so I hope that doesn't mean you intend to stop updating it.

    For many years this table has been the single best resource for quickly comparing graphics cards. Detailed reviews are great for comparing cards within a category, but for quickly dismissing a card or prompting further research, there is nothing else on the web which compares to it. It would be a real shame for it to fall into neglect.