Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2018

At least least until the launch of Nvidia’s RTX 2070 in October, the best balance between performance, pricing, and power comes from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070. Of course, if price is no object and you own a 4K monitor, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is our top pick. At the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 3GB takes the place of AMD’s Radeon RX 560 for solid budget-oriented performance at 1080p in your favorite games. Although it costs $10 more, the GeForce is significantly faster. See below for our full list of graphics card recommendations.

Best GPUs For Gaming

News and Product Updates

This week we finally got to take a look at the performance of Nvidia’s most-affordable RTX card, the GeForce RTX 2070. And while it consistently outperforms a GTX 1080, the Founders Edition model sells for $600, making it tough to recommend, especially since we still don’t know the oh-so-important details about how it—and the other RTX cards—perform in games that take advantage of the company’s ray tracing and AI features. In other words, we’re still waiting on too many of Nvidia’s Turing promises.

Why Trust Us

Tom's Hardware has been reviewing PC components for more than two decades. We put each graphics card through a bevy of benchmarks that quantify everything from performance in real-world games to power consumption, noise, and operating temperatures. We've tested every major model, along with third-party configurations based on the same GPUs.

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing a graphics card, consider the following:

  • First, identify your monitor’s native resolution. That’s a good target to aim for when you go graphics card shopping. We call out optimal resolutions with each of our recommendations.
  • Ensure the rest of your platform is up to snuff. If you upgrade to a Radeon RX Vega 64, for instance, AMD suggests owning at least a 750W power supply. Double-check to be sure your PSU has the six- or eight-pin connectors to support your card of choice.
  • On-board memory matters, kind of. In general, we recommend at least a 4GB card for 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 at the highest quality settings, and 8GB of memory for gaming at 4K.
  • If your monitor supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh technology, you need a Radeon card to enable it. Similarly, G-Sync-capable displays must be paired with a GeForce card for the feature to work.

MORE: AMD Radeon RX 480 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Roundup

Best Budget Pick

Best For FHD

Best For QHD

Best For VR

Best For 4K

For even more information, check out our Graphics Card Buyer's Guide.

MORE: GPU Performance Hierarchy

MORE: All Graphics Content

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  • 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"