Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2019

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 VII.
  • Video Memory: We recommend at least a 4GB card for 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 (QHD resolution) play at the highest quality settings and at least 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, although Nvidia is now certifying some previously FreeSync-only monitors to work with variable refresh using Nvidia graphics cards.

1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 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 (£1,100/$1,900 AU)-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.

Note that we've also tested Nvidia's RTX Titan. It's a more powerful card based around the same silicon as the RTX 2080 Ti, with more memory. But it's not significantly faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, not aimed specifically at gamers, and it's priced at $2,500 (£2,400). The Titan runs games very well, but we don't recommend buying it strictly for gaming purposes.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 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 (£450, $800 AUD). 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 (£642, $1,120 AUD), the 2070 is easily a better value for a couple hundred dollars less.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070

3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060

Best for 2K Gaming

GPU:  Turing (TU106) | Core Clock: 1,365 MHz | Video RAM: 6GB GDDR6 | TDP: 160 watts

Rating: 4.5 / 5

  • Better performance than GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
  • Quiet
  • Only requires one 8-pin auxiliary power connector
  • Playable performance in Battlefield V with DXR enabled

While we wouldn’t say the same for other Turing cards, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 gives us very little to gripe about. It’s an excellent card for gaming at 2560 x 1440. A price tag of $350 (£330, $600 AU) puts GeForce RTX 2060 in the same territory as GeForce GTX 1070. It’s less expensive than AMD’s Vega 56 and Nvidia’s 1070 Ti. Yet, it beats both cards more often than not. The geometric mean of RTX 2060’s average frame rate across our benchmark suite at 2560x1440 is 77.9 FPS.

The other interesting take-away from the launch is that Nvidia’s hybrid rasterization/ray tracing approach is still viable down at the 2060’s price point. As far back as our first deep-dive into the Turing architecture, we wondered how useful 36 RT cores would be on TU106 compared to TU102’s 68 RT cores. Now, we have a derivative GPU with just 30 RT cores, and it’s capable of over 60 FPS at 1920x1080 with all options, including DXR Reflection Quality, set to Ultra in Battlefield V.

Read Review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060

4. 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 (£240, $480 AU) 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

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 Titan RTX100TU1021350/1770 MHz24GB GDDR6280W $2,499.99Amazon
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti98.4
TU1021350/1635 MHz11GB GDDR6260W $1,199.99Best Buy
Nvidia GeForce RTX 208096.1
TU1041515/1800 MHz8GB GDDR6225W $799Nvidia
Nvidia Titan Xp
95.7
GP102
1405/1480 MHz12GB GDDR5X
250W
$1200Nvidia
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
95.7GP102
1480/1582 MHz11GB GDDR5X
250W
$694.99Newegg
AMD Radeon VII
92.4Vega 20
1400/1750 MHz
16GB HBM2
300W
$700MSRP
Nvidia GeForce RTX 207087.2
TU1061410/1710 MHz8GB GDDR6185W $599.99Best Buy
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
84.4
Vega 10
1274/1546 MHz8GB HBM2180W $679Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
84.3
GP104
1607/1733 MHz
8GB GDDR5X
295W
$701Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
78.5
GP104
1607/1683 MHz8GB GDDR5
180W
:button:
Nvidia GeForce RTX 206077.5TU1061365/1680 MHz6GB GDDR6160W :button:
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
76.7
Vega 10
1156/1471 MHz8GB HBM2
210W
$642Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
69.9
GP104
1506/1683 MHz8GB GDDR5
150W
$409.99Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB
60.7
Polaris 30
1469/1545 MHz8GB GDDR5225W
$279.99Amazon
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB
57.9
Polaris 10
1257/1340 MHz8GB GDDR5
185W
$495Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
53.2GP106
1506/1708 MHz6GB GDDR5
120W
$314Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
49.4
GP106
1506/1708 MHz3GB GDDR5
120W
$229Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB
48.3
Polaris 10
1168/1244 MHz4GB GDDR5
150W
$289Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
33.1
GP107
1290/1392 MHz4GB GDDR5
75W
$189Newegg
AMD Radeon RX 560
28.6Polaris 11
1175/1275 MHz4GB GDDR5
80W
$149Newegg
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
28.1
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
13.0
GP108
1228/1468 MHz2GB GDDR5
30W
$92Newegg