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.

Even after the launch of the Nvidia 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, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 3GB takes the place of the AMD Radeon RX 560 for solid budget-oriented performance at 1080p resolution in your favorite games. 

With holiday shopping season upon us, we're also seeing some great GPU deals. Some of our favorites include an RX 570 for $139 and a GTX 1050 Ti for $129. or a compact, GTX 1050 for $99 There's also a great deal on the ZOTAC RTX 2080, which is $100 off and comes with Battlefield V.

Best GPUs For Gaming

News and Product Updates

This week, Nvidia announced the Titan RTX, a new top-end Turing-based card that straddles the line between consumer and professional audiences. With a beefed-up CUDA core count over the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, extra Tensor and RT cores and 24GB of GDDR6, it’s certainly a powerhouse, both for gaming and professional compute tasks. But with a price tag of $2,499, the Titan RTX will be a hard sell for most gamers. The RTX 2080 Ti sells for $1,000 less and mostly sticks close in terms of hardware specs.

We are of course interested in testing this latest Nvidia Titan card to see how it performs against its lesser RTX siblings, as well as the Titan V. The latter card actually has more CUDA cores than the Titan RTX and more Tensor cores, but it’s based on the Volta architecture and a different type of memory (12GB of HBM2).

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 buying 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 the AMD 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 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 (QHD resolution) at the highest quality settings and 8GB of memory for gaming at 3840 x 2160 (4K resolution).
  • 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: 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

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"
  • 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.