Best Gaming Graphics Cards

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 9, 2019
Regular graphics cards just don't have much of the computing power that is needed for gamers as well as for engineers and video editors. Thus, high-end graphics cards for gaming are your best bet when it comes to performance and multitasking. With an enormous number of different gaming GPU models available, one should consider a lot of aspects to choose the right one. Hence, we encourage you to take a look at our reviews and decide which one suits you best. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Chipset
Video Memory
Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate
Video Ouputs
Bus Interface / Connectors
DirectX / OpenGL Support
Max Supported Resolution
Recommended PSU Power
Cooling System
Warranty
 
PROS

The WINDFORCE 3X cooling system can show off the Alternate Spinning technology, which allows negating the effects of harmful turbulence while remaining silent at the same time. On top of that, this feature enhances the airflow pressure making the GPU work flawlessly even at max loads.

CONS

This model operates louder than other high-end GPUs.

OUR VERDICT

Gigabyte RTX 2080 Windforce is a true pinnacle of high-end gaming, equipped with the newest NVIDIA Turing™ chip architecture - it utilizes ray tracing technology that can simulate various video effects and post-processing on the fly without any performance loss. Powerful and quick, it is the best product to future-proof your PC for years to come.

detailed parameters
Chipset

GeForce RTX 2080

Video Memory

8 GB GDDR6

Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate

1515 MHz / 1710 MHz

Video Ouputs

1 x USB Type-C, 1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort

Bus Interface / Connectors

PCI Express 3.0 (8+6 pins)

DirectX / OpenGL Support

DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5

Max Supported Resolution

7680 x 4320

Recommended PSU Power

650 W

Cooling System

WINDFORCE 3X Cooling System with alternate spinning fans, 3D Active Fan technology, Heat pipes direct-touch construction, Metal back plate, The smart power LED indicator, RGB Fusion 2.0 LED-light

Warranty

3 years

PROS

A unique compound architecture of the copper tubes topped with the top-notch design of the cooling system guarantees even and fast heat dissipation from the main GPU unit. Moreover, the premium thermal compound also lowers the working load temperature of all components.

CONS

The base clock rate is a bit underwhelming for the price.

OUR VERDICT

This powerful model from MSI is an ideal solution for a new PC build. It will allow gamers to play the newest game titles in 1080p and 4K resolutions without any FPS drops or performance loss. Affordable and reliable, it is a great solution for mid-tier computer builds.

detailed parameters
Chipset

GeForce RTX 2060

Video Memory

6 GB GDDR6

Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate

1365 MHz / 1710 MHz

Video Ouputs

1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort

Bus Interface / Connectors

PCI Express 3.0 (8 pins)

DirectX / OpenGL Support

DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5

Max Supported Resolution

7680 x 4320

Recommended PSU Power

500 W

Cooling System

Dual fan thermal design, TORX™ 2.0 Fans, AirflowControl technology, Premium thermal compound, Solid backplate

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The compact design of this graphics card makes it easy to fit in Mini-ATX and even Micro-ATX cases with relative ease. That being said, even despite the 2.75-inch wide slots the cooling system remains quite effective without the risk of overheating the graphics chip.

CONS

The card has only one DisplayPort.

OUR VERDICT

This powerful model from EVGA is an ideal solution for a new PC build. It will allow gamers to play the newest game titles in 1080p and 4K resolutions without any FPS drops or performance loss. Affordable and reliable, it is a great solution for mid-tier computer builds.

detailed parameters
Chipset

GeForce GTX 1660

Video Memory

6 GB GDDR5

Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate

1830 MHz

Video Ouputs

1 x DL-DVI, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort

Bus Interface / Connectors

PCI Express 3.0 (8 pins)

DirectX / OpenGL Support

DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5

Max Supported Resolution

7680 x 4320

Recommended PSU Power

500 W

Cooling System

Renewed plate-punched design, 1 hydraulic dynamic bearing fan, Redesigned cooling with L-shaped contact fins, EVGA iCX2 Technology (9 additional temp sensors), Asynchronous fan control, All-metal backplate, EVGA Precision X1 software

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The all-solid capacitors of this GPU model have a tremendously long service life even when utilized at regular intensive loads (up to 10 years). This is achieved thanks to the specially designed aluminum core of the graphics card.

CONS

Quite power consuming (up to 200 watts per hour).

OUR VERDICT

This MSI RX Vega 56 graphics card is among the most silent, yet most powerful models available on the market today. The great specifications coupled with HBM2 memory make it a great competitor to more expensive models while providing users with top-notch performance at the same time.

detailed parameters
Chipset

Radeon™ RX VEGA 56

Video Memory

8 GB HBM2

Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate

1181 MHz / 1520 MHz

Video Ouputs

1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort

Bus Interface / Connectors

PCI Express 3.0 (8+6 pins)

DirectX / OpenGL Support

DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5

Max Supported Resolution

7680 x 4320

Recommended PSU Power

650 W

Cooling System

All-Solid capacitors, 1 fan with Radeon™ Chill technology, MSI afterburner software

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The cooling fans of this product feature the special Quick Connect system that allows mounting them to the motherboard using only one screw. No more expensive computer service cleaning - with this system you can easily detach them for manual cleaning of the hardware on your own.

CONS

Doesn't support 8K resolution (the maximum is 5120 x 2880).

OUR VERDICT

This Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 graphics card is among the most silent, yet most powerful models available on the market today. The great specifications make it a great competitor to more expensive models while providing users with top-notch performance at the same time. An ideal model for budget PC builds.

detailed parameters
Chipset

Radeon™ RX 580

Video Memory

8 GB GDDR5

Base Clock Rate / Boost Clock Rate

1366 MHz / 1506 MHz

Video Ouputs

1 x DL-DVI, 2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort

Bus Interface / Connectors

PCI Express 3.0 (8 pins)

DirectX / OpenGL Support

DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5

Max Supported Resolution

5120 x 2880

Recommended PSU Power

500 W

Cooling System

Dual-X cooling system, Quick Connect system, Intelligent fan control III Technology

Warranty

3 years

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080

Up With The Times

The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 is without a doubt one of the most high-performing GPUs in the high-to-medium price range.

To start off, this Gigabyte model has all it needs to be a great gaming graphics card including multi-screen connection capabilities, a maximum supported resolution of 7680 x 4320 and now-standard support of DirectX 12, as well as of OpenGL 4.5. So there’s not much more you could possibly ask for. But what features make it different from similar models after all? To answer this question, we will have to look at the card in detail.

When it comes to cooling, the RTX 2080 can definitely show off a thing or two. Be it a 3D Active Fan configuration or special heat pipes that have a direct-touch design. But the thing that makes this model truly stand out is its Alternate Spinning cooling technology provided by Gigabyte. Since the GPU has three 82-mm coolers, they spin in an asynchronous manner, negating the harmful turbulence effect that usually occurs when coolers spin at one speed. Thanks to this technology, the base cooling system provides better heat dissipation to the graphics chip compared to regular cooling solutions, which results in better overall performance of the card.

The thing that bothered us, though, is the noise made by the cooling system of the RTX 2080, which in all honesty, could be a bit less noisy. But other than that, there are no significant issues that may affect the overall performance.

Speaking of performance, let’s take a closer look at what’s under the “hood’’ of the card. Thanks to the built-in 8GB VRAM with a 256-bit memory bus, the card blows the competition out of the water almost completely. Even if compared to the previous generation of GeForce video adapters, the 2080 performs 3 times better, which makes the model a great investment into your gaming rig in the long run.

Review of Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce Graphics Card (8GB GDDR6, 256-Bit)

A True High-End GPU

Since the card is quite powerful it requires a PSU with at least 650 Watts of output wattage to sustain the whole system. Since most modern PC builds require more powerful PSUs this shouldn’t be an issue for a new build, but in case you are performing an upgrade, we recommend getting a new power supply as well.

As far as the number of connections goes, the card is equipped with three DisplayPort connectors and one HDMI port. Alternatively, if you are looking for a true VR experience, the GPU also has a single USB Type-C port that you can use to connect any VR headset out there.

All in all, by opting for the Gigabyte RTX 2080 you are getting a premium gaming graphics card that has little to no competition in terms of performance. Thanks to its great value/price ratio it is simply one of the best deals around, especially if you are looking for a good GPU that will last you for years to come.

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce Graphics Card (8GB GDDR6, 256-Bit) in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 VENTUS

Stunning Performance at an Affordable Price

Another RTX product from the newest GeForce line, the RTX 2060 Ventus made by MSI is a solid, middle-ground solution for both professional and casual gaming. Contrary to the budget GPU versions, it doesn’t have any power consumption constraints, and when utilized with the MSI desktop overclocking software, it can reach stunning results, especially in modern video games.

Unlike more sophisticated RTX models, the Ventus features a memory interface with a width of 192 bits, which albeit being a bit slower than 256-bit models, should fit the bill of gaming just fine. Even more so, it will suffice all of your gaming needs for at least a couple of years before becoming a bit slow in terms of computing power.

Speaking of computing power, this seemingly modest card has quite a huge punch underneath the housing when it comes to rendering images and decoding video on the fly. First of all, the 6 GB of all-new GDDR6 video memory allows for processing data amounts with speeds up to 336 GB/s, which is a huge improvement over the former generation of GeForce video adapters. And all you will need to power this GPU is a standard 500W power unit.

Review of MSI GeForce RTX 2060 VENTUS Graphics Card (6GB GDRR6, 192-bit)

Mid-Tier Card for All Modern Titles

As for the base clock speed of the RTX2060, it fluctuates at level of 1365 MHz but can be additionally boosted up to nearly 1700 MHz, given the proper cooling settings. And that is where the medium price range shows its limits. The only noticeable issue with the RTX 2060 is the relatively low speeds of its fans that can lead to overheating of the GPU itself. The fan settings, however, can only be tweaked using the MSI Afterburner software. Once the overclocking fan speeds are set, the overheating stops being a huge issue and the graphics card doesn’t make any abnormal sounds.

On top of the real-time ray tracing technology that surely will revolutionize the level of computer graphics in just a couple of years, this graphics card model has all it needs to be a real plug-and-play model. The PCI Express 3.0 connector makes it backwards compatible with almost all motherboards, while the Game Ready drivers provide full support of both modern and older game titles out there.

All in all, this graphics card will be a great choice in case you are looking for a cheaper option to upgrade your existing gaming configuration. RTX 2060 Ventus will provide users with high performance, reliability, great overclocking potential and smooth gameplay for years to come, which is quite good for a relatively moderate price.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 VENTUS Graphics Card (6GB GDRR6, 192-bit) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC

When You Need That Extra Boost

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC is an entry-level RTX graphics card designed to meet the needs of low- and mid-tier PC builds. That being said, this GPU is much more than just a budget-friendly model.

The next iteration of the GeForce 1060 series is conveniently priced to compete with AMD's Radeon RX 580 and RX 590 that held the banner of the best budget GPU for several years now.

More powerful than a standard 3GB 1060, the GTX 1660 XC manages to beat pretty much anything in this class of modern GPUs including a more powerful GTX 1060 with 6 GB of VRAM from the previous generation of GeForce graphics adapters. On top of that, the unit also focuses on the weaknesses of its predecessors and accurately addresses them.

First of all, this EVGA model is VR-ready and supports the Ray-Tracing technology even if at a relatively basic detail level. Moreover, since the card features all-new Tensor graphics cores allowing the unit to process as much as three times as many effects as the previous models of the GTX series.

Review of EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Graphics Card (6GB GDDR5, 192-Bit)

An Affordable Gaming GPU

Despite the fact that the card has only one cooler fan, it does its job fairly well. This is achieved thanks to a great design that features an all-metal backplate which enables better heat dissipation even without the help of a powerful cooler fan. That being said, if you are building a new PC we advise you to not neglect the cooling system and get at least a few fans for better airflow inside the case.

The only real downside of the card is the fact that it has only one DisplayPort, which severely limits the capabilities of streaming and using your PC system with more than one monitor. So if you plan on building a multi-monitor setup we recommend getting a few HDMI adapters for multiple monitors.

Moving on, when paired with a decent CPU, the GTX 1660 XC can really shine in most recent games, so if you need a decent upgrade for an outdated graphics card this model will fit this role just fine.

The card features 6 GB of built-in RAM, which in combination with the 192-bit memory bus is capable of transferring video data at rates almost 3 times faster than a regular GTX 1060, thanks to the new Turing shaders technology. With the combination of more than 1400 CUDA cores and a memory clock rate of almost 8000 MHz, the GTX 1660 XC definitely has no real rivals in its class.

In the end, if you are looking for a budget-friendly upgrade for your PC, this gaming graphics card from EVGA will be right up your alley. High-performing and reliable, it is ideal for casual gaming, allowing you to play all the recent game titles at smooth 60+ FPS regardless of video settings.

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Graphics Card (6GB GDDR5, 192-Bit) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

MSI RX Vega 56

All That Gamer Needs

The MSI RX Vega 56 OC is a somewhat recent variation from AMD and MSI designed with overclocking in mind. But which aspects, aside from overclocking capabilities, make this model worthy of your attention? In order to find out, we will need to take a closer look at the main features of this GPU, so let’s start.

Firstly, the RX Vega 56 OC features 56 active compute units across all shader engines providing the user with almost 3500 stream processors and more than 200 texture units. Just slightly less powerful than the RX Vega 64, it has a base clock rate of 1156 MHz, while its boost power can reach up to 1500 MHz with relative ease. Thanks to this, the Vega 56 OC can be a good middle-ground solution in terms of performance and considering its relatively cheap price it is a real steal for the money.

Secondly, the graphics card supports the MSI Afterburner software, which has a user-friendly interface and makes overclocking easy, compared to similar applications from competitors. On top of the standard modes for gaming, with performance boosters you can make your own profiles that will affect the way the GPU works. This feature will be convenient for demanding users that need their hardware working at its maximum potential.

Review of MSI RX Vega 56 Gamiong Graphics Card (8GB)

An Entry-Level GPU for Streaming

Thanks to the addition of three DisplayPort connectors, this model also acts great as a streaming GPU so in case you need an affordable graphics card for this purpose, the Vega 56 OC will be your pick. Furthermore, since the card features 8 GB of VRAM it deals with multiple tasks with relative ease. Be it a large Photoshop project, a resource-demanding game, or even 3D rendering, don’t worry - the Vega 56 OC won’t break a sweat. Unlike similar products, this unit has an HBM2 memory type, which is similar to DDR architecture, but it has a higher overall bandwidth, which makes the GPU an ideal solution for both gaming and multitasking purposes.

When it comes to cooling, the Vega 56 OC doesn’t have anything fancy to offer, just a simple ball bearing cooler fan - cold and professional. Even though it is not particularly special, the 70 mm cooler gets the job done and, more importantly, does it in a silent manner, which is a big plus in our book.

In the end, if you fancy good Radeon GPUs the Vega 56 OC from MSI will be a great option for both new and old PC builds out there. Quite powerful even at the base clock rates it has great potential for overclocking, making it a go-to pick for budget-friendly PC configurations based on AMD hardware.

MSI RX Vega 56 Gamiong Graphics Card (8GB) in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580

A Worthy Competitor to GeForce Models

The Radeon graphics cards for gaming have become something more than just mid-tier products during recent years and today they compete with GeForce video adapters on the same level. By providing basically the same features in their products but at a considerably lower price, the Radeon devices (both GPUs and a new generation of Ryzen CPUs) are definitely a solid choice for budget gaming.

The RX 580 is one of those products, and actually one of the flagship models of the former generation of Radeon video adapters and it surely holds to this status. First things first, the memory compartment of the Radeon Pulse RX 580 from Sapphire consists of 8 GB of DDR5 VRAM, which should satisfy even the most demanding gamers out there. That being said, the clock rates of this GPU are not really mind-boggling and can only reach 1500 MHz in boost mode from the base 1366 MHz. All this is due to the fact that the adapter is fairly low-powered and it only requires a 500W PSU.

Moving on, when measuring free space inside your PC tower for a potential video card upgrade, one should keep in mind that this graphics card from Radeon is quite bulky and since it has a twin-fan cooling system as well as a high number of connection ports, it will only fit ATX and microATX towers.

Review of Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 Graphics Card (8GB GDDR5)

High-End Performance Without Compomises

Size aspects aside, contrary to the contender GeForce models, the Radeon RX580 gaming graphics processor features not only one but two HDMI outputs, making it great for connecting multiple TV-sized screens. Moreover, it has two DisplayPort connectors and a single DVI port allowing you to hook up up to three monitors to your gaming system simultaneously. The hardware connectivity is provided by PCI Express 3.0 with 8 pins, which should fit the majority of modern and older motherboard units.

Designed for budget gaming, this model actually does have a couple of high-end features that make it stand out among other Radeon products. The Dual-X cooling system, for example, makes this particular GPU highly resistant to abrupt changes in temperature by combining two fans into one integrated cooler device.

Wrapping things up, the Sapphire Radeon gaming cards are known for their exceptionally high performance, and the Pulse RX 580 is not an exception to the rule. This modest yet highly powerful model is, perhaps, one of the best graphics cards for gaming in the budget price range today, which makes it harder to find a better deal for the same price.

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 Graphics Card (8GB GDDR5) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Gaming Graphics Card?

Nowadays, the majority of motherboard models feature discrete graphics cards, however, the capabilities of such standard solutions can be very limited. Especially when it comes to modern gaming systems. Nowadays, gamers ask for more and more features in the devices they purchase. And this crowd doesn’t buy simple, mediocre products. Suffice it to say, the manufacturers of gaming rig parts do their absolute best to meet the demands of the market.

Creating images from binary data is a power and resource demanding process, which is why it is important to have a medium- to high-end video processing unit that will allow you both to comfortably surf the Internet and use social media and to play the most recent games as well as enjoy video content in 4K resolution.

The current generation of graphics cards features a lot of things that are crucial for smooth gameplay as well as overall computer performance. Usually, in simple terms, the more VRAM the better; the higher clock rate, in turn, means that the GPU can perform multiple tasks at the same time better.

In order to achieve the perfect performance, you should also take a look at such computer components as CPUs for ultimate multitasking and solid state drives for shorter loading times.

What Features to Compare

When it comes to gaming hardware, the main thing people expect is the quality of the products they purchase. Since the graphics are perhaps one of the main reasons for upgrading gaming systems, consumers expect them to last for at least a couple of years of intense use.

During the last few years, prices for GPUs have skyrocketed because of the rising demand for the mining rigs that are used to obtain cryptocurrencies. And it's no wonder that the VGA retailer sellers raised the prices for these devices because of this same reason. With that in mind, an expensive card doesn’t guarantee great performance in games. Thus, let’s break down the main features that make a good graphics card for gaming.

Performance

A higher amount of VRAM allows for storing more data in the buffer of the Graphics Processing Unit and performing more tasks at the same time. Different cards come with various VRAM types that run on varying frequencies, which in return transfer data at a different rate. Modern video cards generally use the GDDR6 type, while the older models run on the much slower GDDR5 memory type. Thus, the larger the memory cap - the more textures and polygons your PC will be able to process at a time.

DirectX / OpenGL Support

The Application Programming Interfaces are crucial for multimedia playback and processing of games on both Microsoft- and Linux-based platforms. While the former is mostly responsible for almost everything related to Microsoft products, the latter will be important predominantly for Linux users.

If the card supports DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5 (and above) that basically means that you will be able to play the most recent games for at least a couple of years.

Cooling System

Since graphics cards are generally the most active parts of any PC, they tend to get hot during intense use. Without an active and efficient cooling system, they can even overheat. Thus it is important to assess the heat output as well as the power level of the cooling fans of the card. A big radiator with a couple of powerful fans will do the job just right. Otherwise, you could consider purchasing an external cooling fan as well as a liquid cooling system if you're intent on overclocking your system to gain that much needed FPS boost.

Video Output and Power Consumption

The most common video outputs are HDMI, DVI, Display Port, and VGA (for older analog displays). Your card should support most of these to be able to stream video to the respective types of displays and digital screens, as well as regular TVs.

Since the graphics cards use a lot of power, it is important to calculate the overall power consumption of your current gaming system and to purchase the required power supply unit (PSU) in order for the video card to operate normally. Otherwise, you may encounter lag, crashes, and even sudden reboots of your computer.

On top of the regular ports and connectors, some modern graphics cards can come equipped with USB-C ports. These models are designed to meet the demands of the expanding market of VR video games. So in case you are searching for a VR-ready device, opt for models that can be used to connect your VR headset or a mobile device with USB cable directly.

Did you know?

Driver Assistance Achieved, Thanks to NVIDIA

Not all people know that, nowadays, graphics chips can be used not only for gaming purposes. There are a lot of fields where the sheer processing power of the GPUs can be of great value and sometimes they are used in some unconventional ways. For example, the collaboration between Tesla and NVIDIA made the creation of a new AI that helps drivers on the roads possible. That AI is NVIDIA DRIVE, the autonomous platform that allows people to use cars without driving them. Whether it is a small 10-watt processor or a slightly bigger one that allows for Level 5 autonomous driving that is used for the smart car's safety.

The sophisticated cameras installed all around the body send the video signal to the onboard computer, while the AI creates a High Definition road map that is being thoroughly scanned. This way the car can detect incoming traffic and other obstacles in its way, as well as making a pathway for the vehicle. Just like the autopilot on airplanes, but on the ground level.

In case there is an obstacle, the car will slow down or even stop in a matter of seconds and all that is achieved thanks to the split-second decisions of the processing unit.

What’s more, these smart systems are not only utilizing high-definition cameras in order to create a detailed map of the road that lies ahead. The GPU artificial intelligence makes the best use of ultrasonic, radar, and lidar sensors. With that in mind, all this data needs to be somehow processed, and graphics cards are the best devices to do so.

The Future of the Graphics Cards

Since the late 2000s, both NVIDIA and AMD have begun using the Graphical Processing Units to deal with the types of tasks usually performed by CPUs. NVIDIA, at the time, was investing more and more funds into designing the video chips that allow performing non-graphical tasks.

After almost a decade of hard work and the development done by the NVIDIA’s top researchers, their products are some of the most sophisticated available on the market. But what lies ahead?

The AI, now, when the Graphical Cards are more powerful than ever, they can easily do the job of the regular processors. The company aims to create supercomputers based on the AI that will help the machines to learn. In other words, this will help develop self-driving cars, robots, and computer graphics, of course.

In the near future, the main manufacturers of the graphics cards as well as the processor makers will invest hard into developing a hybrid that is called a General Purpose GPU that will destroy the boundaries between CPU and video cards forever. Of course, it will take some time to develop a prototype that will perform on the same level as the modern gaming systems. However, the time when CPUs won’t bottleneck the capabilities of computer graphics adapters is coming, and it is arriving sooner than you could imagine. If this combination will be successful commercially, we will enter a new era of more compact and more powerful PCs.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-22 13:13:26