Best Graphics Cards in 2023: Best Budget Graphics Card for 1080p Gaming

Even in 4K, the top graphics cards produce great frame rates, but they're not always the best on a budget.

Best Graphics Cards in 2023: Best Budget Graphics Card for 1080p Gaming
The Best Graphics Cards in 2022

Look, we understand; we're fully aware that the best graphics card isn't easy to come by right now. The greatest graphics cards are becoming increasingly difficult to come by as demand grows and supply shrinks. But keep in mind that it's not an impossible task. You might be able to acquire a strong graphics card that's worth your money in 2022 if you know exactly what you're looking for in terms of price/performance. If you're not sure where to begin your search for a graphics card, we have lots of advice, but scroll down to discover our picks from Nvidia and AMD's current lineups. Best Graphics Card for 1080p Gaming, Apple iPhone 14

Despite the fact that the GPU market has been stretched to its limits by Covid-19 and cryptocurrency booms (among other things), we've managed to test every new graphics card from the most recent generation. We put each GPU through its paces on our gaming benchmark test bench, comparing thermal performance, power draw measurements using specialist tools, and average frequencies and frame times.

Finally, as our testing has revealed, the GPU market is becoming more competitive. Things heated up with the release of the Radeon RX 6800 XT, with both Nvidia and AMD fighting for the top GPU title. Intel's Arc Alchemist graphics card will arrive soon enough. The GPU landscape is going to become a little more difficult as a result of this.

The Ampere GPU generation from Nvidia has raised the bar for potential competitors. The GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 are two of the best graphics cards to date, and AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT isn't far behind—it rivals the RTX 3080's excellent graphical performance at the top end. So we'll have to wait and see if Intel's contributions are welcome.

We've got various mid-range GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD, such as the RX 6600 XT, RX 6500 XT, and RTX 3060 12GB, on the budget side. However, Nvidia's most affordable card, the RTX 3050, is still on the way, which could give us a chance to get a card for less than the MSRP.

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Best Graphics Card

1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

Best Graphics Cards, The best graphics card for PC gaming right now

CUDA cores: 8,704
Base clock: 1,440MHz
Boost clock: 1,710MHz
TFLOPs: 29.76
Memory: 10GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 760GB/s
+Incredible gen-on-gen performance
+Makes the 2080 Ti look mid-range
+Ray tracing is no longer a sacrifice
-Needs a beefy PSU
-In high demand

Although the RTX 3080 is now as scarce as pigeon eyelashes, there is no doubt that Nvidia's new RTX 3080 is the best graphics card available today. It is a significant performance improvement over the preceding RTX 20-series. That's amazing when compared to the RTX 2080 or 2080 Super, but it's even more impressive when you realize that this $699 card can match, if not vastly outperform, the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti.

The impact makes on ray-tracing performance is something that really shines out in our testing. Most people avoided turning on the first generation of ray tracing-capable cards since it required such a large frame rate compromise, but that is no longer the case with this generation.

When you can now achieve ray-traced performance that exceeds the frame rates you'd get from the top RTX 20-series card without it, you know you're dealing with a completely different beast. And, hey, the RTX 3080 is capable of running Crysis.

To make with the ray-traced pretties, Nvidia has added a whole lot more CUDA cores to the mix with this 8nm GPU, as well as upgraded Tensor Cores (for extra DLSS goodness) and second-gen RT Cores.

The RTX 3080 may require a lot more power (at least an 850W PSU) and be difficult to find, but it is currently the most desirable graphics card available. Which, I suppose, is why it's so difficult to obtain. At the touch of a button

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2. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Best Graphics Cards, AMD's rDNA 2 architecture at its best

RDNA cores: 4,608
Base clock: 1,825MHz
Boost clock: 2,250MHz
TFLOPs: 20.74
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 512GB/s
+4K excellence
+Cheaper than an RTX 3080
-Moderate ray tracing performance
-Slower than the 3080 at 4K

There have been few better red team alternatives to Nvidia's high-end graphics cards than the RX 6800 XT. A highly competitive card that comes so close to its opponent, with only a minor performance difference from the RTX 3080, is certainly an enthusiast card worth considering for any PC gamer interested in 4K.

It's a close call between it and the RTX 3080, but with the finishing touches à la RTX, the latter beats AMD to the punch. The RX 6800 XT is $50 less expensive than the RTX 3080 and offers better 4K performance and more VRAM. However, it's easy to argue that the extra $50 spent on the RTX 3080 was well spent: it's a tiny amount to pay for increased 4K performance, ray tracing, and DLSS. All are accessible right now, with two years of development support included. AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution, on the other hand, is gaining traction among game developers and offers good upscaling worth activating in supported games.

Nonetheless, we're great admirers of what AMD has done with the RX 6800 XT, a return to form for the Radeon Technology Group that brings much-needed competition to the GPU market and provides a legitimate red team alternative for any high-end gaming PC build. 

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3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Best Graphics Cards, More affordable Ampere

CUDA cores: 4,864
Base clock: 1,410MHz
Boost clock: 1,665MHz
TFLOPs: 16.20
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
+Finally! Something a little more affordable
+2080 Super performance
+Under $400
-Annoying 12-pin power connector
-Not quite good enough for 4K

The RTX 3060 Ti is the best value Ampere to date, and it's extremely similar to the RTX 3070. Both use the same GA104 GPU (with fewer SMs enabled on the RTX 3060 Ti), as well as the same 8GB of GDDR6 RAM on a 256-bit bus.

While the RTX 3060 Ti has 17 percent fewer cores than the RTX 3060, it makes up for it with some clever GPU Boost frequencies. That helps to explain why, despite having a silicon disadvantage, the RTX 3060 Ti can be within 17 percent to just single digits of the RTX 3070. Not bad for a card that costs $399. (if you can find it for that price).

If you haven't previously done so, the math is as follows: The RTX 3060 Ti is $20 less than the RTX 3070 at $399, thus performance per dollar is higher with the smaller graphics card. That's why we like it so much: it's a superb GPU for a wide range of resolutions and, thanks to second-generation RT Cores, it also has decent ray-tracing capabilities.

If the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 are out of your price range, the RTX 3060 Ti is a good substitute. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this graphics card is how it compares to the previous generation of 20-series cards: it outperforms the RTX 2080 Super in practically every test. Best iPhone Games in 2023

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4. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Best Graphics Cards, Finally, a reason for every 10-series gamer to upgrade

CUDA cores: 5,888
Base clock: 1,500MHz
Boost clock: 1,725MHz
TFLOPs: 20.37
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
+Turing-topping frame rates
+Relatively low power
+This FE card is smol
-Annoying 12-pin power connector

The RTX 3070 is maybe the only high-end Ampere that comes close to being cheaply priced, and it's also amazing for being able to match the top-tier Turing graphics card, the RTX 2080 Ti, for less than half the price.

It's still a substantial cost at $499—we're talking next-gen console pricing here—but it's hardly extravagant when compared to today's best graphics silicon for PC gaming. In exchange, you'll receive a 4K graphics card that requires a little tweaking to achieve playable, if not high, framerates. And there's no doubt that it'll look fantastic in 1440p.

The RTX 3070's game performance credentials are undeniably excellent, but the complete Nvidia ecosystem underlying the RTX stack today is what makes it our selection for the rational PC gaming aficionado. Other features like Broadcast and Reflex go a long way to sweetening the deal. DLSS is a nifty trick for enhancing performance with only a minor loss in clarity, and other features like Broadcast and Reflex go a long way to sweetening the deal.

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5. AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

Best Graphics Cards, If you've money to burn

RDNA cores: 5,120
Base clock: 1,825MHz
Boost clock: 2,250MHz
TFLOPs: 23.04
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 512GB/s
+Occasional RTX 3090 performance…
+...but cheaper!
-Can lag behind RTX 3080 at times
-Mediocre ray-tracing performance

At launch, the RTX 3090 sat unquestioned at the pinnacle of graphics performance, but it wouldn't be long until AMD rustled up a contender in the form of the RX 6900 XT, or 'Big Navi.' The RX 6900 XT is attempting to knock Ampere's best off its lofty perch and send it plummeting back down to Earth. And it comes close, with 4K performance just a hair behind the RTX 3090—all for a third of the price.

As a result, it's just the better buy for any PC gamer who doesn't have any pro-creator motivations. But there's a reason it's not at the top of our graphics card rankings today: it's not that much better than an RTX 3080, and sometimes it's not at all. It costs $300 more than the RTX 3080, and you'd expect better performance in both rasterized and ray tracing workloads. Nonetheless, its ray-tracing acceleration is inevitably behind the competition.

However, the RX 6900 XT boasts features that the RTX 3080 lacks, such as 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which is a full 6GB more than the green team card's 10GB of (faster) GDDR6X memory. With that in mind, while the RX 6900 XT is a cheaper option than the RTX 3090 for pure gaming, it is still a victim of its own exorbitant price tag.

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6. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

Best Graphics Cards, The new king of GeForce gaming

CUDA cores: 10,240
Base clock: 1,365MHz
Boost clock: 1,665MHz
TFLOPs: 34.10
Memory: 12GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 912.4GB/s
+Superb 4K performance
+Nearly an RTX 3090 for less cash
+Excellent ray tracing capability
-A lot pricier than the RTX 3080
-Power hungry at 350W
-Runs pretty hot

The RTX 3080 Ti isn't Nvidia's most powerful GeForce graphics card. By a whisker, the RTX 3090 wins this award, which will definitely be taken by the RTX 3090 Ti once it arrives. After all, is said and done, we'd recommend the ultra-high-end RTX 3080 Ti to any PC gamer willing to go all out on their next build.

The RTX 3080 Ti is as much of a gaming graphics card as its predecessor, with performance close to the RTX 3090 at 4K. With a large number of CUDA Cores and fast GDDR6X memory, this card easily demolishes any game you can throw at it. With 80 RT Cores, it's also more than capable of real-time ray tracing.

However, the reason this card isn't higher on our list of the top graphics cards is because of its price. With a price of $1,200, it's a close competitor to the $1,499 RTX 3090. Regardless of exorbitantly inflated pricing or a scarcity of stock. 

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7. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

Best Graphics Cards, Nvidia's shot at a more affordable Ampere GPU

CUDA cores: 3,584
Base clock: 1,320MHz
Boost clock: 1,777MHz
TFLOPs: 12.74
Memory: 12GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 15GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 360GB/s
+Ready for 60fps at 1440p or greater
+Decent gen-on-gen performance improvement
+More readily available to purchase in pre-built PCs
-Not always massively faster than an RTX 2060
-RTX 3060 Ti is a better buy at $399

The decision to equip the RTX 3060 with 12GB of GDDR6 RAM seemed odd at first, and it still does in many ways. After all, it has more RAM than the RTX 3080, albeit at a slower rate, and it also outperforms the RTX 3060 Ti. The RTX 3060, on the other hand, utilizes it deftly, dispatching the RTX 2060 by a wide margin in most games and leaving enough of a gap in the others to make it useful.

We're also not going to turn down 12GB of VRAM when 6GB is the most likely option.

The RTX 3060 12GB is a graphics card that is easily argued for, with a decent generation-on-generation improvement and plenty of speed at 1080p and 1440p. It's also nominally less expensive than the RTX 2060 on launch day, though finding it as a separate number is difficult currently. However, this card is frequently found in pre-built gaming PCs, and at a reasonable all-in price. 

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Graphics card FAQ

In the midst of the Graphics Card Shortage, How can I Obtain a GPU?

One approach to go about it is to manually refresh every store page in the hopes of striking gold on the next replenishment. You might also sign up for a dependable app that will scour major retailers for you. It isn't a bot that tries to buy stock in an improper way; it simply refreshes the page so you don't have to.

In the UK, we've had success with the app HotStock, and in the US, sites like Stock Informer offer a similar service, though we haven't used it to score stock ourselves.

Similarly, many free Discord servers, such as the popular StockDrops server, have dedicated stock alert bots and eagle-eyed community members.

Not to mention Twitch feeds. When your stock appears, those dedicated to finding it will typically sound like a deafening klaxon. For Nvidia GPUs, we recommend Falcodrin on Twitch, although there are lots of generous individuals out there offering a similar service. 

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Is it simple to obtain a new graphics card?

It's not for everyone, but buying a prebuilt gaming PC is the best way to ensure you get a graphics card this year and a modern one at a price near to MSRP. It's worth thinking about, at the very least, if you're thinking about a whole rebuild in the future. System builders appear to have a more consistent supply of graphics cards, and while some foresee delays, you can at least expect a PC with a GPU installed at some point.

Which is Better GTX or RTX?

The GTX prefix is now used to refer to earlier Nvidia graphics cards that lack the AI and ray-tracing hardware found in RTX-level GPUs. The RTX prefix was first used with the RTX 20-series three years ago, and it indicates which cards have GPUs with both Tensor Cores and RT Cores, which are required for real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling.

Is ray Tracing only for RTX Cards?

The RTX prefix is exclusively applied to cards that contain Nvidia GPUs with dedicated ray-tracing hardware; otherwise, they use the same DirectX Raytracing API that Microsoft built and that AMD's rDNA 2 GPUs employ. Real-time ray tracing is supported by these AMD GPUs, however at a larger performance cost than Nvidia's GPUs.

When Intel's next Xe-HPG GPUs are released early next year, they will also support ray tracing utilizing Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing API, with the Alchemist graphics cards being the first to utilize them.

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Do I Need a 4K Capable Graphics Card?

Only if you have a 4K gaming monitor, is the obvious answer. However, there are other factors to consider, such as the games you play. If frame rates are everything to you and you enjoy ultra-competitive shooters, you should aim for exceptionally high fps statistics. And, for the time being, you're better off doing it at 1440p or 1080p resolutions.

That said, the more games that support DLSS, such as Call of Duty: Warzone, the more Nvidia GPUs will be capable of simulating 4K images on your 4K monitor at better frame rates.

What's a Founders Edition Graphics Card?

The Founders Edition graphics cards are merely Nvidia's in-house designs, as opposed to those created by its partners. These are usually reference cards, which means they run on standard time.

Nvidia opted to offer Founders Editions with factory overclocks for the RTX 20-series. These changes made it more difficult to evaluate cards because Founders Edition cards provide a performance baseline, although Nvidia has subsequently resumed making them as reference cards.