We rated, reviewed, & compared some of the best graphics cards for gaming across various budgets. These top GPUs are perfect for gamers who are looking to max out their favorite games.
There is no component that has a bigger direct impact on your gaming experience than your video card will. And, if you’re looking to build a gaming computer and you want to really take your gaming experience to the next level, then you definitely need to make sure you get yourself a high-end GPU.
A graphics card (or video card) basically acts like a second processor. However, the video card is only responsible for processing graphics-related tasks.
Therefore, having a high-end video card not only helps your system by improving the quality of visual effects that it can display, but also by relieving your main processor of the responsibility of having to carry out graphics-related tasks. This gives your computer a significant increase in performance in gaming over system’s that rely on the integrated graphics on their performance.
When building a new gaming computer, you want to put a good portion of your budget towards getting the best video card for gaming possible. It’s generally recommended to put at least 20-30% of your total budget into your graphics card.
*Of course, with the GPU shortage that is currently going on, it is difficult to stick with that allotment to your video card as prices are incredibly inflated.
In this post, we will take a look at the best graphics cards for gaming at various price ranges.
Our Top Picks for the Best GPUs for Gaming
The table below gives you a quick-look at our top picks for the best video cards for gaming across a range of categories.
RX 6900 XT
RTX 3060 Ti
Gigabyte GT 1030
*To check out our full overviews on our top GPU choices, just click the “Read Review »” button. You can also scroll down on this post to find more options based on your specific budget.
1. ASUS ROG Strix OC RTX 3090
The best extreme graphics card
- 1890MHz Clock Speed
- 24GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Triple Fan Cooling
- 318mm Long
If money is no object to you and you have to have the absolute best performance possible, then an RTX 3090 is what you’re looking for. Be forewarned, though, with a pricetag of over $3,000, an RTX 3090 costs more right now than what it would have cost to build a complete high-end system just a couple of years ago.
That’s the effect of the global chip shortage and massive inflation.
If you’ve got the money for it, though, the RTX 3090 is a monster of a graphics card and it will deliver extreme performance. So, whether you’re looking to get a new 4K 144Hz monitor, or you’re a hardcore competitive gamer that wants to maximize their framerate on a 360Hz display, the RTX 3090 will give you as much performance as you can handle.
And, of the RTX 3090s out there, we like the ASUS ROG Strix OC edition for its advanced cooling configuration and its extreme factory overclock.
All-in-all, the elevated pricetag of the RTX 3090 won’t be for everyone. But, if you’re budget allows for it, you won’t be disappointed.
2. MSI Gaming Z Trio RX 6900 XT
An extreme AMD graphics card
- 2425MHz Clock Speed
- 16GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Triple Fan Cooling
- 325mm Long
If you’re an AMD fanboi through and through and you want the best graphics card they have to offer, then an RX 6900 XT is what you’re looking for.
Of the RX 6900 XTs out there, the MSI Gaming Z Trio strikes a nice balance between how much it costs and the features it comes with. The Gaming Z Trio comes with a boost clock of 2425MHz, 16GB of VRAM, and a triple fan cooling array.
It also features RGB lighting and measures in at 325mm long.
The RX 6900 XT is an excellent option for gamers who have an extreme budget and who are looking to hop into 4K gaming, or who want to run a 1440P 240Hz monitor with good results.
3. ZOTAC Twin Edge RTX 3060 Ti
The best value graphics card
- 1695MHz Clock Speed
- 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Dual Fan Cooling
- 221mm Long
The RTX 3060 Ti is an excellent graphics card for people who have a moderate budget and who want to be able to max-out games on a 1080P monitor. This card is more moderately priced when compared to the extreme options listed above and it can also serve well for anyone looking to jump up to 1440P gaming.
Like the option below, the ZOTAC Twin Edge stands out among other RTX 3060 Tis due to its lower pricetag. It does only feature a dual fan cooling array (as opposed to a triple fan cooling array), but that shouldn’t impact its performance too much in the grand scheme of things.
And, with GPU prices out of control right now, the lower cost of the Twin Edge is somewhat helpful.
In the end, if you’re looking for a graphics card that will easily allow you to max-out games at 1080P and also offer the ability to handle games at 1440P (and 4K for non-demanding titles), then this RTX 3060 Ti is not a bad option.
4. ZOTAC Twin Edge RTX 3050
The best budget graphics card
- 1807MHz Clock Speed
- 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Dual Fan Cooling
- 224mm Long
While no graphics cards are affordable right now, ZOTAC’s Twin Edge lineup is consistently among the lowest-cost options in their given GPU-category. The same is true for their RTX 3060 Ti (listed above) as with their RTX 3050.
The RTX 3050 is currently selling for over $500 and will deliver solid 1080P performance. The ZOTAC Twin Edge comes with an 1807MHz boost clock, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and a dual fan cooling array.
With its smaller cooling array, the card only comes in at 224mm long, making it an excellent option to use in smaller cases.
Overall, if you’re looking for a more affordable new graphics card option (although, there is really no such thing in this market), ZOTAC’s Twin Edge RTX 3050 is worth considering.
5. Gigabyte GT 1030
Entry-level graphics card option
- 1544MHz Clock Speed
- 2GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Single Fan Cooling
- 168mm Long
The Gigabyte GT 1030 competes with the RX 550 in that both are super budget-friendly graphics cards that will work well if you are building a barebones entry-level system, or if you have an older system that needs to be upgraded in order to keep up with some of today’s newer games.
The 1030, like the RX 550, should be able to handle most games on a 1080P monitor on at mediumish (or lower) settings. Although, for more demanding games, you will likely have to turn the settings down to low.
Typically, this card would come in at well under $100, but with inflation, it currently costs nearly $200 to land. However, considering that an option like an RTX 3050 or RX 5500 XT—which should be in the low $100s—are selling for well over $500, the GT 1030 is about as cheap of a new video card as you’ll find right now.
Ultimately, this card isn’t a long-term solution, but it will serve well as a last resort option if you have a super low budget.
Which Graphics Card is Right for You?
This is not a list of every graphics card on the market. And, while NVIDIA has held the high-end of the market on lockdown for the past few generations, it is always at least worth looking into newer architecture before you make your decision.
However, the performance difference, if any, is usually negligent between AMD and NVIDIA’s offerings at the same price level. And, so if you’re ready to build now, the options listed here should fit your needs based off of the price range you are looking to choose from.
In the end, the graphics card you choose for your gaming computer will be the biggest determining factor in what games you can play, at what resolution you can play them at, and how high you can turn up the settings.