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Best graphics card 2022: all the top GPUs for gaming

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Three of the best graphics cards against a green background
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re a PC gamer, you need the best graphics card in your PC to make sure it runs the newest game releases. Whether you’re building or upgrading to the best gaming PC, you’ll want to make sure you pick a GPU capable of handling anything you could demand of it - especially if you’re a content creator or hardcore gamer.

You don’t even need a high-end gaming rig to reap the benefits of a powerful graphics card because there are a variety of GPUs on the market. You may be in the market for something extremely powerful, or you might be looking for the best cheap graphics card option because you don’t want or need anything that high-powered.

There are plenty of options out there for the best graphics card, so it’ll be easy to find the best option regardless of your budget. Some of the best Nvidia GeForce graphics cards and best AMD graphics cards are more of an investment, but they’re definitely some of the best GPUs you can buy. However, even mid-range graphics cards are impressive because they’re faster and more powerful than this class has ever seen.

We’ll be able to help you narrow down your options to help you choose the one that best suits your needs. We’ve tested all the latest releases from Nvidia and AMD, so we know which ones to recommend and which ones you probably want to skip. 

Once you’ve decided what you want, we’ve got a GPU tracker to help you hunt down where your selected graphics card is in stock - you may even find it on sale. We also have a convenient price comparison tool so you don’t go over budget on your next GPU.

How we test the best graphics cards

When it comes to the best graphics cards, it's incredibly important to make sure we're testing everything on an equal playing field. That's why, whenever a new graphics card comes out, we test it in a suite of around 11-12 games and across several resolutions, all on current drivers. 

That means that we re-test all current-generation graphics cards whenever a new one comes out. And we make sure that all of the cards are tested on the same hardware, which means the same processor, with the same memory at the same speed, on the same motherboard, with the same SSD. That way, we can be sure that we're measuring how the graphics card itself is performing, and we can more reliably compare it against its rivals. 

We also make sure to log how much power its consuming and the temperatures it reaches under load, to make sure we can recommend it to people that may be concerned about high temperatures in their PCs. 

Finally, we take a look at the features that each graphics card offers, though usually these don't really change generation-to-generation. However, the performance while enabling something like ray tracing definitely can change. 

Where to buy the best graphics cards right now

Our picks for the Best Graphics Cards of 2022

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best graphics card overall

Specifications

Stream Processors: 4,864
Core Clock: 1.41 GHz (1.67 GHz boost)
Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin (adapter to 1x 12-pin included)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 1080p performance
+
Ray tracing performance is solid
+
Stays cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Only entry-level 4K performance
-
Annoying 12-pin power connector

Is AMD no longer the king of great value GPUs? The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti threatens that claim with its price to performance ratio. One of the newer arrivals in the RTX 3000 line, this graphics card punches way above its weight class, delivering a performance that could rival the RTX 2080 Super while keeping its price tag incredibly affordable for most people. That’s with impressive ray tracing included. We've never seen 1080p gaming to be this good or this affordable. 

And, if you plan on gaming in 4K, you can even do that, if just barely. You’ll have to make some compromises on settings and skip the ray tracing. With that said, there’s little else to fault with the 3060 Ti. It stays cool as a cucumber and, for those who like to display their PC’s innards, is quite stylish. This is, indeed, the best graphics card for most people.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 best graphics card at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best graphics card for those with a bigger budget

Specifications

Stream Processors: 8,704
Core Clock: 1.44 GHz (1,71 GHz boost)
Memory: 10 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 19Gbps
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 4K gaming performance
+
Low temperatures

Reasons to avoid

-
Still kind of expensive

With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, 4K gaming just became a lot more accessible. Before, you had to shell out more than $1,000/£1,000 for the RTX 2080 Ti to get playable frame rates. However, with this new generation of Nvidia graphics cards, the price of 4K gaming has dropped nearly half, thanks to the RTX 3080. 

When it comes to sheer power, the RTX 3080 boasts one of the largest generational leaps in GPU history, delivering a 50-80% performance boost over the RTX 2080 and a 20-30% boost over the RTX 2080 Ti, all while keeping the same price point as the RTX 2080. And, while it still comes at a premium compared to other GPUs of this generation, it’s still both an absolute powerhouse of a graphics card and a great value. We wouldn't recommend it, however, if you tend to play games at a lower resolution.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best graphics card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)
The best of Nvidia’s Ampere line

Specifications

Stream Processors: 10,240
Core Clock: 1.37 GHz (1.67 GHz boost)
Memory: 12 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Outputs: HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
Beautiful graphics card
+
Same size as RTX 3080

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Power-hungry

There’s a new Nvidia champion in town, and it takes power and performance to an even more accessible price point. The long-awaited RTX 3080 Ti delivered the same level of performance as the RTX 3090 during our tests – an impressive feat in its own right – while dropping the price by a few hundred dollars, making all that sheer power more accessible than ever. 

It continues what the RTX 3080 has started – to take 4K gaming into the mainstream arena – with its breathtaking 4K at 60fps performance. It also stays cool under pressure. And, like many of the other 3000 series GPUs, it's quite a stunning-looking card to boot. Of course, it’s still among the more expensive of Nvidia’s offerings and requires a good amount of power to function properly. But, this is still the best graphics card on the market right now, especially if you care about ray tracing. 

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best graphics card for creatives

Specifications

Stream Processors: 10,496
Core Clock: 1.40 GHz (1,70 GHz boost)
Memory: 24 GB GDDR6X
Memory Clock: 19.5Gbps
Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

Reasons to buy

+
GPU performance to beat
+
Up to 8k performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Extremely expensive
-
Very large

You can’t beat the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 when it comes to performance. With a whopping 24GB of RAM, no game or, more importantly, heavy graphics project will suffer performance issues. In fact, we were even able to get some 8K performance at 60 fps out of the 3090. It is an incredibly expensive unit, and quite large too, so it will probably be too much GPU for most users. 

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is, in essence, a replacement for the Titan so it’s meant more for the creative user tackling intensive 3D and video rendering than for the avid gamer. Even so, it comes with a massive reduction in price compared to the Titan, making it a bargain for creative professionals used to shelling out a lot of money for the tools of their trade. 

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

best graphics card AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: AMD)
A 1080p powerhouse

Specifications

Stream processors: 2,048
Core clock: 1,968
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory clock: 16Gbps
Power connectors: 1 x 8-pin
Outputs: 1.4 with DSC DisplayPort, HDMI 2.1 VRR and FRL

Reasons to buy

+
Strong 1080p performance
+
Great thermal efficiency
+
Low power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-
Should be cheaper
-
Only slightly better than the RTX 3060

For rock-solid 1080p gaming, you can’t go wrong with the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT. Not only is the card a great performer, but it doesn’t use a lot of power so you can install it in a system with a smaller power supply. Because of its great thermal efficiency, you also don’t need a super expensive water cooling system built into your PC. 

Surprisingly and unfortunately though, it is a bit pricier than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, its direct competition, and doesn’t come with ray tracing. However, during testing, we found it to be about 10% more powerful as well, so you do get a little more performance for that slight bump in price. AMD also has its own software tricks up its sleeve including FidelityFX Super Resolution, Smart Access Memory and, for the competitive gamers out there, Radeon Boost.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 at an against a white background

(Image credit: Nvidia)
Best mid-range graphics cards

Specifications

Stream Processors: 5,888
Core Clock: 1.50 GHz (1.73 GHz boost)
Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 14Gbps
Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin (adapter to 1x 12-pin included)
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing performance
+
Best value graphics card today
+
Awesome ray tracing performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Same inflated prices as Turing
-
Required 12-pin power connector

The best graphics card on the market for most people, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 delivers excellent performance. It’s on par with the RTX 2080 Ti even without costing an arm and a leg, bringing 4K gaming to the mainstream market for the first time. Before this card, 4K gaming was out of a lot of people’s budget. 

The RTX 3070 does exactly that without forcing you to compromise on settings for most games. Yes, with this reasonably priced card powering your PC, you can play your favorite AAA games in 4K at high settings without its performance suffering. A cheap price tag plus 4K gaming on quality settings equals great value, and that’s why the RTX 3070 tops our list. We also appreciate the fact that it doesn’t have the same massive cooler that the RTX 3080, which allows it to have a smaller form factor.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT best graphics card on a maroon surface

(Image credit: AMD)
The best AMD graphics card

Specifications

Stream Processors: 2,560
Core Clock: 2.32 GHz (2.58 GHz boost)
Memory: 12GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 16 Gbps
Power Connectors: 8 pin + 6 pin
Outputs: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 1440p performance
+
Ray tracing
+
Lightweight card with no sag

Reasons to avoid

-
Ray tracing performance is weak
-
No FidelityFX Super Resolution

AMD has offerings at all price points. When it comes to its mid-range options, the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is the best. We found it to be an excellent 1440p graphics cards, expertly bringing Team Red’s RDNA 2 architecture to a more approachable level, price-wise. That’s not all. While it’s not the best graphics card for it on the market, it can do ray tracing and give you a taste of it.

It’s an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti rival. However, it is closer to the RTX 3070 in price, which makes it a harder sell for the more budget-conscious. Still, we cannot deny its superb 1440p performance. And, if you’re more of an AMD fan, it’s still an excellent contender. You probably should get comfortable messing with your BIOS though.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6800 at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: AMD)
AMD's best premium graphics card

Specifications

Stream Processors: 3,840
Core Clock: 1.82 GHz (2.10 GHz boost)
Memory: 16GB GDDR6
Memory Clock: 16Gbps
Power Connectors: 2 x 8 pin
Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, HDMI 2.1 VRR and FRL

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
Finally, AMD ray tracing
+
Low power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-
Divisive design
-
Ray tracing performance behind competition

If you think AMD is still stuck in the budget and mid-range markets, think again. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 marks AMD's return to the high-end graphics card market, and it’s a premium ace without the incredibly premium price. This GPU delivers a solid 4K gaming performance and impressive ray tracing at 1440p, while being a better value than its direct rival, the RTX 3070, thanks to its VRAM. 

We found its ray tracing to be a wash at 4K due to its lack of features, especially those around upscaling. However, if you’re happy to play games at 1440p with ray tracing on, it can more than handle whatever game you throw at it. Plus, AMD's Smart Access Memory technology will make it even faster. As long as you're comfortable playing around in your BIOS.

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX 6800

MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio against a white background

(Image credit: MSI)
The best third-party GPU

Specifications

Stream processors: 2,176
Core clock: 1,650
Memory: 24GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 19.5Gbps
Power connectors: 3 x 8-pin
Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4a x3, HDMI 2.1

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly fast and powerful
+
Stylish RGB
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
 So expensive
-
Will be hard to fit in some cases

If you're after the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, you're going to want one with a cooler that's more than powerful enough to handle the full brunt of the power on offer. The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has not only the cooling power to handle this GPU at its stock settings but enough oomph to overclock it to make it even more powerful. For a GPU that already laughs in the face of all PC games at 4K, this extra power is just icing on the cake. 

Thanks to its stronger performance and more potential for overclocking, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio knocks the Founders Edition off its pedestal. That’s without mentioning its sick RGB lighting strip along the side. This is still an RTX 3090, however, so be prepared to pay a steep price for all that.

Read the full review: MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio

MSI RTX 3050 next to its retail package on a white background.

(Image credit: MSI)
The best budget GPU

Specifications

Stream Processors: 2,560
Core Clock: 1.78 GHz
Memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory Speed: 12Gbps
Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin
Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Excellent 1080p performance
+
Ray tracing and DLSS

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a 'budget' card
-
Need higher power

The best graphics cards that have come out over the last couple years have had one thing in common: they're really expensive. This has a lot to do with the graphics card shortage we've all been dealing with, but it's also because Nvidia and AMD had been ignoring the budget graphics card world for too long. 

Luckily, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is finally here. While it's way more expensive than 50-series graphics cards from Nvidia have been in the past, this GPU is much more affordable than pretty much anything else in the current generation. 

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is more than capable of playing pretty much any game you throw at it at high settings, just as long as you keep the resolution at 1080p. And, esports gamers will love this card, as it is affordable(ish) and can run games like Overwatch and League of Legends without breaking a sweat. 

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

How to shop for the best graphics card

How to choose the best graphics card for you

The truth is that right now buying a graphics card is harder than ever. You'll rarely find one available on a store shelf, and when you do it'll be gone within seconds. So, really, the GPU you should buy in 2022 is whatever you can get your hands on (and you can afford). 

You should probably avoid spending more than twice the retail price for a graphics card – a $1,000 RTX 3060 isn't worth it for instance – but if you need a graphics card right now, just be ready to get whatever comes in stock. 

If you already have a pretty good graphics card, though, like if it's from the last 5 or so years, you might want to wait until the current global supply situation starts to normalize. Yeah, you might have to wait longer to get ray tracing, but if you can still play games, you're probably fine waiting.

When the best graphics cards are readily available again, you can be more discerning about your choice. Since you would have more options across different price ranges, you must decide how much you're willing to spend. 

Of course, you also need to consider your graphical demands as well. You shouldn't settle for what you can afford right now if it's not powerful enough to handle your daily needs. You're better putting it off for a bit and saving up until you can afford the GPU that's the right fit.

As for which one that is, you need to take a look at the vital specs: GPU memory, GPU size, Thermal Design Power or TDP, and ports and power connectors are all important. As are the number of teraflops (or GFLOPS) it has since that indicates the theoretical performance of that graphics card. 

If you want the best ray tracing experience, Nvidia is still the king of the castle. However, we're sure that AMD will be upping its ray tracing game in order to compete. If you're into VR games and experiences, you should also make sure that it supports VR as well.

Which graphics card is best for gaming?

Generally speaking, the best graphics card for gaming is going to depend on several factors. Things like what kind of games you like to play, what resolution you play at and whether or not you care about fancy features like ray tracing and DLSS are incredibly important. 

For example, if you just want to play all the latest games at 1080p with high settings, you can get by with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or an AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT. But if you want to play everything totally maxed out with ray tracing at 4K, you're probably going to want to go for something like the RTX 3080 Ti instead. 

What is the best brand for graphics cards?

The age-old question of whether Nvidia or AMD is the best brand for graphics cards will likely never go away. Right now, both GPU manufacturers are basically on equal ground, and what will ultimately be right for you probably won't be right for someone else. 

Generally, if you like ray tracing, Nvidia will probably have the edge for you and in the past AMD was better for people on a budget. 

Is RTX better than GTX?

Deciding what’s better - RTX versus GTX - ultimately comes down to what you’ll be using your graphics card for. If you like playing the newest game releases that feature ray-tracing technology, you’ll want to get an Nvidia RTX graphics card. These graphics cards feature RT Cores that allow for real-time ray-tracing up to 6x faster than other GPUs, creating stunning in-game visuals with movie-like lighting.

Nvidia GTX graphics cards, on the other hand, can massively improve game performance. These graphics cards feature Turing architecture that take up less power and give you higher frame rates per second. GTX cards are great for competitive gaming as well as immersive experiences, and also adapt well to retro games with fantastically rendered pixel art.

If you’re looking for a more visually impressive gaming experience, the Nvidia RTX line of graphics cards is going to be the choice for you. If visuals are less important than game performance, you’re going to want an Nvidia GTX graphics card instead.

Today's best graphics card deals

John Loeffler
John Loeffler

John (He/Him) is the US Computing Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


Currently playing: EVE Online, Elden Ring.

With contributions from