What’s the best graphics card?
The fight for the best graphics card crown just got even more intense, as AMD and Nvidia both launched a number of powerful GPUs.
best overall graphics card
The GeForce GTX 1080 offers the absolute best performance compared to rivals. So if only the best graphics will do, this is the card you want.
It’s one of the most difficult times to by a GPU, as not only do you have to consider raw performance and what resolution you plan on playing at, but you also need to determine whether you fancy exciting new features such as ray tracing and DLSS.
If you’re keen to get access to these features and money is no object then the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the best graphics card you can buy right now. This card can play most triple-A games in 4K at 60fps and supports real-time ray tracing.
If you’re after a bargain and only care about Full HD gaming then the newly launched GTX 1660 Ti is the best value graphics card we’ve tested at just £260. The downside here is the card lacks RT Cores and Tensors Cores, which means its ray tracing performance is pretty poor.
Also bear in mind the Nvidia Super cards could well upset the ranking shortly. We’re yet to test the cards, but expect to publish our reviews in the coming weeks.
How we test graphics cards
best value graphics card
The GTX 1050 is our choice for best value for anyone looking to game on a budget. Keeping your expectations in check image quality-wise, you can expect very respectable frame rates in many top games. The small form factor and low power consumption are the cherry on top.
Each new card is plugged into Trusted Reviews’ test rig, which uses a set of uniform components that is representative of most PC gamers at the time. Next, we use a series of synthetic and gaming benchmarks to discover the frame rate at which the card will play modern triple-A games at varying resolutions.
We then checkout the potential for overclocking and a card’s power efficiency using the FireStrike benchmark and an external consumption monitor. Throughout benchmarking we retest all previous-generation and competing cards to ensure that frame rates are accurate, and that cards have been tested using the latest drivers available.
1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Best for performance and ray tracing
- Capable of 60fps in 4K with most games
- Future-proofed with exciting features such as ray tracing and DLSS
- Keeps cool and quiet all of the time
- Incredibly expensive
- Limited games support ray tracing and DLSS
The RTX 2080 Ti is the most powerful graphics card that consumers can buy with amped up specs and potentially revolutionary features.
While the GTX 1080 Ti struggles to achieve 60fps in 4K for some of the most technically demanding games, the RTX 2080 Ti hits that golden standard for almost every title you throw its way.
Even more lust-worthy, the RTX 2080 Ti features exciting tech including real-time ray tracing and DLSS. The former helps to simulate more realistic light in video game environments, while the latter uses artificial intelligence to make image rendering slicker and more efficient. Sadly, only a few games currently support these features, including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Battlefield 5 and Metro Exodus, although more are incoming including Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion.
The only significant negative thing about the RTX 2080 Ti? It costs a whopping lot. At £1099, it’s almost double the price of the ultra-powerful GTX 1080 Ti. But if you’re desperate for the best 4K performance possible, as well as ray tracing, then the RTX 2080 Ti is still a worthwhile investment.
- Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti review
2. PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Best value for Full HD gaming
- Fantastic value Full HD performance
- Intelligent shading improves efficiency for modern games
- Small enough for mini-ITX cases
- Limited overclocking potential
The GTX 1660 Ti represents fantastic value for money for 1080p gamers. It beats the GTX 1060 for frame rates considerably, and pushes both the GTX 1070 and RTX 2060 hard too. At £260, it’s also cheap.
Aimed squarely at buyers who want a new GPU, but can’t afford, or won’t appreciate the full strength of the ray tracing and DLSS features of Nvidia’s flagship 20 Series cards, the GTX 1660 Ti is only available from a number of third party manufacturers – no Founders Edition version of this card is in the works.
The GTX 1660 Ti version we’ve tested is a XLR8 OC from PNY. Despite its name, there’s not much potential for overclocking here; we were able to get a 130MHz overclock during testing, but not much more than that.
That said, you’ll be able to get a 120fps Full HD performance on the likes of Fortnite, PUBG and Apex Legends, with minimal fuss. For battle royale shooters, you couldn’t ask for a smoother experience.
And even if you’re not fussed about big online brawlers, the GTX 1660 Ti is still the best value 1080p graphics card you can currently buy.
- Read our full PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti review
3. AMD Radeon RX 5700
Best value for Quad HD gaming
- Best value card for Quad HD gaming
- Radeon features feel polished
- Sleek and simple design
- Lacks ray tracing
- May struggle to hit 60fps in Quad HD for future AAA games
The AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics card is one of the very first GPUs to feature the new Navi architecture, as AMD finally steps up its fight with Nvidia in the mid-range market.
Our benchmark result findings show the RX 5700 provides the absolute best value performance when playing games in Quad HD, with seemingly any game playable with respectable frame rates at this resolution.
The biggest issue with this card is the absence of ray tracing, but since the technology is in its infancy with a limited number of supported games you won’t be missing out massively.
- Read our full AMD Radeon RX 5700 Review
4. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Best value for ray tracing
- Solid 1080p and 1440p performance
- Future-proof with Turing
- Decent value when compared to the 1070
- Ray tracing and DLSS still not widely supported
The RTX 2060 is the cheapest 20-Series card available which gives you all the benefits of Turing’s architecture. This means it’s the only semi-affordable way to take advantage of the full compliment of Ray Tracing and DLSS technologies.
This is a big deal as, from what we’ve seen testing Ray Tracing on Battlefield 5 and Metro Exodus, the tech is pretty awesome. Ray Tracing improves how games render lighting effects, shadows and reflections, making them look super realistic. It’s also being touted by Nvidia as the future of gaming, which given the number of titles confirmed to support it this year the claim could well be accurate.
Ray Tracing aside, the RTX 2060 offers impressive grunt performance that easily matches the older GTX 1070. This means most triple-A titles will run at 60fps or above with their graphics settings maxed at 1080p. This makes this GPU the best value RTX graphics card currently available.
- Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review
5. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660
Great Full HD performance at a low, low price
- Superb value for Full HD gaming
- Adaptive shading gives modern games a performance boost
- Incredible optimisation for battle royale game
- The slightly more expensive GTX 1660 Ti offers better value
The Gigabyte GTX 1660 is one of the cheapest mid-range Nvidia-powered graphics cards on the market, offering a superb Full HD performance for just £2o0. Thanks to the new Turing TU116 architecture and new efficient shading methods, the GTX 1660 card offers a big bump on performance compared to its similarly priced Pascal siblings.
Our tests prove the GTX 1660 is capable of running modern AAA games, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, at high frame rates, while even being able to achieve a respectable Quad HD performance for titles released a few years ago. Fortnite and Apex Legends fans will certainly benefit, with the GTX 1660 optimised specifically for battle royale games.
The only drawback to the GTX 1660 is that the GTX 1660 Ti offers a noticeably better performance at a slightly more expensive price. We’d recommend going for the latter, but if you’re on a super strict budget, the GTX 1660 will still serve you well.
- Read our full Gigabyte GTX 1660 review
6. AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
Superb Quad HD performance at an attractive price
- Fantastic value for Quad HD gaming
- Radeon feature are super useful
- Cool design
- No ray tracing
- Runs hotter than Nvidia equivalent cards
- Poor overclocking potential
The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is essentially just a slightly more powerful version of the standard RX 5700 card. It’s better equipped to handle the upmost demanding PC titles, with a future-proofed performance primed for the likes of Cyberpunk 2077. And being just £50 more pricey than its less powerful sibling, it’s a very tempting proposition.
There are a couple of issues with the RX 5700 XT though. It lacks ray tracing features and it can become rather hot after extended periods of times playing AAA games, which means you’ll unlikely be able to overclock with GPU.
These flaws are easy to forgive if you want a powerful Quad HD graphics card that doesn’t break the bank. You won’t get a better GPU performance for under £400.
- Read our full AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT review
7. Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 O8G Gaming
Stellar Quad HD and ray tracing performance
- Excellent value Quad HD performance
- Ray tracing and DLSS support
- Remains cool no matter how hard you push it
- Very poor overclocking potential
- Just shy of a good 4K performance
- About to be replaced by RTX 2070 Super
The Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 O8G Gaming suffers the middle sibling syndrome. This isn’t the cheapest 20-Series graphics card available, and it’s performance is dwarfed by the more expensive 4K-ready RTX 2080 Ti GPU.
What it does offer, though, is great value for its Quad HD performance. The Strix RTX 2070 can handle all but the most power-draining video games at a super-sturdy 60fps, even after activating ray tracing to revel in Battlefield V’s realistic reflections.
However, Nvidia will soon stop selling the RTX 2070, with the new RTX 2070 Super replacing it. You’ll still likely be able to find it via third-party venders, but the Super variant may well offer better value. As soon as we’ve reviewed it, we will update the ranking.
- Read our full Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 O8G Gaming review
8. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
A cheaper alternative to the RTX 2080 Ti
- Offers ray tracing and DLSS for cheaper price than RTX 2080 Ti
- Capable of running most games in 4K
- A sizeable upgrade from the last-gen GTX 1080
- Offers the same 4K performance as the cheaper GTX 1080 Ti
- Limited game support for ray tracing and DLSS
- About to be replaced by RTX 2070 Super
The middle sibling of Nvidia’s new 20 Series graphics cards, the Nvidia RTX 2080 hits the sweet spot for performance and price.
The RTX 2080 offers a significant frame rates boost compared to its Pascal predecessor, the GTX 1080, most notably for modern games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Ghost Recon Wildlands. We’re talking enough power here to play these games in 4K. It’s not quite beefy enough to hit the 60fps target for such ultra-intensive games, with only the RTX 2080 Ti boasting the power for such a task, but if you fancy saving a few hundred quid the RTX 2080 is a very good compromise.
The biggest issue with the RTX 2080 is that it’s about to be replaced by the RTX 2080 Super. We can’t say for sure whether the latter will offer superior value until we’ve tested it, but we’ve got an inkling it make the standard RTX 2080 redundant.
- Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 review
9. Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO
A great Quad HD ray tracing graphics card primed for overclocking
- Great Quad HD performance
- Future-proofed with ray tracing support
- Decent overclocking potential
- Cheaper RX 5700 offers superior performance
- Few games support ray tracing and DLSS
The Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-Evo is the first RTX 2060 Super graphics card we’ve tested and we’re happy to report it offers a real improvements compared with the Founders Edition RTX 2060.
In terms of performance, it’s actually closer to the RTX 2070, giving us a superb Quad HD performance with the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Division 2, and Dirt Rally in Quad HD.
What isn’t so nice is the price – the RRP is £453, which is significantly higher than the Radeon RX 5700. This gives you similar and in some cases better Full HD and Quad HD performance and is priced at £330. Even the more powerful Radeon RX 5700 XT is cheaper. AMD’s current graphics cards don’t current support real-time ray tracing or DLSS though, features which remains Nvidia’s trump card.
The only reason we’d recommend the Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-Evo over other cards is that it has impressive overclocking potential. If you like to play around with GPU settings you should be able squeeze out more value for money, but if you’re not a self-acclaimed tweaker, there are far better options.
- Read our full Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-Evo
Know your jargon
Third-party cards: whenever you buy a GPU, consider which manufacturer you want to opt for since the the specs will differ accordingly. Nvidia’s latest 10-series cards also include so-called ‘Founders Edition’ designs, which are the models we review. Third-party models tend to be more expensive and perform slightly better. Common brand names include EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, XFX, Zotac and many more.
With prices constantly shifting and special offers appearing daily, recommending a specific model purely on its price is difficult. As such, this guide will offer each card’s usual price range and the sort of performance you can expect.
Related: Best gaming monitors
A manufacturer’s cooler designs will also affect performance, but only by single-digit percentage points – this is especially true of cheaper cards. With more expensive GPUs card manufacturers push the boat out, throwing clever fans and software into the mix and offering up higher clock speeds, which can make a difference.
Things to look out for on each card include (in order of importance):
- Length of warranty
- Fan noise
- Visual flare
- Extra cooling fans
Ray tracing: Ray tracing is a new feature that enables video game developers to create more realistic reflections and light simulation. This means reflections in puddles and light shining through a window will look far more impressive than with traditional rendering methods. Currently, only Nvidia’s RTX cards are fully optimised for this technology.
DLSS: DLSS is a another RTX exclusive feature that uses artificial intelligence to help the GPU render frames more efficiently, resulting in a juicy frame rate boost. However, our testing has shown activating DLSS will negatively impact the display quality, with detail becoming more fuzzy and less pronounced.