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Best Graphics Card: Top 5 AMD and Nvidia GPUs for every build and budget

Introduction

Looking to build a new gaming rig or desktop PC for creative work? Then a graphics card will definitely be top of your Amazon wishlist at the moment.

But, with supply chain issues causing global shortages and Nvidia and AMD releasing new cards and software updates at a near frenzied pace, knowing which to get for your specific needs can be tough.

Here to help our team of experts at Trusted Labs have created this guide detailing the best graphics cards we’ve tested that are still on sale. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for just yet, make sure to keep this page bookmarked for future updates.

Editor’s note: We’ll be re-benchmarking all of AMD’s RDNA 2 cards to see how the FSR update compares to DLSS.

How we test

Learn more about how we test graphics cards

Every graphics card we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including performance, features, thermals, power consumption and overclokability.

These include formal synthetic benchmarks with third-party software, plus a series of in-games tests from some of the most recent AAA PC titles, with optimised picks for both AMD and Nvidia.

We also make sure to use the GPU for everyday tasks and gaming to make sure there are no real-time performance issues.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best GPU for 4K ray tracing
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Pros

  • Excellent 4K performance
  • Ray tracing is awesome
  • Far cheaper than RTX 2080 Ti
  • HDMI 2.1 support

Cons

  • Very power hungry
  • Not massively overclockable

The Nvidia RTX 3080 was the first Ampere GPU tested by the team of experts at Trusted Reviews, and to this day it remains the card we recommend to gamers looking for top notch 4K performance.

The card to this day features cutting edge specs with highlights including an improved, more efficient 8nm manufacturing process, new RT Cores, third-gen Tensor cores and Micron G6X video memory (VRAM). 

During our tests the card proved capable of running even the most demanding of games, including Cyberpunk 2077, at playable frame rates with their graphics settings maxed and ray tracing on.

It admittedly doesn’t match the performance of the Nvdia RTX 3080 Ti, but we still think it offers superior value considering the cheaper price.


Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3080

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

The best card for 1440p gaming
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Pros

  • Excellent 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Smaller design than RTX 3080
  • Amazing value

Cons

  • No real room for overclocking
  • Uses older VRAM

If you’re yet to make the jump to 4K, then the Nvidia RTX 3070 is the best card we’ve tested and the one we currently recommend to most buyers. The card features the same core architecture as the RTX 3080 and during testing offered excellent HD and 1440p performance, even with ray tracing on. 

Featuring a dual-fan design, it’s also a lot smaller than the RTX 3080, making it a better choice for small builds. There are even cheaper options now available in Nvidia’s Ampere generation, but we reckon this card hits the performance and pricing sweet spot better than any other GPU on the market.

If you can’t get your hands on a RTX 3070, we’d also recommend checking out the slightly more expensive RTX 3070 Ti or AMD’s RX 6800

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson 
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3070

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

The best card for 1080p gaming
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Pros

  • Solid 1080p Ray Tracing performance
  • Lowest power consumption of all Ampere cards
  • Cheapest current gen’ card on the market

Cons

  • Still not massively overclockable
  • Only 20% cheaper than an RTX 3070

If you’re still playing games on a 1080p monitor, but want cutting edge performance and futureproof specs, then the RTX 3060 Ti is the card for you.

The card is the best GPU on the market for 1080p gaming we’ve tested. Benchmarking the card we found it regularly manages to match the performance of the 2080 Super, which cost a lot more when it launched many moons ago. 

This means it blitzes through 1080p and 1440p gaming with ray tracing turned off, while offering a solid FHD performance with it turned on when supported by DLSS. This coupled with the 3060 Ti’s lower TGP (power consumption) makes it the best card for buyers looking to enjoy entry level 1080p ray tracing.

The only downside is that, like all RTX cards, there’s not an awful lot of room for overclocking. It’s also only 20% cheaper than the RTX 3070, which remains Trusted Reviews’ recommended card for the majority. 

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

The best card for small builds
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Pros

  • Solid 1440p performance
  • Small twin-fan design makes it suitable for smaller builds
  • Power-efficient, with reasonable headroom for overclocking

Cons

  • Ray tracing performance limited to 1080p resolutions
  • Lack of DLSS puts it behind Nvidia rivals for ray tracing

The RX 6700 XT is the best card we’ve tested for tinkerers, or buyers looking at micro ATX or mini ITX builds.

This is because of its excellent thermals, which are helped by AMD’s clever junction temperature tech, which lets it efficiently run in builds without much space or a shortage of cooling fans. 

It’s also the most power efficient GPU we’ve tested this generation, with it having a lower TGP and peak system drawer when we benchmarked it against its rivals. This means it doesn’t require an uber expensive or high capacity PSU to run, which is an added benefit to builders on a budget looking to cut costs.

If this wasn’t enough to tempt you, it also offered solid performance running demanding AAA games in 1080p and 1440p resolutions during our tests. As a result we’d thoroughly recommend it to any buyer looking to build a small form factor gaming PC. 

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: AMD RX 6700 XT

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

The best GPU for 4K ray tracing
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Pros

  • Excellent performance in 4K
  • Ray tracing support
  • Future-proofed connectivity

Cons

  • The performance gains you get don’t fully justify how much more expensive it is over the regular RTX 3080

The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti is the most powerful graphics card to pass through Trusted Labs in quite some time. It’s a powerhouse card that has more in common with the top end RTX 3090, which we’re yet to test, than the base RTX 3080.

As a result, it’s currently THE best graphics card for gamers who want a no-compromise 4K performance. During testing, it blitzed through every benchmark and process we threw at it, proving capable of playing demanding AAA games, including Cyberpunk 2077, at post 60FPS framerates with Ray Tracing and DLSS on. 

The main downside is that, like all Ti cards, the 3080 Ti is an absolute power hog and requires a very hefty PSU to run. It’s also got next to no room for overclocking, which will put off some buyers.

This plus its hefty upfront cost mean that, while we’d whole heartedly recommend it to hardcore gamers looking to enjoy Ray Tracing in 4K, we’d suggest that most people invest in the cheaper RTX 3080, which is much better value for money.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti

FAQs

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is an advanced rendering technology that can create realistic lighting and shadow effects. Only modern GPUs and select games support this technology.

What is DLSS?

DLSS is Nvidia’s temporal image upscaling technology which boosts the frame rate performance of supported games without compromising on the image quality. Only Nvidia’s RTX 20-Seires and 30-Series GPUs support the technology.

What is Ampere?

Ampere is Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture.

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

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Graphics Cards

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Comparison Specifications

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
ASIN
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Ports
Power Consumption
Video Memory
Boosted Clock Speed
CUDAcores
Architecture
Ray Tracing?

Trusted Reviews test data

Power consumption
Peak temperature
3DMark Time Spy Extreme
3DMark Port Royal
Borderlands 3 frame rate (4K)
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (4K)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

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Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

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Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.