large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best Graphics Card 2022: Top-rated GPUs for every build and budget

Introduction

Upgrading your PC with a graphics card can make a huge difference, whether you want a performance boost for gaming or content creation. But where to start? We’ve rounded up the very best graphics card options in 2022 in order to help out.

Every graphics card that features on this list has been tested by one of our experts. We evaluate gaming performance by using both synthetic benchmarks while also using it with a series of modern games. We also test each card’s credentials for content creation by using benchmarks such as Blender.

We also make sure to test any major features, with ray tracing, DLSS and FSR performance all great recent examples.

Before we move onto the list, however, it’s important to note that Nvidia recently unveiled its next-generation Nvidia RTX 4000 Series, using cutting-edge architecture called Lovelace. We’ve already reviewed the new RTX 4090, but we’re hoping to test the upcoming RTX 4080 in the coming weeks too. The AMD RNDA 3 cards are also expected to arrive shortly, so it may be worth holding off on a graphics card purchase until then.

Either way, make sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we will be adding new entries whenever we review another impressive graphics card, if nothing is taking your fancy right now.

Best graphics cards at a glance

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 overclockability.

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 4090

Most powerful graphics card
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Most powerful graphics card yet
  • Incredible 4K gaming performance
  • DLSS 3 offers substantial boost
  • Superb option for content creators

Cons

  • Absurdly high price
  • Overkill for most games, even in 4K
  • Very high power consumption

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is the very first graphics card to launch from the new RTX 4000 Series, and it’s also the most powerful GPU we’ve ever tested.

In the vast majority of games we tested, it was capable of hitting over 100fps at a 4K resolution. It’s even more impressive for eSports games such as Overwatch 2, as it nearly reached a 500fps performance. You can’t get these kinds of speeds anywhere else.

We also found that the new DLSS 3 software helps to boost frame rates even further for compatible games, allowing for a smoother performance in Cyberpunk 2077 when set to a 4K resolution with ray tracing activated. And while the RTX 4090 is arguably overkill for most gamers, it’s a fantastic option for content creators that need to render 3D models at a lightning pace.

The RTX 4090 won’t be for everyone since it costs an absolute fortune and also has a high power consumption to boot. But if you’re craving the fastest performance possible from a graphics card, then this is your very best option.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best value graphics card for 4K gaming
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

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 is the best value graphics card for 4K gaming. While the new RTX 4090 GPU is significantly faster, it’s also overkill for most gamers and ridiculously expensive. The RTX 3080 is a great option for those who want to play games in Ultra HD, but don’t want to spend well over a grand.

The Nvidia RTX 3080 managed to play both Control and Battlefield V in 4K, during our latest checks, with a performance over 60fps with their graphics maxed. On top of that, the RTX 3080 Ti typically only renders games around 5-10 frames faster than the base RTX 3080 in 4K with ray tracing and DLSS on. While these gains aren’t to be ignored, we still recommend most buyers opt for the much more reasonably priced RTX 3080 since it represents superior value. 

However, our tests did show that the card can run a little hot and, based on our experience, doesn’t have much room for overclocking. Smaller builds will also want to avoid it due to the card’s high thermals, which exceeded 90 degrees regularly when playing demanding titles in our test rig’s open case. This, plus its large dual-fan design, make it an awkward fit for smaller builds.

You should also bear in mind that the RTX 3080 has now been replaced with the RTX 4080. We know that the RTX 4080 comes in two variations, costing £899 and $1199, respectively. While we haven’t tested these cards yet, we know they’re built on the new Lovelace architecture and boast more CUDA Cores than their predecessor. As a result, we recommend waiting for our RTX 4080 review before taking the plunge.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3080 review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Best graphics card for 1440p gaming
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

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 not that bothered about 4K or have a 1440p monitor instead, then the Nvidia RTX 3070 is the best graphics card we’d recommend to gamers. The card shares the same Ampere architecture and high-end features as its more expensive sibling, but isn’t quite as powerful. 

During testing, we could not reliably get demanding games (like CyberPunk 2077) running in 4K with ray tracing on and the graphics settings maxed. But with ray tracing off, the card generally performed excellently and proved fantastic value for money. Elden Ring ran smoothly in 1080p, 1440p and 4K with zero issue, as did Cyberpunk 2077 and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland.

However, we found the RTX 3070 generally played games around 15-20 fps slower than the RTX 3080. This meant games, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Control, failed to consistently hit 60fps when ray tracing was activated, averaging between 40-50fps during our tests. These frame rates are still comfortably playable, but they don’t offer the smooth experience you get on the more expensive RTX 3080. 

The compromise is forgivable as the 3070 also manages to outperform its AMD rival’s performance. Putting the RTX 3070 head to head with the slightly cheaper AMD RX 6700XT, the Nvidia card was constantly 10fps ahead in our in-game benchmark tests. This adds up to make it our recommended card for a 1440p resolution, and anyone who doesn’t care about ray tracing in 4K.

But before you hit checkout, it may be worth waiting for the next-gen Nvidia RTX 4070, with reports indicating it could offer an even more efficient performance.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson 
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3070 review

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

Best graphics card for 1080p gaming
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

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 still use an 1080p gaming monitor, then both the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 are overkill options based on our experience. Instead, we recommend opting for the cheaper RTX 3060 Ti. This isn’t the cheapest Nvidia card we’ve tested, with the RTX 3050 costing considerably less. But the RTX 3060 Ti is the cheapest we’ve benchmarked to offer reliable post-60fps performance with ray tracing on in 1080p.

The card shares the same perks and architecture as the RTX 3070, with the main changes being reductions to its clock speeds and general specifications. Specifically, it has less tensor cores and RT cores (the parts of the card that run ray tracing and DLSS). 

But we didn’t notice any serious issues running games in 1080p. The graphics card ran every game in our tests, even with ray tracing activated and their graphics settings maxed out. Control zoomed along at 84fps and Borderlands 3 never dipped below 60fps. As a result, we’d say this is the card to get if you care about ray tracing and other cutting-edge features, but are still gaming at a 1080p resolution.

The only downside is that the Founders Edition model we tested is still fairly large, making it a poor fit for ITX builds. If that’s what you’re after, you’re better off checking a single-fan card, like the Nvidia RTX 3050, despite occasionally struggling to hit 60fps, even in 1080p, during our checks.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti review

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

Best budget graphics card
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Strong 1080p performance
  • Low power consumption
  • Wealth of features for Ryzen builds

Cons

  • Struggles with ray tracing without FSR activated
  • Not as powerful as Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

The AMD RX 6600 XT is our current top recommended card for those on a strict budget. It’s the cheapest option in AMD’s current generation lineup and is built on the same RDNA 2 architecture as its more expensive siblings.

During our tests, we found the card can’t match the performance of Nvidia’s more expensive RTX 3060 Ti, especially when it comes to ray tracing. But for the price, it’s still a very capable card for 1080p gaming.

Modern games, including Doom Eternal, Destiny 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 all ran over 60fps in our 1080p benchmarks, while FSR compatible titles (like Godfall) can see the performance boosted even further due to some upscaling smarts. 

If you don’t care about sky-high frame rates or ray tracing when playing games in 1080p, the budget-friendly price makes the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT a solid choice. However, AMD RDNA 3 graphics cards are right around the corner, so it may be worth waiting for their launch before settling for one of AMD’s existing options.

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-Series and 30-Series GPUs support the technology.

What is Ampere?

Ampere is Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture.

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

161

Graphics Cards

See all reviews

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 millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

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.

author icon

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.