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Best Nvidia graphics card 2022: Should you wait for RTX 4000?

If you’re looking at buying a graphics card for your next gaming or content creation PC, then you’ll likely be at least considering an Nvidia card, and for good reason.

As you’ll see on our holistic best graphics card guide, the company has been on something of a hot streak with its 30-series graphics cards matching or beating their AMD rivals in our in-game and synthetic benchmarking tests in most instances.

But, with there being astronomical differences in each card’s price and more options to choose from than can easily be counted, knowing which specific Nvidia card is worth your money can be tricky – especially if you’re a regular gamer who doesn’t keep tabs on the latest innovations in Tensor and RT cores.

If you just own a 1080p monitor and want a small build to play Fortnite or Destiny 2 there is no point investing in a top-end 70 or above card. But, if you play in 4K and care about having next-gen features, like ray tracing lighting, then it’s worth paying more.

To help you find the right option, we’ve created this guide detailing the best Nvidia graphics cards currently on sale that we’ve tested. The latter point is particularly important, as we’re yet to get the recently unveiled RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 into our labs for testing, which is why they’re not on this list.

If you’re interested in the best gaming experience possible in 4K we’d recommend waiting until we’ve tested the new Lovelace architecture 4000-series cards.

At a glance

  • Best 4K graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti – check price
  • Best mid-range graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti – check price
  • Best affordable graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 – check price

How we test

Find out more about how we test graphics cards

Every graphics card we review is benchmarked in one of our test rigs using a mix of synthetic tests and in-game checks. We use uniform specs in the benches to help us make direct comparisons between the cards based on the data we collect. We also assess thermals to ensure the cards don’t run too hot, and power consumption, too.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

The best card for 4K gaming
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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 will soon be superseded by the newer RTX 4080, which Nvidia claims is between 2x and 4x faster, but as we haven’t benchmarked and tested the newer GPU just yet, we can’t recommend it at the moment.

For the short-term future, the 3080 Ti is the card we can recommend for high-end 4K gaming – though honestly, we’d suggest waiting and seeing how the 4080 performs before pulling the trigger.

The 3080 Ti was, and remains, a powerhouse graphics card that delivered excellent speeds in all of our tests. Demanding titles, including Cyberpunk 2077, ran with their graphics maxed and ray tracing on in 4K. Online shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield universally failed to ever drop below 100fps even in their highest settings in our bench, which included 16GB DDR4 memory and a Intel Core i9-9900KF.

The only downside is that, based on our experience, it’s an outright power hog that demands a top-of-the-line PSU. Nvidia also didn’t manage to leave much room for overclocking, with the Founders Edition version we tested generally failing or overheating with even minor clock speed boosts.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson 
Full review: Nvidia RTX 3080 review

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

The best mid-range option
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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

Nvidia’s yet to unveil its RTX 4070 or RTX 4060 cards, so for now the RTX 3060 Ti remains our best graphics card choice for wanting a mid-range GPU.

The card proved to be fantastic value for money offering post-60fps speeds on all the games we tested with graphical settings maxed out in 1080p. This included Control, which is commonly used as the baseline for ray tracing performance. With ray tracing off it also delivered in 1440p with key titles including Borderlands 3 and Horizon playing at over 60fps.

As a final boon, it’s also got a much lower power consumption than the RTX 3080 Ti which will let it run on lower capacity PSUs. 

It’s still retailing for around £400/$400 at the moment, which marks it as a mid-range card. Its closest rival, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT, is slightly cheaper at the moment making it a valid alternative if you’re not wed to an Nvidia card. But AMD didn’t offer quite as fast performance in our checks.

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

Nvidia RTX 2060

The best affordable option
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Pros

  • Solid 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Future-proof with Turing
  • Decent value when compared to the 1070

Cons

  • Ray tracing and DLSS still not widely supported

If you’re on a budget then you may want to look at the Nvidia RTX 2060. Though it’s now two generations behind Nvidia’s latest Lovelace architecture, the Turing card is still a reliable workhorse.

During our benchmarks, the RTX 2060 could play less demanding titles, like Battlefield 5, with ray tracing on at playable frame rates in 1080p. However, it did struggle to break 40fps on demanding single player titles like Cyberpunk.

But, if you turn ray tracing off, its performance is solid for most titles in 1080p. It’ll run Fortnite, Destiny 2, the Division 2 and most other online games with zero issue over 60fps. This is a key reason we recommend it as a fantastic option for buyers on a very strict budget despite its age.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Nvidia RTX 2060 review

We also considered…

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FAQs

Are Nvidia the only graphics card maker?

No, despite being one of the largest desktop GPU makers the company has direct competition in every category and price point via AMD, and its Radeon line of cards. Intel is also set to target the graphics card market in the near future with its desktop Xe range.

Are Nvidia cards the best?

Nvidia cards constantly test well when we review them and are a regular feature in our best GPU guide offering solid gaming performance. We’re yet to review its latest 4000-series cards, however.

How much should you spend on a GPU?

This depends on what you want to do. If you just want to play Fortnite or do basic editing in PhotoShop you can spend as little as £250/$250 on an entry level card that’ll do the job. For more demanding tasks like 4K gaming you’ll want to spend more on a mid-range or top end card. These tend to cost anywhere between £500/$500 to over £2000/$2000.

Trusted Reviews test data

You can see a detailed breakdown of the test data we collected reviewing the cards in this list in the table below.

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)

Comparison specs

You can see all the cards’ specs in the table below.

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

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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.

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