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Best GPU for 4K gaming at 60 FPS – graphics cards for 60Hz (2024)

There are now plenty of options from Nvidia and AMD for those wanting 4K 60FPS and more
Last Updated on April 1, 2024
RTX 4090

Gaming at 4K resolution has increasingly become the pinnacle of visual fidelity, but every year, the barrier to entry seems to get a little bit lower. Whether you opt for Nvidia or AMD, there are now a number of budget-friendly graphics cards with enough horsepower and VRAM to play at 4K without having to sacrifice frames per second (FPS) or visual fidelity. While gaming at 40K 60FPS is still incredibly popular, more gaming monitors are now supporting 4K with 120Hz refresh rates, with some now offering 144Hz at 4K resolution. Here, we’ll go through the very best of what’s available.

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best GPU for 4K gaming

Selecting the best GPU for 4K gaming is not just about benchmark numbers; it’s a synthesis of real-world performance, thermal efficiency, and value for money. We begin by examining a multitude of gaming benchmarks across diverse titles, including our own in-house testing where appropriate. In our testing, we put each card through a number of AAA titles, including the graphically demanding Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. From these, combined with a number of synthetic benchmarks, we can gauge how each of these best graphics cards handles the intense load of 4K resolution at varying refresh rates.

In addition to raw performance, our selection process takes into account user reviews and feedback, ensuring that the GPUs on our list are not just technically proficient but also reliable in the hands of everyday gamers. Factors such as driver stability, software support, and long-term reliability come into play. Remember, as is the case for the most powerful graphics card for 4K gaming, you’ll need an optimal monitor to experience it. We’ll turn your attention to our guide to the best monitors for gaming and working so you get the most out of your GPU. You can also follow our guide to find the best CPU for gaming, so you avoid any bottlenecks.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Absolutely the best of the best when it comes to 4K
  • Surprisingly efficient power consumption for a top-end card
  • Our ASUS test unit looks stunning and makes a statement
  • Far from just a gaming card - it's perfect for video-editing and more
CONS
  • Takes a hefty bite out of your wallet - and the 4080 Super could be a better option
  • Will be too big for some smaller builds
  • Overkill for those wanting 4K 60 FPS - especially if you're using DLSS 3.0

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 is nothing short of a monster, representing the pinnacle of the “Ada Lovelace” architecture. We loved the card in our RTX 4090 review as it made light work of both our AAA game benchmarks and the more demanding synthetic benchmarks such as Fire Strike Ultra, which stress-test the card at 4K. Under the hood, there’s a commendable 24 GB GDDR6X memory paired with a whopping 16,384 cores that are, in turn, home to 76,300 million transistors. In layman’s terms, this card is an absolute monster. When you add to the fact that our testing is done in native 4K, without DLSS 3.0 enabled, you begin to see just how much power the 4090 has.

Beyond its gaming supremacy, the RTX 4090 demonstrates versatility. For creators, professionals, and multitaskers, this GPU shines, delivering impeccable performance in demanding tasks like 3D rendering, video editing, and more. So, if you’re a content creator by day and a gamer by night, the RTX 4090 has got your back. The downside? All of that performance comes at a price – and with the 50 Series rumoured for later this year, it’s not long before the 4090 won’t be the top dog.

2
PROS
  • Excellent 4K performance at 60Hz despite being an older card
  • Competitive price point with prices still falling
  • Solid RDNA 2 architecture
CONS
  • Outpaced by newer GPUs at higher refresh rates, so only consider if looking for a 60Hz card
  • Limited ray-tracing capabilities - again, opt for an Nvidia 4070 Ti Super if you're wanting this
  • Power requirements on the steeper side
  • Last-gen technology, which for those wanting to upgrade may not be the most sensible move

The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, from the get-go, was designed to be a champ at 4K gaming. This card houses the last gen RDNA 2 architecture, and right off the bat, its specs read like a gamer’s dream: a substantial memory buffer of 16 GB GDDR6, and clock speeds that rev up to 2250 MHz on the boost. It’s got high-end graphics, no doubt about it. We would always recommend newer technology but in this instance, the 6800 XT is probably a better option for 4K 60FS than the RX 7700 XT. The RX 6800 XT doesn’t break a sweat pushing pixels at this resolution and refresh rate, making it a prime choice for those who’ve invested in a 60Hz 4K monitor.

Games look crisp, and clear, and run smoothly, making them a beautiful marriage of performance and visual fidelity. For users who prioritize solid gameplay without screen tearing or hiccups at 4K and don’t necessarily need to push beyond 60 FPS, this card is a match made in heaven.

3
PROS
  • Unmatched ray tracing capabilities for the price and a better card than the RTX 4080
  • DLSS 3.0 support boosts performance and is highly recommended
  • Stellar 4K performance at 60Hz and higher refresh rates
CONS
  • Pricier than AMD's 7900 XT but is the better card
  • Overkill for those wanting 1440p
  • Some inconsistent performance on AAA games we tested at native 4K

Replacing the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 and arguably the best all-around card on this list, the RTX 4080 Super is a fantastic performer at 4K. In our review of the 4080 Super, we awarded the card a commendable 4/5. Across all of our AAA benchmarks and synthetic tests, the 4080 Super performed brilliantly well.  In Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the two games achieved 139fps and 119fps in 1440p and leading figures of 95fps apiece in 4K, respectively. On the more demanding Cyberpunk 2077, the 4080 Super was able to average 125fps in 1440p and 51fps in 4K natively – not a major concern, and very playable – especially if you opt for DLSS 3.0.

Under the hood, there’s a whopping 16 GB GDDR6X video memory, though 4GB less than its AMD counterpart, the RX 7900XT, but remember, this is GDDR6X we’re talking about. Just like the original RTX 4080, there’s a 256-bit memory bus. However, CUDA cores are bumped to 10,240 from the first iteration’s 9,728 (a 5% upgrade). There are also now 320 texture mapping units (TMUs), up from the first run’s 304. In real-world terms, you’re looking at around a 2-5% performance gain on the RTX 4080.

For those of you itching for top-tier 4K gaming at 60Hz or higher refresh rates, this GPU won’t let you down. The RTX 4080 guarantees buttery-smooth gameplay with all the graphic settings cranked to eleven. The ray tracing accelerators, combined with the DLSS, ensure that you get not only ultra-high-definition gaming but also brilliantly realistic graphics.

4
PROS
  • Killer performance for the price and perfect for those wanting an uncompromising 4K experience
  • Sturdy cooling mechanism helps the card maintain stable temps
  • Major leap from the previous generation and a worthy challenger to the equivalent Nvidia card
CONS
  • For those wanting ray tracing performance, opt for an Nvidia 4000 card
  • Thirsty for power, so ensure you have an adequate power supply (PSU)
  • Somewhat plain looks, so not ideal for builds wanting to make a statement

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is the culmination of AMD’s efforts in the graphics card realm for late 2022. With a 4.5 out of five rating from us in our AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX review, this card sits firmly at the top for Team Red fans wanting the very best 4K gaming experience. Built on the revolutionary “chiplet” design, which breaks from the traditional monolithic approach, this GPU offers some fascinating advancements and graphics settings that set it apart from the rest.

This method of using multiple smaller chips packaged together not only scales well but also provides cost-saving benefits. Packing a punch with a base clock of 2300 MHz and boosting up to 2500 MHz, it’s armed with 24 GB of GDDR6X memory, making it a formidable player in the graphics market. But beyond the raw numbers, what does the RX 7900 XTX mean for gamers? In short, a lot. In our testing, with all settings maxed at native 4K, the card achieved well over 100 FPS across nearly all titles, with Cyberpunk 2077 and Fortnite being the outliers. The full benchmarking data is available in the XTX review. In Synthetic benchmarks such as Fire Strike Ultra, the card didn’t quite match up to Nvidia’s RTX 4090, but given the difference in price, you can’t really complain.

 

Features and Considerations

Gaming at 4K resolution is a taxing endeavor for any graphics card. To deliver consistent and smooth frame rates, a GPU must possess not only a large amount of video memory but also sufficient bandwidth and processing cores. Moreover, as we target different refresh rates, the requirements shift.

Furthermore, the advent of ray tracing and AI-enhanced graphics has introduced another layer of consideration for PC gamers. While these features significantly improve graphical fidelity, they also put additional stress on the GPU and gaming PC on the whole. Hence, gamers who want the absolute best visuals, complete with ray-traced shadows and reflections, should ensure their chosen GPU can handle such tasks at 4K without compromising on performance.

 

Is 4K 120fps gaming possible?

Yes, 4K gaming at 120fps is possible, especially with the high-end GPUs discussed in this article. GPUs like the Nvidia RTX 4090 and the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX have the horsepower to deliver these frame rates in many titles, provided you have the appropriate supporting hardware and display. However, performance can vary based on the game and its optimization.

Our Verdict

The world of 4K gaming is a spectacle to behold, with graphics so crisp and realistic that it’s easy to get lost in the sheer beauty of it all. As technology continues its relentless march forward, GPUs have evolved rapidly, offering enthusiasts an unprecedented gaming experience. Whether you’re looking for sheer performance, the best bang for your buck, or a GPU tailored for specific refresh rates, there’s an option out there for you. Our top pick would of course be the RTX 4090, which is the undisputed ruler of GPUs right now. However, the RTX 4080 Super is also a serious contender. In the Team Red corner, the 7900 XTX woud be our pick, however, if you’re on a budget the older, and still powerful RX 6700 XT will still more than the job. So, whether you’re a casual gamer looking to dip your toes into the 4K realm or a hardcore enthusiast chasing those high frame rates, the perfect GPU awaits. For those after a few more suggestions, make sure to check out our best gpu guide.