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Best GPUs for Stable Diffusion – our top picks

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Best GPUs for Stable Diffusion - our top picks. Image shows the Stable Diffusion logo beneath an RTX 4080 GPU on a light blue gradient background.

Artificial intelligence and graphic design fanatics, this might catch your eye – we’re looking at the best GPUs for Stable Diffusion. Generative AI has certainly hit the mainstream, and text-to-image generation tools are one of the most popular platforms. Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and Dall-e are a few standouts worth mentioning as some of the current favorites, but the generative AI scene only continues to grow and become more accessible.

If you take making use of a tool such as Stable Diffusion in your work seriously, then a decent GPU is essential to your rig. It’s definitely worth considering an upgrade if your current graphics card doesn’t seem up to the task. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best GPUs for use with Stable Diffusion. To achieve fast, efficient, and easy image creation with this generative AI-based platform, you’ll want to keep reading.

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best GPUs for Stable Diffusion

Your GPU is responsible for rendering images, videos, and animations quickly and efficiently, so these features were at the heart of our research into the best graphics cards for Stable Diffusion. Overall, we examined these GPUs based on their computational abilities, taking into account the number of CUDA cores or Steam Processors, as well as the amount of VRAM. Of course, the higher the number of CUDA cores and VRAM, the more efficient your GPU performance.

Alongside this, we analyze a handful of benchmarks and user experiences, to gauge the real-world performance and reliability of these graphics cards specifically in the context of Stable Diffusion usage. By taking all these factors into account, as well as the price-to-performance ratio of each card, we’ve curated a list of the best GPUs for Stable Diffusion that will enhance your creative process and help you achieve outstanding results.

Across PC Guide, we’ve got a wealth of graphics card buying guides to cater to the needs of various professionals and price ranges. For example, you can also find the best GPU for Photoshop and of course, the best GPU for graphic design. For the more budget-conscious buyer, we’ve also considered the best graphics card under $400.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

  • Excellent AI and ray tracing performance
  • Efficient cooling and durable build
  • Good price-to-performance ratio
  • Slightly lower performance than the RTX 4090
  • Still a significant investment
  • May be overkill for non-professional users

The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4080 OC stands as a prime choice for professionals who need high-end AI processing capabilities but are also mindful of budget. Equipped with NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace architecture and 16 GB of GDDR6X memory, this GPU clocks in at 2.63 GHz, offering a balance of power and efficiency. It features 4th Generation Tensor Cores and 3rd Generation RT Cores, doubling AI and ray tracing performance. The Axial-tech fans, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, and Military-grade Capacitors ensure durability and efficient cooling, which is vital for sustained AI workloads.

In the realm of AI-driven tasks like Stable Diffusion, the RTX 4080 provides approximately 65% of the performance of the top-tier RTX 4090, processing around 50 images per minute at 512×512 resolution and 17 at 768×768. This makes it a highly viable option for professionals who require robust AI performance but have budgetary constraints. The GPU’s advanced cooling and durable build further make it a reliable choice for long-term use.

  • Unmatched performance in AI tasks
  • Massive 24 GB GDDR6X memory
  • Superior cooling and build quality
  • Significantly more expensive than other models
  • May be over-spec for less demanding tasks
  • Large size requires a spacious case

The Zotac NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO represents the pinnacle of GPU technology for AI-driven tasks. With a colossal 24 GB of GDDR6X memory and a 2580 MHz clock speed, it’s designed for those who demand the absolute best performance. The GPU’s extensive memory and high speed make it exceptionally well-suited for the most demanding AI tasks, including Stable Diffusion, where it outperforms all others.

In comparison to other GPUs, the RTX 4090 leads the pack, especially in AI-driven image generation, where speed and efficiency are paramount. Its performance in Stable Diffusion and similar tools is unmatched, delivering the fastest image processing times. For professionals where time is critical, and the budget is less of a concern, the RTX 4090 is the ultimate choice.

  • Good balance of performance and price
  • Efficient cooling and build quality
  • Suitable for various AI and gaming tasks
  • May not suffice for extremely demanding AI tasks
  • Limited to 12 GB of VRAM

The ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 is a mid-range GPU that offers a harmonious blend of performance and affordability. It’s powered by NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace architecture and equipped with 12 GB of RAM, making it suitable for a variety of AI-driven tasks including Stable Diffusion. The 4th Generation Tensor Cores and 3rd Generation RT Cores provide up to 4x performance with DLSS 3 and 2x ray tracing performance, respectively. This GPU is designed for durability with its dual ball fan bearings and military-grade capacitors.

For freelancers, designers, or those who use AI tools like Stable Diffusion regularly but do not require the highest performance, the RTX 4070 is an ideal choice. It delivers about 43% of the performance of the RTX 4090, ensuring that users get substantial power for most AI applications without a steep price tag. The GPU’s cooling system and build quality make it a reliable choice for continuous use.

  • High VRAM capacity is ideal for various tasks
  • Strong performance
  • More affordable than high-end NVIDIA GPUs
  • Lower AI performance compared to NVIDIA GPUs
  • Larger physical sizes

The PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is AMD’s flagship GPU, offering a robust alternative to NVIDIA’s dominance in AI tasks. With a whopping 24 GB of GDDR6 memory and a peak boost clock of 2525 MHz, it’s built for high performance. The GPU is equipped with 6144 stream processors and offers a memory clock speed of 20.0 Gbps, providing substantial power for both AI-driven applications and gaming.

While it falls short in AI performance compared to its NVIDIA counterparts, producing only about 35% of the RTX 4090’s output in Stable Diffusion, it offers incredible value for its price. This GPU is an excellent choice for enthusiasts, gamers, and users who prefer AMD’s ecosystem. It’s particularly appealing to those who need a versatile GPU that can handle a mix of gaming, content creation, and AI tasks effectively.

Features and Considerations

The most crucial factor to the best GPUs for Stable Diffusion is the GPU’s computational power, particularly its CUDA cores (for NVIDIA GPUs) or Stream Processors (for AMD GPUs). These cores are vital for handling the parallel processing demands of AI algorithms, and given that Stable Diffusion is GPU-intensive, it relies on this computational power for its generative prowess.

Additionally, another essential element is VRAM (Video RAM); AI image processing can be memory-intensive, and having a GPU with a high VRAM capacity ensures smoother operation and faster processing times. Typically, a minimum of 8GB VRAM is recommended, but naturally more is preferable for complex tasks.

Is Stable Diffusion GPU intensive?

Yes, Stable Diffusion is GPU intensive. It relies heavily on the computational power of the GPU to process and generate images quickly and efficiently. The better the GPU, the faster and more efficiently Stable Diffusion can perform its image generation tasks.

Is the RTX 4070 good for Stable Diffusion?

The RTX 4070 is a good choice for Stable Diffusion, especially for users who require a balance between cost and performance. While it doesn’t match the top-tier GPUs like the RTX 4090, it still delivers respectable performance, making it suitable for a range of AI-driven image generation tasks without the need for the highest investment.

Our Verdict

Final thoughts

To conclude, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4080 OC is an excellent choice for professionals and enthusiasts who need a high-performing GPU for AI tasks, but are also conscious of budget constraints. Its robust build quality and efficient cooling system further ensure reliability and longevity, making it a smart investment for a wide range of AI-driven applications, including Stable Diffusion.

On the other hand, the powerhouse Zotac NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO is the best option for those who need the utmost performance and can afford the premium price. For budget-conscious users who still seek solid performance in AI tasks, the ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 offers a great mix of capability and value. To finish this round-up, we listed the PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX as an alternative for users who prefer AMD’s ecosystem and seek a GPU that balances both gaming and AI processing tasks. Hopefully, this list provided a helpful starting point in your search for a GPU for generative image processing, a genre that is bound to become more relevant as AI becomes even more fundamental to both our computer systems and daily lives.