Best Graphics Card in 2023 – for performance, 1440p and value
If you’re looking for the best graphics card in 2023, we’ve got you covered right here. If you’re buying a new GPU in 2023, whether you are a PC gamer or not, you have a lot of choices to pick from if you are in the market to get the best graphics you possibly can with the hardware at your disposal.
Whether it is a video card made for 4K, ones that can get the most out of your new 144Hz display, ones that are good for VR, or even a video card that is just great value (well, there’s a lot of overlap here, but shh…). The only problem you are going to have is actually getting hold of one at the moment, but if you are quick on the button, these are the cards you should definitely be looking out for right now.
Early Christmas GPU deals
Before we continue, we’ve spotted these top early Christmas GPU deals, which could be good options if you want to save some money on your new purchase.
- ASUS ROG Strix NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ 4070 Ti OC Edition – $899 (Save $150)
- PNY GeForce RTX™ 4060 Ti 8GB XLR8 Gaming Verto – $369 (Save $80)
Products at a Glance
Picking the best graphics cards for gaming
In this article, we’ve gathered our top picks from the best cards for different price ranges and needs. Below, we’ll dive into each of what are really the best graphics cards, give our impressions of the cards, and also outline everything you need to know about GPUs in our buying guide at the bottom of the article in case you are unfamiliar with any of the specs being discussed.
This particular page is all about power and performance from your graphics card. You won’t really find “oh that will do!” here. With the raft of amazing GPUs available for gaming, the only reason you should settle for second best is if you can’t actually manage to get hold of the one you want, and what does what you need. We have grabbed a selection here from both Nvidia and AMD so fans from both camps are well catered for.
So if you are looking to achieve the best graphics possible from your humble rig to play your PC games the way they were meant to be played, whatever graphics card you are using, whether it is an RTX 3080 or an AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT, you can find out what we think of them here.
We’ve used our own expertise, available testing and benchmarks, as well as user feedback to choose the best of the current crop in this article. And of course, we’ve focused on price and current trends in the gaming world (we see you, Steam survey), to truly consider what users want and what makes the list.
Best Graphics Card in 2023 – for performance, 1440p and value
- Unbelievable performance levels
- Great design
- 24GB VRAM
- Insanely expensive
- Large power draw
If money is no object to you, and you believe personally that every penny in your account should be devoted to superior in-game performance, then you need to check out what our old friends at ROG have been cooking up.
Right off the bat, I can tell you that this card is going to give you an out-of-the-box overclocked performance bench of 2610 MHz, alongside the 24GB of GDDR6x RAM that comes in a 4090. However, this card utilizes it well – possibly better than others in this list to the extent that we would call it the fastest and most consistently high-performing card on the market today (for general gamer use. You can expect 4K UHD performance with the factory overclock alone, and the 24GB of GDDR6x means that you are going to struggle to find yourself a task that this card won’t be able to tackle.
All of that raw performance power is of course offset by potential heating issues, but you don’t need to worry. This card is all set to go with three large axial fans that have reverse rotation technology so you can expect greater heat dissipation. The core pipes themselves are designed to channel heat from the GPU into the heatsink directly, which has a huge impact on how this card performs in regard to its thermal optimization.
- Blitzes 1440p settings
- Good build quality
- Can run hot
If $1,000 is the max for spending on your next graphics card, you have two main choices. The first is the 7900 XTX – AMD’s flagship of the RX 7000 series. The second is NVidia’s RTX 4070 Ti, which is cheaper and cannot really compete. Yes, this may be confused by some Nvidia Super cards in the near future, but currently, it’s this simple. The 7900 XTX is a beast of a card, and the XFX Speedster MERC310 is widely regarded as an excellent partner option
Available for just under $1,000, this card will handle pretty much any game on 1440p max settings, and be able to handle itself at 4K too. Featuring 24GB VRAM, the XFX model has a boost clock of 2615MHz – that’s 115Mhz beyond the base spec for AMD’s 7900 XTX. Not bad. XFX has furnished its card with a triple fan cooling solution, which is sensible given the card can reportedly run hot. But ensuring ample airflow and flow space in any case is always essential. The Speedster is also a large but well-built model, and it’s nice to see a 7900 XTX get in below the $1,000 and deliver the quality gamers crave.
There’s not much more to say here. The 7900 XTX is the second-best graphics card for gaming on the market right now. And the XFX option is one of the best.
- Ventilation-focused design
- Designed for 1440p gaming
- Smart no-frills Asus design
- Pricey successor to RTX 3070
The RTX 4070 is the darling of the latest generations of graphics from both AMD and Nvidia. Positioned in a performance sweet spot, it signifies the shift of most PC gamers towards 1440p (in theory). Still, for under $600 (MSRP), the RTX 4070 is a card that will easily handle games at 1400p settings, and be a solid partner for some casual video editing, encoding, and rendering too. Most regard it as this generation’s answer to the RTX 3080, despite the ’70’ in its name.
That’s generally a fair assessment – the Founder’s Editions of each would be within nudging distance when it comes to performance, but the RTX 4070 has a lower MSRP, is more energy efficient, and is …well, a newer architecture. If that factors into your consideration when picking up a new and future-facing card, then the RTX 4070 is best to opt for as the mid-range winner of the current crop of graphics cards available.
We particularly like Asus’ TUF OC edition card. Not only is it designed around a solid structural core with heat ventilation a critical factor to its ‘exoskeleton’ its no-frills design speaks to the 4070 overall. It will just get on with what most gamers need from it. This specific card is a little more expensive than the base 4070 options, given its the OC edition. But if you want to push a 4070 a little further and really say goodbye to the 3080, this is the card to do it with.
The only real downside we can see to the 4070 overall is that as the RTX 3070 replacement, the pricing seems to be fairly high with a the focus further up the 30-series food-chain. Perhaps that explains two RTX 4060 Ti models, in the 40-series but a lower 4070 MSRP would have been nice.
- Best value 6900 XT
- Rivals the 3090
- Great cooling
- Expensive. You could get a car instead.
Cash burning a hole in your pocket? If you can get your hands on an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT we can solve that problem for you as you won’t have much change left out of $1000, even at MRRP. By the time you add scalp tax on, well, we are sure you can see the picture that although this is one of the best graphics card you can get your hands on, actually getting your hand on it might prove tricky.
The Red Devil from PowerColor is actually one of the cheaper models of AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT which is why we have listed it here. It’s also far from the fastest but when we are talking about the insane levels of performance here to start with, we felt it was right to factor in price as well into the bargain.
Two 100mm fans sit with a 90mm fan in the middle and the impressive copper plate does a sterling job of taking the heat away, it’s a clever design and looks the part too. It would be the centerpiece of any new build for sure!
The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is the pinnacle of video cards from AMD and if you want the best graphics with a Team Red GPU in your rig, and you have the available funds and wherewithal to get one, then look no further.
Things to consider
Finding the best graphics card for you
If you’re sitting there asking yourself, ”I want the best graphics, what graphics card should I get?” and aren’t familiar with the specs and technical terms we’re tossing around, don’t worry: we have you covered.
While the last section covered the best video cards, in this section, we’ll go over key GPU specs and technical terms used throughout our reviews to make sure that you understand what’s going on when buying a new graphics card. For instance, you’ll want to be aware of GPU bottlenecking when buying a GPU and its partner CPU specifically to achieve the best graphics you can get on your system.
Yes. Its literal size. For most situations, this shouldn’t be a huge concern. However, certain cases and/or motherboards may cause problems.
For instance, some cases are smaller (like, smaller form factor cases, obviously) or just accommodate parts in such a manner that one might get in the way of another. More common than this is your motherboard having pieces mount in such a way that your large graphics card might get in the way of something else.
Of course, this problem is usually magnified by cards that are literally large, like the RTX 2080 we choose that has 3 fans.
If you are shopping on a budget then you need to consider the best bang for your buck. We’ve got a few articles on the best graphics cards on a budget right here:
We hope this helps you find the right graphics card for your gaming rig.
GPU architecture is, simply speaking, the baseline upon which a GPU is built. Typically, the first version of a GPU architecture debuts in a high-end card– like the RTX 3080 Ampere – and what you see afterward are cut-down versions of that same architecture. This means reductions in clock speed, VRAM, cores, etc. in order to manufacture cheaper versions of the basic architecture and target more price ranges.
We’re going to go ahead and list the common architectures below:
Architectures – Nvidia
- Nvidia Turing – Used by the RTX 20- series and the GTX 16- series. Outside of the GTX cards, enables features like real-time ray-tracing and DLSS.
- Nvidia Pascal – Nvidia’s previous generation architecture, used by the GTX 10- series. If you can find these cheap, they’re still worth a buy.
- Nvidia Ampere – Nvidia’s successor to Turing and featuring on the 30-series cards
- Nvidia Lovelace – The Ada Lovelace architecture powers the 40-series cards.
Architectures – AMD
- AMD Polaris – Used by AMD’s RX 500 series
- AMD Vega – Used by AMD’s Vega-branded graphics cards and the Radeon VII
- AMD Navi – AMD’s next-gen architecture, used up to and including RX 7000 series cards
Like with an Intel or AMD CPU, clock speed is really only useful as a measure of performance between GPUs with the same architecture. Sometimes, it’s only useful as a measure of performance between different versions of the same graphics card. Your exact clock speed usually won’t matter all that much, but factory overclocked versions of GPUs are quite common nowadays, and this will serve to enhance out-of-box performance.
Don’t expect graphics card overclocks to push, say, an RX 570 to the level of an RX 580. Expect roughly 10% performance gains in the absolute best of scenarios. With that said, overclocking isn’t really going to give you outstanding gains, just a tad more frames.
VRAM is used by the GPU to handle streaming textures, post-processing effects, and high resolutions; you know, those things that video games are constantly doing.
The higher your VRAM, the better it should be able to handle resolutions like 1440p and 4K. You’ll generally want a minimum of at least 4GB VRAM available in a graphics card if you plan on playing VR games, for instance.
Where VRAM comes most into consideration is when comparing multiple models of the same GPU. The RX 570 and 580 both come in 4 and 8GB variants. Where possible, always opt for the 8GB version of these cards, unless you’re only playing in 1080p.
Framerate and resolution
Framerate (FPS) and resolution refer to how your game is rendered. In simple terms, framerate is how smooth your gaming experience is, and resolution is how clear your experience is. Low framerates will have increased input latency and look choppier, while low resolutions will look blurrier and less defined.
Below, we’re going to list common framerate and resolution targets, which will better contextualize how we refer to each card’s performance.
Note: Your gaming monitor’s refresh rate corresponds directly to the maximum framerate it can display.
- 30 FPS – The minimum acceptable framerate. The least smooth of the bunch. Most console games are around this range.
- 60 FPS – The baseline for a smooth gaming experience. Most monitors cap out at displaying 60FPS or 60 frames due to a 60 Hz refresh rate.
- 80 FPS – A common target for FPS on a G-Sync/FreeSync monitor, ideal for completely preventing screen tearing during performance drops.
- 100 FPS – A target for 120 Hz+ refresh rate monitors, where a benefit over 60 can be seen without completely sacrificing visuals.
- 120 FPS – Ideal for 120 Hz+ refresh rate monitors. Hyper-smooth.
- 144+ FPS – Ideal for 144 Hz+ refresh rate monitors. As smooth as it gets.
Note: “Native” resolution is the maximum resolution of a display in solution. A “native” image will always look sharper and clearer than an “upscaled” one.
- 720p (HD) – Considered low resolution by today’s standards. Can still look decent on smaller monitors or longer viewing distances, though.
- 1080p (Full HD) – Target resolution for most budget PC builds and gaming consoles. Matches with the native resolution of most HD TVs.
- 1440p (Quad HD) – Target resolution for higher-end PC monitors. PS4 Pro and Xbox One X also upscale from this resolution to achieve 4K visuals.
- 1800p (Quad HD+) – A common resolution used by gamers on 4K monitors who can’t push native resolution. Xbox One X and (more rarely) PS4 Pro also upscale from this resolution to 4K.
- 2160p (4K Ultra HD) – Native resolution of high-end monitors and 4K TVs. PS4 Pro and Xbox One X generally can’t achieve this without upscaling; PC gamers will need great graphics cards to do this without compromising settings.
Other graphics card terms
Occasionally, you may see mentions of other GPU technologies in reviews and product pages. We’ll explain these here.
- AA (anti-aliasing) – An intensive post-processing technique that removes jagged edges, or “jaggies”, from an image. This can also provide the illusion of a higher resolution.
- Real-time ray-tracing – Highly-advanced lighting, reflections, and shading. Currently exclusive to Nvidia RTXGPUs, but an AMD equivalent may emerge eventually. Only supported by a few games so far.
- DLSS – An AA technique supplemented by AI deep learning, currently exclusive to RTX cards. Only supported by a few games.
- V-Sync – Prevents screen-tearing at the cost of higher latency and performance costs.
- G-Sync and FreeSync – Supported by Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, respectively. Identical technologies that replace V-Sync except with no input lag or performance loss. Only works alongside a monitor that’s equipped with either G-Sync or FreeSync.
- SLI/NVLink – Nvidia technology for multi-GPU setups. NVLink is superior, but multi-GPU setups have fallen out of fashion.
- CrossFire – AMD technology for multi-GPU setups. Has also fallen out of fashion.
All the rage at the moment is the newest tech to hit the circuit – ray tracing. The newer graphics cards from the big two including the Geforce RTX 3070 and the RX 6800 can handle all the advanced lighting effects that will really make your games pop. Of course you need a beefy old desktop PC to be able to handle the extra pressure on your frame rate – it’s not just down to the GPU to do all the work here.
Why are graphics cards so expensive in 2021?
It’s because of a mixture of silicon shortage, in part due to Covid supply chain issues and the rest is down to human greed. Pure and simple. Between scalpers snapping up all the cards and inflating the prices to flip them for a huge profit on eBay, coupled with crypto miners hoovering them all up so they can make their millions on virtual money, well yep, there’s none left for the likes of you and me at a reasonable price
Crypto Crisis easing?
While nobody is sure when the situation will begin to ease there are hopeful signs that things may start to ease. China is in the middle of passing laws to control crypto mining, which should hopefully mean that new stock ends up more or less where it is supposed to go to – straight into your gaming PC!
What is RTX?
RTX is the new product line from Nvidia that adds “RT cores” to their graphics cards. As of the time of writing, RTX cards only come in the Turing architecture with the RTX 20- Series. RT cores allow for real-time ray-tracing, DLSS, and other Nvidia-exclusive features designed to amp up visuals.
The biggest feature offered by RTX is definitely the real-time ray-tracing, which essentially allows for far more realistic reflections and light ray simulation than previously possible in games. Unfortunately, this also comes at a great performance penalty with modern games, though this will get better over time, as the technology evolves.
At the time of writing, very few games on the market support ray-tracing, and using it comes at a great cost to framerate and resolution. This is more of a future-facing feature than anything else, for now.
Is there an AMD equivalent to RTX?
The latest AMD Radeon RX 6800 series cards from AMD are the first to feature real-time ray-tracing and it’s fair to say they aren’t quite at the same level as Nvidia”s RTX offerings in many ways at this stage. So if you are keen on running this most demanding of latest technologies, you may want to lean towards Nvidia at this stage.
What GPU Should I Buy In 2023?
This depends on how far you can stretch your budget. Always buy as high up the tier list as you can realistically afford. GPUs are something that lasts a long time, even if they are superseded by new models so if you buy high up the pecking order, the chances are you won’t have to swap it out for longer.
What Graphics Card Do I Need For 4K?
Firstly, do you need to game in 4K? You will need a good monitor to start with and a pretty powerful card to be able to see the full benefit. There is a reason pro-gamers game at 1080p. if you are set on it though you will need one of the latest cards from AMD or Nvidia at the top of the range in order to have consistent success. For problem-free 4K gaming, you could be looking towards $1000.
If money really is no object and you hit the lucky jackpot in actually finding one to buy then the RTX 3090 graphics card from Nvidia is going to be a card that will last in your system (should you want it to) for many years to come. It’s pretty much the pinnacle of what we have seen to date. Now, obviously, if you fats forward on another five years and technology continues to march on at the same relentless page, what we have then could well make this look like a Nintendo Gameboy, but at this moment in time, there is no sweeter GPU to consider putting in your next build.