A graphics card is one of the important components of a gaming PC, if not the most. But just like most PC components, there’s no single GPU that works for everyone. While some users may want the absolute best GPU for the ultimate gaming experience on PC, others may want something that offers the best value, albeit less powerful. Many are even looking for the best budget graphics cards for a casual 1080p gaming experience. Well in this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best graphics cards for gaming you can buy in 2022. We’ll try to add as many options as we possibly can in different price ranges, so there’s something for everyone.
We’re not out of the woods yet on pricing, but it looks like the prices of both Nvidia and AMD GPU are finally coming down. The situation is expected to continue to improve throughout the remainder of the year. There’s also the impending arrival of Intel Arc which could shake things up a little.
But right now, these are the best graphics cards for gaming you should consider buying.
Best overall graphics card for gaming in 2022: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
While the GeForce RTX 3080 may not be the most powerful graphics card on the market right now, it definitely is the cream of the crop. The RTX 3080 is an excellent GPU in the RTX 30-series lineup that’s perfectly capable of handling 4K gaming at 60FPS and above. The RTX 3080 has also made it to a lot of our other collection articles, including the best graphics cards and the best Nvidia graphics cards, so it’s hardly a surprise that we’ve added this as our top pick for gaming.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 sports the new and improved Ampere architecture. We’re looking at an overall performance improvement of over 30-percent when compared with its previous-gen counterpart, the RTX 2080 Ti. And the best thing about that? The RTX 3080 costs as much as $500 less, so you’re essentially getting more performance for less price. It even matches the general performance of the RTX 3090 without demanding as much money.
Thanks to Ampere, we’re also looking at some other great Nvidia features including DLSS. DLSS 2.0 also works better thanks to the improved tensor cores on the RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 also offers impressive ray-tracing performance compared to the competition. This is mostly due to the improved DLSS performance. Nvidia has worked on DLSS a lot to improve the upscaling. The games look much better now and they offer a massive performance boost, especially when you are working with high-resolutions and RT rendering. It’s safe to say that the Nvidia RTX 3080 handily beast the Radeon RX 6800 XT when it comes to RT performance. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done from AMD’s side when it comes to RT and upscaling, so we think Nvidia is going to continue holding the top until that happens.
As for the specifications, the GeForce RTX 3080 packs 28.3 billion transistors along with 272 Tensor cores and 68 RT cores. We’re looking at a boost clock of 1,710MHz, which is slightly less than both the RTX 2080 Super FE and the RTX 2080 FE’s boost clock speeds of 1,815MHz and 1,800MHz, respectively. The Nvidia RTX 3080 also has 10GB VRAM with a 19GB/s speed. The RTX 3080 has a total bandwidth of 720GB/s, which is significantly higher than the other two GPUs mentioned above.
All things considered, we think the GeForce RTX 3080 is one of the best graphics cards you can buy for gaming right now. This may be a step below the RTX 3090 but we think this is the best GPU for most users out there. It offers a great 4K gaming experience with smooth gameplay even with demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077. Just make sure you pair with one of the best CPUs and have a good 4K gaming monitor to get the best gaming experience. You can either buy the Founders’ Edition of the RTX 3080 from Nvidia or pick up one of the cards made by one of the many partner OEMs including ASUS, MSI, and more.
Nvidia RTX 3080
- The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 may not be as powerful as the RTX 3090 on paper, but it matches its general performance and we think it’s plenty to handle demanding games even at 4K.
Best AMD graphics card for gaming: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
The Radeon RX 6800 XT is one of the most powerful AMD graphics cards to date. It’s right up there on the performance charts along with the RX 6900 XT and it competes with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 in the high-end space. Just like the RTX 3080, the RX 6800 XT isn’t AMD’s top-of-the-line GPU in the RX 6000 series. However, we think it offers the same general performance as the RX 6900 XT while costing significantly less money. And that’s exactly why it’s our pick for the overall graphics cards from AMD in 2022.
In terms of the specifications, the Radeon RX 6800 XT enters the market with 72 CUs and as many as 4,608 GPU cores. This particular GPU has a base clock of 2,015MHz whereas it can hit a boost clock speed of 2,250MHz. The RX 6800 XT also supports Rage mode in which both its game clock and the boost clock speeds can be increased further. Rage Mode is essentially a performance preset for the RX 6800 XT that allows it to operate at higher clock speeds. Besides that, the clock speeds and the overclocking ability varies based on the overall design of the card as well.
Additionally, the Radeon RX 6800 XT also comes with 16GB GDDR6 memory, which is significantly higher than what the RTX 3080 brings to the table. We’re also looking at a 256-bit bus for the memory and a bandwidth of 512GB/s. It is, however falling short in the memory bandwidth department compared to the RTX 3080’s bandwidth of 760GB/s. The RX 6800 XT is rated for 300W TGP and AMD is recommending a 750W PSU to run this GPU optimally besides other components of your PC.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT, in case you are wondering, also supports ray-tracing. The RT performance of this GPU, however, isn’t as good as the RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 GPUs perform slightly better overall too thanks to DLSS. But if you ignore RT performance, we think this particular GPU comes closer to the general performance of the RTX 3080 GPU. It delivers a good 4K gaming performance while costing as much as $50 less than the RTX 3080 at retail. This GPU also has more VRAM than the RTX 3080, so that’s worth considering too.
We love to see some improvements on AMD’s upscaling technology to compete with Nvidia’s DLSS tech. While FSR is now compatible with a lot of games, we think there’s still a lot more work to be done in the upscaling quality department. AMD also has the RX 6900 XT, its fastest GPU in the 6000 series. But the RX 6900 XT is a direct competitor of the RTX 3090 and we think both of them are overkill for gaming and should be only be paired with extremely powerful components for an enthusiast-grade build. We think most users will be perfectly satisfied with an RX 6800 XT for 4K gaming. In fact, there’s also the RX 6700 XT that should be plenty for most gamers out there.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- The RX 6800 XT is the best graphics card in the 6000 series. It’s identical to the RX 6900 XT except for slightly lower clock speeds.
Best value graphics card for gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Ti
While the RTX 3060 Ti may not be as powerful as some other graphics cards in Nvidia’s 30-series lineup, we think it offers a ton of value. It essentially offers the same features as the other GPUs in the series, but it starts at just $399. There’s also the RTX 3050 now, but that’s more of an entry-level GPU. We think most users should be buying the RTX 3060 Ti as it offers the best value in the 30-series. As such as it’s our pick for the best value GPU in this particular collection of graphics cards.
The RTX 3060 Ti became extremely popular among gamers as it bridges the performance gap with the RTX 3060 and something more powerful like, say, the RTX 3070. In terms of specifications, the RTX 3060 Ti features the GA104 graphics unit with a total of 4,864 CUDA cores. That’s a significant departure from the RTX 2060 Super graphics card, which is still one of the best value GPUs around from Nvidia. In fact, the RTX 3060 Ti has more CUDA Cores than the RTX 2080 Super GPU, which is the most powerful unit in the 20-series.
The RTX 3060 Ti features a base clock speed of 1,415MHz and a boost clock speed of 1,665MHz. It also goes without saying that aftermarket cards from the likes of Zotac, ASUS, and more, also support overclocking that’ll allow you to further enhance the overall experience. The RTX 3060 Ti has 8GB GDDR6 memory with a bandwidth of 448GB/s. This, in case you are wondering, is the same memory bandwidth as the RTX 3070. We also get 38 RT and 152 Tensor cores with the RTX 3060 Ti which means you get support for ray-racing, DLSS, and more as a standard. The RTX 3060 Ti is rated for 200W TGP and it uses a 12-pin connector.
When it comes to the actual gameplay performance, the RTX 3060 Ti excels at 1080p and even delivers a pretty good 1440p gaming experience. This particular GPU is also capable of handling 4K gaming, although you may have to make some sacrifices in the graphics quality. We think it’s best paired with a mid-tier to high-end CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600X or the Core i5-12600 and above for a decent gaming rig. We have this particular GPU in a couple of gaming build guides, and we think it’s a great GPU overall for gaming. In fact, you should have no issues pushing 60FPS at 1440p in most modern titles on the market.
The RTX 3060 Ti is very similar to the RTX 3070, with the latter being slightly better in some cases. 1440p gaming, for instance, is much better with the RTX 3070 and you’re bound to get, say, about 10-20FPS more in games. The RTX 3060 Ti, however, isn’t too far behind thanks to DLSS. You can also consider buying the RTX 3050 if you don’t mind settling for an entry-level gaming experience at 1080p.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- The RTX 3060 Ti can handle both 1080p as well as 1440p gaming very well. It’s the best 30-series GPU for most people that want something better than an RTX 3050.
Best entry-level graphics card for gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
2021 has been a tough year for PC builders and gamers due to the extremely low availability of graphics cards on the market. That, however, didn’t stop either Nvidia or AMD from churning out new GPUs. While AMD launched a new entry-level GPU in the form of the RX 6500 XT, Nvidia took the stage to announce the new RTX 3050 desktop graphics card. The RX 6500 XT is in a little bit of a tough spot due to its rather unusual configuration. Hence, we’ve decided to add the Nvidia RTX 3050 as the best budget GPU for gaming in 2022.
One of the best things about the RTX 3050 is its pricing. This particular GPU is priced at just $249, making it the cheapest 30-series graphics card. It undercuts the RTX 3060 by $80 and yet offers a very similar level of performance in a lot of games. The 3050 is definitely the graphics card to buy if you’re still using one of the older GTX 16-series graphics cards.
The GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, in case you are wondering, is built on the company’s Ampere architecture. This means it supports advanced new technologies like ray-tracing. In fact, the RTX 3050 GPU promises to be Nvidia’s most affordable entry into the world of ray-tracing and DLSS. This by itself makes the GeForce RTX 3050 a superior card over the age-old GPUs from Nvidia’s 16-series. Sure the RTX 3050’s ray-tracing performance is probably not going to be as impressive as the lot of other GPUs in the 30-series, but we think the addition of DLSS support is something to look forward to.
Nvidia’s DLSS has improved a lot over the years and we think it’ll do a great job of allowing relatively less powerful GPUs like the RTX 3050 to run a lot of games smoothly. As far as the specifications are concerned, the GeForce RTX 3050 comes with 2,560 CUDA cores. It has a base clock of 1.55GHz and a boost clock of 1.78GHz. We’re also looking at 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM for this GPU, which is significantly higher than RX 6500 XT’s 4GB VRAM. Having more VRAM is definitely going to help run more demanding titles and think 8GB VRAM will allow this GPU to stay relevant in the market for many years to come. The RTX 3050 also has an effective memory clock of 14Gbps and a maximum computing power of 9.10TFLOPS.
In terms of performance, we think the RTX 3050 desktop GPU marks the sweet spot for 1080p gaming. While something like the RTX 3060Ti is going to be more powerful and enable 1440p gaming, we think most gamers shopping in the budget space will find plenty of value in RTX 3050. This GPU is rated for 130W TGP and Nvidia says you’ll need at least a 550W PSU to run this graphics card alongside the other components. It’s worth pointing out that the RTX 3050 will only be available from the partners OEMs as Nvidia isn’t making a Founders Edition version of this GPU.
MSI GeForce RTX 3050 GPU
- The MSI GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card offers reliable performance and is a great option for gamers looking to experience 1080p gaming.
Best 1440p graphics card for gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
The Nvidia RTX 3070 occupies a very sweet spot between the RTX 3060 and the more powerful RTX 3080 graphics card. We think the RTX 3070 is the one you should buy if you just care about a good 1440p gaming experience. In fact, this particular GPU is more popular on the market than the RTX 3080 mainly because of how popular 1440p gaming is right now. 1440p gaming is the natural upgrade over 1080p and there are plenty of great 1440p gaming monitors available on the market too.
In terms of the specifications, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 comes with GA104 GPU and has 5,888 CUDA cores. That, in case you are wondering, is a significant upgrade over the RTX 2080 Ti as it only packs 4,352 CUDA cores. The RTX 3070 also features 46 RT cores and 184 Tensor cores, which we think is slightly less than ideal. It’s not a poor performer by any means, but it definitely struggles to keep up with the ray-tracing performance of the RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. Just to put things into perspective, the RTX 2080 Ti brings as many as 68 RT cores to the table, albeit first-gen RT cores.
In terms of clock speeds, the RTX 3070 has a boost clock of 1,725MHz. We’re also looking at 8GB VRAM, which is again something that we think could’ve been more. While 8GBB VRAM doesn’t act as a bottleneck for this particular GPU right now, we think it could definitely use some more, especially as the newer games are becoming more demanding. The RTX 3050 GPU also has 8GB VRM, so definitely something worth making a note of. That being said, it’s not that less from the RTX 3080’s 10GB VRAM count. The RTX 3070 also has the same memory bandwidth as the RTX 3060 Ti GPU, which is another great GPU that further bridges the gap between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3070.
The GeForce RTX 3070 is rated for 220W power and Nvidia says you’ll need at least a 650W PSU for this particular card. It uses a 12-pin connector, but you’ll get a single 8 pin to 12 pin adapter in the box. As for the general gaming performance, the RTX 3070 is perfectly capable of running games at 4K resolution. It’s more suited for 1440p gaming but you can tweak some settings to run even some of the most demanding titles including the Assasin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K. As for 1440p gaming, well the RTX 3070 should be able to run just about any game at 1440p without any issues. And that’s what makes it worth buying over something like the RTX 3060 Ti.
The RTX 3070 GPU also handily beats the RTX 2080 Ti when it comes to gaming. That’s impressive considering how the RTX 3070 is priced at $499 at retail and it’s going against one of the most expensive and top-tier GPUs from the Turing family. Nvidia is also selling the RTX 3070 Ti for $100 more. The RTX 3070 Ti, however, is a little too expensive, especially if you want to play games at 1440p. And at $599 in retail, even the RTX 3080 starts to look like a great option to consider.
Nvidia RTX 3070
- The perfect choice if you’re maxing out at 1440p. The 3070 has impressive performance and is significantly more affordable than a 3080.
Alternate best pick for 1440p gaming: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 is our pick for the best graphics card for 1440p gaming. But if you are hellbent on buying an AMD GPU for your gaming rig and you want to experience smooth 1440p gaming, then we think you should buy the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card. There’s a lot to like about this particular graphics card from the house of AMD and it’s our pick for the best overall 1440p GPU for gaming in 2022.
One of the most interesting things about the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is that it offers the highest official GPU clocks in the AMD 6000 series GPU lineup. The Radeon RX 6700 XT, in case you are wondering, has a game clock of 2,424MHz and a maximum boost clock speed of 2,581MHz. These are some impressive numbers, especially when you consider the fact that we’re talking about reference GPUs, not partner cards with sophisticated heatsink designs. This means, that with proper tuning, the RX 6700 XT can hit as much as 2.8GHz without overheating.
The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT also has 12GB of VRAM and 384GB/s memory bandwidth. The memory bandwidth isn’t as high as that of the RTX 3070 but that’s not stopping the RX 6700 XT from locking horns with the 3070 in real-world gaming performance. This graphics card can easily handle 1440p gaming, making it a great fit for a lot of gamers in 2022. 1440p gaming, as we mentioned earlier, is a natural progression for a lot of gamers now and this GPU is perfect for those users who are looking to make a transition from 1080p gaming.
And for those of you curious, the RX 6700 XT is also capable of handling 4K gaming as long as you tweak some graphics settings. Again, the overall performance is very similar to that of the RTX 3070 GPU, so no surprise here with 4K gaming. The ray-tracing performance is where the RX 6700 XT falls behind the Nvidia counterpart. This particular graphics card only has 40 “ray-accelerators”, which isn’t enough to churn an enjoyable RT gaming experience. For reference, the RX 6900 XT and the RX 6800 XT have 80 and 72 ray accelerators, respectively.
But a lot of these caveats start to look a little less annoying when you look at the $479 price tag for this GPU at retail. That’s a great price for a 1440p graphics card, so we think it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. Sure, you may not find it in stock for $479, but it’s worth keeping an eye on for when the dust starts to settle. But if you are more interested in experiencing games at 4K resolution then we think it’s definitely worth stepping up to something more powerful like the RTX 3080 graphics card. On the other hand, if you don’t necessarily care about 1440p or 4K gaming and simply want to experience 1080p gaming, then consider checking some other options including the RX 6500 XT graphics card.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
- The AMD RX 6700 XT has the highest clock speeds we’ve seen on a GPU. It’s also great for handling 1440p gaming.
Best graphics card for enthusiasts: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
In an ideal world, either the RTX 3080 or the RTX 3080 Ti would be the absolute best graphics card on the market that we’d recommend our readers to buy. But Nvidia decided to make something that’s way more of an overkill GPU for almost any gamer. Yes, we’re talking about the GeForce RTX 3090 a.k.a the “Big Ferocious” graphics card. It’s true that the RTX 3090 is overkill for most PC gamers, but we think it’s worth mentioning in this collection mainly because of its VRAM.
This particular graphics card has 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM, which in case you don’t know, is significantly higher than anything that’s available on the market right now. Not only is this excellent for creative workloads, but having such a high amount of VRAM is also great for extremely demanding titles and simulators. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, for instance, will easily chew through all the VRAM to render a beautiful scene from a cockpit or from a passenger seat. The same is the case with a heavily modded game such as Skyrim or Cities Skylines.
It’s games like those that make even an extremely powerful graphics card like the RTX 3090 somewhat viable. If you think your gaming PC is going to deal with any of the things mentioned above, then you might want to consider buying the GeForce RTX 3090. If not, you’d be better off buying some other graphics card.
As far as the specifications of the GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card are concerned, it features a whopping 10,496 CUDA cores. We’re looking at a base clock of 1.4GHz and a boost clock of 1.6GHz. It also has 82 RT cores, making it a great option for rendering ray-tracing games too. While discussing the RTX 3090, we think it’s also important to talk about big this particular GPU really is. Even the reference card made by Nvidia is considered a “Chonky” card. You’ll definitely need a big-sized PC case to comfortably fit in one of these. Not to mention, you’ll also need a powerful PSU to power this graphics card along with the other components of your PC. The RTX 3090 is rated for 350W power and Nvidia is recommending at least an 850W PSU to go along.
It’s also worth pointing out that a high-end GPU demands an equally powerful CPU to keep things running nice and smooth. We recommend pairing it with one of the best gaming CPUs on the market for the absolute best performance. All things considered, a high-end enthusiast gaming PC with an RTX 3090 is going to cost you around $5,000, especially when you consider the current GPU market.
The GeForce RTX 3090 GPU may not be the absolute top performer anymore since the arrival of the RTX 3090 Ti. But it’s still overkill for virtually any gaming-related tasks. And since it can be had for less it’s the smarter choice right now.
Nvidia RTX 3090
- Nvidia’s current king, the RT 3090 is insanely powerful and overkill for most needs. But it’s a remarkable thing to behold.
AMD pick for enthusiasts: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT is the equivalent of the RTX 3090 graphics card. This particular GPU represents the best of AMD’s RDNA2 cards in 2022. Just like the GeForce RTX 3090, however, this one is also overkill for most gamers. We think a majority of gamers looking to build a new gaming PC would be better off buying either the RX 6700 XT or the RX 6800 XT. Then why did we add this card to this collection, you ask? Well, this is for those who are chasing the absolute best performance from Team Red.
When it comes to actual performance in both gaming as well as other creative workloads applications, the Radeon RX 6900 XT is about 10-12% faster than the RX 6800 XT graphics card. That increase in performance, however, also comes at a cost. You’ll be paying significantly more to reap the benefits of the RX 6900 XT in an enthusiast gaming setup. So the real question you need to be asking is how much money do you have to burn? Because both AMD and Nvidia have tons of options that will make your overall gaming experience that much better.
In terms of the specifications, the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT features a Navi 21 GPU and comes with up to 80CUs. These CUs make up for a total of 5,120 stream processors, an 11-percent increase over the RX 6800XT. Another interesting thing about the RX 6900 XT is that it is also capable of breaching the 2GHz core clock speeds under load, which is quite impressive. The RX 6900 XT also manages to keep the overall power consumption low despite being a spec-heavy graphics card.
The Radeon RX 6900 XT, as we mentioned earlier, comes with a 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM with a 256-bit memory bus. This GPU also takes advantage of the 128MB Infinity Cache feature to deliver an impressive performance overall. The RX 6900 XT is perfectly capable of handling games at 4K. The ray-tracing performance of the 6900 XT is a little underwhelming, but that’s been the case with most AMD GPUs in this collection. Sure, you will be able to render ray-traced graphics with the RX 6900 XT, even at 4K, but you may have to tweak some settings.
The Nvidia RX 6900 XT has the minimum VRM power delivery requirement and the reference card itself offers a 16-phase VRM power delivery. All things considered, it’s safe to say that the RX 6900 XT offers the best AMD has to offer in the GPU space right now. The Radeon RX 6900 XT is AMD’s flagship GPU and it is no slouch when it comes to delivering good results. It’s also significantly less expensive than an RTX 3090, even if the performance can’t quite match.
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
- The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT represents the best of what AMD’s RDNA2 architecture has to offer. It goes head-to-head to Nvidia’s RTX 3090 GPU at a much lower price point.
Best graphics card for gaming in 2022: Final Thoughts
Well, that wraps up our collection of the best graphics cards for gaming you can buy in 2022. We think most gamers looking to build a gaming PC should pick between the GeForce RTX 3080 or a Radeon RX 6800 XT. Those are our top picks for the best graphics cards for gaming in 2022 and they can handle even the newer games at 4K without any issues and will give you many years of top-level performance.
Gamers looking for a good 1440p gaming experience should consider buying the RTX 3070 whereas entry-level PC gamers should check out something less powerful and more affordable like the new RTX 3050. We’ve also added some extremely powerful GPUs to the mix including the RTX 3090 but those are reserved for those who are looking for the absolute best performance in demanding programs like simulators, VR, or heavily modded games. These enthusiast-grade cards also serve a purpose for professional applications, too.
While this particular list included both AMD as well as Nvidia graphics cards, we also have dedicated collection articles for both brands if you are specifically looking for GPUs from either Team Green or Team Red. So be sure to stop by our collection of the best Nvidia graphics cards and the best AMD graphics cards to check out some good options for your build. Alternatively, if you are building a new PC and are looking for other components then check out some of our other collections including the best motherboards, best CPU coolers, and more.
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