June 2, 2023

$100 at Amazon

Nvidia GeForce GT 1030

Improve from an built-in GPU ($100 or much less)

$283 at Amazon

Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Cheap possibility for entry gaming and photograph modifying ($100-$300)

$350 at Amazon


AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

Best choice for 1080p and midrange photograph modifying ($300-$500)

$345 at Amazon


Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

Strongest possibility for low-power upgrades ($350-$600)

$600 at Amazon

The RTX 4070 FE viewed from above, logo side up, angled up to your right, on a purple and light blue background

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070

Best choice for good 1440p, fine quality 1080p, entry video modifying ($500-$700)

$800 at Newegg

The triple fan side of the RX 7900 XT lying on a marbled green surface

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT

Entry 4K and good 1440p gaming, compute-intensive professional graphics ($700-$900)

$850 at Amazon

The Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4070 Ti OC lying fans up on a multicolor background

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti

Good 4K gaming, professional video modifying, 3D graphics ($700-$900)

Most individuals use graphics playing cards which can be a number of years outdated, which is a disgrace as a result of there have been some huge leaps in tech during the last couple of years. Whether or not you are a PC gamer or streamer, a creator, otherwise you simply need a greater on a regular basis Home windows expertise, even a small improve could make your system really feel like new. 

Optimization applied sciences that assist increase body charges like Nvidia’s DLSS, AMD’s FidelityFX and Intel’s XeSS are likely to solely run on the present or generally final technology of playing cards — those who use Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace, AMD’s RDNA 3 or Intel’s Xe architectures. And prettifying applied sciences like ray tracing can run considerably higher on latest GPUs. Plus, the newer playing cards have a lot better video encoding chops for smoother streaming.

Whereas you may make preliminary selections based mostly on specs just like the producer, GPU chip, quantity and sort of video reminiscence, clock speeds, energy necessities and different components, they’re imperfect predictors of how any specific mannequin will carry out in your video games or inventive purposes. So we have put collectively some strategies based mostly on our expertise testing and utilizing an enormous crop of GPUs. 

In some instances, the cardboard we examined was produced by the GPU firm — Nvidia’s Founders Version fashions, AMD’s reference fashions and Intel’s Restricted Version — however in these instances we have nonetheless made suggestions of third-party playing cards from add-in board firms like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and Zotac. Incessantly, the “editions” exit of inventory and by no means come again, whereas the AIB fashions can hold round for years.

It could possibly’t be careworn sufficient that not like loads of merchandise you store for, GPUs require analysis based mostly in your specific configuration as a result of there could be actual penalties for a foul match, like system crashes and fried motherboards. And there are some blanket caveats for every chipset: Nvidia’s latest GPUs require an adapter to work with most energy provides (they’re normally bundled), AMD playing cards have frequent studies of high-pitched whining and Intel’s nonetheless figuring out the kinks with its first technology of discrete GPUs.

Present technology GPU opinions

Greatest graphics playing cards


If you happen to’ve acquired an outdated desktop with built-in graphics that do not assist the present variations of graphics programming interfaces equivalent to DirectX 12 or Vulkan, or you may have a recreation that will not run until it detects devoted graphics reminiscence (these have 2GB), or should you simply need to make your Home windows expertise really feel a little bit extra snappy or clean, a GT 1030-based card may also help. It is designed with decrease energy necessities than most different discrete GPUs, so it may well slot in techniques with small energy provides and compact designs. In contrast to most gaming graphics playing cards, 1030-based playing cards could be low-profile and take up only a single slot for connectivity, and are quieter as a result of they solely require a single fan.

Do not count on to recreation with the GeForce GT at 1080p — 720p at greatest, until a recreation may be very light-weight. However Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends and different in style multiplayer video games usually fall underneath the “can play on a potato” umbrella, so informal gamers needn’t fear as a lot in the event that they’re your go-tos. In some instances, video games might merely go from unplayable to rather less unplayable. If you happen to do need to play video games, although, spring for variations with DDR5 reminiscence, not DDR4; it may well make a noticeable distinction. That is why you will see some worth variations. For a easy speedup, the most affordable respectable one I’ve seen was $100, although costs can fluctuate.

You are receiving worth alerts for Nvidia GeForce GT 1030

Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC card

For gaming, the RTX 3050 is a nice gets-you-in-the-door GPU, offering good 720p and respectable 1080p efficiency. Since a lot primary photograph modifying nonetheless is not very GPU-intensive, a quick, high-core-count CPU nonetheless offers you much more efficiency worth for the cash than a higher-powered graphics card. However the GPU does matter for the expertise and clean show rendering, however for smallish pictures and single-screen modifying you should not have any points. The GPU is getting used more and more to speed up AI-based options, like automagic object choice, so it is price getting a newer card — particularly since most of the older GTX fashions have left the “older so it is cheaper” section and entered that “going out of inventory so let’s jack up the costs as a result of shortage” section.

For rather less, at $250 there’s additionally the better-performing Intel Arc A750. Regardless of Intel’s frequent updates to the drivers, although, I am hesitant to make a blanket advice; Intel’s new to the discrete GPU market, and its playing cards appear to be experiencing first-generation rising pains. Additionally, you really need resizable BAR assist in your system and it has larger energy necessities than a typical entry-level card, which suggests it isn’t essentially suited to older or entry-level PC upgrades. However should you’re feeling adventurous, not less than there aren’t a raft of third-party choices to select from — simply ASRock and Intel’s personal Restricted Version mannequin.

The RTX 3050 card I examined was an EVGA mannequin, and EVGA has since left the GPU biz.

You are receiving worth alerts for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Lori Grunin/CNET

This one’s a bit tough to name in the meanwhile, for the reason that present technology of applied sciences from AMD and Nvidia for this class of card hasn’t been introduced but — although I believe each are imminent. You may get last-gen playing cards that can carry out completely effectively for these makes use of, and probably older, however I hate making these suggestions with out figuring out what the costs shall be on the newer playing cards, particularly for the reason that newer Nvidia Ada and AMD RDNA 3 architectures add fairly a bit over their predecessors. 

Nonetheless the AMD RX 6700 XT is an efficient meat-and-potatoes card if it’s worthwhile to purchase one thing now, just about outperforming the remainder in its worth class. The AMD playing cards are likely to get complaints about audible whining, and I admit I hear it myself periodically, so if that is a possible problem then the costlier RTX 3060 Ti might be a great guess as effectively.

You are receiving worth alerts for AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT


A number of outdated or low-end gaming PCs, in addition to compact techniques, cannot deal with the dimensions or energy necessities of most of the newer GPUs. The RTX 3060 is the highest-end GPU that may match normally into dual-slot techniques which solely have room for brief (one- or two-fan) playing cards and with energy provides of 500 w or much less. That does not essentially account for overclocking, so should you’re planning on pushing it to the restrict, ensure the cardboard you get — when overclocked — mixed together with your CPU’s energy draw will not exceed the cooling or energy limits of your PC.

The RTX 3060 card I examined was an EVGA mannequin, and EVGA has since left the GPU biz.

The RTX 4070 FE viewed from above, logo side up, angled up to your right, on a purple and light blue background
Lori Grunin/CNET

The RTX 4070 is likely one of the most versatile performers available on the market, with gaming efficiency that spans 1080p by entry 4K — although for respectable 4K efficiency you (and your video games) have to reap the benefits of Nvidia’s DLSS 3 optimization know-how. DLSS 3 performs a lot better than the earlier technology, and assist for it is likely one of the issues that makes the RTX 40- sequence notably higher than its predecessor. 

Whereas it isn’t low cost, the worth can also be not on the high quality for its aggressive class both.

You are receiving worth alerts for Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070

The triple fan side of the RX 7900 XT lying on a marbled green surface
Lori Grunin/CNET

The RX 7900 XT is not all the time quicker than competitor RTX 4070 Ti, but it surely has extra reminiscence for a similar cash (20GB vs. 12GB), which supplies it a leg up for video games and purposes that may reap the benefits of it. AMD’s RX 7000 sequence of GPUs even have DisplayPort 2.1 connections, whereas Nvidia’s are nonetheless utilizing DP 1.4. Whereas there aren’t loads of DP 2.x displays but, the usual helps larger refresh charges at 4K than earlier specs.

The Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4070 Ti OC lying fans up on a multicolor background
Lori Grunin/CNET

The RTX 4070 Ti is not excessively costlier than the 4070 and it gives noticeably higher efficiency. But it surely’s rather a lot larger and attracts much more energy as effectively — unsurprising, because it started life as a stripped-down RTX 4080 — which makes it rather less versatile than the RTX 4070 as a card that I might contemplate a basic advice. But it surely’s additionally rather a lot smaller, cheaper and fewer energy hungry than the RTX 4080 and 4090. That mixture makes it my favourite total, although the 4070 is my prime advice.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition lying on a blue couch cushion, angled
Lori Grunin/CNET

For almost every thing, the RTX 4090 is the quickest client GPU available on the market, with a large enough 24GB body buffer to deal with high-res video games and video modifying in addition to streaming.

The RTX 4080 is a less expensive different within the $1,200-$1,600 vary, although it is roughly the second quickest at present available on the market and it is tempting to drop to the a lot cheaper 4070 Ti. And the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a better option than the 4080 for compute-intensive professional graphics and may outpace the RTX 4080 on some video games, plus it helps higher-bandwidth DisplayPort 2.1 — although it nonetheless lags loads of Nvidia playing cards for ray tracing. It may be discovered for as little as $1,000, although, which can be definitely worth the tradeoff.

Graphics Card FAQs

What’s essential to contemplate when purchasing for a graphics card?

  • Energy necessities: All the time verify the ability wants of a card in opposition to your energy provide’s output. Remember to take the opposite playing cards and gadgets in your system into consideration regarding energy utilization.
  • Essentially the most highly effective GPU on the planet will not make a distinction in case your CPU is the bottleneck (and vice versa) — suppose overkill.
  • You will see loads of worth variation throughout playing cards utilizing the identical GPU. That is for options equivalent to overclocking, higher cooling techniques or flashy (actually) designs. 
  • Twin-card setups are normally extra of a ache than they’re price. Video modifying is normally the exception, relying upon software assist.
  • If you’d like a card for content material creation, recreation benchmarks aren’t normally consultant. To analysis these, begin by working a search on “workstation GPUs” or, for instance, “greatest GPU for Premiere.” It is essential to match the GPU to the applying, as a result of, as an example, Nvidia RTX A-series GPUs (the workstation GPUs previously often called Quadro) are usually extra highly effective than their AMD Radeon Professional or WX sequence equivalents, however software builders who’re tight with Apple — which does not assist Nvidia GPUs — optimize their purposes for AMD GPUs. The largest instance of that is Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve video editor.
  • For photograph modifying, it might not suffice to make use of a low-end or middling graphics card, although it is determined by your software program. With the most recent generations of Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe has begun to broaden its use of AI-related applied sciences in significant methods. For example, Photoshop’s Change Sky and Neural Filters can reap the benefits of GPU {hardware} designed to speed up AI to hurry them up, such because the Tensor cores in Nvidia’s RTX playing cards. But when you do not have not less than 32GB of reminiscence, graphics purposes might get a much bigger increase from upgrading that earlier than the GPU, until the graphics card is basically outdated. 
  • For video modifying, the quantity of reminiscence on the cardboard can have a big effect on real-time efficiency as you’re employed with higher-resolution video (4K and up). 
  • Operating video games at 4K requires considerably extra video reminiscence than 1440p or decrease, not less than 8GB.

Does Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync make a distinction?

If you happen to’re delicate to display artifacts brought on by a disconnect between the speed at which your monitor updates and the body charge at which you are taking part in, otherwise you’re excited by proprietary applied sciences like Nvidia’s Latency Analyzer to assist enhance your gameplay by lowering lag, then you must positively not less than look into what every of them gives. In any other case, get the suitable GPU to your wants and work with what you get.

Learn What are Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync and Which Do I Want?.

Relative efficiency of latest GPUs

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming check (1440p)

A750 LE 80RTX 3060 82RTX 4070 163RTX 3080 Ti 167RX 7900 XT 182RTX 4070 Ti 195RX 7900 XTX 209RTX 4080 220RTX 4090 235

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming check (4K)

RTX 4070 84RTX 3080 Ti 97RX 7900 XT 99RTX 4070 Ti 103RX 7900 XTX 125RTX 4080 134RTX 4090 181

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

Guardians of the Galaxy (1440p at most high quality with ray tracing)

RTX 3060 45A750 LE 69RX 7900 XT 83RTX 4070 89RX 7900 XTX 93RTX 3080 Ti 102RTX 4070 Ti 109RTX 4080 136

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy

RTX 3060 8,628A750 LE 13,018RTX 4070 18,013RX 7900 XTX 19,760RTX 4070 Ti 22,731RX 7900 XT 24,814RTX 4080 28,275RX 7900 XTX 29,413RTX 4090 35,467

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

3DMark Hearth Strike Extremely

RTX 3060 5,269A750 LE 6,984RTX 4070 10,413RTX 3080 Ti 12,635RTX 4070 Ti 13,707RX 7900 XT 16,879RTX 4080 17,619RX 7900 XTX 19,760RTX 4090 24,407

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

3DMark Pace Means (DX12 Final)

RTX 3060 2,157A750 LE 2,366RTX 4070 4,479RX 7900 XT 4,534RTX 4070 Ti 5,429RX 7900 XTX 5,891RTX 4080 7,168RTX 4090 9,813

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

3DMark DXR (DirectX ray tracing)

RTX 3060 19.47A750 LE 29.57RX 7900 XT 42.06RX 7900 XTX 49.16RTX 4070 51.82RTX 3080 Ti 54.96RTX 4070 Ti 67.95RTX 4080 85.01RTX 4090 136.05

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)

Procyon Video

A750 LE 7,242RTX 3060 7,342RX 7900 XT 8,259RTX 4070 8,383RTX 4070 Ti 8,479RX 7900 XTX 8,494RTX 3080 Ti 8,792RTX 4080 9,250RTX 4090 9,678

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

SpecViewPerf 2020 SolidWorks (4K)

A750 LE 50.64RTX 4070 154.28RX 7900 XT 165.46RX 7900 XTX 184.8RTX 4070 Ti 189.64RTX 3080 Ti 191.52RTX 4080 233.84RTX 4090 304.66

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency (FPS)


Customized PC Microsoft Home windows 11 Professional (22H2); 3.2GHz Intel Core i9-12900K; 32GB DDR5-4800; 2x Corsair MP600 Professional SSD; Corsair HX1200 80 Plus Platinum PSU, MSI MPG Z690 Pressure Wi-Fi motherboard, Corsair 4000D Airflow midtower case

Extra gaming necessities 

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