Our main focus on this website is 144Hz monitors, although we cover all monitors out there that are interesting. With that said, in order to take advantage of a 144Hz refresh rate, you will need a 144FPS or above too. If you are playing a very demanding game, it may be difficult to reach the desired 144FPS and you may want to upgrade your graphics card or lower the settings to take advantage of your monitor. This buying guide will also be suitable for people who are just looking for a new GPU and want the best recommendations, as new and better graphics card keep getting released.
What is the best graphics card? Looking for NVIDIA graphics cards or perhaps AMD graphics cards? Looking for new graphics card 2016? Below are the best graphics cards for every purpose, including gaming, everyday use, watching movies, working, movie rendering, 3D graphics rendering, etc. So without further ado, we now present the best graphics cards for PC, VR and everything else.
|Type||Graphics Card||Memory||Core Clock Speed||Min. Power Supply|
|Entry-level Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GT 730||2 GB GDDR5||902 MHz||300W|
|Best Budget Graphics Card||AMD Radeon RX 460||4 GB GDDR5||1250 MHz||500W|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||4 GB GDDR5||1354MHz||300W|
|Mid-Tier Graphics Processing Unit||AMD Radeon RX 470||4 GB GDDR5||1270MHz||400W|
|Best Value For Money GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060||6 GB GDDR5||1569 MHz||400W|
|AMD Radeon RX 480||8 GB GDDR5||1303 MHz||500W|
|Best Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070||8 GB GDDR5||1607 MHz||500W|
|4K Gaming Graphics Processing Unit||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080||8 GB GDDR5X||1721MHz||600W|
|AMD Radeon R9 Fury X||4 GB HBM||1050 MHz||600W|
|AMD Radeon R9 Nano||4 GB HBM||1000 MHz||550W|
|Best Dual-GPU Graphics Cards||AMD Radeon R9 295X2||8 GB GDDR5 (2 x 4 GB)||1018 MHz||850W|
If you still wondering what the best graphics card today is for your budget and expectations, take a look at the table just above. We hope the table above can aid you to pick the best graphics card for your purposes and needs.
A detailed sheet of graphics card specifications and tons of reviews are great without a doubt, but it will surely cost you a lot of time and stress to look through a bunch of graphics cards. We have done the paperwork and collected a list of the best graphics cards, split into several different categories. You simply look at the categories and choose the one that fits your situation best, and then select a GPU accordingly. This is a list of discrete graphics cards for gamers, so if you do not play games, then you are better off using your in-built graphics card or a very cheap card for your everyday usage at home or the office.
In categories where GPU’s that support AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-SYNC, we try to include one GPU from each manufacturer that are very much alike and support the respective technology. So if you already have a FreeSync monitor, you choose the AMD card and the NVIDIA card if you have a G-SYNC monitor. Choosing one technology over the other pretty much locks you to that GPU vendor until you purchase a new monitor and it’s not like you are going to replace your monitor every year. On average, a monitor is replaced every 4-5 years.
Disclaimer: Clicking on a product name link will bring to you to the appropriate Amazon.com (.co.uk, .de, etc) product listing, where you can check the price, customer reviews and more information about the product or similar products.
Entry-level Graphics Card
The best graphic card “starter kit” right now is according to our analysis the NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 for NVIDIA users. This is one of the cheaper NVIDIA graphics cards and is very good for its price, which is around $70. That’s a very generous amount of money for a 2GB GPU and the best graphics card under $100 you can get for the money.
The GeForce GT 730 is basically a GeForce GT 630, but with more memory. Be sure to grab the 64-bit GDDR5 version, as the 128-bit version is a bit less powerful in terms of performance. It runs at a core clock of 902 MHz and the recommended minimum power supply wattage is 300W. If you play low demanding games like League of Legends, you can easily play those with this card at 1920×1080 resolution. Not on maxed out settings, but on mid to high settings at 60 FPS and above.
If you really want an AMD discrete GPU, then our top suggestion is the AMD Radeon R7 240. It can be purchased for around $70 as well and we recommend it to be used with a 400W minimum power supply. We recommend the Gigabyte overclocked one, which has an overclocked clock speed of 900 MHz. If you’re in the need of a power supply as well, then you might find our pick for the best PC power supply at this specific category.
Best Budget Graphics Card
A GPU is most likely the most expensive hardware in a powerful gaming rig, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get a decent amount of power so that you can play your favorite games at full resolution. We actually have both an AMD gaming graphics card and an NVIDIA graphics card in this category, where the AMD card is a tiny little bit older and the NVIDIA GPU is a brand-new bestselling graphics card released in October 2016 that we highly recommend to anyone wanting the best budget graphics card right now. Our AMD recommendation is the new AMD Radeon RX 460, a 4 GB GDDR5 graphics card with a 1090 MHz clock speed, a 256-bit memory bus and support for 4K UHD resolution at 120Hz, and finally AMD FreeSync.
Now comes the real kicker – the TDP of the AMD Radeon RX 460 can be so low that you won’t even need the power connectors! It’s your choice if you want to use power connectors as a performance headroom or have an efficient card without any power connectors. For gaming, we recommend that you use the power connectors as it allows you to unlock the full potential of this best cheap graphics card. The recommended power supply for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is specified at 300W so we recommend that number at least if you plan on getting the AMD Radeon RX 460, just to have a little extra headroom. The Radeon RX 460 is more power efficient than the GTX 1050 Ti, but it’s up to you which GPU you would like to have. It party matters which monitor you have – as new NVIDIA cards (including the GTX 1050 Ti) support G-SYNC while new AMD cards support FreeSync. These technologies basically eliminate screen tearing without any performance penalty whatsoever. It’s simply amazing and definitely something to try if you haven’t done that already.
Our top NVIDIA graphics card in this category, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (04G-P4-6253-KR) needs a recommend minimum power supply of only 300W, and it has a good 4 GB GDDR5 memory and support for DX12 (DirectX 12 OSD). This great GPU is also NVIDIA G-SYNC ready as well and you can easily achieve 144FPS on many games with this inexpensive GPU so be sure to pair this GPU up with the best 144Hz monitor if you want the best gaming experience. The GTX 1050 Ti (Pascal) has a price sitting at around $150 as of November 2016, though the actual price might have changed when you click on the link above. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is more efficient per Watt and clearly the best affordable graphics card.
So yeah, as it stands right now, the the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is the overall best choice for consumers right now. It offers a better performance than the AMD Radeon RX 460, but the AMD graphics card is also cheaper, so keep that in mind. If you got the extra bucks, we highly recommend the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti for sure, since you will get the best budget graphics card with the greatest performance. This graphic card will be a great choice if you want a budget GPU since it offers a great combination of power usage and performance. If you want the best cheapest GPU right now, you should get the AMD Radeon RX 460 (Polaris). Currently, it costs around $25 less after rebates. But overall, it’s all up to your preferences, which gaming monitor you have and which best deal you can get on either of them.
As of right now (though be aware that the prices might have changed), the Radeon RX 460 can be found for around $125 and the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti for around $150. You can easily top out 144FPS on League of Legends with Ultra settings with any of these cards. These cards are the best graphics cards under 150 USD out there right now.
Mid-Tier Graphics Processing Unit
The best mid range graphics card 2016 is surely the new 2016 Polaris AMD Radeon RX 470 for AMD FreeSync users. With a great price tag of just under $200 and a 4GB memory, this GPU is our current top pick for this month. For NVIDIA G-SYNC users, we recommend that you either downgrade to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or save up and buy the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. These graphics cards are newer and can, therefore, compete with the newly released AMD Radeon RX 470. We recommend a minimum 400W PSU to be used along with this mid-tier graphics processing unit (GPU).
Nonetheless, you can enjoy 1080p gaming with any of these cards. Battlefield 1 at 1080p on Ultra settings will be able to run at around 70 FPS on the AMD Radeon RX 470. It will run at roughly 55 FPS on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and around 85 FPS on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.
Best Value For Money GPU
The best graphics card for the money is, as you might have guessed, the new Pascal GPU from NVIDIA, the incredible NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. It is just an incredible card with good performance for a fair price. There is a reason that it is the one of the best selling graphics card on Amazon with over 100 user reviews since the end of July 2016 with an average customer rating of 4.8/5 on Amazon.com! This incredible GPU from NVIDIA is definitely the best value GPU on the market right now. It supports DirectX 12, is VR ready and has a good 6GB GDDR5 memory. As of November 2016, this GPU costs roughly $300, although that price might have changed when you view this GPU on Amazon. We recommend that you have at least a 400W PSU to supply power to this beast.
The closest AMD rival to this GPU would be the new Polaris GPU from AMD, the AMD Radeon RX 480. This incredible GPU offers a whopping 8GB video memory, is VR ready, supports DirectX 12 and supports CrossFire as well. You can connect up to four (4) displays to this good inexpensive GPU and 4K is supported of course. The AMD Radeon RX480 GPU also costs less than the GTX 1060 – roughly $50, but this can change anytime, so be sure to check the price out first and not take my word for it.
You will get the AMD Radeon RX 480 from MSI Gaming – Gaming X. This GPU requires a minimum power supply of 500W, so be sure you have that before purchasing this great graphics card. The GPU clock speed is specified at 1303 MHz and can be boosed up to 1316MHz in OC mode. It offers 2304 stream processor units and a 2-way CrossFire. This is one of the best-selling graphics cards out there and we definitely suggest that you buy this if you are looking to get the best graphics card for the money. This gaming GPU is not superclocked (SC), but it doesn’t matter since it is fast anyway. You can play at 4K resolution with older titles as well as newer titles, so it’s a great plus. For 8K gaming ,you will want to get the more expensive GeForce GTX 1070 or GeForce GTX 1080 gaming graphics card.
Newer games, such as AAA games, will cause trouble and you will have to turn down the graphics to get a decent frame rate. The GeForce GTX 1060 is in most people’s eyes a 2560×1440 graphic card as it can run most titles at a decent frame rate and game settings on this particular resolution. Battlefield 4 at Ultra settings and 1080p will run at around 85FPS with this video card for gaming.
So yeah, get whichever card suits you best. If you have a 400W PSU, then you can’t the AMD Radeon RX 480 of course, since we recommend a 500W PSU. Other than this, the choice relies on your gaming monitor (FreeSync or G-SYNC) and overall gaming graphics card preferences. Both these cards are the best value graphics card out there right now.
Best Graphics Card
We finally have it – the best graphics card for gaming 2016. We have chosen the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 to have this title. With all things taken into consideration, we believe that the GeForce GTX 1070 gaming graphics card is overall the best graphics card today. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC gaming graphics card features an amazing 8GB GDDR5 video memory, a base clock of 1594MHz (1784 Boost Clock) and a brand-new ACX 3.0 cooling system, EVGA’s air cooling system, which the company claims is the world’s most efficient air cooler. The term “SC” means Superclocked.
You can easily play 4K games up to 120Hz with this great gaming graphics card, but it can get difficult for AAA games on very high graphics settings. Furthermore, the GTX 1070 gaming graphics card supports NVIDIA G-SYNC as well. DirectX 12 OSD is, of course, also supported on this amazing GPU.
If you want the best graphics card but won’t use a lot of cash, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 is the best GPU 2016.
4K Gaming Graphics Processing Unit
The best GPU for 4K gaming today is obviously the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. This incredible GPU has 8GB GDDR5X video memory, an amazing ACX 3.0 cooling system by EVGA, RGB LED system, 10 power phases, a double BIOS, support for DirectX 12 OSD (PXOC) and NVIDIA G-SYNC. The base clock frequency is listed as 1721MHz and it can be boosted up to 1860MHz. We recommend a PSU of minimum 600W to be used with this powerful 4K GPU.
Battlefield 1 at Ultra settings on 1080p will run at 140FPS. If you switch it up a notch to 2160p (4K UHD), you can get around 70 FPS on Ultra settings. This is great and makes this the best 4K graphics out there right now, until January, where the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti will be released. The content below is previously written content and will be replaced in January once the GTX 1080 Ti gets released. For now, it just stays there for reference. The AMD section can still be used, if you’re looking for the best AMD graphics cards.
If you want to enjoy 4K gaming, then you will have to invest in a more expensive GPU setup. For NVIDIA users, the obvious choice right now is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti. The “Ti” is a term that NVIDIA uses and stands for Titanium. They actually don’t add titanium of any kind and it is just all marketing. Essentially it means that the card has more processor cores than its non-Ti variant.
If you’re the AMD type, we recommend the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X. Released in June 2015, the AMD R9 series is a new and powerful series of discrete graphic cards. The Fury X is a very powerful GPU but is slightly worse in performance benchmarks, less power efficient and offers fewer features than the GTX 980 Ti does.
4K gaming on AAA titles should get you decent frame rates with medium graphics on any of these high range graphics cards. The Fury X also performs much better on DirectX 12 games than on games running on DirectX 11. The price of the 4K gaming graphics card, GTX 980 Ti is around $660 and the Fury X can be found for the same price.
AMD has also released a very powerful GPU with a small form factor that fits in a mini-ITX case and is capable of running triple-A games on 4K Ultra HD resolution. The GPU in question is the AMD Radeon R9 Nano and it is recommended to be used with a minimum power supply of 550W. It has 4GB HBM memory and a core base clock of 1000MHz. Wondering what HBM means? HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) is a high-performance RAM interface and is introduced in AMD’s flagship Fiji GPU series. HBM brings down the area that is needed for GPU and memory and thus allows engineers to build smaller GPUs such as the R9 Nano.
Best Dual-GPU Graphics Cards
Looking for an AMD Crossfire setup? Then you are going to spend a lot of money and you are going to need a very powerful GPU. A CrossFire setup of two AMD Radeon R9 295 needs at least to have a power supply of 850W to be safe. You will end up with a total of 8 GB GDDR5 memory and 4K games will run smoothly and on high frame rates. This is the best GPU setup you can get right now. The R9 295X2 GPU setup solution is the most powerful setup you can get along with the NVIDIA GTX Titan Z, which cost a whopping $1500.
In this guide, we showed you the best gaming graphics card to buy for your needs and budget out there right now. If you have any suggestions, let us know in the comments and we will have a look at it. We hope we helped you choose your next gaming, video editing or rendering GPU! Some of these graphics cards will surely stay in 2017.
If you are interested in knowing what the best Android TV box is, then check out our buyer’s guide on that topic!
October 2016 Update: Major re-vamp of this buyer’s guide in Mid-October. Stay tuned.
NOTE: Next-gen graphics card are right around the corner. We’ll update this guide by July 2016 to account for them, but in the meantime have a look at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, AMD Radeon RX460, AMD Radeon RX470 and AMD Radeon RX480. The new NVIDIA Pascal and AMD Polaris architecture flagship graphics cards will be taken into account in the July 2016 update. We just wanted to inform you of these GPU’s if you wish to get these new ones.
December 2015 Update: Minor text update