December 2015 Update: Minor text update
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.
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.
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.
|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 750 Ti||2 GB GDDR5||1176 MHz||300W|
|Mid-Tier Graphics Processing Unit||AMD Radeon R9 380||4 GB GDDR5||970 MHz||500W|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960||4 GB GDDR5||1279 MHz||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 980 Ti||6 GB GDDR5||1102 MHz||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|
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.
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 about 10-15% better in benchmarks, but much less power efficient. Our AMD recommendation is the AMD Radeon R7 370, a 2 GB DDR5 graphics card with 1000 MHz clock speed, a 256-bit memory bus and support for 4K UHD resolution and AMD FreeSync. The recommended power supply is a minimum of 450W, which is quite a lot, as this card is larger than the 750 Ti and less power efficient. With the NVIDIA top pick, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti, we recommend a minimum power supply of just 300W and it also has a 2 GB GDDR5 memory.
If you have the necessary power output, then sure, you might as well get the AMD for that performance boost, but we if were to choose between the two, we would surely choose the GTX 750 Ti because it is more efficient and most of the models out there doesn’t even need a six-pin connector. It has a great combination of power and performance, and if you are sensitive to size and power requirements, then this graphic card will be a great choice for you if you want a budget GPU.
As of right now, the Radeon R7 370 can be found for around $150 and the GeForce GTX 750 Ti for $125. 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 AMD Radeon R9 380 for AMD FreeSync users. With a great price tag of just $230 and a 4GB memory, this GPU is our current top pick for this month. For NVIDIA G-SYNC users, we recommend the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, which performs worse than the R9 380, but is more power efficient, like the previous case.
Nonetheless, you can enjoy 1080p gaming with any of these cards. Battlefield 4 at 1080p on Ultra settings will be able to run at around 55 FPS on the GTX 960 and around 65 FPS on the R9 380.
Best Value For Money GPU
The best graphics card for the money is, as you might have guessed, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970. It is just an incredible card with good performance for a fair price. There is a reason that it is the best selling graphics card on Amazon with over 1100 user reviews. Even though it has a 4GB memory like the Radeon R9 380, this card performs much better and cost around $100 more. If you get the SC ACX 2.0 model, which is the best-selling model, you end up with core clock speed of 1216 MHz. It supports 4K resolution and you can even play some older titles on 4K without any hassles. The term “SC” means Superclocked and ACX 2.0 is EVGA’s air cooling solution, which the company claims is the world’s most efficient air cooler.
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 970 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 80FPS with this card.
The GTX 970 can be compared to the AMD Radeon R9 390 instead. The R9 390 computer video card performs better and costs around $20 more, but we recommend a 600W power supply to be used with this particular GPU. Our graphic cards comparison show that the R9 390 performs around 10-15% better on average, hence the R9 390 being our AMD favorite and the best value for money graphics card for AMD users.
4K Gaming Graphics Processing Unit
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.
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!