The best graphics card is objectively Nvidia's RTX 4090. Subjectively, however, you're going to want to weigh up the pros and cons of spending $1,600 or more on a single GPU. It's not for everyone. That's why we've tested every new GPU out of the Nvidia, AMD, and now Intel stables to find the best card across multiple price points. The results might surprise you.
For the high-end gamer, you've plenty of new cards to choose from. Nvidia has its RTX 40-series led by the RTX 4090, and that thing really is a beast of massive proportions. No seriously, it's huge. Then there's the RTX 4080, which is a bit too pricey for us, and the RTX 4070 Ti. The RTX 4070 Ti also costs a heap more cash than we'd like, but at least it's more reasonable than Nvidia's finest for a perfectly 4K capable card.
On the other end of the market, there's not much new to write about. Nvidia has a rather uninspired upgrade in the RTX 4060. We also met the release of AMD's RX 7600 with a shrug, but at least it's cheap enough now to feel more competitive. And Intel still has a dog in the budget game: the Arc A750. When this card drops down to around $200, it's a steal, though the drivers aren't always up to the standard we'd like to see. That leaves AMD's RX 7600 as the best budget graphics card today, mostly for being a boringly safe pick.
We suggest avoiding the high-end RX 6950 XT and RTX 3090 Ti nowadays, as these cards are generally being pushed out by similarly priced newer options. The only last-gen card we still really rate is the RX 6700 XT, which still offers a decent spec and performance for $320. I've listed the specific graphics cards we recommend in different categories below, but I've also lined up the most relevant GPUs of this latest generation (with a few guest appearances by still worthwhile last-gen cards) all in order of gaming performance.
Jacob has loads of experience with the latest and greatest graphics cards, reviewing many generations of Nvidia and AMD GPU over the years. He's au fait with the latest architectures, even Intel's Arc, and makes sure to rotate through the latest cards from all three major manufacturers to get first-hand experience of what they're like to game with. Not just of their performance, but also which offer the most useful features and have the most reliable drivers.
The quick list
The best overall GPU
The RTX 4090 is where it's at. This is the graphics card that truly represents a genuinely next-generation experience. It's also the most expensive card. Though the fact, if you take inflation into account, it's arguably cheaper than the RTX 3090 was.
The best AMD GPU
AMD has managed a supremely impressive feat with the RX 7900 XTX: it has managed to make the first generation of chiplet GPU actually work, and work at the high end. Sometimes it beats the RTX 4080, and for a good chunk less cash, too.
Best $500 - $600
The best $500 - $600 GPU
This is where the new Ada generation of Nvidia graphics cards started to really make sense. The market's a bit of a mess above it, but the RTX 4070 is a proper good GPU, offering performance at least at RTX 3080 levels, often more, for $100 less. The RX 7800 XT is still a tempting offer for less cash, however.
Best $350 - $500
The best $350 - $500 GPU
A very good graphics card for non ray-traced gaming, and the highest performance from a sub-$500 card. But with a multi-chip GPU that isn't moving the game forward, all it really has over the competition and its last-gen stablemate, is that lower price.
Best $250 - $350
The best $250 - $350 GPU
The RX 6700 XT has transformed into a great value card, making things rather tough for the RTX 4060 Ti. It's RDNA 2 design lacks the panache of Nvidia's DLSS 3 and Frame Gen tech, but there's a lot of graphics card here for its sub-$350 price-point.
Updated November 29 to remove Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, as they've finished for another year.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
✅ You want the best: The RTX 4090 is simply the most powerful GPU you can buy for your gaming PC today. The silicon inside it is monstrously powerful, and along with DLSS3 and Frame Generation it provides a truly next-gen experience.
✅ You want to nail 4K gaming: This is the card that makes 4K gaming buttery smooth. That 24GB frame buffer means you're not going to run out of VRAM any time soon.
✅ You're a creator as well as gamer: Time is money if you do any sort of professional GPU work, and the RTX 4090 could start to pay for itself right away given its rendering and compute power.
❌ You need to ask the price: It's fair to say that it's one of the best value Ada GPUs given its relative price performance ratio, but it's still $1,600 at best. Still, it's far cheaper than the RTX 3090 Ti was, and the RTX 3090 if you take inflation into account.
❌ You have a compact rig: This thing is BIG. Like, comically big.
🪛 The RTX 4090 is the true next-gen experience that we simply haven't seen from any of the other AMD or Nvidia cards from this new generation. And that almost makes it worth that exorbitant price tag.
There's nothing subtle about Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. It's a hulking great lump of a pixel pusher, and while there are some extra curves added to what could otherwise look like a respin of the RTX 3090 shroud, it still has that novelty graphics card aesthetic.
It looks like some semi-satirical plastic model made up to skewer GPU makers for the ever-increasing size of their cards. But it's no model, and it's no moon, this is the vanguard for the entire RTX 40-series GPU generation and our first taste of the new Ada Lovelace architecture.
On the one hand, it's a hell of an introduction to the sort of extreme performance Ada can deliver when given a long leash, and on the other, a slightly tone-deaf release in light of a global economic crisis that makes launching a graphics card for a tight, very loaded minority of gamers feel a bit off.
But we can't ignore it for this guide to the best GPUs around simply because, as it stands today, there's no alternative to the RTX 4090 that can get anywhere close to its performance. It's unstoppable, and will stay ahead of the pack as we now know AMD's highest performance graphics card, the RX 7900 XTX, is well and truly an RTX 4080 competitor.
This is a vast GPU that packs in 170% more transistors than even the impossibly chonk GA102 chip that powered the RTX 3090 Ti. And, for the most part, it makes the previous flagship card of the Ampere generation look well off the pace. That's even before you get into the equal mix of majesty and black magic that lies behind the new DLSS 3.0 revision designed purely for Ada.
Look, it's quick, okay. With everything turned on, with DLSS 3 and Frame Generation working its magic, the RTX 4090 is monumentally faster than the RTX 3090 that came before it. The straight 3DMark Time Spy Extreme score is twice that of the big Ampere core, and before ray tracing or DLSS come into it, the raw silicon offers twice the 4K frame rate in Cyberpunk 2077, too.
There's no denying it is an ultra-niche ultra-enthusiast card, and that almost makes the RTX 4090 little more than a reference point for most of us PC gamers. We're then left counting the days until Ada descends to the pricing realm of us mere mortals, which is still yet to happen despite the launch of the RTX 4070 Ti.
In itself, however, the RTX 4090 is an excellent graphics card and will satisfy the performance cravings of every person who could ever countenance spending $1,600 on a new GPU. That's whether they're inconceivably well-heeled gamers, or content creators not willing to go all-in on a Quadro card. And it will deservedly sell, because there's no other GPU that can come near it right now.
Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 review.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
✅ You find a discount: At its $1,200 price it's a poor deal, but if you can find the RTX 4080 below $999 it might be worth a punt for the serious gaming performance it offers.
❌ You can realistically afford the RTX 4090: If you're seriously considering $1,200+ an okay spend on a GPU, have a think if you could stretch to an RTX 4090 because it's a significantly better card, more so than the ~$400 difference.
❌ Space is a premium: It's the same size as the RTX 4090, and by that I mean it's absolutely ENORMOUS. Think seriously about the size of your case before you hit the buy button.
🪛 The RTX 4080 is almost impossible to recommend at its $1,200+ price point. At $999 or under it becomes a lot more tempting owing to its seriously impressive performance, and DLSS 3 support. Right now, though, it's hugely overpriced.
The Nvidia RTX 4080 is another speedy graphics card—it bloody should be for $1,200—and when you take DLSS 3 into account you are getting on for twice the performance of the similarly priced RTX 3080 Ti from the last generation. Seriously, Frame Generation is black magic.
But reviewing the RTX 4080 is tougher than being Jen-Hsun's spatula wrangler. Though it's a lot more straightforward now there's only a 16GB version and it doesn't come with some additional 12GB half breed trailing it around.
During a time of extreme economic difficulty and uncertainty across the globe, it's not a great look for both the main GPU makers to reveal their next generation graphics cards with the starting price being $900 at best. There will be arguments the $1,200 RTX 4080's performance over and above the RTX 3080 Ti renders it an unqualified success. But I have thoughts on that, too.
The RTX 4080 comfortably outperforms the similarly priced cards from the previous generation, most notably the $1,200 RTX 3080 Ti, and therefore is really hitting that gen-on-gen performance uplift we crave. But neither these GeForce cards should ever have been a $1,200 GPU.
Nvidia has pared the silicon back a whole lot to create the AD103 GPU in comparison to the AD102 chip of the RTX 4090. Generalising, it's 60% the size, has 60% of the transistors, and 60% of the CUDA cores, and yet is 75% of the price of the RTX 4090. If you wanted to do some simple maths the RTX 4080 really ought to be around $960.
But thanks to the abortive decision to launch with a pair of RTX 4080 cards at $1,200 and $899 respectively—with different levels of memory and wholly different GPUs—Nvidia was locked into this price even once it unlaunched the cheaper 12GB card.
How does it stack up against the Radeon RX 7900 XTX? We're looking at a very close-run thing. The AMD card performs at a roughly similar level to the RTX 3090, and for a $999 card that would make it tempting compared to a slightly quicker $1,200 RTX 4080, especially with its improved ray tracing capabilities.
AMD does lose on performance for the most part but sits comfortably lower in terms of pricing.
Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 review.