TOP 10. Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2021

All the best gaming graphics cards have already been released. NVIDIA has unveiled the next generation GeForce RTX 3000 (September 2020). In response, AMD showed off the Radeon RX 6000 family of graphics cards (October 2020). Well, now some of last year’s decisions remain in the top. This article contains only the best graphics cards for gaming in 2021. Not all new cards meet the price-performance criteria. And also their cost significantly exceeds the recommended one. You need to choose a video card according to your needs and depending on the budget.

The best graphics cards for gaming 2021

LevelVideo cardResolution | Performance
Professional
(This is the minimum for 4K gaming. Last year, the RTX 2080 Ti brought 4K to the masses)
GeForce RTX 3090
Radeon RX 6900 XT
GeForce RTX 3080
Radeon RX 6800 XT
GeForce RTX 3070
Radeon RX 6800
1080p | 200 FPS
1440p | 130 FPS
2160p | 70 FPS
High
(4K resolution is not enough for comfortable gaming. More suitable for 1440p)
GeForce RTX 2080 Super
Radeon VII
Radeon RX 5700 XT
GeForce RTX 2070 Super
Radeon RX 5700
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
1080p | 140 FPS
1440p | 90 FPS
2160p | 50 FPS
Medium
(Can now be found for a great price. Exactly enough for FullHD games)
GeForce GTX 1080
Radeon RX Vega 64
GeForce GTX 1070
Radeon RX 5600 XT
Radeon RX Vega 56
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
1080p | 110 FPS
1440p | 70 FPS
2160p | 30 FPS
Low
(This is the minimum level of video cards for playing FullHD. We do not recommend buying below)
GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Radeon RX 590
GeForce GTX 980
GeForce GTX 1650
Radeon RX 580
GeForce GTX 1060
1080p | 80 FPS
1440p | 50 FPS
2160p | 15 FPS

The average frame rate allows you to evaluate the performance of your video card It may differ depending on the resolution, video card, specific game, graphics settings and even its optimization. And also non-reference video cards have plus overclocked GPU frequencies.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
Title / ArchitectureGA104 / Ampere
Process technology / Number of transistors8 nm 8N / 28 300 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 395/1 695/19 500 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus24 GB / GDDR6X / 384 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface936 Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing350 W / 35.6 teraflops

The GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card is aimed more at the professional than the gaming segment – for example, for complex 3D modeling. It uses the Ampere architecture (2nd generation NVIDIA RTX) with twice the performance of ray tracing and artificial intelligence technologies. Equipped with an impressive 24GB of GDDR6X video memory.

The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 outperforms the RTX 3080 by an average of 10-15% depending on game and resolution. There is real support for 8K resolution, since the video card has sufficient performance using DLSS. For games, it does not meet the price-quality criterion. This is more of a professional model with a list price of $ 1499.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
Title / ArchitectureNavi 21 / RDNA 2
Process technology / Number of transistors7 nm TSMC / 26 800 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1,700 / 2 250 / 16,000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus16 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface512Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x1
Power Consumption / Computing300 W / 23.1 teraflops

AMD responded with a Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card based on AMD's RDNA 2 architecture. It received a new 128MB AMD Infinity Cache and 16GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory. Has 80 computational units responsible for accelerating ray tracing. Designed specifically for comfortable 4K frame rates.

There is a drop in performance in the Radeon RX 6900 XT when the RT technology is activated, as in the entire RX 6000 series. In comparison with the first generation RTX in the 20 series, it is not so big. The RX 6900 XT sits between the GeForce RTX 3090 and the 3080, with an MSRP of $ 999. Supports Smart Access Memory technology (CPU accesses GPU memory directly).

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
Title / ArchitectureGA104 / Ampere
Process technology / Number of transistors8 nm 8N / 28 300 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1,440 / 1,710 / 19,000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus10 GB / GDDR6X / 320 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface760 Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing320 W / 29.8 teraflops

Now everyone can comfortably play in 4K (at maximum graphics settings) with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 video card. It has 10 GB of video memory (GDDR6X type), HDMI 2.1 support and many other functions. Its bandwidth has been increased from 448 to 760 GB / s. The 30 series uses a new 12-pin power connector (adapter included).

NVIDIA compared the RTX 3080 to its GeForce RTX 2080 Super. In games, up to 50% gain in 4K resolution without ray tracing, and up to 70% with ray tracing (depending on whether DLSS is used). Its MSRP is $ 699, but it's hard to find it for that price. The improved cooling system compensates for the increased power consumption of the graphics card.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
what graphics cards are good for gaming
Title / ArchitectureNavi 21 / RDNA 2
Process technology / Number of transistors7 nm TSMC / 26 800 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1,700 / 2 250 / 16,000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus16 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface512Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing250 W / 20.7 teraflops

Everyone was waiting for AMD Navi 21 GPUs, also known as Big Navi, based on RDNA 2 architecture. The Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card is positioned as a competitor to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (and Radeon RX 6800 vs GeForce RTX 3070). The three new GPUs feature 16GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit memory interface and an unrealistic 128MB of AMD Infinity Cache.

The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card significantly outperforms the Radeon VII (as well as the Radeon RX 5700 XT). It opens up the possibility of playing in 4K resolution. For example, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is 70% ahead of its fellow RX 5700 XT. With ray tracing enabled, its power may not be sufficient. But the MSRP of $ 649 makes the card the best for 4K.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
Title / ArchitectureGA104 / Ampere
Process technology / Number of transistors8 nm 8N / 17 400 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1,500 / 1,725 ​​/ 14,000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus8 GB / GDDR6X / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface448 Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing220 W / 20.4 teraflops

Tests show that NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is an analogue of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (in terms of performance), but consumes less power and, most importantly, costs half the price. Recommended price $ 499. Like the Radeon 6800, it delivers acceptable performance in 4K, but the memory capacity is 2 times less - 8 GB. Allows you to output 4K content at 120 FPS or 8K.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
best graphics cards for gaming in 2021
Title / ArchitectureGA104 / Ampere
Process technology / Number of transistors8 nm 8N / 17 400 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 410/1 665/14 000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus8 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface448 Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing220 W / 16.2 teraflops

The RTX 3060 Ti graphics card is built on a stripped-down RTX 3070 processor - with the new Ampere architecture. NVIDIA claims the new RTX 3060 Ti is more powerful than the RTX 2080 and 40% faster than the RTX 2060 Super. Has on board 8 GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit bus. The recommended price is $ 399. Unfortunately, it sells for twice the price. In 4K, its performance may no longer be enough.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super

GeForce RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080
Title / ArchitectureTU104 / Turing
Process technology / Number of transistors12 nm FFN / 13,600 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 650/1 815/15 500 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus8 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface496 Gb / s / PCI Express 3.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing250 W / 10 teraflops

It was GeForce RTX 2080 Super that topped the rating of video cards in terms of price-quality ratio. For its money (official price $ 699) this was the best deal. At the time, AMD couldn't compete with its Radeon VII and RX 5700 XT. Although it was a little too early to talk about high-quality gameplay in 4K (we had to sacrifice graphics settings).

AMD Radeon VII

AMD Radeon VII
graphics cards for gaming in 2021
Title / ArchitectureVega 20 / GCN 5
Process technology / Number of transistors7 nm TSMC / 13,200 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 400/1 750/2 000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus16GB / HBM2 / 4096 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface1 TB / s / PCI Express 3.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing300 W / 14.2 teraflops

The graphics card is the successor to the Radeon RX Vega and uses a GPU based on the 2nd generation Vega architecture. And this is AMD's first 7nm gaming accelerator. Offers fast 16GB HBM2 memory. Depending on the game, its real performance is between the RTX 2070 Super and the RTX 2080. And the price is at the start of $ 700.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super

GeForce RTX 2070
graphics cards for gaming in 2021
Title / ArchitectureTU104 / Turing
Process technology / Number of transistors12 nm FFN / 13,600 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 605/1 770/14 000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus8 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface448 Gb / s / PCI Express 3.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing215W / 9.1Tflops

In practice, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super keeps pace with the GTX 1080 Ti. It was the Super versions that were introduced to compete with AMD Navi: the Radeon RX 5700 and the XT version. Its MSRP was $ 499. In comparison with the first representatives of NVIDIA Turing, users won, as they got more for less money. The power of which will be enough for 2K games.

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AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

AMD Radeon RX 5700
graphics cards for gaming in 2021
Title / ArchitectureNavi 10 XT / RDNA
Process technology / Number of transistors7 nm FinFET / 10 300 million
Base / Turbo / Run frequency1 605/1 905/14 000 MHz
Size / Type / Memory Bus8 GB / GDDR6 / 256 Bit
Bandwidth / Interface448 Gb / s / PCI Express 4.0 x16
Power Consumption / Computing225 W / 9.7 teraflops

Earlier, AMD introduced new RDNA logic, which replaced GCN. The Radeon RX 5700 video card received 8 GB of GDDR6 video memory. The MSRP was announced at $ 400. In games, the version without XT leaves no chance for the GeForce RTX 2060 with an advantage of 5-12% (depending on the resolution), and the Radeon RX 5700 XT is on a par with the GeForce RTX 2070 Super.

Conclusion

The top-end NVIDIA RTX 3000 and Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards were introduced even before 2021. Companies will definitely delight us with new products (graphics solutions). The most interesting are the direct competitors: GeForce RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800 XT. Unfortunately, they are sold for significantly more than the manufacturer's recommended cost.

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