Best graphics card 2018

What's the best gaming graphics card? We've benchmarked all the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards to help you find out

Best graphics card

We’ve tested them all, run the numbers, and these are the best graphics cards to buy today. The GPU is the silicon heart of your gaming PC and we’ve reviewed and benchmarked all the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. But should you go for a cheap graphics card or go all in for 4K? We can help…

If you want the absolute pinnacle of graphical prowess you could drop a cool $3,000 on Nvidia’s Titan V, but now that the RTX 2080 Ti is finally here, serious 4K performance is actually within reach. I mean yes, it is some $1,200, but that’s less than half the price of a Titan V for better performance. Bargain.

Radeon fans might have hoped the AMD Vega cards would have made more of an impact on the gaming world, but they’re still too expensive and too slow to really matter in the final reckoning.

So, what should you buy right now? Nvidia graphics cards are starting to creep down in price in the short-term, now that Nvidia’s Turing architecture, and subsequent RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Ti have been nominally released. The more mainstream RTX 2070 isn’t far off now either. Hell, even AMD cards are floating back down to pre-mining boom pricing.

Whether you’re chasing a good, cheap graphics card, a top-end 4K graphics card, or just simply the best overall GPU, we’ve got you covered.

The best graphics cards are:

Check out the best GPU deals at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Winner: Best graphics card

AMD RX 580 8GB

Approx. – $230 | £210

Vital stats

AMD's finest is getting close to its pre-mining pricing, and putting pressure back on the GTX 1060.

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,304
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

While Nvidia has launched a new generation of graphics cards, it’s only done so at the very highest end of the market. These are cards well beyond the prices most of us PC gamers can honestly afford to pay. So, until there are next-gen mainstream Turing GPUs in play the price/performance heroes remain the AMD RX 580 and GTX 1060.

And, finally, pricing has returned to a vaguely sensible level for the two cards where the RX 580 8GB is once more the cheaper option and the go-to card for non-billionaire PC gamers.

The Polaris-based Radeon cards perform better than the GTX 1060 competition in a handful of DX12 titles and in Doom’s Vulkan build. They have a superior memory setup, too. Not only does the RX 580 have an extra 2GB of VRAM at its disposal, useful for high-res textures and large open-world games, it’s also got that running over a wider, 256-bit, aggregated memory bus.

There have been a few second-hand ex-mining cards dropping into the market, but there are enough affordable brand new cards in stock at the major retailers that you don’t have to worry about picking a card that’s been down in the crypto pit 24 hours a day.

Read our full AMD Radeon RX 580 review.

Best graphics card runner-up - Nvidia GTX 1060 6GBrunner-up: Best graphics card

Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB

Approx. – $250 | £220

Vital stats

The mainstream Pascal GPU is finally affordable again.

  • GPUGP106
  • CUDA cores1,280
  • VRAM6GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus192-bit

We’re still a long way off from having genuinely mainstream Nvidia Turing graphics cards, with even the upcoming RTX 2070 set to cost at least $499 for the reference chip. So, until the 2060 – whether it gets RTX or GTX designation – appears, the graphics card we recommend for the vast majority of PC gamers is either the GTX 1060 or the RX 580.

AMD’s RX 580 has just pipped the GTX 1060 as the go-to card at the moment, thanks to its improved framebuffer, lower price tag, and better performance in modern APIs. But if you love yourself some Nvidia features – G-Sync, GeForce Experience, Shield’s GameStream, and the like – then the GTX 1060 6GB is still an absolutely brilliant gaming GPU.

On the whole, though, Nvidia’s GTX 1060 is a value card that will deliver fantastic performance in current-gen games, even if its DirectX 12 and Vulkan performance could do with a little work. Even though the prices of some Pascal cards are rising with the launch of the RTX 20-series, there are still a whole lot of affordable GTX 1060 cards around right now.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1060 review.

Runner-up: Best Graphics card

AMD RX 570

Approx. – $160 | £170

Vital stats

Getting close to being the great-value card this little Radeon used to be.

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,048
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

The RX 570 is finally at a non-ridiculous price now that stock is starting to filter back into the channel. Actually, with the card sitting at $150 on sale at Newegg at the moment, it is actually a kind of ridiculous price… in a good way. Even at its standard sub-$200 level it’s not a bad option.

You are missing out on the higher level of video memory you get with the 8GB version of the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 6GB, but 4GB is absolutely fine if you’re still rocking a 1080p monitor.

The RX 570 – with its only slightly cut-down Polaris 20 GPU – has still got the gaming goods, and if you can’t stretch to the price of a GTX 1060 then the second-tier Polaris card won’t disappoint.

Read our full AMD RX 570 4GB review.

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti

Winner: best 4K graphics card

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti

Approx. – $1,199 | £1,099

Vital stats

The pinnacle of 4K, 60fps gaming... even if it will cost you an arm and a leg. And a couple of kidneys too.

  • GPUTU 102
  • CUDA cores4,352
  • VRAM11GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus352-bit

The new RTX 2080 Ti is the true next-gen graphics card of the new Turing GPU generation. The RTX 2080 is only really delivering current gaming performance at the same level as the GTX 1080 Ti, but the RTX 2080 Ti goes well beyond it, offering genuine 4K gaming at 60fps in all but the most demanding of PC games. Yes, I’m looking at you Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. What were you thinking?

It may be insanely expensive, but then this isn’t really a GeForce graphics card. This is a Turing Titan in all but name. It’s the same price as the Titan Xp, delivers greater performance than the $3,000 Titan V, and looks bloody lovely at the same time.

All that and it’s got a host of new technology baked inside it that still has yet to be made available. There’s the promise of real-time ray tracing coming when Microsoft updates its Windows 10 OS with a new version of DirectX 12, there’s AI-based super-sampling that will make your games look prettier and run better. Then there’s all the other goodness AI will bring to gaming in the future via Microsoft’s WinML API, and the new shader techniques Nvidia has created for Turing.

It’s a great (frickin’ expensive) graphics card right now, and is only going to get better. Buy it if you want the ultimate in 4K gaming, and then bask in the knowledge there’s even more to come.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti review.

Best 4K graphics card - Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Runner-up: BEST 4K GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Approx. – $756 | £610

Vital stats

The Pascal generation's poster child, and the card the GTX 1180 has to beat.

  • GPUGP102
  • CUDA cores3,584
  • VRAM11GB GDDR5X
  • Memory bus352-bit

The GTX 1080 Ti is an outstandingly fast graphics card with a frame buffer that chews through high-fidelity 4K content. It’s not on par with the level of 4K gaming you can squeeze out of the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti, but then it is almost half the price too.

But if you want to be playing games at this Ultra HD 4K resolution then you’re going to need some serious graphics power to cope with the 8.3 million pixels you’ll be throwing around your screen. The step up from the two million pixels of 1080p – or even from the 3.7 million of 1440p – is massive, so you need something with at least the GPU juice of the GTX 1080 Ti to smooth out the jagged edges of 4K gaming.

This is the first sub-$1,000 card that’s able to consistently deliver around 60fps at 3840 x 2160 with almost all the bells and whistles of PC gaming firmly on. There are still exceptions to that rule, the punishing DirectX 12 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with everything turned on is still able to bring the GTX 1080 Ti’s performance down to a slow grind.

The RTX 2080 is the closest competition for the GTX 1080 Ti, but it’s more expensive and only ever a few frames per second ahead. That said, it does have a lot more to offer on both the gaming fidelity and potential performance front later on down the line. But you’re going to have to buy that on faith right now.

Until the prices of the 10-series inevitably rise beyond the new-gen GPUs as stock dries up, the GTX 1080 Ti is still an incredibly tempting option.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti review.

Nvidia RTX 2080

Runner-up: best 4k graphics card

Nvidia RTX 2080

Approx. – $799 | £749

Vital stats

The new RTX 2080 is a tough given its higher price tag, compared with the GTX 1080 Ti, and its similar performance.

  • GPUTU104
  • CUDA cores2,944
  • VRAM8GB GDDR6
  • Memory bus256-bit

The second-tier 20-series GPU from Nvidia is still a massively expensive GPU and yet is only delivering around the same performance as the previous generation’s GTX 1080 Ti. It’s at least $100 more expensive and can only offer a few frames per second over the competition at best.

But there is more to come from the RTX 2080, and we’re confident it will deliver on Nvidia fresh fine wine approach. For now, though, without more affordable reference card versions, it’s a tough sell. But as prices for the GTX 1080 Ti go up as stock volume goes down, and the reverse happens to the RTX 2080, it will become the go-to card compared to the Pascal GPU.

So should you buy either right now? Arguably no. It’s a bad time to buy a new GPU, unless you’re looking at the affordable GTX 1060 or RX 580 cards, or the hyper-expensive RTX 2080 Ti. For everyone else the prices are too much until the reference models arrive and the RTX 2070 gives us a third option.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 2080 review.

RUNNER-UP: BEST 4K GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1080

Approx. – $469 | £458

Vital stats

The first Pascal GPU is still one of the finest, and a decent 4K card too.

  • GPUGP104
  • CUDA cores2,560
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5X
  • Memory bus256-bit

Nvidia’s inaugural Pascal-powered GPU was built to tackle gaming at 3840 x 2160 and was the first GeForce card to really be able to deliver on that promise. The Maxwell-powered GTX Titan X, and subsequent GTX 980 Ti, got close to delivering 4K gaming, but the GTX 1080 took that a little further. Though, we’re still not talking about nailing 60fps in every modern game at the top settings here – that’s the purview of the new RTX 2080 Ti in all its glory.

Across our testing suite the GTX 1080 is mostly operating in the range between 40fps and 60fps on average. Serious frame rate compulsives may baulk at such ‘low’ performance, but those results are with the post-processing and texture settings pushed pretty much as high as they’ll go in-game. When you’re paying this much for your graphics card the idea of compromising on image quality might be a painful one, but with some smart cuts here and there, you’ll definitely be able to nail a solid 60fps.

The RTX 2080 Ti is now here, rocking the same TU102 GPU as the latest $10,000 Quadro cards, making it the go-to 4K graphics card of today. But it still commands a more egregious price premium than the GTX 1080 or GTX 1080 Ti. Though I guess it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend in the pursuit of smooth Ultra HD gaming.

RUNNER-UP: BEST 4K GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti

Approx. – $430 | £408

Vital stats

The most recent addition to Nvidia's current generation of cards, and bizarrely close to the might of the GTX 1080.

  • GPUGP104
  • CUDA cores2,432
  • VRAM8GB GDDR5X
  • Memory bus256-bit

The GTX 1070 Ti offers a little more bang for your buck than the GTX 1070. While it doesn’t quite reach GTX 1080 potential, this Ti fare can offer even more performance for your budget with a little tweaking under the hood. Thanks to the near-full performance GP104 core at 2432 CUDA cores, this card only suffers at the hand of its cut-down GDDR5 memory, as opposed to the GDDR5X found on the GTX 1080.

The GTX 1070 Ti is more than capable of 4K gaming, although as with the GTX 1070, you may need to drop the graphic fidelity a little to smooth out those stutters at times – especially in memory-intensive games.

While this graphics card offers great performance, it can be a little pricey once outfitted in third-party coolers – despite their lack of factory overclocks. If you can spare the dosh, you may be better off pushing your budget just a little further and picking up a GTX 1080.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti review.

RUNNER-UP: BEST 4K GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1070

Approx. – $390 | £370

Vital stats

An oldie, but still a capable card that will get you 30fps at 4K.

  • GPUGP104
  • CUDA cores1,920
  • VRAM 8GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

The GTX 1070’s more reasonable cost makes it a much more wallet-friendly option for 4K gaming, though it still occupies the sort of price point the top end of graphics cards of yesterday used to call their own. Bemoaning Nvidia’s super-high pricing gets us nowhere, though, so when this cheaper card is so close to the 4K performance of the GTX 1080, the GTX 1070 begins to look like the best Ultra HD value proposition.

You still get very playable 4K frame rates from the GTX 1070, but you will have to be more aggressive about the fidelity cuts when it comes to dialling back the graphics settings in-game to hit 60fps.

WINNER: BEST CHEAP GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti

Approx. – $169 | £150

Vital stats

A fantastic update to the GTX 750 Ti, offering 1080p gaming to low-end PCs with just a simple, affordable upgrade.

  • GPUGP107
  • CUDA cores768
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus128-bit

The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is a fantastic little card, slotting neatly between the low-performance RX 460 and quicker RX 470 cards from AMD. That’s  not a huge surprise given its relative pricing and specs, but what might be more of a surprise is just how capable the new GP107 GPU is when dealing with the latest games running at their highest 1080p settings.

With seriously GPU-taxing titles, like the DX12 variants of Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider, you’ll need to knock back your in-game graphics settings a touch, but for something like Grand Theft Auto V you can hit just under 60fps comfortably. And it’s pretty robust, too, maintaining comparatively high minimum frame rates.

Unfortunately, we’re not yet looking at the sort of pricing the previous GTX 750 Ti was retailing for. If the GTX 1050 Ti was selling for closer to $100 (£100) it would be an absolute no-brainer as the ultimate budget graphics card, but the pricing is a bit higher than we were hoping for. That’s even more evident when you see the price premium many manufacturers are putting on it with their mostly unnecessary overclocked editions.

Interestingly, we’re also starting to see silent, passively cooled versions of the GTX 1050 Ti, such as the one from Palit. For a noiseless gaming machine that would be a good shout. Though we did beat Palit to the punch by making our own passively cooled GTX 1050 Ti

Where the GTX 1050 Ti really stands out is in opening up PC gaming to a wider audience. Because its efficient GPU draws all its power from the PCIe bus, without needing an extra connection from the PSU, it can be an instant upgrade for any off-the-shelf office PC. For just $170 (£150), then, you can turn pretty much any ropey old PC from the last five years or so into a 1080p gaming machine to be proud of. You can’t ask much more than that.

Read our full Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti review.

RUNNER-UP: BEST CHEAP GRAPHICS CARD

Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB

Approx. – $213 | £178

Vital stats

Still a mighty impressive performer despite having half the memory of its bigger sibling.

  • GPUGP106
  • CUDA cores1,152
  • VRAM3GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus192-bit

The old AMD RX 570 is another cheeky pick for a budget graphics card, seeing as it also offers genuinely impressive performance at less than $200. The GTX 1060 3GB just about offers higher performance across the board now, so sneaks ahead of the Radeon chip.

It doesn’t have the full GP106 of its bigger brother, and comes with half the VRAM too, but it doesn’t lose out too much in terms of overall gaming performance… at least not yet. They’ve also remained remarkably resistant to the pricing increases with only a small premium added on at the moment.

Down the line that 3GB frame buffer might become an issue, but for a relatively low-cost graphics card upgrade this lower-spec GTX 1060 is worth a punt.

RUNNER-UP: BEST cheap GRAPHICS CARD

AMD RX 570

Approx. – $160 | £170

Vital stats

Getting close to being the great-value card this little Radeon used to be.

  • GPUPolaris 20
  • GCN cores2,048
  • VRAM4GB GDDR5
  • Memory bus256-bit

The RX 570 is finally at a non-ridiculous price now that stock is starting to filter back into the channel. Actually, with the card sitting at $150 on sale at Newegg at the moment, it is actually a kind of ridiculous price… in a good way. Even at its standard sub-$200 level it’s not a bad option.

You are missing out on the higher level of video memory you get with the 8GB version of the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 6GB, but 4GB is absolutely fine if you’re still rocking a 1080p monitor.

The RX 570 – with its only slightly cut-down Polaris 20 GPU – has still got the gaming goods, and if you can’t stretch to the price of a GTX 1060 then the second-tier Polaris card won’t disappoint.

Read our full AMD RX 570 4GB review.

Nvidia GeForce graphics card

Not everyone is lucky enough to be totally weapons free on budget when it comes to the most important component in a gaming PC: the graphics card. That’s why it’s so important, if you can’t afford a GTX 1080 Ti, that you make sure your money is well-placed in hardware that is going to deliver the best performance for your given budget.

While the GTX 1080 Ti is, until the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti release at least, boss of 4K gaming, the GTX 1060 and RX 580 are fighting it out for the all-important price/performance crown. The RX 580 is a little cheaper right now, so it just about noses ahead right now, however, both offer fantastic frame rates even when the settings are cranked up to the max, and you won’t be left high and dry with either Nvidia or AMD in your system.

The entry-level is almost entirely dominated by the green team, however. The GTX 1050 Ti is a great card for middling performance in AAA titles, and fantastic performance in some of the most popular, and less demanding, competitive games around. Perfect for Fortnite on a budget.

But, the GTX 1060 3GB is just a touch more expensive than the GTX 1050 Ti right now, and that GP106 GPU is so much more capable than the GP107 found on the cheaper card. The memory deficit, 3GB compared to the full-fledged GTX 1060’s 6GB, isn’t hugely detrimental in most titles, either. This makes the GTX 1060 3GB a perfect choice if you have a little leeway in your budget or can hold off on the HDD until you’ve accrued more funds down the line. A faster GPU is worth a temporary storage inconvenience, we promise.