We rated, reviewed, & compared 13 of the best graphics cards for gaming across various budgets. These top GPUs are perfect for gamers who are looking to max out their favorite games.
|Zotac GTX 1080 Ti||1569 MHz||11GB||9.7/10|
|Zotac GTX 1070||1518 MHz||8GB||9.4/10|
|EVGA GTX 1060||1506 MHz||6GB||9.2/10|
|MSI RX 560||1196 MHz||4GB||8.4/10|
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There is no component that has a bigger direct impact on your gaming experience than your video card will. And, if you’re looking to build a gaming computer in 2018 and you want to really take your gaming experience to the next level, then you definitely need to make sure you get yourself a high-end GPU.
A graphics card (or video card) basically acts like a second processor. However, the video card is only responsible for processing graphics-related tasks.
Therefore, having a high-end video card not only helps your system by improving the quality of visual effects that it can display, but also by relieving your main processor of the responsibility of having to carry out graphics-related tasks. This gives your computer a significant increase in performance in gaming over system’s that rely on the integrated graphics on their performance.
When building a new gaming computer, you want to put a good portion of your budget towards getting the best video card for gaming possible. It’s generally recommended to put at least 20-30% of your total budget into your graphics card.
In this post, we will take a look at the best gaming graphics cards for 2018 at various price ranges for different budget sizes. I’ve broken down the categories into four different graphics card tiers.
For each video card tier there’s a chart that breaks down the different options and then below a few of those cards are highlighted with an overview. There are definitely other worthy cards made by other manufacturers, but as I update this I try to find the card that’s going to offer the best price-to-performance. So, if a certain reputable manufacturer’s card is on sale when I update this list, then I’ll likely add their card.
Tier 1 graphics cards consist of the best options on the market. While they are very expensive, these GPUs will allow you to max out most games on a 1440p/144Hz monitor or a 4K monitor as well as allow you to get into VR gaming.
And, with all of the power that they bring to the table, they will stay relevant for a long time coming.
So, if you’re looking for the best GPU for gaming, and you’re planning on using a high-end monitor for better visuals, then you need one of these cards.
Right now, I think NVIDIA’s higher end cards have better value than AMD’s RX VEGA cards, as the VEGA cards tend to bench below their pricepoint when compared to how NVIDIA’s cards perform.
TIER 1 GPUS (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
These Tier 2 GPUs bring a lot of performance to the table. While they aren’t as powerful as the Tier 1 gaming video cards listed above, they aren’t that far behind either.
These graphics cards will easily max out any game on a 1920×1080 monitor and will even give you high-end performance on a 2560×1440 monitor in some non-demanding games.
The GTX 1060 and RX 580 can actually serve as decent options for entry-level 4K gaming as well. And, both of those cards meet Oculus Rift’s minimum requirements, so they will work for a future VR setups as well.
Ultimately, though, if you don’t want to spend much over $300, but you are looking to get one of the best video cards for the money, these cards will give you a ton of power.
TIER 2 GPUS (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
The Tier 3 GPUs are the sweet spot for gamers playing on a 1920×1080 monitor. These cards are powerful enough to max out pretty much any game at 1920×1080 resolution and they’re much more reasonable in price.
They will struggle with more demanding games at higher resolutions, but overall they are excellent options if you are sticking with a 1080p monitor.
Of the cards in this group, GTX 1050 Ti is the best overall option. It is capable of handling anything on medium-to-higher settings on a 1080p monitor and it can meet the requirements for VR-gaming (or, at least the Oculus Rift). The other two options are excellent choices as well if you are trying to build an extreme budget gaming PC.
Ultimately, though, the good news is that even though you don’t have a couple hundred or more to spend on getting the best GPU available, these options serve as amazing entry-level graphics cards and they will allow you max out most games on a 1920×1080 monitor.
TIER 3 GPUS (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Tier 4 GPUs are for any gamer who is working with an extremely tight budget and who either just wants to be able to play games on a 1080p monitor on medium (or lower) settings, or for those eSports-oriented gamers who want to play less-demanding games that are more competitive in nature.
Games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Team Fortress, Overwatch, etc. can all be handled easily by the video cards in this tier.
And, while the GPUs listed below aren’t good long-term options, they are still the best options in their price range.
Ultimately, while in the past budget-friendly cards could barely be expected to handle 1080p games on medium settings, nowadays these cards will provide you with a solid gaming experience at 1920×1080 resolution.
TIER 4 GPUS (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
WHICH GRAPHICS CARD IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
This is not a list of every graphics card on the market. There are certainly quite a bit of lower tier video cards that can be had. However, a lot of them are comparable to the integrated graphics you can get on a newer CPU.
There’s also AMD’s Vega GPUs that are set to hit the market soon. And, while NVIDIA has held the high-end of the market on lockdown for the past few generations, it is always at least worth looking into newer architecture before you make your decision.
However, the performance difference, if any, is usually negligent between AMD and NVIDIA’s offerings at the same price level. And, so if you’re ready to build now, the options listed here should fit your needs based off of the price range you are looking to choose from.
In the end, the graphics card you choose for your gaming computer will be the biggest determining factor in what games you can play, at what resolution you can play them at, and how high you can turn up the settings.