1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
GPU Cores: 4,352 | Base Clock: 1,350MHz | Boost Clock: 1,545MHz | GFLOPS: 13,448 | Memory: 11GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14 GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 616GB/s
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the latest and most potent GPU around, and it’s also one of the largest consumer GPUs ever produced. The Turing TU102 is 60 percent larger than the Pascal GP102 in the 1080 Ti, with 55 percent more transistors. Those extra transistors went into more CUDA cores, but Nvidia didn’t stop there, adding in Tensor cores to help accelerate deep learning algorithms like DLSS, plus RT cores to accelerate ray tracing.
There are plenty of other enhancements in the Turing architecture as well, but if you want the best, be prepared to shell out: the cheapest 2080 Ti cards start at $999, with many selling for $1,199 and up. Technically there’s also the Titan RTX, which more than doubles the price of the 2080 Ti, but it’s more of a prosumer card that anything we’d recommend for pure gaming purposes.
If you’re looking for the best value, forget about the new RTX cards. On the other hand, if you’re eyeing a 4k 144Hz HDR G-Sync display and you want the absolute fastest graphics card around, this is the card for you. You could even try adding a second card and using an NVLink connector, assuming you just won the lottery. We’re unlikely to see anything substantially faster for at least a year, so you’ll be able to sit comfortably at the top of the pecking order for a while.
2. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
GPU Cores: 2,944 | Base Clock: 1,515MHz | Boost Clock: 1,710MHz | GFLOPS: 10,068 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14 GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 448GB/s
Sure, the RTX 2080 Ti is the fastest graphics card and has all sorts of cool and potentially useful features, but at the current prices it’s a tough pill to swallow. Dropping down to the RTX 2080 will get you still excellent performance—it’s the second fastest consumer GPU, edging out the GTX 1080 Ti—and save over $300. And you still get the same ray tracing and deep learning (eg, DLSS) features, albeit not quite as many of each core type.
The one major caveat right now is the same as above, we’re still waiting for games that enable ray tracing effects and DLSS. Those should start arriving in the next month or so with a Shadow of the Tomb Raider patch and Battlefield 5, but will the RTX 2080 be powerful enough to use the new features? Most likely not at maximum resolution and quality, but hopefully we’ll be able to run at a reduced quality ray tracing mode that will look nearly as good and perform better.
3. AMD Radeon VII
GPU Cores: 3,840 | Base Clock: 1,400MHz | Boost Clock: 1,750MHz | GFLOPS: 13,440 | Memory: 16GB HBM2 | Memory Clock: 2 GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 1024GB/s
The Radeon VII is an excellent GPU for content creation duties with gaming as side job. That’s thanks to its massive 16GB of HBM2 and 1TB/s of memory bandwidth. It’s also the world’s first 7nm GPU, which is how AMD reduced the size compared to Vega 64 while boosting performance.
If you want the fastest graphics card that $700 can buy, you’re generally better off with the RTX 2080. It outperforms the Radeon VII by around 10 percent on average, and it does that while drawing less power. However, there’s something to be said for supporting AMD as an alternative to Nvidia, and some gamers will take that route.
Supply of the Radeon VII hasn’t kept up with demand, at least not yet, but we expect that to change. We also expect to see some custom designs from AMD’s AIB partners at some point, but right now all the Radeon VII cards use the same reference design. It’s a great design, though, with triple fans and a stylish enclosure. If you’re pulling for Team Red, this is currently as good as it gets.
4. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
GPU Cores: 2,304 | Base Clock: 1,410MHz | Boost Clock: 1,620MHz | GFLOPS: 7,465 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14 GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 448GB/s
The ray tracing future may sound great, but what if you can’t afford $700 or more on a graphics card? That’s where Nvidia’s RTX 2070 enters the picture, the third Turing GPU and the most affordable of the bunch. More importantly, it’s relatively widely available, and there are even a few cards at the base recommended price of $500. That’s still a lot of money for a graphics card, and the 2070 is actually slower than the previous generation 1080 Ti (see below), at least in games that don’t support DLSS—which is everything for the time being, though that should start to change soon.
The RTX 2070 effectively takes over where the GTX 1080 left off. It offers slightly better performance for the same price, and like the other RTX cards it features the new Tensor and RT cores. The Founders Edition wasn’t particularly impressive, given its $100 price premium, but we liked the EVGA 2070 Black quite a bit and it makes for a fine addition to any new gaming PC. The Gigabyte 2070 Windforce and Asus 2070 Turbo are two more options to consider, and all the 2070 GPUs tend to reach similar maximum overclocks.
5. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
GPU Cores: 1,920 | Base Clock: 1,410MHz | Boost Clock: 1,680MHz | GFLOPS: 6,451 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14 GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 336GB/s
The best graphics card isn’t simply the fastest graphics card, or the cheapest graphics card. Instead, the best graphics card needs to balance performance, price, and features. There are many great graphics cards, but for a great GPU that won’t break the bank, Nvidia’s RTX 2060 is probably the best option. It delivers performance roughly equal to the outgoing GTX 1070 Ti, with a lower price, plus all the new RTX features.
If you want to play games at 1080p or 1440p on a 144Hz display, the RTX 2060 has the chops to handle most games at close to high to ultra quality. Unless you enable ray tracing in games that support it, at which point it tends to come up short. Still, with a retail price of $350, it’s hard not to like the RTX 2060. About the only thing threatening its price/performance ratio is the GTX 1660 Ti.