The 10 Best Graphics Cards

Updated April 03, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. While most video processors are up to the task of streaming in HD, standard graphics cards may struggle to keep up with the demands for highly nuanced visuals and rapidly changing landscapes common in today's video games. These more robust options are built to deliver exceptional frame rates and vivid imagery without lagging, pixelating or going up in smoke. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best graphics card on Amazon.

10. Gigabyte Radeon RX 570

Featuring 16.8M customizable color renderings and optimized light saturation, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 is a solid mid-range option with an intuitive Aorus graphics engine and 6+1 power phases for steady, reliable day-to-day performance.
  • stable output voltage
  • quiet windforce 2x fan
  • no secondary dvi or hdmi2 port
Brand Gigabyte
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Asus Cerberus 1050 Ti

The Asus Cerberus 1050 Ti comes with GPU Tweak II software for extensive monitoring and adjustment capabilities. And for more hands-off operators, its automation technology offers reliable performance without a lot of manipulation.
  • plug-and-play design
  • reinforced circuit board
  • counterintuitive heat sink placement
Brand Asus
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Radeon RX 480

The Radeon RX 480 features a patented low-noise airflow generator and 256 more processing units than the next chipset down the line, plus one HDMI and three additional outputs, so you can code, display results and blow off steam all at once.
  • 2000 mhz memory
  • multi-gpu support
  • drivers not included
Brand AMD
Model 並行輸入品
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Gigabyte GTX 1060

Whether you're trying to take over the world in the latest iteration of "Civilizations" or just taking out pent-up aggression on the avatar of your arch nemesis, the Gigabyte GTX 1060 will serve it all up in accurate detail without emptying your wallet.
  • customizable color rgb lighting
  • great value for solid frame rates
  • backplate design could be better
Brand Gigabyte
Model GV-N1060G1GAM-3GD R2
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Gigabyte Radeon RX 580

With an Aorus graphics engine driving the show, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 can handle just about anything you throw at it. It's got a boost frequency of up to 1,340 MHz and a nearly 6 billion transistor footprint to deliver a 6.2 teraflops maximum performance.
  • vr-ready precision
  • 42 gigapixel fill rate
  • 4gb of gddr5 memory
Brand Gigabyte
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Asus ROG Strix 1080 Ti

Offering eleven gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM with a triple exhaust to prevent overheating, the 5K, HD-ready design and afterburner overclocking utility of the Asus ROG Strix 1080 Ti would make it an excellent addition to your virtual- and augmented-reality gaming rig.
  • max contact copper spreader
  • more than 144 frames per second
  • full directx 12 support
Brand Asus
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Radeon RX Vega 64

The Radeon RX Vega 64 has got the chops to dish up superior video quality for all of your streaming media and gaming activities, and it won't lose its cool, no matter how many times you level up, nor how furious the mythic battle you're engaged in.
  • dual 4-pin headers
  • triaxial ventilation
  • immersive 5k hd
Brand Asus
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Asus ROG GTX 1070 Ti

Three axial fans maximize airflow for 40% greater-than-average heat dissipation from the Asus ROG GTX 1070 Ti, letting it power through one weekend marathon after another without getting fried, so you are likely to run out of steam before it does.
  • 1759 mhz boost clock
  • displays millions of colors
  • 1-yr premium license included
Brand Asus
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Asus ROG Strix Vega 56

Aerospace-grade alloy components and zero-decibel wing-blade fans make the Asus ROG Strix Vega 56 a smooth and virtually silent operator for delivering flawlessly calibrated imagery from across the spectrum without lagging or overheating.
  • superior cooling efficiency
  • comes with xplit game caster license
  • radeon gega coprocessor
Brand Asus
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Zotac GeForce AMP Extreme Core

The Zotac GeForce AMP Extreme Core features customizable thermal alarm settings and a vented heat sink fin to optimize airflow, plus nine additional temperature sensors and double ball-bearing fans for crisp visuals that still pop long after the competition's fizzled out.
  • 11 gigs of onboard memory
  • safety fuse to prevent damage
  • 1683 mhz clock boost speed
Model 4918309
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

The Four Most Important Things to Know about Graphics Cards

Every time you upgrade one piece of hardware in your beast of a desktop PC, you always have to consider whether or not the rest of the hardware can handle it. A motherboard without PCI Express 3.0 is not going to support a current generation graphics card and a current generation graphics card is not going to accept anything less than a 400-watt power supply.

Knowing that the most important aspect of a high-end graphics card is whether or not it will support the maximum settings on the most recent games, the fact still remains that you cannot take advantage of such a card if you don't have the power to run it.

Thus, the first thing you need to know about your new graphics card is whether or not you have the wattage to get so much as the fans up and running. Does it require a 750-watt power supply? Can you even fit a 750-watt power supply, which is going to be twice the dimensions of a 250-watt supply, in your current case? If not, chances are your motherboard is too small, you may not have enough dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), and your processor may be behind the times.

In the event you already have enough power to run your card of choice, there are three other things worth taking into consideration: video RAM (VRAM), memory interface width, and clock speed.

The more VRAM your card has, the higher the resolution at which your card can render graphics in real-time. The greater the memory interface width, the quicker your card can render those graphics. The higher the clock speed, the faster your graphics card can process the data stored by the VRAM.

Thus, these three things can be prioritized in order: the more data you store, the more data you have to work with, and the more data you have to work with, the more inclined you are to maintain the highest possible speed.

Understanding the Law of Diminishing Returns

While shopping around for a new graphics card, we often come across the term diminishing returns--a term that applies, in our case, to both the prices of graphics cards and the number of polygons used in computer graphics during the video game development process.

Diminishing returns due to increases in the number of polygons used directly affect the diminishing returns we experience as the prices of graphics cards begin to exceed a community agreed-upon amount; about $325 as of last year; about $400 today.

As computer-generated imagery (CGI) artists double the number of polygons they use while generating a particular image, from 2,000 polygons to 4,000 to 8,000 and so on, the difference in quality between subsequent generations becomes less and less noticeable to the untrained eye. Thus, the difference between the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 is much more drastic than the difference between the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, despite the fact the first and second consoles were released three years apart while the second and third were released eight years apart.

By comparison, more recent advancements in computer graphics technology have resulted in marginally better graphics than prior advancements made between, say, the original 16-bit Nintendo and the 32-bit Super Nintendo. As a result, what we end up with are price-based diminishing returns that help us to determine where to draw the line on cost while shopping around for graphics cards that best suit our needs.

On the one hand, a graphics card capable of displaying 4,000 polygons is going to be drastically better than a card only capable of displaying 2,000 polygons, but the price will be marginally different. On the other hand, a graphics card capable of displaying 2,000,000 polygons is going to be drastically more expensive than a card only capable of displaying 1,000,000 polygons, but the image quality will only be marginally different, and may even be unnoticeable to customers that don't fancy themselves videophiles.

When Graphics Cards Are Too Big for Their Britches

One of the main issues with purchasing a current graphics card, an issue consumers never seemed to have in the past, is the ever-increasing size of the cards. Due to overclocking and the need for upwards of three large fans, thin cards that once fit snugly in PCI slots at right angles perfect enough to balance marbles on, are now fat cards that sag at obtuse angles to the point their immense weight has been known to tear PCI slots straight out of the motherboard if not given additional support; support not supplied by the manufacturers of either the over-sized graphics cards or the computer cases that houses them.

What consumers end up with is the need to use household items that would otherwise never be seen inside a computer case performing feats of great strength that motherboards themselves are not designed to adequately perform. Bundles of twigs wrapped in duct tape should not be considered obligatory while building a high-end gaming PC.

Alas, computer hardware manufacturers have never been ones to cooperate. An NVidia graphics card manufactured by EVGA should be paired with a motherboard manufactured by EVGA, otherwise you run the risk, however so slight, that the drivers for each will start bickering just as you're about to beat the final boss of Dark Souls III or finish rendering an animation for your latest youTube video.

In the end, it's up to you. Can your current motherboard support the weight of your new graphics card? Do you have the engineering skills to prop it up with sticks or toys? Will the new card fit inside your current case?

Perhaps on top of recommending one brand over the other, the gurus of the PC master race should recommend carrying a ruler and a spring scale whenever it comes time to do some shopping.

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Last updated on April 03, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.

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