When it comes to gaming PCs, nothing matters more than your graphics card. To push as many pixels as possible you’re going to want the fastest graphics card you can afford—but ever-shifting prices and product lineups make it difficult to keep track of what’s available.
In honor of keeping frame rates high, we decided to rank all the major available discrete GPUs from Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon, starting with the fastest graphics card available and working on down. This list focuses on each company’s most current GPU lineups, and doesn’t include significantly older graphics cards (yet). Price to performance is not a consideration here—just pure performance. (Concrete example: The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is technically more powerful than the GeForce RTX 3070, and hence higher on this list, but it’s essentially tied in performance and the newer GeForce option is significantly cheaper, making it a better buy.)
We’ve verified this information through hours of blood, sweat, and benchmarking. Feel free to hit up the individual reviews to see our work in greater detail. Or, if you want more concrete buying advice for your specific budget or display resolution, be sure to read our guide to the best graphics cards for gaming. It provides much more information than this simple list, complete with discussion about considerations like value, various form factors, and what to look for in a customized model.
But if you just want to know if GPU A is faster than GPU B, starting with the current consumer gaming champion, read on. The higher up a graphics card is on this list, the faster and more powerful it is.
Editor’s note: This article was last updated on November 4, 2020 to add Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs and mention AMD’s incoming Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards towards the end.
You’ll also find (literally) lower-powered consumer graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 1650, GeForce GTX 1030, and Radeon RX 550 available, which can all be powered by your motherboard alone in their stock configuration. Unless you’re extremely budget-constricted, however, or can’t accommodate additional power connections, avoid everything below the Radeon RX 570.
Also expect to see some significant shake-up in this list sooner than later. More affordable variations of Nvidia’s RTX 30-series graphics cards will soon start to trickle out, while AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series counter-punch is scheduled to hit the streets on November 18. They look just as ferocious as Nvidia’s high-end RTX 30 options.
…But that’s beyond the scope of this list. Again, be sure to check out our guide to the best graphics cards for gaming if you want our GPU recommendations for any budget and other helpful information designed to help you choose the best graphics card for you.