If you’ve taken even a passing look at the news cycle over the past two years, you will have heard of the GPU shortage currently impacting global markets. While this article won’t help you source a card, it will put you in a good position when they become more widely available – which should be any day now, right? Ignoring the state of the market, we have the specs of each card to pit them against each other. It is worth noting that a computer is more than just its GPU, and you will need other parts to get the most out of your machine. Nevertheless, here is our list of the best graphics cards for gamers for 2022.
1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Taking the top spot on this list is the RTX 3080. As one of the best graphics cards on the market, its power should not be underestimated. It goes toe to toe with the 6900 XT in benchmarks showing that even Nvidia’s third-best card is more than enough for what you need. The 3080 has an MSRP of £649, making it more than reasonable for what you’re getting. In benchmarks from Tom’s Hardware and PC Gamer, you can see that this GPU can benchmark between 42 FPS at the absolute minimum and 62 FPS on average for 4K ultra-high graphics in games such as Metro Exodus.
It’s worth mentioning that the 99th percentile refers to the worst possible result a GPU can get, and is usually not indicative of the product as a whole. This FPS jumps to an average of 102 FPS if you’re looking to play at 1440p. 1080p is also an option for this card, but it really should be enjoyed at a higher resolution. For ray tracing performance, the 3080, like most Nvidia cards, really shines with DLSS on, averaging over 60FPS at 1440p.
2. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Coming in at second place on our list of best graphics cards is the 3080 Ti. PC Gamer’s benchmarks show this card performing exceptionally well at 4K, only coming second to the 3090. For the most part, you’ll be managing over 60FPS with a few dips here and there. Unlike the 3080, it has no issues beating out AMD cards. The caveat is the price, clocking in at £1049 MSRP, it’s £400 more than the 3080 for a relatively small benefit. However, it is still less expensive than some of the other options on the market. If the £400 difference between the 3080 and 3080 Ti isn’t a problem for you, this is the card you’ll want, especially as for gaming needs, as it is only fractionally worse than an RTX 3090 with the biggest downside being smaller VRAM.
3. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
The 6800 XT edges out its more expensive counterpart, the 6900 XT on price alone. The card is roughly £400 cheaper for a minor reduction in performance, which puts it solidly in third place for this list. You’ll find it shines best when up against 1440p over 4k, making it one of the best graphics cards for lower budget gamers. It’s capable of hitting an average of 149.3 FPS for the former and 92.6 FPS for the latter, demonstrating that it still has more than enough power even at greater resolutions.
4. AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
Sliding into fourth place on our list of best graphics cards is the 6900 XT for several reasons. What’s true for the RX 6900 XT is true here as well; it performs best at slightly lower resolutions, edging out the competition from most Nvidia cards. That doesn’t mean it can’t handle higher resolutions, the card benchmarks a solid 98.2 FPS at 4K and a buttery-smooth 155.4 at 1440p. This GPU competes well with the 3080 and with an AMD-store price of £883 it’s hard not to see the appeal. Where this GPU really stutters however, is performing well with ray tracing options. The lack of DLSS really hits hard, with the 6900 XT putting out a lower FPS than all 30-series Nvidia cards at both 1080p and 1440p in the ray tracing benchmarks done by Tom’s Hardware.
5. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
The RTX 3070 combines an appealing price point with irrefutable power. Demonstrating that it can handle the whole range of resolutions from 4K to 1080p, this card really does bring that high-end experience to the masses without compromise. The 3070 averages FPS benchmarks of 72, 110 and 156 for ultra-high graphics at 4K, 1440p and 1080p respectively. No, it doesn’t have as much raw power as some of the other cards on this list, but it does have an affordable £469 MSRP for a card that competes with the RTX 2080 Ti.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
The RTX 3090 is the best graphics card on the market. However, it is not the best GPU for gamers. You’ll be future-proofing your rig at the cost of a large amount of both money and power that you do not need. Professional content creators reliant on fast render times may require a 3090, but for gaming, it’s too much. The 3080 Ti falls behind by the slimmest of margins, the largest difference between the two cards is the amount of VRAM, or Video RAM they have. The 3090 doubles the 3080 Ti’s 12GB VRAM to 24GB, but what does this mean for gamers? Well, not much. Even at 4K, you’d be hard-pressed to find a game that actually utilises 12GB, let alone 24. This firmly categorises the 3090 as a GPU for video editors over gamers.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
This article wouldn’t be doing its due diligence if it didn’t mention the 3060 Ti. A sound starting point, the 3060 Ti keeps up with the best. It has a reasonable 4K performance and provides an affordable entry to high-resolution gaming. It demonstrates its capability in its 1440p-1080p performance, clocking in with consistently high and stable framerates on top of a good ray tracing performance; this card beats out the RTX 2080 Super in every way, including MSRP.
The final recommendation for this list is to reiterate that you should wait until things settle down. No matter what you’re getting for it, if you’re paying double for a graphics card, it’s simply not worth it. But, when things start getting back to a reasonable price, this list has you covered.
Which graphics card do you think is the best? Let us know on our social channels.
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Featured Image Credit: Nvidia / Rafael Pol