Best graphics cards in 2024: the GPUs I recommend for every budget

The best graphics card is objectively Nvidia's RTX 4090. Subjectively, however, you're going to want to weigh up the pros and cons of spending $1,600 or more on a single GPU. It's not for everyone. That's why we've tested every new GPU out of the Nvidia, AMD, and now Intel stables to find the best card across multiple price points. The results might surprise you.

For the high-end gamer, you've plenty of new cards to choose from. Nvidia has its RTX 40-series led by the RTX 4090, and that thing really is a beast of massive proportions. No seriously, it's huge. Its price is also getting even greater with the China ban boosting the prices over here, too. But Nvidia has also released a refreshed lineup of Ada GPUs in the new Super cards. The RTX 4080 Super is pretty much the same as the old RTX 4080 it's replacing, just with a $200 price cut. That means it's arguably the card you'd go for if the RTX 4090 has priced you out of the market. It's also now offering just enough to tip the scales against the AMD RX 7900 XTX at this price point. There's also now the RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4070 Super, the former with a whole new GPU and more memory, and the latter with a hefty core count boost—all for the same MSRP as their forebears.

At the other end of the market, there's not much new to write about. Nvidia has a rather uninspired upgrade in the RTX 4060. We also met the release of AMD's RX 7600 with a shrug, but at least it's cheap enough now to feel more competitive. And Intel still has a dog in the budget game: the Arc A750. When this card drops down to around $200, it's a steal, though the drivers aren't always up to the standard we'd like to see. That leaves AMD's RX 7600 as the best budget graphics card today, mostly for being a boringly safe pick.

We suggest avoiding the high-end RX 6950 XT and RTX 3090 Ti nowadays, as these cards are generally being pushed out by similarly priced newer options. The only last-gen card we still really rate is the RX 6700 XT, which still offers a decent spec and performance for $320. I've listed the specific graphics cards we recommend in different categories below, but I've also lined up the most relevant GPUs of this latest generation (with a few guest appearances by still worthwhile last-gen cards) all in order of gaming performance.

Curated by
Jacob Ridley headshot on colour background
Curated by
Jacob Ridley

Jacob has loads of experience with the latest and greatest graphics cards, reviewing many generations of Nvidia and AMD GPU over the years. He's au fait with the latest architectures, even Intel's Arc, and makes sure to rotate through the latest cards from all three major manufacturers to get first-hand experience of what they're like to game with. Not just of their performance, but also which offer the most useful features and have the most reliable drivers.

The quick list

Recent updates

Updated February 1st to add the three new Nvidia RTX 40-series Super cards, making the RTX 4070 Super our new recommendation for $500 - $600 GPU.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

(Image credit: Future)
The best graphics card

Specifications

Shaders: 16,432
Boost clock: 2,520MHz
TFLOPs: 82.6
Memory: 24GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 21GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 1,008GB/s
TGP: 450W

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent gen-on-gen performance
+
DLSS Frame Generation is magic
+
Super-high clock speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
Massive
-
Ultra-enthusiast pricing
-
Non-4K performance is constrained
-
High power demands
Buy if...

You want the best: The RTX 4090 is simply the most powerful GPU you can buy for your gaming PC today. The silicon inside it is monstrously powerful, and along with DLSS3 and Frame Generation it provides a truly next-gen experience.

You want to nail 4K gaming: This is the card that makes 4K gaming buttery smooth. That 24GB frame buffer means you're not going to run out of VRAM any time soon.

You're a creator as well as gamer: Time is money if you do any sort of professional GPU work, and the RTX 4090 could start to pay for itself right away given its rendering and compute power.

Don't buy if...

You need to ask the price: It's fair to say that it's one of the best value Ada GPUs given its relative price performance ratio, but it's still $1,600 at best. Still, it's far cheaper than the RTX 3090 Ti was, and the RTX 3090 if you take inflation into account.

You have a compact rig: This thing is BIG. Like, comically big.

The bottom line

🪛 The RTX 4090 is the true next-gen experience that we simply haven't seen from any of the other AMD or Nvidia cards from this new generation. And that almost makes it worth that exorbitant price tag.

There's nothing subtle about Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. It's a hulking great lump of a pixel pusher, and while there are some extra curves added to what could otherwise look like a respin of the RTX 3090 shroud, it still has that novelty graphics card aesthetic.

It looks like some semi-satirical plastic model made up to skewer GPU makers for the ever-increasing size of their cards. But it's no model, and it's no moon, this is the vanguard for the entire RTX 40-series GPU generation and our first taste of the new Ada Lovelace architecture.

On the one hand, it's a hell of an introduction to the sort of extreme performance Ada can deliver when given a long leash, and on the other, a slightly tone-deaf release in light of a global economic crisis that makes launching a graphics card for a tight, very loaded minority of gamers feel a bit off.

But we can't ignore it for this guide to the best GPUs around simply because, as it stands today, there's no alternative to the RTX 4090 that can get anywhere close to its performance. It's unstoppable, and will stay ahead of the pack as we now know AMD's highest performance graphics card, the RX 7900 XTX, is well and truly an RTX 4080 competitor.

This is a vast GPU that packs in 170% more transistors than even the impossibly chonk GA102 chip that powered the RTX 3090 Ti. And, for the most part, it makes the previous flagship card of the Ampere generation look well off the pace. That's even before you get into the equal mix of majesty and black magic that lies behind the new DLSS 3.0 revision designed purely for Ada.

Look, it's quick, okay. With everything turned on, with DLSS 3 and Frame Generation working its magic, the RTX 4090 is monumentally faster than the RTX 3090 that came before it. The straight 3DMark Time Spy Extreme score is twice that of the big Ampere core, and before ray tracing or DLSS come into it, the raw silicon offers twice the 4K frame rate in Cyberpunk 2077, too.

There's no denying it is an ultra-niche ultra-enthusiast card, and that almost makes the RTX 4090 little more than a reference point for most of us PC gamers. We're then left counting the days until Ada descends to the pricing realm of us mere mortals, which is still yet to happen despite the launch of the RTX 4070 Ti.

In itself, however, the RTX 4090 is an excellent graphics card and will satisfy the performance cravings of every person who could ever countenance spending $1,600 on a new GPU. That's whether they're inconceivably well-heeled gamers, or content creators not willing to go all-in on a Quadro card. And it will deservedly sell, because there's no other GPU that can come near it right now.

Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 review.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Super

Essentially the same RTX 4080 card, but with the $999 sticker price we wanted all along.

Specifications

Shaders: 10240
Boost clock: 2,550MHz
TFLOPs: 58
Memory: 16GB GDDR6X
Memory clock: 23GT/s
Memory bandwidth: 736GB/s
TGP: 320W

Reasons to buy

+
Priced at a more understandable level
+
Great gaming performance
+
Super efficient GPU

Reasons to avoid

-
Still priced too high
-
No tangible performance gains over RTX 4080
-
AMD's RX 7900 XTX remains stiff competition
Buy if...

You can find an MSRP card: The price cut is the real strength of the Super variant, and that benefit diminishes if you can only find cards north of $1,000 to buy.

You want good 4K ray traced gaming performance: Ada is efficient and really good at dealing with the rigours of ray tracing. Add DLSS and Frame Generation to the mix and the RTX 4080 Super excels at delivering solid 4K frame rates.

Don't buy if...

Ray tracing means nothing to you: In pure rasterised gaming terms, the RX 7900 XTX from AMD can often outperform the RTX 4080 Super, and that makes it a very tempting option, especially if you can find one cheaper than the Nvidia card. 

The bottom line

🪛 The RTX 4080 Super is a far more tempting prospect now it's had a $200 price cut. That brings it to the same price as the AMD 7900 XTX, and the balance of features and ray tracing performance brings us down on the side of Nvidia. Now the RTX 4090 is getting ludicrously expensive, it's becoming the top GPU you can legit buy today.

Less is more, right? I mean, technically the RTX 4080 Super is actually more is less when you consider you're now getting the full AD103 GPU for less cash. But it's the pricing change which is the real kicker for the new second-tier Ada card as it's the only tangible difference.

Though it's not like you'd ever need to weigh up the differences between the RTX 4080 and the RTX 4080 Super; the older version has effectively been killed and it's just the overpriced legacy cards getting ever more dusty as they sit, unloved and unwanted, on the shelves of any retailer unlucky enough to still be holding onto stock.

So, it's all about weighing up how much of a difference that price cut has made to the positioning of the RTX 4080 Super. And honestly, it's not as much as I'd want. Even this $999 price should have been the absolute upper limit on the ludicrous overclocked, liquid-chilled versions from GeForce board partners, not the straight MSRP of Nvidia's second-tier RTX 40-series card. 

That a year after launch the price of the RTX 4080 has only now dipped below $1,000 (around Black Friday last year we saw the first card to drop that low), and now this Super version is starting there, well, it's all very welcome. Though I just can't find myself getting too excited about moderately lower pricing that still feels like it's far too much.

But we can't get too bent out of shape over what might have been; this is about the product I have in front of me, and the RTX 4080 Super is the same super-powerful graphics card it was 14 months ago when its progenitor launched. It's a card which makes the once top GPU of the Ampere age look utterly laggardly—and incredibly inefficient—by comparison. Now, at $999, it looks even better put up against the $1,500 RTX 3090 of the previous gen.

The price cut and slight performance bump does also now make it tougher for AMD's best RDNA 3 card by comparison, though it is still very tight. Our two original reference RX 7900 XTX cards were beset by thermal issues and performed very badly, but third party cards, and subsequent driver improvements, resulted in a Radeon GPU that was generally priced below the $1,200 RTX 4080 but in pure raster terms often outperformed it.

Now, with a solid $999 MSRP, the RTX 4080 Super doesn't change the game in terms of comparative performance—on average 2% slower at 4K settings—but it does make it generally cheaper than the speedy third-party OC RX 7900 XTX cards. With the Nvidia card often faster with ray tracing games, and the AMD speedier in purely rasterised games, I'd say it kinda all evens out. But with the weight of ecosystem behind it, that just about swings it for the RTX 4080 Super; the extra AMD memory capacity doesn't make a big difference in gaming terms for me. 

But it is still a close run thing, and I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone picking the RX 7900 XTX over the latest GeForce GPU if they could find it for less.

Though after a year of reportedly poor RTX 4080 sales—and worse press around its launch and pricing—the RTX 4080 Super does feel like a pretty successful relaunch. It's got a pretty new shroud, as good an AD103 GPU as it could jam in there, and the same great performance but for a lower price. 

RTX 4080 rehabilitation, done.

Read the full Nvidia RTX 4080 Super review.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080