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.

For the high-end gamer, you've plenty of cards to choose from. The RTX 4080 Super is pretty much the same as the old RTX 4080 it's replacing, just with a $200 price cut. It's also now offering just enough to tip the scales against the best AMD GPU, the AMD RX 7900 XTX. The RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4070 Super are both great mid-range to high-end GPUs, although there's also the RX 7900 GRE and RX 7800 XT to consider, both of which provide heavy competition to Nvidia's current crop at relatively reasonable prices.

For our money the best budget graphics card is the AMD Radeon RX 7600, which offers good 1080p gaming performance for less than the competition. 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 scratch. The only last-gen card we still really rate is the RX 6700 XT, which still offers a decent spec and performance. I've listed the specific graphics cards we recommend in different categories below, but I've also lined up the most relevant GPUs, 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 April 10 to check over our recommendations, update the review copy, and to add the RTX 4070 Ti Super as our best $600 - $800 recommendation.

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 incredible 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. You'll struggle to fit it in some cases, so make sure you measure first.

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.

The best graphics card right now is the Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090, and there's nothing subtle about this ultimate gaming performance monster. 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, a complete beast of a gaming component that leaves all others in the dust.

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

But we can't ignore it for this guide to the best GPUs 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 given that AMD's highest performance graphics card, the RX 7900 XTX, is more of 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. And that's even before you get into the equal mix of majesty and black magic that lies behind DLSS 3 and all its upscaling and Frame Generation trickery, boosting its performance further into the stratosphere.

Look, it's quick, okay. With everything turned on, and especially with DLSS 3 and Frame Generation joining the party, 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 looks unlikely to happen until we see what the next generation of cards brings.

In itself, however, the RTX 4090 is an excellent graphics card and will satisfy the performance cravings of every person who could ever justify spending $1,600 on a new GPU. And it will deservedly sell to those who can afford it, because there's no other GPU that can come even close to 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, so you'll really want to find one at its $999 MSRP to get the maximum price/performance benefit.

You want good 4K ray traced gaming performance: Ada is efficient and really good at dealing with the rigours of ray tracing. Add DLSS 3 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 over the standard RTX 4080. 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 ludicrously expensive, it's fast become the top GPU you can buy for a somewhat reasonable price 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 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 left, 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. Let's be honest, with a $999 MSRP, it's still nobody's idea of cheap, and arguably should still be cheaper than what we're left with here.

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 predecessor 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 much more competitive $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. Combine that with the weight of DLSS 3 and Frame Generation support, that just about swings it for the RTX 4080 Super.

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.

However, 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, and the same great performance but for a lower price. 

The RTX 4080 Super is a serious bit of gaming hardware, and if you've got serious cash for a majorly fast GPU and want to take advantage of Nvidia's extra goodies, all without stretching to RTX 4090 prices, here's where you probably want to be.

Read our full Nvidia RTX 4080 Super review.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080