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Best Graphics Cards For Gaming 2019 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

The graphics card is the most important component in a gaming PC, period. This only makes it all the more important to choose the right one.

But luckily, it’s not as difficult as some may think!

All it takes is to know your performance goals and your budget, and you’re already a step closer to finding the perfect graphics card for your needs. Below, you will find a selection of the very best GPUs for gaming in 2019!

Top 9 Best Graphics Cards For Gaming in 2019

CategoryModelVRAMConnectivity 
Entry-levelXFX Radeon RX 5502 GB GDDR51x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 OC2 GB GDDR51x HDMI
1x DVI
BudgetASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 5604 GB GDDR51x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti4 GB GDDR51x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
1x DVI
Mid-rangeSapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 5908 GB GDDR52x DP
2x HDMI
EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra Gaming6 GB GDDR61x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
High-endEVGA GeForce RTX 2070 XC Gaming8 GB GDDR63x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio8 GB GDDR63x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming11 GB GDDR63x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C

You should also check our GPU tier list, which we keep updated alongside this buying guide.

Best Entry-level Graphics Cards

The first category will be devoted to the absolute cheapest graphics cards that you can get. These are highly basic solutions but can handle most games, usually achieving acceptable framerates of around 30-60 FPS in 1080p, though the performance will, naturally, vary from game to game.

For the most part, these cards should only be your first choice if:

  • You are on an extremely tight budget
  • You mainly intend on playing eSports games or just older games that aren’t very demanding

Below, you will find the two best entry-level graphics cards that you can get at the moment, one from AMD and one from Nvidia.

XFX Radeon RX 550

About the Graphics Card

Kicking off this list, we have a highly affordable and reliable GPU from a manufacturer with a good reputation – the XFX Radeon RX 550. And though it may not be the most glamorous or the most powerful graphics card on this list, those who are on a very tight budget might find this card very appealing.

Specifications

Base Clock1203 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Capacity2 GB
Memory Clock6000 MHz
Memory Bus128-bit
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DL-DVI-D

Recommended PSU350W

Our Thoughts

best graphics card 2019

Overall, the RX 550 is the best entry-level GPU available, hands down. It performs on par with the similarly-priced Nvidia GT 1030, although the build quality and design of this particular model leave something to be desired. It is a compact single-fan card, so it won’t exactly shine when it comes to overclocking and it may get a bit loud under load. Plus, the design is quite bland and makes the card feel a bit cheap, though this is nothing new in products that are supposed to be affordable above all else.

The only real issue with this card is that it is obviously not a very future-proof solution. While the card itself is well-built and should definitely be able to take years of use, everyone will agree that a dated Polaris card such as this one, equipped with only 2 GB of VRAM, will not exactly fare well in the long run, as the games become more and more demanding each year.

What We Liked

  • Decent 1080p performance
  • Extremely affordable
  • Compact design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bland exterior
  • Not very future proof

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 OC

About the Graphics Card

The next card we have lined up comes from Gigabyte, and it’s a Pascal card – the cheapest Pascal card out there, no less. The lowly GT 1030 won’t turn many heads and this Gigabyte model employs a compact single-fan cooler, all the while boasting those signature orange highlights that were ubiquitous with the previous generation of Gigabyte graphics cards.

Specifications

Base Clock1265 MHz
Boost Clock1544 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Capacity2GB
Memory Clock6008 MHz
Memory Bus64-bit
Connectivity1x HDMI 2.0b

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

Recommended PSU300W

Our Thoughts

best gaming gpu

As mentioned in the introduction and as is the rule with low-end graphics cards, this GT 1030 sports a basic single-fan cooler, though Gigabyte’s design does make it come across as more impressive than XFX’s take on the RX 550. Speaking of which, the GT 1030 is on fairly even terms with its Radeon counterpart despite having a narrower 64-bit memory bus.

Needless to say, the same future-proofing concerns that we’ve mentioned in the previous entry also apply here – 2 GB of VRAM is hardly enough even for many games that are already out, let alone those that will come out in the future. Plus, the card only comes with an HDMI and a DVI port, and while a DisplayPort is not really a top priority for an entry-level graphics card, having it would definitely be convenient for some users.

What We Liked

  • Decent 1080p performance
  • Affordable
  • Cheapest Pascal GPU

What We Didn’t Like

  • 64-bit memory bus
  • No DisplayPort
  • Not the most future-proof card

Best Budget Graphics Cards

Moving on to the next category, we have the best budget gaming graphics cards, and these are the ones that offer the best balance between performance and affordability. They are slightly more expensive than their basic entry-level counterparts and perform significantly better, though they still don’t compare to mid-range cards when it comes to either performance or long-term value.

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560

About the Graphics Card

The first model in this category is the Asus RoG Strix RX 560, and though it ranks quite low in the overall GPU hierarchy, it is noticeably more powerful than either of the models from the first category. The card uses a dual-fan cooler which definitely helps it hit higher clock speeds and generate less noise, all the while it sports a characteristic angular Strix shroud, complete with AuraSync RGB lighting.

Specifications

Base Clock1175 MHz
Boost Clock1336 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Capacity4 GB
Memory Clock7000 MHz
Memory Bus128-bit
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DL-DVI-D

Recommended PSU400W

Our Thoughts

Overall, the RX 560 is an excellent GPU, especially at its low price tag. It is quite capable of pushing 60 FPS in 1080p, as you can see from the above tests, though of course, the graphics settings will need to be lowered in most newer games.

Asus did a good job with this particular model, as the card definitely feels like a high-quality product. This is thanks to the abovementioned dual-fan cooling and the RGB lighting that comes in the form of the RoG logo on the shroud.

All in all, the RX 560 is a great budget card and there are no glaring issues with either the GPU itself or Asus’ take on it, though there are better cards available if you are willing to spend a little more money. Nonetheless, if you’re pinching pennies, we can wholeheartedly recommend RX 560 as a solid budget GPU for 1080p gaming.

What We Liked

  • Solid 1080p performance
  • Dual-fan cooling
  • RGB lighting

What We Didn’t Like

  • Dubious value compared to some slightly pricier GPUs

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

About the Graphics Card

The second card in this category comes from MSI, another reliable and well-known manufacturer of all sorts of PC components. And while their graphics cards can be a hit-and-miss in regards to aesthetics due to their gaudy and over-the-top design, the MSI GTX 1050 Ti model that we have here is a much less conspicuous and less pricey solution.

Specifications

Base Clock1341 MHz
Boost Clock1455 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Capacity4GB
Memory Clock7008 MHz
Memory Bus128-bit
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

Recommended PSU300W

Our Thoughts

best video card 2019

The GTX 1050 Ti measures up quite well against the RX 560, both performance-wise and price-wise, as it offers a little more power for a little more money. The design is quite clean and minimal, though the card may appear somewhat cheap due to how much of the PCB remains exposed.

However, since affordability and value are generally the key factors with budget GPUs, we’d still be inclined to give the lead to the cheaper RX 560. Plus, the significantly more powerful RX 590 (see below) is only a bit more expensive than the 1050 Ti at the moment, so we couldn’t rightly say that the 1050 Ti seems like an overly appealing GPU at the moment.

What We Liked

  • Solid 1080p performance

What We Didn’t Like

  • Basic design makes the card feel cheap
  • Very dubious value in 2019

Best Mid-Range Graphics Cards

And now, we start getting to the good stuff. Mid-range cards are those that most commonly strike the best balance between price and performance. These can usually take on 1440p gaming, reach higher framerates in 1080p, and are generally more future-proof than any card below the $200 price point.

With that said, these cards will be ideal for those seeking improved performance in 1080p or those who are looking to finally upgrade to 1440p, as well as those who simply like to plan for the future.

Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 590

About the Graphics Card

With AMD’s Polaris lineup about to be succeeded by the upcoming Navi GPUs, it struck many people as odd that AMD would release a new Polaris-based GPU late in 2018. And even though it may be based on a dated, soon-to-be-obsolete architecture, the RX 590 still does a lot of things right.

The model we’ll be looking at here comes from a highly reliable and reputable AMD partner, Sapphire, and it’s their Nitro+ RX 590.

Specifications

Base Clock1469 MHz
Boost Clock1560 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Capacity8 GB
Memory Clock8000 MHz
Memory Bus256-bit
Connectivity2x DisplayPort 1.4

2x HDMI 2.0

1x DL-DVI-D

Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

Best Graphics Card For Gaming

Even a few years back when they were a company struggling to stay afloat, AMD managed to offer users great value for their money on the GPU front, as AMD Radeon cards were consistently more powerful yet cheaper than their Nvidia counterparts. Granted, Nvidia is getting more serious about their mid-range solutions, but the RX 590 is still a good buy, especially if you can get it at a discount.

The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 590 features the same type of design approach that we’ve previously seen with cheaper Nitro cards: highly efficient cooling, sleek backplate, and a great-looking, sturdy shroud. We do, however, prefer a more minimal gray as opposed to the bright blue with translucent fans, though this is a matter of taste.

Best Graphics Card 2019

Ultimately, apart from the fact that it has a bit of a hefty power draw (nothing new with AMD GPUs), we have no qualms with the GPU itself. However, with the GTX 1660 Ti in the picture, the value of the RX 590 and its dated architecture becomes a bit of a dubious matter.

What We Loved

  • Good 1440p performance
  • Relatively affordable
  • Sleek shroud and backplate design

What We Didn’t Like

  • High power draw
  • Dubious value compared to 1660 Ti
  • Bright blue shroud is a bit too conspicuous

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra Gaming

About the Graphics Card

As we’ve mentioned above, AMD used to offer much better mid-range GPUs in the past. But while the GTX 1050 Ti and the 1060 did not measure up against the RX 400 and 500 series all that well, the 1660 Ti is quite a different story.

This particular GTX 1660 Ti we’ll be looking at here is the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra Gaming, a performance-oriented model that combines a large heatsink with dual-fan cooling and a completely new design similar to what the company did with the more expensive RTX models.

Specifications

Base Clock1500 MHz
Boost Clock1860 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR6
Memory Capacity6 GB
Memory Clock12000 MHz
Memory Bus192-bit
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DL-DVI-D

Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

Best Graphics Card For Gaming 2019

There’s no denying it, the 1660 Ti is one appealing piece of tech. It presents great value if you’re thinking about making the jump to 1440p or want to push higher framerates in more demanding games. It also stacks up well against the competition, both performance-wise and price-wise.

As for this specific model manufactured by EVGA, it offers quality cooling, though the design leaves something to be desired. Namely, the shroud feels a tad cheap, there is no backplate, and we’re not big fans of the fan design either. But in any case, whatever your thoughts on the card’s aesthetics, the GTX 1660 Ti is the best graphics card for 1440p gaming at the moment, and EVGA’s cooling does a great job at getting the most out of the GPU.

What We Loved

  • Excellent GPU for 1440p gaming
  • Good cooling
  • Great value for your money

What We Didn’t Like

  • No backplate
  • Shroud feels a bit cheap

Best High-End Graphics Cards

Moving on, we enter the high-end, featuring graphics cards that master 1440p gaming and are fully capable of taking on even 4K. This category is dominated by Nvidia cards, as AMD has consistently been unable to produce any competitive GPUs beyond the mid-range, though this might change in the near future with the new Navi GPUs on the horizon.

In any case, here are the best high-end gaming GPUs that you can get for now!

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 XC Gaming

About the Graphics Card

The first card in this category is another EVGA card, only this time it’s the much beefier RTX 2070 XC Gaming. It may look similar to the above 1660 Ti model, but it is a significant step up, both in regards to performance and the design of the card itself.

Specifications

Base Clock1410 MHz
Boost Clock1710 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR6
Memory Capacity8 GB
Memory Clock14000 MHz
Memory Bus256-bit
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x DL-DVI-D

Recommended PSU550W

Our Thoughts

Best Nvidia Graphics Card

Overall, the RTX 2070 is a very attractive GPU. As you can see from the benchmark above, it is wholly capable of hitting high framerates even in 4K, though the performance will, understandably, vary from game to game. In any case, we feel that the RTX 2070, much like the 1660 Ti, is a very cost-effective solution for those who want to make a big resolution/performance leap without having to spend a small fortune on a GPU alone.

As for EVGA’s take on the RTX 2070, we are dealing with a design that’s very similar to that of the 1660 Ti described above. However, this time around, we have a translucent shroud and high-quality RGB lighting that complements it very well, which is basically a must in 2019 for a card of this caliber.

What We Loved

  • Excellent 1440p and 2160p performance
  • Translucent shroud and RGB are a good mix
  • Good value for your money

What We Didn’t Like

  • Relatively pricey overall

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio

About the Graphics Card

If you’re thinking about something more serious, then you might want to take a look at the MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio.  This is one of the most powerful Turing GPUs available, and MSI sure did it justice with this particular model, as it combines excellent cooling with downright beautiful exterior design.

Specifications

Base Clock1515 MHz
Boost Clock1860 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR6
Memory Capacity8GB
Memory Bus256-bit
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

Top Graphics Cards

The RTX 2080 is the go-to GPU for anyone who is ready to fully take on 4K in 2019. It does occupy a bit of an awkward spot when it comes to the performance and pricing, since it is not that big of an upgrade from the substantially cheaper RTX 2070, all the while it can’t quite hold a candle to the (again) substantially more expensive RTX 2080 Ti. Even so, it will still be a very attractive card for many people, especially considering MSI’s great triple-fan cooling, the sleek shroud, and the stunning RGB lighting.

In the end, there are no real issues with this model or the RTX 2080 in general apart from the aforementioned dubious value that it presents. Indeed, we’d be more inclined to recommend the RTX 2070 over the 2080 as it offers much better value for your money.

What We Loved

  • Great 4K gaming performance
  • Excellent high-quality design
  • Beautiful RGB lighting

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Dubious value

EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming

About the Graphics Card

And for the final entry, we come back to EVGA once again and their take on the controversial but downright beastly RTX 2080 Ti. Needless to say, the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming is everything that you’d expect a top-notch GPU to be.

Specifications

Base Clock1350 MHz
Boost Clock1755 MHz
Memory TypeGDDR6
Memory Capacity11 GB
Memory Clock14000 MHz
Memory Bus352-bit
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x USB-C

Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

Most Powerful Graphics Card

Well, what can we say? The 2080 Ti definitely pushes the envelope, both on the performance and the pricing front. It is one of the most powerful consumer GPUs available, second only to the Titan RTX. Of course, it also generated some controversy due to its quadruple-digit MSRP.

So, is the RTX 2080 Ti worth it? Well, it is arguably the first graphics card fully capable of pushing a consistent 60 FPS in 4K, including even in the more demanding AAA titles, but considering that you can get a good gaming PC for the price of this graphics card alone, it can hardly be called worth the money unless you’re a hardcore enthusiast with cash to burn.

Finally, as for the FTW3 Ultra Gaming specifically, it once again has a lot in common with the cheaper RTX 2070, boasting the same fan design along with a translucent shroud that looks great when combined with RGB. The key difference, of course, is that this model has a huge heatsink and three fans, making the card bulkier and the cooling more efficient.

What We Loved

  • Fully masters 4K gaming
  • Superb triple-fan cooler with a massive heatsink

What We Didn’t Like

  • Costs as much as an entire high-end gaming PC

How to Pick the Best Graphics Card For Your Needs

In order to pick out the GPU which fits your requirements best, there are a number of factors to consider, all of which will be addressed in this section.

Hardware Compatibility

graphics card

The reason why some people are scared of building their own gaming PCs is precisely the question of hardware compatibility. What if some of the components don’t work with one another?

Well, here’s everything that you need to keep in mind regarding GPU compatibility.

The Motherboard

First and foremost, a motherboard should have an accessible PCI Express x16 slot. The current version used by modern GPUs is PCI 3.0, so be sure to check that as well if you’ve got a dated motherboard. In the case that you’re building a multi-GPU gaming PC, it goes without saying that the motherboard should have enough PCIe slots for all the graphics cards that you intend on installing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some cards that utilize bulkier coolers may take up more vertical slots, thus potentially obstructing some slots on the motherboard.

The Power Supply

best nvidia graphics card

The more powerful GPUs have a higher power draw than the weaker ones. As such, you need to ensure that your PSU meets the minimum requirements that the manufacturer has provided for the particular model you have your eye on.

Fortunately, it is rare to find a sub-500W power supply these days, and only some high-end GPUs and multi-GPU setups will actually require a beefier power supply. Of course, if you’re planning on doing some heavy overclocking with power-hungry GPUs or CPUs, a beefier, high-quality PSU should definitely be near the top of your priority list.

Feel free to check out the complete article on this subject if you want to know more. Other than that, you might also be interested in our PSU hierarchy.

The Case

guide to building a gaming pc

As mentioned previously, size can be a problem with graphics cards. It is quite possible that some models may not be able to fit a Micro ATX case, let alone a Mini ITX one. As such, you should definitely make sure that the graphics card you intend on buying is not too big for your case.

Depth and height are not as big of a concern as length is, though as we’ve previously mentioned, some graphics cards with larger coolers can take up more space under the PCIe slot they are installed in. In any case, if you intend on getting a new case, we suggest checking out our selection of some of the best gaming cases available at the moment.

The Display

what graphics card should i get

A good graphics card should always have a good monitor that can keep up with its capabilities. After all, what’s the point of a great GPU if the display can’t do it justice, or vice versa? No point in pairing up a $500 GPU with a $150 monitor that can only do 1080p and 60 Hz!

Here are the key things that you need to keep in mind when buying a monitor:

  • The Resolution – When gaming is concerned, there are three most popular resolutions at the moment: 1080p (FHD), 1440p (QHD), and 2160p (UHD/4K). All of these are viable for gaming in 2019, but which one you choose will most likely be a matter of choosing between visuals and performance. Some people prefer the clean and crisp look of a QHD or UHD display, while others are content with 1080p if it means they can easily hit higher framerates that ultimately provide a more responsive experience and, potentially, a competitive edge in multiplayer.
  • The Refresh Rate – Speaking of framerates, if you plan on pushing the FPS counter beyond 60, you’d need a monitor with a high refresh rate, usually 144 Hz or 240 Hz. On a regular 60 Hz monitor, any ‘extra’ frames rendered by your GPU would be wasted since the refresh rate corresponds directly to the maximum FPS that the monitor can display. As mentioned above, gaming with a higher refresh rate is more responsive and can positively affect reaction time.
  • Connectivity – As you can see in the article, there are multiple technologies that modern graphics cards and monitors use. And while DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 are the most prevalent today, you can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of all the ports that are in use today in this article.

Ultimately, if you’re shopping for a monitor to go with your new graphics card or are planning on upgrading in the near future, we’d highly recommend checking out our thorough buying guide to the best gaming monitors for 2019, as it is bound to help.

Nvidia vs AMD

nvidia vs amd

As we’ve already mentioned in the article, AMD used to offer much better budget and mid-range GPUs than Nvidia for years now, so how’s the market looking in 2019?

Well, lots of things are changing. Most notably, after successfully competing with Intel with their new Ryzen CPUs, AMD is finally trying to offer some high-end competition on the GPU scene, too. The upcoming 7nm Navi GPUs are something to look forward to, but Nvidia has also gotten more serious about competing with AMD in the mid-range with cards such as the 1660 Ti.

So, which is better for you?

If you’re on a tight budget, we’d say that AMD still has the edge in the lower price ranges, though the RX 590 does have a hard time keeping up with the 1660 Ti. If you’re having a dilemma choosing between those two, we’d say go with the RX 590 if you want the more affordable card, as it is more readily available at lower prices. The 1660 Ti does, however, offer better performance for a relatively minor price increase, so if you’ve got some extra cash, it would ultimately be the better pick.

But of course, there’s the matter of software as well, so if you want to know more on that subject, we suggest checking out the full article that we have on this topic.

The Best Graphics Card for 2019 – Our Picks

Best Budget Graphics Card – Asus RoG Strix RX 560

Best Graphics Card For 4K Gaming

The modest RX 560 won’t turn many heads or smoke any benchmarks, but for someone on a tight budget who wants to get the best value for their money, this graphics card would be the best choice. It is highly affordable and is more than capable of handling 1080p gaming, though understandably, it’s unlikely to weather the years well, especially with all the demanding new AAA games coming out.

Best Value Graphics Card – EVGA GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra Gaming

New Graphics Card

Usually, we’d peg AMD as the go-to solution for those who want the card which offers the best overall value, but this time, Nvidia comes out on top. The GTX 1660 Ti is a serious mid-range competitor that’s unlikely to be dethroned until the Navi GPUs roll out. It offers great 1440p performance and it can even take on 4K, and at a price point of roughly $300, no less.

Of course, as we mentioned above, the RX 590 can be found for even less and offers comparable performance, but since the 1660 Ti is the newer and more readily available model, we’re inclined to go with it as the primary pick.

Best Graphics Card Overall – EVGA RTX 2070 XC Gaming

Most Expensive Graphics Card

And finally, the card which we deem to be the best overall on this list is the RTX 2070. Now, picking the best GPU can be difficult. If we’re talking raw performance, then it would obviously be the RTX 2080 Ti – hell, why not the Titan RTX?

But if we factor in value once again, most people wouldn’t be too keen on spending upwards of $1200 or even $2200 on a graphics card, especially now that there’s a 4K-capable GPU out there that costs “only” $500.

That said, if we’re looking at it realistically, the RTX 2070 will be the best GPU for most gamers who are looking to make the jump to 1440p or 2160p but don’t want to put hundreds of dollars more towards the more expensive cards which are currently on the market.

The Final Word

And there you have it, all the best graphics cards for 2019. We hope it will help you pick out the ideal GPU for your gaming setup, be it a brand new one or an old one that’s receiving an upgrade. In the case that you are building a new PC from scratch, you might be interested in the following articles as well:

Good luck, and happy shopping!

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