When it comes to gaming PCs, easily the most talked about and debated components are graphics cards. Get talking to a fellow gamer about your system and it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be asked, “what graphics card have you got?”. Of course, you want to be able to give a good answer, so let’s take a look at what is currently the best graphics card for a gaming PC.
How to buy the best graphics card
Before we reveal what the best graphics card currently on the market is, we want to take you through some important points; these are things you need to look out for in order to buy the right kind of graphics card for you.
Make sure you’ve got an equally good CPU
There’s no point buying the best possible gamers’ graphics card if your CPU isn’t able to match its performance.
If you try to use a cheap CPU with a high-end GPU then you’ll find that the performance of your graphics card is throttled and that your gaming experience isn’t as good. For one thing, important factors like frame rates will suffer.
So, be sure to buy a CPU that’s able to handle the sheer graphical firepower of a top graphics card.
Check your PC case
Graphics cards have advanced enormously over recent years but still, have a fairly sizable form factor.
If you’re going to be buying one of the top of the line graphics cards, then it’s really important that you check that it’ll actually fit in your PC’s case!
You’ll also want to make sure that the graphics card you choose is able to fit in amongst your other components. For example, is there enough clearance for you to connect your GPU to the PCIe slot on your motherboard?
Match your monitor resolution
If you’re going to buy a top-end graphics card, then you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a monitor that’s going to do it justice.
Think of it like this; you’ll be basically wasting your money if you buy a graphics card that’s capable of playing games at 4K if you’re connecting it to a rubbish old low-resolution monitor.
Consider buying a decent 4K monitor to go with your shiny new graphics card. Luckily, the price of 4K monitors has dropped considerably in recent years, with quality models available for around £300.
Check the specs of your favorite games
It’s a good idea to check the performance specifications of your favorite games.
In the case that you’re buying one of the top of the line graphics cards, this isn’t too much of a concern.
But, think about games that are on the horizon. If there’s a game coming out in a few months or a year that you’ll want to play, try and figure out how much graphical processing power you require.
A great example of this is Cyberpunk 2077, which on launch, needed the very best graphics cards in order to play at the highest settings.
Our recommendation is to try and futureproof for games like this by buying as high a spec graphics card as you can afford.
Reference vs non-reference
Are you new to the world of graphics cards? Then you may be wondering why the same graphics card can be bought from different manufacturers. For example, you can buy an RTX 3060 that’s made by NVIDIA, but you can also buy an RTX 3060 that’s made by MSI.
This is what’s referred to as reference vs non-reference versions.
In other words, graphics cards manufactured directly by NVIDIA are the reference versions, whilst graphics cards manufactured by the likes of MSI, Palit and others are the non-reference versions.
Whilst the core fundamentals of these graphics cards are the same, you’ll find that non-reference cards have some slight changes to things like the cards’ cooling systems and things like RGB.
Ultimately, the choice between reference and non-reference graphics cards is a personal one. Some people prefer to go for the ‘purity’ associated with a reference card manufactured directly by NVIDIA. Others prefer to go for a non-reference card that may have a few extra (but minor) bells and whistles.
The best graphics card for a gaming PC
Onto the answer, you’ve been waiting for! At the time of writing (June 2022), the best graphics card that you can buy for a gaming PC is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.
This is currently the most powerful graphics card that you can buy.
Classified as a BFGPU (Big Ferocious GPU), the 3090 Ti is powered by NVIDIA’s Ampere, second-generation RTX architecture, with an enormous 24GB of G6X memory, 10752 CUDA cores, a 1.86 GHz boost clock, and novel techs such as DLSS, ray-tracing, resizable bar and more.