As an Amazon Influencer, we earn from qualifying purchases you might make if you click any of the links on this page.
Searching for the best GPU for gaming?
Gaming is more than just a hobby; it’s a passion. As technology keeps evolving, ensuring that your PC is equipped with the best graphics card becomes paramount for the ultimate gaming experience. But with so many options in the market, how do you choose the right one for your needs?
Our meticulous research and benchmarking have helped us identify the top 3 GPUs for gaming in 2023. From value-for-money to sheer performance prowess, this guide gives a detailed review of these top-performing graphics cards. It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual gamer or a hardcore enthusiast; we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, you’ll also discover the key factors to consider when selecting the best GPUs for gaming: from overall performance and value to build quality, software features, and key specifications. Understanding these factors will not only help you make an informed decision but also ensure you get the best bang for your buck.
Our Top Picks
- 1. Sapphire Nitro+ RX 7800 XT – Our Top Choice
- 2. MSI Suprim Liquid X RTX 4090 – Best Premium GPU For Gaming
- 3. Sapphire Pulse RX 6700 XT – Best Budget GPU For Gaming
Why Should You Trust Us?
Talha Zuberi, our lead expert, has spent over a decade meticulously building and optimizing PCs, with a particular emphasis on gaming GPUs. From early dual-core days to today’s advanced graphic cards, he’s witnessed and been a part of the evolution.
More than just hands-on experience, Talha’s dedication is underlined by his continuous effort to keep abreast of the latest tech trends.
When he recommends a GPU, it’s not just a popular choice – it’s a culmination of years of expertise, ensuring it fits your specific gaming needs to a tee.
How We Choose the Best GPUs For Gaming
To pick the best GPUs for gaming, I considered these factors to choose the best GPUs:
- Overall performance: The main deciding factor will always be the overall performance that the GPU can produce. This is determined based on reproducible benchmarks.
- Value: The value of a GPU is determined by the price at which it is available in the market and the combined average performance of that GPU. The better the performance and lower the price, the better the value.
Value is not just performance-based; two identical GPUs cannot hold the same value if one of them is better than the other in terms of specifications, build quality, features, driver stability, and power consumption.
- Build quality and software features: When it comes to choosing the best graphics card, there tends to be a deep emphasis on specifications. Picking the best card with the best physical features is just as important because this determines how well the card will last in the real world. Other than hardware, it is also important that software is well-supported on any selected GPU. This includes drivers, games, vendor-specific features like DLSS from Nvidia or FSR from AMD, and third-party application support.
- Key specifications: Although specifications do not tell a complete story of how a GPU is going to perform, they are still important. The important specifications to look out for are:
- VRAM – Games need VRAM to store assets, with textures being the most important. If your GPU starts to run out of memory, it becomes a stuttering mess. For e.g., even though the RTX 3070 is a significantly faster GPU than the RTX 3060, the 3070 will start to lose to the 3060 if a game needs more VRAM. That is because the 3060 has 12 GB while the 3070 has 8 GB. The higher the resolution, the more VRAM is required.
- Bus width – Needs to be more than 128-bit because as resolution increases, the bus width needs to be wide enough for data to be transmitted faster.
3 Best GPUs For Gaming Reviews
1. Sapphire Nitro+ RX 7800 XT – Our Top Choice
For my number 1 spot, there were a lot of candidates from this generation and the last generation from all 3 GPU manufacturers – AMD, Intel, and Nvidia. We are seeing tremendous competition and value at the $500 price point. Although I could’ve picked any card, the RX 7800 XT stood out as my final choice for anyone looking to buy the best overall value GPU for now and for many years to come.
The RX 7800 XT is the best value new generation GPU released yet from either Nvidia or AMD and the specs and performance show for it. VRAM is one area that has become quite a concern for gamers as 10 GB is barely cutting it for 1440p gaming these days. Thankfully, AMD has equipped the RX 7800 XT with 16 GB of GDDR6 VRAM so even the highest quality assets can easily be loaded without any performance loss.
Also, over the past few generations of GPUs, I have noticed that bus widths have started to shrink to make the GPUs more energy-efficient. And while the 256-bit bus on the 7800 XT looks narrow, both AMD and Nvidia have increased L2 or L3 caches on their GPUs to compensate for this exact concern. Thanks to the substantially bigger L3 cache and fast GDDR6 speeds, the RX 7800 XT has an impressive 624.1 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Taking a look at the Saphire Nitro+ RX 7800 XT, it is a massive 3-slot card with a triple fan configuration. The Sapphire Nitro+ cards have one of the smartest fan designs because they are easy to remove in case you need to clean or replace them. The entire PCB is cooled with a full-array aluminum vapor chamber and a massive RGB strip on the top of the card which may be a tad flashy for some people.
Taking a deeper look at the PCB and cooler itself, the Sapphire Nitro+ 7900 XTX stays cool at sub-60 degrees Celcius temperatures. The PCB has fuses that protect the entire card in case of a power surge that could potentially destroy it.
When compared to the RTX 4070 for gaming, the RX 7800 XT offers slightly better performance for around $100 less. Even in heavy titles like The Last of Us, Hogwarts Legacy, and Cyberpunk 2077, the RX 7800 XT can give 60+ fps at 1440p maximum settings. It will lose to the RTX 4070 when ray tracing is turned on because Nvidia has a clear advantage in that regard. Still, AMD is improving on that and the RDNA 3-based GPUs offer a massive improvement in ray tracing compared to RDNA 2.
The RX 7800 XT is also the perfect choice if you want to play eSports titles at 1440p 144 Hz or higher.
The card has 16 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which means that if it came down to needing more VRAM, the RTX 4070 with 12GB VRAM would start to struggle and would require reducing settings to compensate.
RX 7800 XT is very high quality card and it’s hard to criticize Sapphire in any way for its excellent cooler. My only nitpick is that compared to the reference design by AMD, it is a significantly larger card and instead of taking advantage of the size, Sapphire did not add more ports at the back. Even one more HDMI port would’ve been great.
In conclusion, if you need the best overall GPU for gaming, then there is no better deal than the AMD RX 7800 XT, and Sapphire’s Nitro+ is the best variant in the market.
To sum up what I like is the…
- Excellent cooler design
- Uncontested raster performance for the price
On the downside
- Missed an opportunity for extra ports despite its larger size
- PCB Design: 9.5/10
- Aesthetics & Cooler design: 8.5/10
- Value for Money: 8/10
- Overall Rating: 9/10
2. MSI Suprim Liquid X RTX 4090 – Best Premium GPU For Gaming
The RTX 4090 is the best gaming GPU in the world and I don’t think that it needs more of a fitting introduction than that. While AMD’s RX 6900 XT and Nvidia’s RTX 3090 were neck-and-neck in the previous generation, Nvidia decided to keep the performance crown for themselves this time.
There are so many great variants of the RTX 4090, including the Founder’s Edition by Nvidia. But my choice for the best RTX 4090 in terms of value is the MSI Suprim Liquid X GeForce RTX 4090.
In testing, the MSI Suprim Liquid X GeForce RTX 4090 is the best performer out of all of the RTX 4090s available seconded by the RTX 4090 Matrix by Asus. However, Asus does not have a significant lead over MSI’s 4090 and it also costs north of $3000 making it too expensive even for enthusiasts. The RTX 4090 is already an expensive GPU with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $1600 while other brands releasing almost $2000 RTX 4090s.
This is exactly why the $1700 price by MSI surprises me because it is one of the best RTX 4090 I have tested yet it is also one of the least expensive.
Thanks to the hybrid air and AIO, the MSI Suprim Liquid X GeForce RTX 4090 is perfect for anyone already planning to liquid cool their RTX 4090. Custom liquid cooling solutions can be really expensive and require a lot of patience and skill to set up correctly.
Not to mention, a custom loop also introduces risks of water damage if you don’t know what you are doing. The other great thing about having an AIO dedicated to the GPU is that it doesn’t need to share the same cooler with the CPU as in a custom loop.
The card has a sleek, professional design, and it’s entirely constructed from metal, even the backplate. It comes equipped with a 240mm AIO cooler for the GPU core and VRAM, making the remaining card just a small dual slot with a fan for the PCB. As a result, the card typically remains at a cool 50 degrees Celsius during extended gaming or productivity sessions. These low temperatures indicate that the cooler is very good at dissipating a lot of heat. Given the RTX 4090’s 450-watt TDP, any PC case housing this GPU should have excellent exhaust to ensure everything else in the PC stays cool.
Looking at the specs, the RTX 4090 is paired with a 24 GB GDDR6X VRAM buffer that is connected to a 384-bit bus. The 4090 has a massive 72 MB L2 cache which combined with the 384-bit bus yields an unprecedented 1,008 GB/s of bandwidth. This is the reason why many professionals have also turned to the RTX 4090 for their bandwidth-hungry applications like Artificial Intelligence research and 8K video editing instead of getting Nvidia or AMD’s professional-grade Quadro or FirePro cards.
In terms of performance, simply put any game on and it will fly. The RTX 4090 can run even the most demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077:Phantom Liberty at 4K maximum settings at around 70 FPS. You can even play games like Doom Eternal at 8K max settings at 60+ FPS or Red Dead Redemption 2 at 8K high settings at 60+ FPS.
The 4090 wants to be challenged and thanks to technologies like DLSS upscaling and ray reconstruction, the quality of games is also unmatched.
Any eSports title will have no issue running at 200 FPS or higher even at 4K ultra settings. That means even 4K 240 FPS gaming is possible at high settings in games like Counter-Strike 2, DOTA 2, PUBG, Valorant, League of Legends, Apex Legends, and Rainbow Six Siege.
If we take a look at the direct competition, there simply isn’t any. This is not to exaggerate the RTX 4090’s position in any way because AMD does not have a GPU this generation that directly challenges the RTX 4090.
As mentioned earlier, any benchmark that shows the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX closing the gap against the RTX 4090 is due to the fact that the current AMD 7000 and Intel 13th-gen CPUs are becoming the bottleneck for the RTX 4090. This means that the RTX 4090 is so fast that until AMD and Intel release more powerful CPUs, we won’t see the full gaming potential of the RTX 4090.
I guess my final nitpick would be that there are just too few ports for what is considered the best graphics card in the world. This card definitely needs more than just 3 DisplayPorts and an HDMI port.
Regardless, if you need the absolute best gaming GPU then there is no other option than the RTX 4090 as it has a massive lead over every other GPU. The MSI Suprim Liquid X does not have only the best cooler, but it is also one of the best RTX 4090s in terms of build quality. It will serve anyone for a very long time whether it be for gaming or professional work.
To sum up what I like is that…
-Absolute best performance by any consumer-grade GPU
-Great even for 8K video editing, 3D modelling and AI acceleration
-Massive 24 GB VRAM
On the downside…
-Requires almost 400 watts of power at maximum usage
-Could have more ports
- PCB Design: 9/10
- Aesthetics & Cooler design: 9/10
- Value for Money: 7/10
- Overall Rating: 8.5/10
3. Sapphire Pulse RX 6700 XT – Best Budget GPU For Gaming
The Sapphire Pulse RX 6700 XT was my choice for the best budget GPU for 1440p gaming and that makes it also my top budget choice for gaming in general.
The demand for a powerful GPU near the $300 price point that is decent for gaming is now higher than ever before.
The AMD RX 6700 XT is a graphics card that has stepped up as the budget champion for gaming especially now that it is consistently available for around $300 to $350. The Sapphire Pulse RX 6700 XT is the most affordable RX 6700 XT but it’s not just on the cheaper side, it is also one of the highest quality RX 6700 XTs thanks to its full-array aluminum heatsinks and requires a standard 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe connector for power.
In the looks department, it doesn’t go for anything fancy. The dark grey aesthetic easily fits in with any PC setup but it won’t impress anyone.
What’s great except that it’s the cheapest RX 6700 XT out there, is that even with only 2 fans it does a great job at keeping temperatures around the mid-60s to low-70s °C, even during long gaming sessions.
However, to save some money, Sapphire did not include any RGB and went with plastic for the fan cover instead of metal. Thankfully, the shroud is hard plastic which is strong enough to withstand any light damage that cheaper plastics cannot handle. The backplate is also made of plastic and offers no cooling to the VRMs on the back of the PCB. Overall, the build of the card is decent and gets the job done but I would advise extra care when handling it.
Looking at the specs, the RX 6700 XT is paired with a 12 GB VRAM buffer that is connected to a 192-bit bus. The 192-bit bus may be an area of concern especially since you need a wider bus width to accommodate higher resolutions. However, thanks to a massive 96 MB L3 cache (that AMD calls Infinity cache), the resultant bandwidth is an impressive 384.0 GB/s.
In terms of performance, the 6700 XT can easily run AAA games like Doom Eternal, The Last of Us, The Witcher 3, Remnant 2, and Elden Ring at 1440p resolution and give you 60+ FPS (say Frame Per Second) in all of these titles.
Only the most demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 will run at 1440p with around 40 FPS, so you will need FSR to increase the framerate above 60 FPS.
Any eSports title will have no issue running at 120 FPS or higher even at maximum visual settings. That means even 240 FPS gaming is possible at medium or high settings in games like Counter-Strike 2, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege.
If we take a look at the direct competition with the RX 6700 XT, Nvidia has the RTX 4060 Ti, Intel has the ARC A770 and AMD the newer RX 7600. All of these GPUs perform very well at 1440p but where the RX 6700 XT shines is that it is really balanced in terms of specifications. Except for the ARC A770, the rest have 8 GB VRAM connected to a narrow 128-bit bus. The A770 is impressive in terms of specs, but Intel has some serious work to do with their drivers.
In conclusion, if you need a GPU that will perform on par and last as long as the Sony PlayStation 5 for excellent gaming and is affordble the RX 6700 XT is the obvious choice.
To sum up what I like is the…
- Small and compact design
- Full-array aluminum heatsinks
On the downside…
- Ray tracing performance is poor without FSR
- Plastic fan shroud and backplate
- PCB Design: 8/10
- Aesthetics & Cooler design: 7/10
- Value for Money: 9/10
- Overall Rating: 8/10
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is a more expensive GPU always better for gaming?
Not necessarily. While a higher price often indicates advanced features and better performance, it’s essential to consider your gaming requirements. Some mid-range GPUs can handle most games on high settings.
- How often should I upgrade my GPU for optimal gaming?
Typically, a quality GPU can last 3-5 years before it may start lagging in the latest games. However, how often you should upgrade depends on your desired game settings and performance expectations.
- Does a GPU only affect graphics quality in games?
While primarily for graphics, a GPU also impacts game load times, physics simulations, and some AI computations in certain games.
- How important is VRAM in a gaming GPU?
VRAM (Video Random Access Memory) is crucial for storing textures, frame buffers, and other essential data. More VRAM can help in running games at higher resolutions or with better texture quality.
- Can I use two GPUs simultaneously for better gaming performance?
Yes, certain GPUs support multi-GPU configurations like NVIDIA’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFire. However, not all games benefit from this setup, and there may be compatibility issues.
- What’s the difference between an integrated and dedicated GPU?
An integrated GPU is built into the processor and shares memory with the CPU, suitable for basic tasks. A dedicated GPU, on the other hand, is a separate card designed for demanding tasks like gaming, providing superior performance.
- Does overclocking my GPU make a significant difference in gaming?
Overclocking can boost gaming performance but not always significantly. It can also increase heat and power consumption. Always ensure adequate cooling when overclocking.
- Are drivers crucial for GPU performance in gaming?
Yes, drivers optimize the GPU’s performance for new games and fix potential bugs. It’s recommended to keep your GPU drivers up-to-date for the best gaming experience.
- Should I prioritize GPU core count or clock speed for gaming?
Both factors are essential. However, if choosing, the clock speed often has a more direct impact on performance in games, while core count is beneficial for multitasking and specific parallel processing tasks. Always consider the balance between the two based on your specific needs.
- Top 3 Best Motherboards For The Intel Core i9 14900K For 2024 - December 6, 2023
- Top 3 Best Motherboards For Ryzen 9 7950X3D - November 29, 2023
- The Best Ryzen 7 7800X3D Gaming PC Builds For 2024 - November 14, 2023