The 10 Best Graphics Cards of 2020

Take your gaming to the next level with the next generation of graphics cards

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The Rundown
"A powerhouse of a graphics card; perfect for both serious gamers and graphic design professionals."
"The 2080 Super has composite copper tubing and three fans to help dissipate heat more efficiently for better performance."
"This GPU is VR ready so you can take the leap into the next generation of PC gaming."
Best Overclocked GPU:
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti at Amazon
"Serious gamers looking to up their overclocking capabilities should take a look at the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti."
"The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Super gives you superior control over your color scheme."
"t’s powerful enough to smoothly handle 4K."
"The AMD Radeon RX 5700 Overclocked 8GB is a powerful pick for 1440p (QHD) resolution gaming."
"The Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT 6G GDDR6 card has been routinely pegged as one of the best around."
"This AMD-powered beast is large and meaty."
"If you’re keen on a graphics card that is both affordable and compact, then the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC might be your best bet."

If you’re serious about PC gaming or need a powerful rig capable of handling complex video editing or graphic design needs, then a dedicated graphics card (or GPU) is a must. Integrated graphics solutions, as seen in a lot of mid-range computers, just don’t offer enough graphical grunt to power games anywhere near top settings—or sometimes even smoothly enough to enjoy—or handle the intense visual demands of rendering assets for video.

Knowing that you need a dedicated (or discrete) graphics card is only the first step, however. Actually choosing a graphics card requires quite a lot of consideration, from how much you’re willing to spend to how much memory a card has and the clock speed. Some graphics cards can cost significantly more than a premium computer itself, but your average gamer doesn’t need that kind of excessive horsepower. Ideally, a graphics card should hit that sweet spot of power for the price.

For the gamer who wants top-end performance or a creative professional who needs ample power in a home workstation, our pick is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti at Amazon, a beastly GPU that can handle just about any challenge thrown its way. But there are also several options just below it that can save a fair bit of money, as we’ll explore below.

Our video card primer offers more details on exactly what a graphics card offers and what you need to know, but if you’re in the market for recommendations, here are our picks for the best graphics cards available today to meet all kinds of budgets and needs.

Best Overall: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

What We Like
  • VR ready

  • 4K ready

  • Aerospace quality alloy heatsinks

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Reports of DOA units

  • Reports of customers receiving damaged units

If you’re after the best of the best and have the bank account to match, then you can’t do much better than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. This monster of a graphics card features aerospace-quality alloy heatsinks and framing that not only give it unparalleled durability and strength but also enhance its ability to dissipate heat and maintain optimal temperatures. Meanwhile, a trio of fans further pulls heat away from the unit and has a silent operation mode to minimize fan noise.

Nvidia’s GPU Tweak II software helps help the temperature in check and monitors performance in real-time to ensure that you’re getting every ounce of power out of this card. It also lets you tap into other software such as XSplit Gamecast, GameBooster, and Quantumcloud. And whether you’re looking to play in 4K resolution or use a VR headset, this card is ready to handle just about any challenge is thrown its way. The same is true for graphic design needs, as well.

Best Nvidia: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Super

What We Like
  • NvidiaLink support

  • 4-year warranty

  • LED power indicator

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Reports of DOA units

  • May not fit mid-size tower cases

The best Nvidia-based graphics card available today is the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Super. This GPU is powerful enough to handle real-time ray tracing for seriously realistic lighting effects, which results in extremely lifelike imagery in both games and 3D animation alike. You can also use NVlink to pair two identical graphics cards to double your power.

Gigabyte’s GeForce RTX 2080 Super benefits from composite copper tubing along with three fans that help maximize performance by dissipating heat. In fact, the three fans spin in alternate directions to improve airflow. Also, an LED indicator light can alert you to interruptions or unreliable power to the card, letting you quickly identify any needed fixes. The AORUS app lets you adjust overclocking and fan speeds, as well as keep tabs on temperatures and performance. And if you have any issues, there’s a four-year warranty onboard to cover units that arrive dead or have manufacturing defects.

Best for 1080p: ASUS TUF GeForce RTX 1660 Super

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • VR ready

  • 144 hour testing for compatibility

What We Don't Like
  • Not 4K capable

  • May run hot

It might not sit atop the pile of super-powerful graphics cards, but the ASUS TUF GeForce RTX 1660 Super is a great pick for those building a first gaming PC, or who want to boost the gaming capabilities of an existing rig. This ASUS GPU isn’t powerful enough to handle 4K resolution, but it has enough horsepower to deliver smooth VR experiences if you have a headset handy.

Between the dual-fan cooling system and copper pipes along with the heatsink plate, the RTX 1660 Super ought to run pretty coolly during use. Meanwhile, the 6GB of GDDR6 memory means it’s 20 percent faster than the standard GTX 1660 model. Best of all, ASUS runs an extensive validation process to ensure that each card is up to snuff and that all components are compatible with each other, hopefully minimizing any hassle as you enjoy high-performance games or handle serious graphic design and video production tasks.

Best Overclocked GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

What We Like
  • Auto scans for best overclock settings

  • Max OC of 1875MHz,

  • Dragon Center app

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of DOA units

  • Reports of failing display ports

  • Reports of loud coil whine while overclocked

If you’re serious about overclocking and making the most of your hardware, then be sure to take a look at the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. You can overclock this beast to a maximum of 1875Mhz, which should let you handle just about everything except the highest of high-end games. MSI’s Dragon Center app is at the heart of overclocking, plus the MSI Afterburner app performs automatic scans to discover the ideal overclock settings for any particular game. It’ll also monitor real-time performance and temperature.

A dual-fan setup with both standard and steep-curved blades helps maximize heat dissipation, with MSI’s Zero Frozr tech allowing for silent operation when idle or during less-demanding tasks. Additionally, it has customizable RGB lighting, with the Mystic Light app letting you choose from millions of colors and dozens of effects. And with 6GB of GDDR6 memory onboard, the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can handle up to four simultaneous displays.

Best RGB: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Super

What We Like
  • 1845MHz max overclocking

  • Custom RGB LED with Mystic Light

  • 25% faster than original RTX 20 series

What We Don't Like
  •  Expensive

  • Difficult product registration process

  • Requires a support bracket

If customizable RGB lighting is one of your biggest must-haves, then the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Super should be at the top of your list. Thanks to MSI’s Mystic Light program, you can choose from millions of colors and dozens of lighting effects as you develop custom schemes, allowing you to personalize the warm glow of the GPU. You can even turn the LED lights off completely if they prove to distract at times.

Of course, it’s an immensely powerful graphics card as well, whether you’re big on gaming or need some serious muscle for video editing or graphic design needs. MSI’s Afterburner app performs automatic scans to determine the ideal overclocking and performance settings for games, and you can even access it via an iOS or Android device to make tweaks on your phone or tablet without leaving your game on the PC. Add in machine learning smarts and ray tracing lighting capabilities and you have a top-end card that also looks like a million bucks.

Best 4K Sweet Spot: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Super XC Ultra Gaming

What We Like
  • Great 4K performance

  • More affordable than 2080

  • No PSU connection needed

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most powerful

  • Expensive

Just one look at the numbering scheme (and the other entries on this list) makes it clear that there are more powerful Nvidia graphics cards than the GeForce RTX 2070 Super. But when you factor in the modest performance differences—and more importantly, the price differences—then it seems clear to us that the RTX 2070 Super sits in a sweet spot right between the standard, less-powerful RTX 2070 and the pricier 2080 models.

In other words, for most PC players who want fantastic performance but don’t need to break the bank to squeeze out another 10 percent, this is your GPU. It’s powerful enough to smoothly handle 4K (albeit probably not on highest settings) and deliver impressive detail, plus it’s a more cost-effective option for rendering and graphic design needs.

Best AMD: ASUS AMD Radeon RX 5700 Overclocked 8GB

What We Like
  • Runs super cool

  • Cheaper then GeForce

  • Vibrant RGB lighting

What We Don't Like
  • First run of cards had issues

  • Not most powerful 5700

AMD’s Radeon GPU line is no longer just the cheaper alternative to Nvidia’s GeForce: now it’s the cheaper and comparable alternative, nearly matching Nvidia blow for blow on power. The Radeon RX 5700 matches up well against the GeForce RTX 2060, and this particular ASUS model is one of the best values in the RX 5700 bunch.

Part of ASUS’ Republic of Gamers line, the ASUS AMD Radeon RX 5700 Overclocked 8GB is a powerful pick for 1440p (QHD) resolution gaming and demanding graphic design and video rendering needs. It hits a boosted clock speed of 1750Mhz and has been praised in reviews for its super-cool operation, thanks to its Axial-tech fan design and MaxContact tech that helps disperse heat. There are some more powerful, albeit more expensive RX 5700 cards out there, but this hits a better sweet spot on price.

Best AMD Value: Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT 6G GDDR6

What We Like
  • Strong performance

  • Largely tops RTX 2060

  • Runs pretty cool

What We Don't Like
  • Might be a bit bulky

  • No RGB lighting

There’s no shortage of AMD Radeon RX 5600 cards from different makers, but the Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT 6G GDDR6 card has been routinely pegged as one of the best around. While noted for being a bit bulky—so be sure to check the sizing specs—this powerful card is ideal for mid-level 1440p resolution play or maxed-out 1080p settings. In fact, it’ll beat the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in most games, despite being the cheaper card.

Even under a lot of stress from top games or design and rendering demands, the Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT 6G GDDR6 stays cool thanks to its DualX heatsink and intelligent fan control. You’ll be hard-pressed to get more power for the price.

Best AMD (non-RGB): XFX AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III

What We Like
  • Great 1440p performance

  • Runs quiet and cool

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy power demands

  • No RGB lighting

  • NO real-time ray tracing

The XFX AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra isn’t like a lot of other graphics cards today. It doesn’t have customizable RGB lighting and it isn’t trying to be slim and compact. This AMD-powered beast is large and meaty and requires a heck of a lot of power running through it. Those aren’t complaints: XFX strikes a unique silhouette with its graphics cards and backs it up with fantastic performance and surprisingly effective cooling.

That’s true again with the THICC III Ultra, which hits a boost clock of 2025Mhz and has 8GB GDDR6 memory to power blistering gaming experiences. It’s best suited for 1440p resolution, and while this card isn’t built for real-time ray tracing, it handles VR just fine. Given the size, you might worry about it being loud and hot, but surprisingly the THICC III Ultra bucks those expectations with a triple-fan design and copper GDDR heatsink to stay cool all the while.

Best Budget GeForce: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Compact size

  • No PSU connection needed

What We Don't Like
  • Modest performance

  • Not ideal for overclocking

If you’re keen on a graphics card that is both affordable and compact, then the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC might be your best bet. It doesn’t require as much space as a full-sized GPU, and another big benefit in that regard is that it does not need to be plugged into your power supply. This is arguably the most power you can get from a card like that, and that makes it an ideal option for upgrading an aging system with a bit more GPU grunt.

With less power consumption, the single fan and sunflower-style heatsink should be enough to keep heat under wraps during use. It’s a sizable fan too, at 90mm, with striped fan blades to help break up the airflow and better spread the benefits around the card. While this isn’t the best card for 4K resolution or VR support, it should give you solid performance with less-demanding games like League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Final Verdict

There’s no shortage of powerful graphics cards out there today, with both the Nvidia and AMD camps playing host to loads of different variations. However, if you’re looking for something that is powerful enough to push nearly any game to the limit—as well as handle the most demanding graphic design and video editing/rendering needs—then you can’t go wrong with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (view on Amazon) If you want to save a bit of cash without sacrificing a lot of power, though, you might also consider the EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Super XC Ultra Gaming (view at Amazon) or Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT 6G GDDR6 (view at Amazon) instead.

About our Trusted Experts:

Alice Newcome-Beill has penned PC component buying guides for Lifewire as well as PC Gamer, and personally runs an MSI Nvidia 2080Ti in her own gaming rig.

Taylor Clemons
has been writing about games for more than three years and is an avid gamer and expert on PC components, hardware, and operating systems.

Andrew Hayward
has been covering gadgets, gaming, esports, and more since 2006, and deftly switches between Windows and Mac setups just to keep things interesting.

What to Look for in the Best Graphics Cards

Memory - How much memory or VRAM your GPU can be a huge determinant of performance. Sure, you might be able to get away with as little as 2GB RAM for less-intensive games or graphic design/video editing tasks, but the more RAM the more you’ll be able to handle without the performance getting bogged down.

Clock speed - The clock speed is how fast your GPU can send or retrieve information, as opposed to the memory, which is how much of that info it can store. Some PC gamers choose to overclock their GPUs and push them to the bleeding edge, so this number is arguably most meaningful for those folks.

Size - Some GPUs are pretty slim and compact, but it’s no surprise that the most powerful graphics cards are honkin’ beasts. For example, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti may require up to 340mm of clearance in your case, and you’ll want to make sure you can accommodate that. Check the website of your PC or case manufacturer to be sure.