4k gaming monitor

Best graphics cards available now

Best Graphics Cards Available Now

For gaming, the GPU is important, but it’s also the exciting part of your rig. Your GPU is where the magic happens, where your game comes alive. Whether you’re building a new PC, replacing a card or upgrading, we’ve got something for every price range from leading rivals AMD and Nvidia.

You may be happy with games with simpler graphics such as Into the Breach or even dear old WOW. And you may be satisfied with lower graphics settings. As such, a lower spec, multimedia-type GPU will be enough. However, you may prefer the sort of gaming where you need to see every visual detail of The Witcher 3 or Forza Horizon 4 gleaming in full or ultra HD. Read on for some options to cover both, and in between.

1.Asus GeForce GT 1030 2GB OC Graphics Card

+ Good for compact build

+ Affordable

– Don’t expect much more than full HD

There are cheaper cards, but much less than this and you’re looking more at a card for general office work and multimedia – without any oomph for gaming. The Asus GeForce GT 1030 2GB OC offers a pretty decent set of characteristics, including 1531 MHz clock speed in boost mode and an intuitive overclocking app, meaning you can run games at a reasonable 1080p.

2. Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

+ Great value

+ Five-year warranty

– None

You know a product is good when the manufacturer is confident enough to include a five-year warranty. This is one of the best-selling GeForce 1050 cards – a solid, great-value option for mini systems if you have realistic demands. With some tweaking you can achieve 60fps at 1080p in Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.

3. Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 580 AORUS 8GB Graphics Card

+ Cooling

+ Three free games

– Awkward proportions

This is a great low/mid-range card with excellent cooling thanks to the Windforce system working with composite heat pipes and 3D Active Fan switching on when a temperature threshold is reached – RGB lights also indicate the temperature. It features the Aorus graphics engine for easy monitoring and tweaking, and will run demanding games smoothly at QHD and even UHD, though it can get hot when pushed. It even comes with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and two other free games.

4. Asus GTX 1060 6GB DUAL OC Graphics Card

+ Easy to install

+ Can handle AAA games on high settings

– Large card

Nvidia GeForce 1060 cards dominate the world. They’re the best-known, reliable mid-range GPUs out there produced by a variety of manufacturers. The Asus GTX 1060 Dual OC is a very popular option for gaming rigs and it can handle some AAA games at the highest settings while maintaining a manageable temperature. It has an OC mode boost clock of 1809MHz and is VR ready.

5. Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB NITRO+ Graphics Card

+ Easy overclocking

+ 4K Ultra capable

– Power hungry

With Sapphire Nitro+, this Radeon card can easily handle boosted clock speeds and games running at 1080p plus. Nitro+ also improves cooling and fan noise. With TriXX 3.0, Sapphire’s award-winning overclocking utility, you can, among other things, easily tweak the RGB LEDs or even just turn them off. It’s designed with VR requirements in mind and it also comes with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and two other free games.

6. Asus GTX 1060 ROG STRIX GAMING OC 6GB Graphics Card

+ Good with VR

+ Award winning

– Very long card

Another slightly beefier (and costlier) 1060 GPU that’s good with conventional games and VR, offering ultra-high-resolution capabilities, easy tweaking (with GPU Tweak II) and solid cooling. This is an excellent, versatile, powerful option at the higher end of mid-range, and even comes with COD Black Ops free.

7. Asus GeForce GTX 1070 STRIX OC GAMING 8GB Graphics Card

+ Easily handles ultra settings

+ RGB lighting

– Very long card

Another superb card, but going up a bit in price – if you really need GeForce 1070 with its innovative Pascal architecture. This is another award-winner, offering remarkable gaming 4K visuals on monitor and in VR. Titles like Doom and Hitman effortlessly play on Ultra HD, and COD Black Ops comes free. Its engine clock runs at 1060MHz, although GPU Tweak II means you can easily adjust to your requirements. Excellent cooling, too.

8. Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming OC 8GB Graphics Card

+ Serious FPS on high settings

+ Simple overclocking

– Price

You’d expect kit at this price to be top-notch and the Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming OC 8GB card is no exception. It’s easy to clock and tune to your gaming requirements with the Xtreme Engine utility, which also manages the RBG LEDs, and has a clock that can run at 1860 MHz. Expect high refresh rates even at full settings in the latest games.

9. Asus ROG Strix RX VEGA 64 OC edition 8GB HBM2 Graphics Card

+ Ultra HD without even overclocking

+ Thermal features

– Large size

This is a costly card, yes, but it’s come down in price to make it very competitive (compared to Nvidia equivalents). It has a slightly unusual 2.4 slot width, which is good if you’ve got the space as it allows 40% surface for heat dissipation. This is handy as it’s powerful and you’ll work it hard; it can get a solid 60FPS at 1440p, QuadHD and with some adjustments via the GPU Tweak II with XSplit Gamecaster you can get 4K UltraHD. The ASUS Aura Sync RGB LED can also be fully tweaked to your requirements.

10. MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO 8GB Graphics Card

+ Future-proofed

+ Ray-tracing

– Price

With the new Turing architecture, 2080 cards point to the future of GPUs. Assuming the rest of your rig is as high spec – and that games developers add the necessary features – it offers next-gen real-time ray-tracing, displaying the most hyper-realistic graphics imaginable. Combined with Tri-Froz thermal design, award-winning Trox 3.0 fans, it’ll work hard but stay cool. The widely respected MSI Afterburner app enables full control and overclocking. Pretty awesome.

Gaming changes fast but chances are you know the kinds of titles and genres you enjoy, and have an understanding of the kit you need to run them. If you want 4K HD, you’ll obviously have to pay a bit more – but you may be surprised by some of the good-value options here that allow you to achieve your desired resolution and frame rates. Otherwise, get saving for the higher end! If you do, bear in mind you’re investing in future-proofing your PC for increasingly realistic graphics or the demands of VR.