These are the only graphics cards you should buy in 2023 | Digital Trends

There are many options when looking for the best graphics card. In years past, you could look at a product name and get a general idea of ​​where it went in terms of performance, but times are changing. With bizarre value propositions, extra features that go beyond raw performance, and questionable naming conventions, GPUs are far more complex than they used to be.

I looked at every graphics card released in the last couple of years, spanning two generations from both AMD and Nvidia, as well as Intel’s first push into the discrete graphics market. Here are the only GPUs I would consider buying.

What to look for

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Before we get to the recommendations, here’s a high-level overview of what to look for in a graphics card, plus how much weight you should give to each of the criteria. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Raw performance 50%
  • Ray tracing performance 15%
  • Extra Features (DLSS, Nvidia Broadcast) 20%
  • VRAM capacity 10%
  • Efficiency 5%

These numbers aren’t concrete, but they’re a good starting point for evaluating a GPU. If you need Nvidias Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), for example, that already limits your options. Likewise, if you don’t care about ray tracing, the raw performance becomes more valuable. And while efficiency generally doesn’t tip the scales in the US, it can save you some money on your electric bill in other countries.

Outside of the graphics card itself, the other thing to keep in mind is monitor resolution. This will largely determine which graphics cards you should consider, regardless of your budget. You might have $1,200 to spend on an RTX 4080, but you really shouldn’t if you’re using a 1080p monitor. It’s tempting, but you may actually be limiting your GPU performance in a situation like this due to a CPU bottleneck.

About $1,000 Nvidia RTX 4080

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If you’re spending $1,000 on a graphics card, you want a top-notch 4K gaming experience. This includes excellent ray tracing, next-gen features like AI frame generation, and the ability to maximize settings without compromise. And as problematic as the RTX 4080 is, it delivers that experience.

The RTX 4080’s main problem is its $1,200 list price, but you can now find it for around $1,100, and if you’re lucky, maybe even $1,000. This makes it much more attractive. At native 4K, you can easily exceed 60 frames per second (fps) in the most demanding games, with some titles, such as Strength Horizon 5,reaching over 100 fps.

Raw performance is impressive, but the RTX 4080 really earns its stripes with ray tracing and DLSS 3. Its closest competitor, AMD’s RX 7900 XTX, offers better value when it comes to raw performance and price. with that card available for around $900 right. Now. However, it takes a backseat to ray tracing and doesn’t offer the performance-boosting DLSS 3, making it difficult to recommend when you’re dropping $1,000 on a GPU.

About $600 AMD RX 6950 XT

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We were disappointed with AMD’s RX 6950 XT when it was released, but now that prices have dropped, it’s one hell of a GPU. You can find it in stock for around $600, and it’s a steal at that price. In terms of raw performance, you’re looking at 4K gaming easily above 60fps, generally matching Nvidia’s $800 RTX 4070 Ti for a fraction of the price.

The caveat, as is usually the case with AMD graphics cards, is a relatively low ray tracing performance. Given the RX 6950 XT’s price now, however, compromises in ray tracing are easy to accept. At native 4K, the RX 6950 XT nearly matches Nvidia’s option at this price point of the RTX 4070, and it snaps forward when you turn off ray tracing.

At $600, you want a GPU that can blast through 4K gaming, even if you have to compromise elsewhere. For example, games like RTX PortalANDCyberpunk 2077Microsoft’s path tracking mode will struggle on the card without access to a feature like DLSS 3. If you look at the bigger picture of gaming, however, it’s clear that the RX 6950 XT is the GPU to buy if you’re under $600 to spend. .

About $300 AMD RX 6700 XT

If you don’t keep up with all the latest GPU reviews, you’ve been missing out on the absolute bloodbath that has marked the last few months of AMD and Nvidia releases. Both companies have failed to offer a compelling option around $300 for budget-conscious gamers. Thankfully, the latest generation RX 6700 XT fills the gap perfectly now that its price has dropped.

You can find the RX 6700 XT for around $330, and it’s a steal at that price. At $300, you’re looking for a GPU that delivers a top-notch 1080p gaming experience, with enough grunt to push as high as 1440p with some compromises, and the RX 6700 XT delivers on both counts. It delivers over 60fps at 1440p in the vast majority of games, even at maxed settings. It can even maintain that performance in less demanding ray tracing titles like Resident Evil 4.

The card takes a back seat to Nvidia alternatives in the most demanding ray tracing workloads, but it’s hard to ignore how much performance the RX 6700 XT offers for around $300. Even better, it comes with 12GB of VRAM. Recent releases, such as Resident Evil 4ANDThe last of us part 1, they exceeded the 8GB capacity traditionally found on GPUs around this price point. The RX 6700 XT is better equipped to handle these games. For example, the RX 6700 XT is not only faster than Nvidia’s $300 RTX 4060 inThe last of us part 1, but it also outperforms the $400 RTX 4060 Ti.

About $200 Intel Arc A750

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Finally, we have the Intel Arc A750 at around $200. While Intel graphics cards have quietly gotten excellent, I normally wouldn’t recommend them. Intel is still new here, its software still has weird bugs, and while many of the kinks have been ironed out, it’s hard to invest in a brand with such a short track record.

But for $200, you definitely don’t get any better from AMD or Nvidia. The Arc A750 is about as fast as the RTX 3060 overall, and that’s when ray tracing performance is factored into it. Knock ray tracing out of the mix, which is about right for a $200 graphics card, and the Arc A750 actually has a slight edge. And the Arc A750 is $50 to $100 cheaper than the RTX 3060.

At this price, you’re limited to 1080p, but the Arc A750 delivers an excellent experience at that resolution. It can push ray tracing in games likeResident Evil 4ANDReturn staying above 60 fps (and this before image reconstruction with FSR or XeSS). In games like Dawn Horizon ZeroANDAssassin’s Creed Valhalla,it can even hit over 100fps at maxed out settings.

The Arc A750 fills a gap in the market that AMD and Nvidia have largely ignored. Your other options at that price point are the RX 6600 and RTX 3050, both alloys slower than the Arc A750.

Graphics cards to avoid

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I’m not claiming that the four GPUs above cover the range for everyone. There’s a reason we have so many options, and even in recommending these four, I’ve pointed to alternatives. For example, I don’t think AMD RX 7900 XTX or Nvidia RTX 4070 are the best options at their respective price points, but you can make a compelling case for them. However, there are some GPUs you should avoid.

First, there’s the RTX 4060 Ti. This graphics card is woefully underpowered at its $400 list price, so much so that we haven’t even given it a scored review. It’s beaten by the last generation RTX 3060 Ti at times, and its limited memory configuration means it struggles a lot with demanding modern titles.

The RTX 4070 Ti has similar problems. It’s fast, sure, but it’s also insanely expensive. Sure, it comes with DLSS 3 and can deliver 60fps at 4K, but it’s also slower than AMD’s RX 6950 XT while costing about $200 more.

This isn’t to just throw shade at Nvidia, though. AMD’s RX 7900 XT also has problems. Its price has dropped since launch, but so has the price of the RX 7900 XTX. It’s still only about $100 cheaper and is somewhere around 10% slower. It’s a bad value, plain and simple, and the RX 7900 XTX is a much better choice.

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