These are the best graphics cards you can buy in 2021

These are the best graphics cards you can buy in 2021

Securing a new graphics card is damn near impossible right now. The prevailing situations are due to the semi-conductor shortage and manufacturing roadblocks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. On top of that, cryptocurrency miners have also stretched the GPU market to its limits. However, manufacturers are expected to restock the GPUs over the holidays to finally make it somewhat easier to buy them. We’ve managed to put together a collection of the best graphics cards, just in time for the restock.

While GPUs kept fluctuating in price, both Nvidia and AMD kept the market buzzing with new graphics cards. Things are also looking promising for AMD with the release of its Big Navi RX 6000 cards. It’s starting to get truly competitive again as the blue team is also ready to make a splash with Intel Arc graphics cards next year.

Our collection of the best graphics cards reflect the ever-evolving GPU market. We’ve included dozens of options ranging from the best overall to the best value graphics card. These are our picks for the best GPUs across different categories:

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Before we proceed to individual items, let’s take a quick look at a few important things to remember while shopping for a new GPU:

  • Buy a graphics card that suits your needs, not because it’s new or the fastest.
  • Check for the manufacturer’s ‘Recommended Power Requirement’ before buying the PSU, not the ‘Total Graphics Power’ (TGP) of the GPU.
  • There’s more to a GPU than just its clock speed and total memory. Check the specifications table for details like memory bandwidth, TGP, and more.
  • Check if your PC case is big enough to fit the graphics card you’d like to buy. The GPU length clearance is usually mentioned by the case manufacturer.
  • Know your gaming needs before picking a GPU to save money. For instance, an RTX 3080 for 1080p gaming would just be overkill.
  • Getting the best possible gaming GPU isn’t enough for gaming. Make sure your other core components are also good enough to avoid any bottlenecks.
  • All GPUs mentioned in this list are based on the reference model a.k.a ‘Founders Edition’ or the base model with stock speeds.
  • RT, DLSS, and other acronyms: Not all GPUs support ray-tracing (RT), Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), etc. Check a particular GPU’s product page to find out.

With that out of the way, it’s now time to check out the individual picks in our collection:

Best graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU sitting upside down with a yellow light reflection

SpecificationNvidia GeForce RTX 3080
GPUAmpere | GA102
GPU Cores8704
Base Clock1.44GHz
Boost Clock1.71GHz
Memory10 GB GDDR6X
Memory Bandwidth760 GB/s
Memory Interface Width320-bit
RT Cores68
TDP (W)320
Required System Power (W750
GPU Length285mm

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card is our pick for the best GPU you can buy right now. It delivers a huge performance boost over the RTX 20 series cards from the previous generation. The RTX 3080 is based on Nivida’s Ampere architecture and supports new generation Ray-Tracing & Tensor cores. The RTX 3080’s GPU engine has a base clock of 1.44GHz and a boost clock of 1.71GHz. The card has 10GB GDDR6X VRAM to handle even the most demanding AAA titles out there. The VRAM is not as much as what the RTX 3090 offers, but it’s plenty to handle textures at 4K resolution too. The GDDR6X runs at 19 Gbps in the RTX 3080, which combined with the 320-bit interface, yields 760 GB/s of bandwidth.

The 8nm GPU also features 8,704 CUDA cores and 68 RT cores, allowing it to deliver better overall performance. Even with ray-tracing enabled, the RTX 3080 produces more frame rates than what, say, a top-of-the-line RTX 20-series GPU would manage to produce without it. The RTX 3080 supports a long list of features like PCI Express Gen 4, Nvidia DLSS, Nvidia Reflex, Vulkan RT API, OpenGL 4.6, VR, and more. The GPU has a single HDMI 2.1 port along with three DisplayPort 1.4a.

The RTX 3080 GPU will take up to 2 PCI slots in your PC case and has a maximum length of 285mm. The overall footprint of the card is relatively high, so make sure your PC case has enough space to accommodate this GPU before buying. Nvidia rates the maximum GPU temperature of the RTX 3080 card at 93°C. It’s not a surprise considering it has a TGP rating of 320W. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your PSU since Nvidia recommends using a 750W unit for a system running an RTX 3080. It’s known to run a little hot, so it’s best paired with a PC case with good airflow. A custom cooling loop with a dedicated water block for it will do wonders.

The GeForce RTX 3080 is not the most powerful GPU in Nvidia’s current lineup. The RTX 3090 holds that crown with up to 20 percent more performance on paper. Assuming you don’t run into any CPU bottlenecks, that performance improvement will be anywhere between 10-15 percent in real-world use cases. For $700, we think RTX 3080 is the best high-end graphics card on the market. It delivers next-gen performance without a massive increase in price. It’s a solid upgrade for anybody who’s still using a GTX 1080 Ti or lower.

There’s also the RTX 3080 Ti — a slightly upgraded version of the RTX 3080. It’s a powerful flagship GPU that offers great 4K ray-tracing performance for enthusiasts. It also has better specifications on paper when compared with the RTX 3080 GPU. The RTX 3080 Ti further bridges the gap between the RTX 3080 and 3090 GPU. However, at $1,200, it’s tough to recommend over the already impressive RTX 3080 GPU. That being said, it’s hard to find RTX 3080 in stock across all the retailers. We suggest you keep your eyes peeled for the RTX 3080 restock since it’s not easy to get your hands on one of these cards.

    Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition
    The RTX 3080 offers a generation leap in performance over the last gen's high-end card, and it's the best GPU to buy this year.

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Best AMD graphics card: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD Radeon RX 5800 XT GPU with three fans sitting on a brown background

SpecificationAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
GPUNavi 21 | XT
GPU Cores4608
Base Clock2.01GHz
Boost Clock2.25GHz
Memory16GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth512 GB/s
Memory Interface Width256-bit
RT Cores72
TDP (W)300
Required System Power (W750
GPU Length267mm

The Radeon RX 6800 XT is the top contender for the best graphics card from Team Red. It’s our pick for the second-best graphics card you can buy on the market right now. It enters the fray with 72 CUs and 4,608 GPU cores. The GPU runs at 2,015MHz while boosting up to 2,250MHz. We expect both the game clocks and the boost clock to increase ever so slightly with the Rage Mode enabled. Rage Mode, for those of you who don’t know, is a performance preset for the RX 6800 XT and the RX 6900 XT. It allows the card to operate at higher clock speeds by taking advantage of any headroom available for both power and fan-speed limits. This requires a potent cooling solution, though.

The RX 6800 XT comes with 16GB GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit bus. The 7nm GPU has a total memory bandwidth of 512GB/s, falling slightly behind the RTX 3080’s raw bandwidth of 760GB/s. The RX 6800 XT has a 300W TGP with a recommended power supply rating of 750W. It supports ray-tracing too, however the RT performance is arguably better on the RTX 3080 with the inclusion of DLSS.

The RX 6800 XT trade blows with Nvidia’s second-tier Ampere card. It costs $50 cheaper, delivers good 4k performance, and has more VRAM than the RTX 3080. AMD is also working behind the scenes to improve FidelityFX Super Resolution to enable these GPUs to do more. Sure, it’s not as widespread as Nvidia’s DLSS tech, but AMD is promising a better future for its support. We’ve already started seeing a lot of new games taking advantage of FSR, and we believe the list will grow over time.

Even without the extras, the RX 6800 XT leaves AMD in a strong position. It leaves us wanting more from the RDNA 3 based 7000 series GPUs that are expected within the second half of 2022. Until then, the RX 6800 XT is going to be our pick for the best AMD GPU to buy. Nvidia currently has an upper hand with its ray-tracing performance. The RX 6800 XT is barely ahead of the RTX 3070 when it comes to ray-tracing. Hopefully, that’ll change as more games get optimized for the AMD cards.

There’s also the RX 6900 XT — AMD’s most powerful GPU this year. We didn’t go with the Radeon RX 6900 XT as our best pick for the same reasons why we didn’t pick the RTX 3090. The real-world performance increase of, say, up to seven percent isn’t enough to justify more than a 50 percent increase in price. The RX 6700 XT, on the other hand, is a solid card that can handle games at 1400p and even 4K resolution as long as you don’t mind tweaking some of the graphics settings.

We hope AMD and its partners manage to bless us with the RX 6800XT restocks more often though.

    AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
    The RX 6800 XT is the best graphics card in the 6000. It's identical to the RX 6900 XT except for slightly lower clock speeds.

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Best value for money graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti GPU with two black colored fans kept on a reflective surface

SpecificationNvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
GPUAmpere | GA104
GPU Cores4864
Base Clock1.41GHz
Boost Clock1.66GHz
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth448 GB/s
Memory Interface Width256-bit
RT Cores38
TDP (W)200
Required System Power (W550
GPU Length242mm

“Ampere for everyone!” is our tagline for the RTX 3060 Ti. That’s how much value the GPU offers for less than $400. This GPU took the spotlight away from the RTX 3060 for further bridging the gap between the mid-range cards and the RTX 3070. The RTX 3060 Ti features the GA104 GPU with a total of 4,864 CUDA cores. Not only is it a significant departure from RTX 2060 Super, but it has more CUDA cores than even the RTX 2080 Super. It features a base clock of 1,415MHz and a boost clock of 1,665MHz. Aftermarket cards like the Zotac RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC also feature overclocking on the menu.

The RTX 3060 Ti has 8GB GDDR6 memory with a bandwidth of 448GB/s. It’s the same memory bandwidth as the RTX 3070. We also get 38 RT and 152 Tensor cores with this GPU. It has 200W TGP and uses Nvidia’s 12-pin connector. All the specs come together to help the RTX 3060 Ti deliver impressive gaming performance. The GPU is capable of handling games at 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K with marginal sacrifices to graphics settings. Modern titles will smoothly push through the 60FPS mark at 1440p.

It’s safe to say the RTX 3060 Ti is similar to the RTX 3070 in many ways. RTX 3070 offers an improvement of, say, 10-20FPS in a lot of cases over the RTX 3060 Ti. Although the gap is narrower in few instances with both GPUs pushing almost the same amount of frames. The RTX 3060 Ti greatly benefits from DLSS too. It’s the better GPU to buy unless you’re dead set on playing games at 4k, of course.

The RTX 3060 Ti will fetch you 60FPS+ in practically all of today’s biggest PC games at 1080p or 1440p with maximum graphics settings. It’s also 20 percent cheaper than the RTX 3070, making it our pick for the best value graphics card you can buy right now. It’s a great entry into the Ampere family, and it’s likely to keep serving you high frame rates for many years to come.

All Ampere cards deliver a generational leap in terms of performance, and the RTX 3060 Ti is no different. It just happens to do that for those on a slim budget. It topples the RTX 2080 Super significantly in every test, offering the kind of performance gap we’ve come to expect from Nvidia’s Ampere cards. It hasn’t been particularly easy to find a 3060 Ti in stock since day one, though. So you might want to keep your eyes peeled for a potential restock. These tend to fly from the shelf pretty quickly. Even the partner OEMs are struggling to meet the growing demand for this GPU.

    Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
    The RTX 3060 Ti can handle both 1080p as well as 1440p gaming very well. It's the best 30-series GPU for the masses.

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Most powerful graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

A close up shot of a person holding an Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card

SpecificationNvidia GeForce RTX 3090
GPUAmpere | GA102
GPU Cores10496
Base Clock1.4GHz
Boost Clock1.6GHz
Memory24GB GDDR6X
Memory Bandwidth936 GB/s
Memory Interface Width384-bit
RT Cores82
TDP (W)350
Required System Power (W850
GPU Length313mm

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 belongs to a special class of graphics cards. It’s not a GPU for an average user, certainly not for somebody who’s looking to settle for anything less than the absolute best GPU. Nvidia calls it the “big ferocious GPU” (BFGPU), aptly named for being the most powerful graphics on the market. It features 10,496 CUDA cores, and it’s packed with 24GB of GDDR6X memory. Even the Founders Edition card can hit a maximum boost clock of 1.70GHz.

Just the stock RTX 3090 GPUG can make your ATX motherboard look like a petite mini-ITX board, thanks to its sheer size and weight. That’s only one of the many reasons why the RTX 3090 is not for everyone. For gamers, the performance improvement over an RTX 3080 isn’t enough to validate the copious amount of money this GPU demands. Professional creators can greatly benefit from the 3090, though.

The RTX 3090 is great for creators making movies and rendering cinematics, and even researchers building systems for data science and AI. That puts it on par with Nvidia’s Titan GPUs that are paired with workstation-grade CPUs in HEDT builds. It’s a great GPU for anyone who can benefit from faster rendering/processing time. It has a memory bandwidth of 936GB/s, making it faster than even the Titan RTX GPU.

Building a high-end PC to keep up with the RTX 3090 is also a task in itself. You’ll have to pair it with the best CPUs on the market to ensure there’s no bottleneck. The RTX 3090 also has a TGP of 350W, which means you’ll need at least an 850W PSU to keep your system lights on. Not to mention, you’ll also need a capable cooling solution to keep the temperatures of this GPU in check. All things considered, a high-end PC build involving an RTX 3090 and other supporting components will cost upwards of at least $5,000, if not more.

The RTX 3090 is not our pick for the “Best graphics card” because we think the fastest card is not always the best card for everyone. The RTX 3090 is primarily for professionals who’ll use this GPU for more than just gaming. It’s a $1,500 GPU that most of us don’t need. That being said, we’re glad the RTX GeForce RTX 3090 exists and we wanted to acknowledge it by reserving a spot for it in our collection.

The GeForce RTX 3090 GPU may not be the fastest graphics card on the market for a long time, though. Rumors about a possible RTX 3090 Ti GPU are currently making rounds on the internet. It looks like we’ll be updating this list very soon with an updated model. We don’t have any complaints as long as the OEMs manage to keep a steady flow of GPUs on the market.

    Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
    The RTX 3090 may not be our pick for the best graphics card, but it's certainly the most powerful one on the market. It's also very expensive.

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Best graphics card for 1440p gaming: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU with a black background

SpecificationNvidia GeForce RTX 3070
GPUAmpere | GA104
GPU Cores5888
Base Clock1.5GHz
Boost Clock1.7GHz
Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth512 GB/s
Memory Interface Width256-bit
RT Cores46
TDP (W)220
Required System Power (W650
GPU Length242mm

It’s been a year since the RTX 3070’s launch, and it’s still the best high-end graphics card of Nvidia’s new Ampere line for most people. It comes with GA104 GPU and brings 5,888 CUDA cores with it. That’s a significant upgrade over the RTX 2080 Ti and its 4,352 CUDA cores. It also features 46 RT cores and 184 Tensor cores. We think the RTX 3070 could’ve used more RT cores for ray-tracing performance. It explains why the 3070 struggles against the RTX 2080 Ti when it comes to ray-tracing performance. The top-tier Turing card brings 68 1st gen RT cores to the table.

With a boost clock of 1,725MHz and 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, the RTX 3070 comes close to the RTX 3080 in the 30-series family. However, it has the same 448GB/s memory bandwidth as the RTX 3060 Ti we talked about earlier in this collection. The RTX 3070 has 220W TGP and Nvidia recommends a 650W power unit for any accompanying builds. It comes with a 12-pin connector, but you’ll get a single 8 pin to 12 pin adapter in the box.

The RTX 3070 GPU is well-equipped for playing games at 4K. While some modern titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Cyberpunk 2077 put quite the strain on it at 4K, you can tweak some settings or enable DLSS to keep it going. This is precisely why we think the RTX 3070 is more suited for 1440p gaming. It can handle all modern titles at 1440p without having to tweak any settings. We recommend considering this GPU over the RTX 3060Ti just for that.

What’s impressive about the RTX 3070 is that it beats the RTX 2080 Ti in more ways than you’d imagine. We’re talking about a third-tier GPU from the Ampere family going against the top-tier Turing GPU. At $499, it’s not the most affordable graphics card on the market, but it’s also going against a top-tier GPUP for less than half of its price tag. It’s a no-brainer, especially when you consider Nvidia’s ecosystem underlying the GPUs. DLSS is particularly impressive at higher resolutions and it makes these already impressive cards look better.

There’s also the RTX 3070 Ti which demands an additional $100. At $599 though, the RTX 3080 starts to look like it’s within the reach. It’s also our pick for the ‘Best overall GPU’, remember? We think the RTX 3070 is a fantastic GPU for 1440p gaming. It’s also a great option for those who always wanted an RTX 2080 Ti but couldn’t justify the price. In case you’re planning to buy an RTX 3070 or the Ti version, then we recommend you check out ASUS’ newly launched custom RTX 3070. It uses Noctua’s premium fans for cooling, and looks, well, different from other GPUs on the block. ASUS says it also runs cooler than both the Founders Edition and other partner OEM cards.

    Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition
    The RTX 3070 GPU is perfect for anybody's who's looking to dive into the world 1440p gaming.

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Second-best graphics card for 1440p gaming: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

An AMD Radeon graphics card with two fans kept on a brown colored reflective surface

SpecificationAMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
GPUNavi 22
GPU Cores2560
Base Clock2.3GHz
Boost Clock2.5GHz
Memory12GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth384 GB/s
Memory Interface Width192-bit
RT Cores40
TDP (W)230
Required System Power (W650
GPU Length267mm

The Radeon RX 6700 XT with AMD’s Navi 22 GPU is our pick for the second-best 1440p graphics card one can buy after the RTX 3070. AMD has cut a lot of corners to deliver this Navi 22 GPU. However, the company compensates for the hefty reductions in things like core counts, ray accelerators, etc. by delivering the highest official GPU clocks so far. The RX 6700 XT has a Game clock of 2,424MHz, which is often exceeded by the GPU to hit a maximum boost clock of 2581MHz.

Upwards of 2.5GHz stock speeds, on a reference card is impressive. With proper tuning and overclocking, the RX 6700 XT can even hit north of 2.8GHz without getting cooked. The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT has 12GB VRAM. Its memory bandwidth of 384 GB/s falls short going against the RTX 3070’s 448GB/s bandwidth. In real-world usage, the RX 6700 XT is locking horns with both Nvidia RTX 3070 and the RTX 3060 Ti. It can handle 1440p gaming, but the performance is comparable to that of RTX 3060 Ti at 1440p than the RTX 3070. Nvidia’s DLSS makes the RTX 3060 Ti look that good against the competition.

The Radeon RX 6700 XT can handle games at 4K as long as you’re willing to tweak the settings a bit. This is largely due to the lower memory bandwidth. AMD’s FSR enters the scene to alleviate some of the issues, but it can’t defeat DLSS (not yet). We think it’s best to use this GPU for 1440p gaming, a territory in which it shines. It can handle almost all modern titles at 1440p with maximum settings. The Radeon RX 6700 XT is not as powerful as the RTX 3070 when it comes to ray-tracing performance, though. It only has 40 ‘Ray Accelerators’, as opposed to 80 on the RX 6900 XT and 72 on the RX 6800 XT.

There’s no question the Radeon RX 6700 XT is worth keeping an eye on. It’s one of our favorite GPUs in the 6000 series. At $479, it’s a potent card to handle 1440p with ease, thereby taking the spot for the second-best GPU for 1440p gaming in our collection after the RTX 3070. It’s just not as good as Nvidia’s offerings, especially when you consider ray-tracing performance and DLSS. Sadly, AMD is also struggling to restock these GPUs like Nvidia, and the RX 6700 XT is going for as high as $1,000. No GPU is worth paying double the cost, let alone the RX 6700 XT. Depending on the current market prices, you may want to consider an Nvidia GPU like the RTX 3070 or the RTX 3060Ti instead of this.

    AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
    The AMD RX 6700 XT has the highest clock speeds we've seen on a GPU. However, that comes as a compensation for other corners AMD cut for this GPU.

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Best graphics card for Esports: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super

A GeForce GTX GPU attached to a PC

SpecificationNvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
GPUTuring | TU116
GPU Cores1408
Base Clock1.5GHz
Boost Clock1.8GHz
Memory6GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth336 GB/s
Memory Interface Width192-bit
RT CoresNA
TDP (W)125
Required System Power (W450
GPU Length144mm

We understand not everyone is looking for the absolute best when it comes to graphics cards. There are gamers who still enjoy spending time playing casual or Esports titles that don’t necessarily take a toll on your GPU. We think the RTX 1660 Super is perfect for that use case. It’s not the best graphics card on the block, but it’s enough to serve you a few years as long as you don’t play demanding titles at 1400p. With the GTX 1660 Super, we’re also looking at a considerably lower price, dipping down closer to $200. The GTX 1660 Super is based on the Turing architecture and uses a variant of the TU116 silicon from 1660. It’s based on the 12nm FFN process and consists of 6.6 billion transistors.

The GTX 1660 Super has a base clock of 1,530MHz and a boost clock of 1,785MHz. It has 6GB GDDR6 VRAM and 336GB/s bandwidth. It’s recommended this be used with a 500W PSU or above since it has 125W TGP. You don’t need a high power PSU to run a PC with this GPU, so that’s an advantage too. Its power usage is identical to that of the AMD’s Navi 14 chips made using TSMC 7nm FinFET. The GTX 1660 Super also comes with enhanced Turing NVENC, making it a great choice for streaming video.

The increasing prices of slightly better-performing cards like RTX 2060 or RX 5500 XT make them less attractive. The GTX 1660 Super offers more value now, especially when you’re not looking to get a generational leap in performance. It trails the more expensive 1660Ti with its 1080p performance. Games like League of Legends, Valorant, CS:GO, etc. will run just fine on this GPU. You’ll have a great experience as long as you’re not expecting the GTX 1660 Super to compete with the likes of newer Ampere GPUs. The best thing about this GPU is that it doesn’t demand a sophisticated cooling solution. Any build with a decent airflow should be enough to push this GPU to its limits at stock settings.

As a GTX-series card, it goes without saying that 1660 Super doesn’t support ray-tracing. It doesn’t have the RT cores to deliver ray-traced graphics. There are rumors about Nvidia launching full-sized desktop variants of the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3050 Ti. These new GPUs might change how we look at the budget graphics cards, but a lot of details about those cards are still in uncharted territory. In the meantime, the GTX 1660 Super GPU remains our pick for the best graphics card for Esports/ casual gaming. You can also buy the GTX 1660 Ti if you’re having a hard time finding the 1660 Super in stock. We don’t suggest settling for anything below this one though. In that case, you’d be better off buying an APU to play games until the prices stabilize.

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC Edition
    The GTX 1660 Super is a relatively old graphics card, but it's still a reliable GPU for many casual gamers.

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Best entry-level graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super

An ASUS TUF gaming graphics card with dual tone finish and two fans sitting next to its retail box

SpecificationNvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super
GPUTuring | TU116
GPU Cores1408
Base Clock1.5GHz
Boost Clock1.7GHz
Memory4GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth192 GB/s
Memory Interface Width128-bit
RT CoresNA
TDP (W)100
Required System Power (W350
GPU Length160mm

The GeForce GTX 1650 Super in the world of RTX sounds like ancient tech, but we think it’s still the best GPU for economical shoppers. The GTX 1650 Super sits between the GTX 1650 and the GTX 1660 in Nvidia’s product stack. It’s arguably the best budget GPU you can find on the market right now. This is our recommendation for those who are looking to get started with a basic, entry-level PC for gaming. For just a $10 premium, it’s a worthy option for someone eyeing at even a GTX 1650. Thanks to the higher shader count and GDDR6 memory, the GTX 1650 Super can handle even modern titles at 1080p. It’s based on the Turing architecture and uses a version of the TU116 silicon found in the GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti.

The GTX 1650 Super has a base clock of 1,530MHz and a boost clock of 1,725MHz. For reference, the GTX 1650 has a base clock of 1,485 MHz and a maximum boost clock of 1,665MHz. It has 4GB VRAM and 192GB/s memory bandwidth. As a GTX-series card, the GTX 1650 Super doesn’t support ray-tracing or DLSS. Support for DLSS would’ve been a nice addition, but we’ll have to wait for the rumored RTX 3050 GPU to take advantage of that for boosting gaming performance.

Nvidia’s “Super” lineup offers a lot more value in the budget space than it does in the high-end GPU market. This is true for both GTX 1660 Super as well as the GTX 1650 Super. The GTX 1650 Super may not come close to the performance of the GTX 1660 Super mentioned above as our pick for Esports gaming. However, it should be enough for an entry-level gamer looking to run some basic titles like Valorant, CS:GO, and more. And then there are plenty of casual, Indie titles waiting to be explored without the need for one of the newer RTX GPUs too.

The only limiting factor for this card, or any budget card, is 4GB VRAM. Modern games tend to crave more GPU memory even at 1080p. These budget GPUs will not stand a chance against the modern games demanding at least 6GB VRAM. You might still be able to run them at lower resolutions, but you’ll be losing visual fidelity. It’s best to keep your expectations in check. You’ll have to step up to a GTX 1660 Super or better to enjoy graphical fidelity without losing frames.

Under normal circumstances, this is our pick for the best entry-level graphics card. But not even the budget GPUs are immune to the current GPU shortages. The result is a market in which the GTX 1650 Super costs $300 or more. OEM partners aren’t restocking this card as much as they once used to due to its age, but we expect them to stay relevant in the market, at least until the desktop version of the RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti comes out.

    Gigabyte GTX 1650 Super OC Edition
    Nvidia hasn't released a desktop GPU replacement for the GTX 1650 Super like it did for laptops. The GTX 1650 Super is still our recommendation for entry-level gamers.

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Final Thoughts

While the RTX 3090 might be the most powerful graphics card on the market right now, we think it’s RTX 3080 that deserves a spot in your next high-end gaming PC build. It delivers an incredible gen-on-gen performance increase, making the last-gen RTX 2080 Ti look like a mid-range GPU. The RTX 3070 is also a fantastic GPU if you’re satisfied with 1440p gaming. AMD, on the other hand, also managed to keep up this time around with the Radeon RX 6800 XT. It comes close to the performance of the RTX 3080 GPU for $50 less.

It’s been a rough year for the PC building community due to the GPU shortage on the market. Buying a prebuilt PC is one way to get modern graphics cards this year without emptying your bank accounts. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you’re planning to get an entirely new system. With a prebuilt system in place, you’ll only have to buy peripherals to go with it like monitors, keyboards, webcams, etc. We hope the situation gets better by the time new GPUs arrive next year. Windows 11 is already here, but a lot of other exciting announcements are lined up in the world of computing.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.