What’s the best GPU for Fortnite?
Is your Fortnite game stuttering or are you experiencing lag?
Which GPU gives you the biggest bang for your buck?
A good Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) isn’t hard to find these days considering the market is flooded thanks to the crypto craze. If you want the best GPU for gaming, that’s a different story as it comes down to your needs along with your budget. With the influx of aftermarket cards, things are even trickier if you’re a newcomer which is why we’ve included a quick buying guide along with our top options.
The Best Gaming GPU’s: Powerful and Affordable
GPU’s are what makes your games tick. They are responsible for processing all the graphics and images you see when playing Fortnite. GPU’s these days are incredibly powerful and handle a lot of the games computations. A good graphics card is the difference between enjoying your game and gameplay and throwing your keyboard across the room.
How We Made Our Picks
Unlike some PC components, there are only two brands to consider with AMD and NVIDIA if you want a reference or stock graphics card. Things get a little crazy when you factor in third-party cards however which is where prices and performance can change to a degree.
We took a look at all the top models from each tier and factored in benchmark scores and expert reviews as well. Verified consumer reviews from several sites played a large part in our decision making as well. Gamers tend to get emotional about their gear, so there were a lot issues that had to be verified this time around.
Best GPU’s for Fortnite
Gaming GPU Buying Guide
If you know what a CUDA core is and understand TDP ratings, you probably already know what you’re looking for, but if this is your first upgrade, you’ll want to pay close attention to our guide and look before you leap…
Hardcore or Casual Gamer?
Before you think about dropping hundreds of dollars on a new GPU, you have to consider the types of games you play. You’re obviously not here if you’re playing jewel-poppers in your browser, so when we say casual we mean weekend warriors and people that pick up specific titles. Casual gamers don’t need a top-tier card which opens the doors to a wealth of possibilities and price points. Even if you only play Fortnite or LoL, a great graphics card will make a huge difference.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, the field narrows considerably as some cards are just incremental upgrades and only a handful take major leaps. You also have to consider the overall systems requirements of your machine as it may not be able to deal with the power of a GeForce RTX 2080 TI. That said, if you want to game in full 4K, go straight to the premium graphics cards.
Pick your Poison
When looking for the best GPU, there are two flavors to choose from with NVIDIA and AMD. Each company has a tiered system with premium, mid-range, and budget-friendly cards otherwise known as older cards in NVIDIA’s case. When a new card drops, prices on the previous generation tend to follow suit which means you can find deals on occasion as well.
While either brand of card can provide you with enough oomph to game, there are a few significant differences between the two although things change quickly in the GPU world. Currently, NVIDIA has the most powerful cards around, so you won’t find an AMD GPU that can hang with NVIDIA’s top options. AMD’s cards are cheaper however, and their top-tier offerings can still run any game. They just don’t have as many cards to choose from on the high-end.
The other major difference has to do with your display. Each company has technology that syncs their graphics card with your monitor, so prepare yourself for…
FreeSync and G-Sync
FreeSync is AMD’s technology that synchronizes your GPU and monitor refresh rates while NVIDIA’s solution is the aptly named G-Sync. While both serve the same purpose, if you have one of the luxurious G-Sync monitors for NVIDIA, you’ll want a card that matches as the two platforms don’t work well together as we explained in our guide to the best gaming monitors.
Until recently, things were pretty clear cut in this area but the recently released the 417.71 GeForce driver which changes the game to a degree. To our knowledge, hell did not freeze over, but the update will allow specific FreeSync monitors to work with G-Sync. Your options are limited to the new RTX cards and the GTX 10-series along with certified FreeSync monitors at this time although that could change down the road as well.
While we were thrilled at this news along with millions of other gamers, your best option is still to match the card to your monitor if you want the most bang for your buck and that buttery-smooth performance every gamer longs for.
Check Your Build
Now that you have a rough idea of which company you’re leaning towards, it’s time to take a long hard look at your current build. If you’re a techie, you can probably recite your tech specs in your sleep as it’s a source of pride when you have a well-built rig. If you’re new to the scene, have no fear as there are plenty of programs like CPU-Z that can tell you what’s under the hood.
Even if you have the right monitor and enough RAM, you still have to consider the build itself. Form factor matters and high-end cards can take up 2 – 3 slots. If you don’t have enough room for the card, you could be in trouble straight out of the box. You’ll also need to consider the space required for fans or liquid loops depending on how you plan to set your system up. When in doubt, always check the length, width, and height of the graphics card beforehand.
In addition to the power requirements and the size of the GPU, you’ll have to take a few other technical areas to take into account including memory, power requirements and ports…
- Memory – You’ll see this referred to as VRAM more often than not, and the more a card has, the better off you generally are. That doesn’t mean you need to pay a premium, however, as you don’t need 8GB of GDDR6 to run something at 1080p. Memory bandwidth is important as well considering it’s the rate that data stored on the chip can be read. As with the interface width and almost every other tech spec, bigger is generally better – especially if you want to run 4K games at a stable rate.
- Power Requirements – Another area where new games tend to mess up is the PSU and connectors. Dual 8-pin connectors are common in high-end cards while mid-rangers are usually 6-pin, but some cards can have both Every manufacturer will have a recommended wattage for the PSU as well in case you need to pick up a new supply or an adapter to go along you’re your powerful new card.
- Ports – This one is self-explanatory as it all boils down to your monitor and how many you plan to use. Every GPU on our list has several DisplayPorts, and you won’t find one without an HDMI port as well. USB-C is a bit more exotic, and DVI is hit or miss. Again, keep your monitor in mind and think about any plans to upgrade as well.
Reference vs. Third-party designs
As the name implies, a reference graphics card or Founders Edition cards are straight from the manufacturer and unaltered by third-parties. It’s something that can lead to confusion if you’re new as well when you’re looking at 20 variants of the 1080 Ti at wildly different price points.
While a third-party card can be tempted, the differences are usually cosmetic or involve cooling. It can be something as simple as an extra fan and solid backplate or a complex water cooling system with RGB lighting. It’s also an area that directly affects the price of your card, so think about what you need. Benchmarks have shown there is little to no speed difference in most cases, so a 2080 Ti from MSI will probably perform just like the Founders Edition, so it’s about the bells & whistles at the end of the day.
Are you looking to take your machine to an all new level and jump into the 4K realm? If so, this card is the best money can buy and uses the company’s new Turing architecture along with the TU102. That means you’ll have real-time ray tracing and advanced shading technology along with Tensor Cores. Those new cores work alongside AI algorithms to give your system a boost, but that’s far from the only thing this high-end GPU brings to the table.
The Founders Edition RTX 2080 Ti comes 11GB of GDDR6 with a speed of 14 Gbps. The interface width is 352-bits and the bandwidth clocks in at 616 GB/s. The base clock speed of 1,350 MHz while the OC rate is 1,635 MHz. NVIDIA upped the CUDA cord count by around 800 to a whopping 4,352 compared to the GTX 1080 Ti.
This beefy GPU measures 266mm x 115mm and is wide enough to take up two slots. It uses an 8+8 pin setup with a TDP rating of 260w on the Founders Edition. Cooling comes from twin dual-axial 13-blade fans and a vapor chamber. The RTX 2080 Ti uses the standard PCI-E interface and has a series of ports including HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, and a USB Type-C port.
While the Titan is technically a more powerful GPU in some regards, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is built for gamers and the only card that allows you to crank up the settings on 4K games without sacrificing performance. The obvious downside is the large price tag along with the fact that not many games can actually take advantage of ray tracing or DLSS at the moment. That said, this is the card you’ll want for 4K, and it’s worth the investment if the rest of your rig is up to snuff. It comes with a 3-year warranty, and there are dozens of variants of this card if Founders Edition isn’t your cup of tea.
An Excellent All-Around GPU
While everyone would love to have the 2080 Ti, if you’re willing to drop a rung things are considerably cheaper. The GeForce RTX 2080 is another powerful GPU from NVIDIA and ideal if you want to do 4K and VR for under a grand.
Like all of the newer NVIDIA cards, the RTX 2080 is available in stock condition, but we decided to go for EVGA’s FTW3. It’s similar to a slightly souped-up version of the Founders Edition, so you’ll still get 8GB of GDDR6, the TU104, GPU, and the memory interface width is still 256-bit. The bandwidth speed is 448 GB/s, but you’ll get a slightly higher overclock rate on EVGA’s card at 1,860 MHz. The base is 1,515 MHz, and the power draw is 215w.
As this is from NVIDIA’s new RTX lineup, you can expect all the goodies you’d find on their premium card. That includes features like NVLink, HDCP 2.2, Ansel and Ray Tracing at 8 Giga Ray/s. Thanks to the Turing architecture; you’ll get AI enhanced graphics as well along with 2,984 CUDA cores and the max resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 is the same as the rest of the pack. The RTX 2080 has three DisplayPorts, HDMI 2.0b and has a USB-C port. It’s a bit larger than the regular edition however at 302mm x 139mm and takes up 2.75 slots.
The extra size comes into play for two reasons with RGB lighting and iCX2 cooling tech. There are three HDB VGA fans located on this GPU which keeps things running cool along with some help from the company’s iCX2 cooling system. You can learn more about the tech behind that here, but trust us when we say the fans and heatsink do the trick. The RGB lighting is adjustable, and we’re fans of the EVGA X1 tuning software as well.
If the 2080 Ti is out of your league, you may have found the perfect GPU in the EVGA’s 2080 FTW3. It’s still not exactly cheap, but you’re getting a lot of speed, and the card hasn’t reached its full potential yet. Ray Tracing will take a bit of a hit compared to the flagship, but that’s really the only drawback given the price difference at this time. There are four additional variants of this card with the Ultra, XC2 Ultra, XC Gaming, and Black Edition. All cards come with excellent technical support and a 3-year warranty.
At the expense of getting repetitive, there are more similarities than differences between the 2060 and 2080 when it comes to the features. This card takes advantage of Deep Learning Super Sampling and Ray Tracing although the latter dips down to 5 Giga Rays/s. It has all the features found on the other RTX series cards, but a few key differences include the memory interface width at 192-bit, the speed at 14 Gbps and the bandwidth at 336 GB/s.
The MSI RTX 2060 Ventus can also handle four displays like its brethren with three DisplayPorts and an HDMI although you’ll only have to deal with one 8-pin connector this time around. It has 6GB of GDDR6 with a top speed of 1,710 MHz boosted and measures 226mm x 128mm x 41mm. The TPU is 160w, and the company recommends you have at least a 500w PSU.
What sets this card apart from the standard edition is the cooling. In this case, it’s the TORX 2.0 system which utilizes a traditional and dispersion fan blade. Those two fans give you more coverage for the heatsink, and we’re fans of the 6mm heat pipes as well. Another perk would be Afterburner, which allows you to make adjustments with ease – even from your mobile device.
Simply put, the GeForce RTX 2060 is going to be a solid upgrade for most folks unless you’re already rocking one of its siblings or the popular and pricey GTX 1080 Ti. This card has an attractive price point with over 1,200 CUDA cores, and the extra touches by MSI are the icing on the cake.
This GPU has three 92mm fans mounted on top to help keep things running smoothly, even under heavy loads. While those loads won’t be as strenuous as what you’d get from a top-tier NVIDIA card, this one ranks a hair under the 1070 Ti, so it’s capable and has 3,584 stream processors along with plenty of speedy memory.
AMD went with 8GB of HBM2 memory on the RX Vega 56, and it has a wide 2048-bit interface. That’s impressive, and so is the speed although it can fool you as it’s measured a bit differently. The bandwidth is listed 800 MHz which is the equivalent of 401 GB/s. The effective speed is 1.6 Gbps, and the GPU speeds are slightly higher than stock edition at 1,177 MHz to 1,478 MHz on the top end.
4K is out for this card, but it can handle QHD with ease and has a maximum resolution of 4,096 x 2,160. The board uses the 6-pin/8-pin configuration and measures 305mm x 140mm x 41.8mm, and only needs two slots in your case. Considering it’s an AMD GPU, you’ll get FreeSync 2, CrossFire and Radeon Chill cooling tech as well.
While AMD has faster cards available, the jury is still out on the Radeon VII, and it’s not exactly budget-friendly like other cards from the company. This GPU strikes the perfect balance between price and performance compared to that card and the Vega 64, which makes it ideal for QHD gamers on a budget or folks looking to dabble in VR.
Before NVIDIA introduced its Turing architecture, Pascal was the only way to go in a top-tier GPU. This chip takes advantage of that platform, so you won’t get Ray Tracing or DLSS, but Ansel, G-Sync and everything is available on this VR-ready card. Needless to say, it has plenty of power with 2,432 CUDA cores and base/boost ratings of 1,607 MHz and 1,683 MHz respectively.
Video memory is solid in this GPU as well with 8GB of GDDR5 at 8 GHz with a width of 256-bit. It can support four monitors courtesy of three DisplayPorts, HDMI 2.0b and DL-DVI-D. The power requirements are about what you’d expect at 180w, but the size is the real star of the show. This GPU measures 211mm x 125mm x 41mm and takes up two slots. By comparison, the reference model of the 1070 Ti is 266.7mm x 111mm which definitely puts this one into the “mini” category.
As this is a third-party card, you’re going to get some extras from ZOTAC. The biggest would be the IceStorm cooling system which utilizes two fans and direct copper contact to pull heat away from the GPU. There are also thermal pads between all the vital components and a small White LED light that looks good against the Gunmetal Grey shell. The Firestorm software is a cool perk as well and gives you total control of your card.
This card won’t be for everyone, but it’s ideal if you need to save some room and don’t want to break the bank. You’ll be impressed by its performance at 1440p on Ultra in most games, and it’s hard to argue with the price tag. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti comes with a 2-year warranty, and there are full-sized AMP versions of this one available as well.
Despite the wealth of high-end panels and cards, FHD is still the resolution most gamers play at. That’s due in part to the price factor, and the fact 1080 is ideal when refresh rates and response times are critical. Well, the RX 580 will definitely give your system a boost with 2,304 stream processors and 8GB of GDDR5. Memory bus width is 256-bit with a true speed of 8.0 GHz while the boosted rate is listed at 8.1 GHz.
This card has a true clock speed of 1,366 MHz and 1,386 overclocked. It also sports a Dual BIOS so you can do a bit of mining between gaming sessions so the card could potentially pay for itself over time. The max resolution is 4,096 x 2,160, the same as you’ll find on the Vega 56 and there are enough outputs to satisfy anyone’s needs with an HDMI 2.0b, three DP 1.4 ports, and a DL-DVI-D port.
AMD’s tech tricks are present on this one with FreeSync 2, WattMan, CrossFire, and all the other bells & whistles. XFX added their own unique features to the mix as including True Clock hardware tuning and enhanced VRM cooling which can reduce noise levels by 5% and temperatures up to 20 degrees. A unibody heatsink increases thermal efficiency as well along with composite heatpipes and an aluminum backplate.
This GPU can handle high frame rates with ease during FHD gameplay and is in line with the GTX 1060, but as you’d expect, cheaper. We chose the 8GB version, but a 4GB variant is available along with Black and Black Core Editions of the RX 580. Every version of this slick little GPU comes with a 3-year warranty from XFX.
Regardless of the card you choose, think about the titles you play now along with any upcoming games and stick to your budget if you want the best GPU. While it’s tempting to go for a big card that looks great in your case and gives you bragging rights, it could be overkill for your rig and prices generally drop when a new generation is released.