Gaming GPUs are some of the most important parts of your PC. They are the visual powerhouse of your machine, deciding what quality your graphics can display in. Without a decent GPU for gaming, your PC might be rendering things with a lot of power but it’ll still look like an Atari 2600. Finding the best gaming GPU can be a bit complex though.
Do you actually need a GPU that can render 4K and VR? What about ray tracing?
These features are cool but they can get expensive, and some of the best cheap GPUs for gaming PC do a pretty job too. The best gaming GPUs in 2020 can manage some really impressive things too, if you’re willing to pay for them.
Choosing the best GPU for gaming partially comes down to your price range. If you’re willing to splurge on equipment with a price tag wouldn’t look out of place at NASA then you can get something amazing. However, you can get also great graphics card at a much better price too. If you’re willing to find the best graphics cards, you can make big savings on a GPU for gaming. We’ve scoured the market to find the best gaming GPUs in 2020, to match any needs or budget.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is one of the best GPUs around, and it is a very powerful device to slot into your PC. The downside though, is that it has a price to match. This is the best GPU for gaming if you’re not particularly worried about price and you’re willing to go for a very high-end GPU. The RTX 2080 Super can handle top of the line ray tracing, and 4K graphics in most games.
Those things make it absolutely top of its field. However, the price does match this power. While it is high, you’re getting a lot more for that money than others. Higher-end GPUs don’t do all that much more to go beyond this one. You’ll struggle to find a game that can make much use out of a more powerful GPU than this unless you’re using a ridiculous monitor. If you’re looking for a high-end GPU for gaming, this is the best one out there.
- Ray Tracing Support
- Very Fast
- 4K Easily Achieved
The Sapphire RX 5700 comes in on the lower end of the price spectrum for the best gaming GPUs in 2020. This is one of the best cheap GPUs for gaming since it provides a great balance between power and value. It can handle gaming at 1440P with the settings on your game maxed out. This is enough to get great fidelity and a good frame rate out of your games, with most monitors only going to 1440p in the first place.
For most competitive games, 1440P is more than what you need. This thing can even make the more aesthetically focused games look great. It does lack ray tracing support which is disappointing, especially as more games embrace that tech. However, if you’re focused on the fundamentals than this is one of the best budget gaming GPUs.
- Great Overclocking Potential
- Perfect for 1440p
- Great Price for Features
- No Ray Tracing
- Bad for 4K
$250 might seem like an arbitrary budget to put on a GPU, but here it serves as a good line in the sand. For just under that amount you can get a pretty powerful GPU and save some money for the rest of your build. The GeForce GTX 1660 Super performs really well and it outdoes its competitors at this price point by a pretty big margin.
This is a fantastic GPU for 1080p gaming. That might not sound as impressive as 4K, but since it is the HD definition that is pretty much universal in media, a lot of players don’t need much more. Even at highly demanding settings you’re going to get a great picture with this GPU at 1040p. If you’re happy to sit at the HD level for resolution and quality, this is one of the best gaming GPUs around.
- Good Value
- Great for 1080p
- High Clock Speed
- Not Great for More Demanding Games
The Radeon RX 5600 has a lot in common with the GeForce GTX Super, but it just outperforms it in some key areas. This is slightly more expensive, but you’re getting a bit extra power. It doesn’t have a significant upgrade in speed, but it can handle more demanding games with higher settings and needs in 1080p.
If you’re playing in 1080p, you’re not going to be missing out on much compared to higher definitions. While extra is nice, the noticeable change in resolution has diminishing returns beyond this. This is the best 1080p GPU, and one of the best GPUs for gaming on a budget.
- Best for 1080p
- Good Value
- A Bit Bulky
- Can be Loud
A great GPU can do a good job at rendering a high-quality game, but they have other uses. For a lot of people, their PC needs to do more than just run Warzone at a high quality. For content creators, they need a GPU that can provide great graphics but also cope in demanding creative focused applications. This AMD Radeon VII is by far the best here to achieve this.
This is one of the pricier GPUs, especially if you consider it doesn’t do great with 4K. However, if you need a GPU that can both give you a great image and help you create, then the AMD Radeon VII is the gaming best GPU for you.
- Great for Content Creators
- Runs Cool
- Good Price
- Not Good for 4K
4K gaming isn’t cheap. No one is under the illusion that you can get decent 4K at a low price, but this is about the best price you can get it for. The GeForce RTX 2070 is one of the more budget-friendly models, but one that is also great for 4K. You can achieve a genuinely impressive picture for a pretty low price point.
There are faster 4k GPUs out there. However, none have this much value. You can run 4K games with high-performance settings dialed up and not notice any graphical dip in quality. Few GPUs can accomplish this, and even fewer can do so for this kind of price. This is one of the best GPUs for gaming, especially if you’re keeping an eye on your budget.
- Good Value
- Great for 4K
- Outperforms More Expensive GPUs
- Software Included for Testing is Poor
The AMD Radeon RX 580 is one of the older GPUs that are highlighted here. However, it still has the ability to perform where it needs too. Its price also clocks in at a really affordable milestone. You’re not getting a piece of junk for this price, this is a great GPU that can work well in a high-end PC.
It can’t achieve the same feats of strength that you’ll find with 4K or ray tracing. However, as a GPU for a competitive gaming set-up on a budget, it is hard to beat this. It has a great pool of video memory which really helps it perform well. This is one of the best GPUs for gaming on a budget.
- Great Price
- Video Memory
- 4K Support at a Low FPS
- No Ray Tracing
- 4K Play not Suitable for Competitive Games
This one is quite different from others featured here, it’s the lowest price entry for this list of the best gaming GPUs. This comes at a ridiculously low price, but it does have specs to match that. It is the lowest cost NVIDIA GeForce available at the moment. This GPU can handle most games at a decent quality without too many drops, but you are getting what you pay for.
It runs relatively quietly and without too much heat, which can help you save money elsewhere too. You can’t runt things in 4K with a decent frame rate, but if you’re willing to compromise on your graphical settings in-game then this GPU can still get things done.
- Great Price
- Good Performance for Budget
- Runs Quiet and Cold
- Will Struggle with Demanding Visuals
- No 4K or Ray Tracing
VR gaming requires a different set of qualities to regular high-powered gaming. A VR headset needs to produce two images, both at a fantastic quality with a high refresh rate to try and minimize the loss of immersion. Thankfully though, this isn’t as hard of a task as it seems. Even high-end VR headsets only offer around 1400p for each image. This makes a VR GPU significantly less powerful than those needed for 4K. Although, they still need to render two images well. They do have some special requirements like memory to really work well. The MSI is a great choice if you’re looking to run things in VR.
This one comes in at a good price point (at least where VR GPUs are concerned) which lets you save money for a better headset, it also has the speed and power to match up to demanding VR gaming. If that’s what you’re looking for, then this is one of the best gaming GPUs out there.
- Great for VR
- Good Price
- Not Great for 4K
The RTX 2080 Ti is a great graphics card for demanding games, but it specifically excels at rendering ultra-widescreen images. You can run a game in the strangest FOV format that suits your elongated curved monitor with this thing.
On top of this, it does offer some great ray tracing in real-time. It can output to 4K monitors too, but you might need to dial down your video settings if you want to keep getting the highest quality. This is a great choice for the best GPU for gaming if you’re looking to play in ultrawide.
- Great for Ultrawide Gaming
- Ray Tracing
- Good Clock Speeds
- Can be Loud
The Best Gaming GPU 2020 – What You Need to Know
Those are the best GPUs for gaming in 2020. However, finding which is right for you can be a bit more difficult. This guide covers everything you need to know to find the right GPU for you, and some of the technical terms that might crop up as you analyze things.
Things to Consider When Buying a GPU?
When you’re deciding which is the best GPU for you, you need to consider your needs. These are the things to think about:
- Price – This comes first really. You need to think about your budget then compare the GPUs within your budget.
- Clock Speed – This determines how well your GPU will run.
- Memory – This is really important for some high-end uses like VR.
- Cooling – Some GPUs are going to make your cooling needs higher than others.
- Noise – This is less important, but to some, it could be vital to some. Some sound like a jet engine or need a lot of loud cooling.
These are some of the basics to keep in mind when you’re comparing different graphics cards to find those that are right for you.
Does it Matter Which GPU You Get?
Graphics cards of the same specification are sold under different brand names depending on their manufacturer. However, the actual GPU inside is what matters. This determines how good your games are going to look and what your frames per second are going to be. A GPU is one of the most important parts of your pc, so it does matter which you get. Which graphics card with that GPU you get is less important, it is the card inside that matters.
What’s the Difference Between GPU and Graphics Card?
The difference between a GPU and a graphics card is that the GPU is the processor inside of your graphics card. This is responsible for actually processing the images and rendering. The graphics card is the bigger unit. When you purchase a graphics card, your GPU is in there. This means they’re essentially one unit when you’re comparing the best graphics cards or the best GPUs, since you’ll be buying a card for the specific GPU inside of there. However, there is a difference.
What are Clock Speeds?
GPU clock speeds are the speed at which the cores inside of a GPU can turn. The faster they turn, the faster they’re processing. Essentially, a high clock speed means processes are being done more quickly. However, this does usually increase your cooling needs. Clock speeds from the manufacturer are a starting point if you’re planning to overclock too, so keep this in mind when comparing clock speeds.
Ray Tracing, 4K, and VR
These few things have been hailed as the next big thing in gaming for quite a while now. They’re exciting, and each is a growing market. If these will become essential functions of a GPU eventually isn’t currently known though. Sometimes an advancement in tech becomes completely standard and others turn out to just be novelties. If you’re looking for the best GPU for gaming, you should know if you need these aspects or not.
Ray tracing is the most likely to become somewhat essential in a high-end GPU. A GPU that can cope with ray tracing is going to be futureproofed from a lot of advanced graphical games. Ray tracing isn’t essential just yet, but with next-gen consoles using it as a centerpiece of their marketing, it looks like it is here to stay.
4K is more of a choice than anything else. If you’re particularly excited about 4K gaming then you’ll need a GPU built to do this or be willing to seriously sacrifice your frame rate. This is going to be more expensive, but there are GPUs that are built to really accommodate 4k gaming. If you’re not interested in the ultra-high def gameplay, then you don’t really need it. 4K is very unlikely to actually become standard. Since HD has become a standard, the trend has been towards less graphical fidelity through streams that can go up or down in resolution, rather than pushing for higher def. Most consumers don’t see the value in it, it will likely remain an optional extra. If you like 4K, go for a 4K GPU, if you don’t, then you can definitely live without one.
VR is a specialist area at the moment. Despite commentators proclaiming it to be taking over plenty of times, it is hard to say whether VR will achieve much more prominence than it currently has. Most VR headsets on a pc require a powerful and fast GPU to avoid the image stuttering or getting weird. In VR this can provoke nausea, so it is even more important than a GPU for regular gaming.
NVIDIA Vs AMD
NVIDIA and AMD are two of the biggest names in GPU. However, which one makes the best GPU for gaming really depends on your needs. Each excels in a different area.
AMD GPUs tend to be cheaper than NVIDIA. You can get a really powerful mid-range or well priced low-end GPU from AMD. This makes them a popular choice for gamers on a budget.
NVIDIA tends to make the high-end GPUs. These are the ones that ate built for VR, or 4K, or advanced ray tracing.
Which of these two is better is really going to depend on what you need from a GPU, and more importantly your budget.
What GPU Do You Need?
All of the GPUs here make great choices for a gaming PC. Well, there is one choice that doesn’t make a great choice but it is really cheap. However, which one of them is right for you is going to depend on what you need from a gaming PC. Consider your price point, then try to find the one that best meets your needs from this.
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