May 29, 2022
United Kingdom
Buyers Guides Graphics Cards

Here are the Best GPUs to Buy in 2022

Shopping for a GPU can be very stressful – the component is one which very much so defines your Gaming PC and its capabilities. Now, with GPU stock and availability improving, consumers have more choice than at any other point in the last 2 years. To make your decision easier, we’ve rounded up every single one of the latest GPUs, testing them all in a wide range of titles to see which truly provides the best value proposition and performance.

What is a GPU?

Before we begin, it’s important we cover off the basics, starting with what a GPU is, and what it actually does! GPU, standing for Graphical Processing Unit, is what handles the bulk of video processing in your system, and is easily the most important component in a gaming PC build. A graphics card combines the GPU chip, alongside video memory (similar to the RAM you’ll find in a normal system, but specifically for the GPU chip), a power delivery system, cooling solution and various levels of cache (even faster memory for the GPU chip).

This complete package is then sold as a graphics card which resembles the units you’ll probably be familiar with, sold by the likes of Zotac, ASUS, MSI & Gigabyte:

An Nvidia Founders-edition RTX 3070Ti
The MSI RX 6800XT Gaming X Trio is MSI’s high end attempt at the 6800XT.
Gigabyte’s Eagle OC cooler provides a strong 3-fan cooling solution for the RTX 3070 chip.

Currently, the desktop GPU market represents one of the most prominent duopolies in the world. A duopoly is a situation whereby two companies dominate (or own entirely) a single market. In the case of graphics cards, this is Nvidia and AMD. Intel are expected onto the GPU scene later this year, but whether they will successfully break up this duopoly is yet to be determined. What is means is you essentially have 2 ways to go when buying a GPU – Nvidia or AMD.

Nvidia or AMD?

For some people deciding between AMD and Nvidia will be a big decision to make, but in the modern day it has far less of a bearing. Both manufacturers boast widespread support for the latest titles, and you’ll never really find yourself in a situation where one brand works for a game, and another outright doesn’t. That does’t mean to say there aren’t nuances between the brands, or that in some games one brand will be better optimised than the other.

Nvidia famously have more mature Ray Tracing tech (you can learn more about Ray Tracing here), and a better resolution scaler (you can learn more about DLSS here), both of which are beneficial, but AMD are fast catching up. On the flip side, you’ll often find more video memory for your money on the AMD side of the equation, great for content creators, or games with demanding texture files.

Currently both brands have a wide spreads of cards in the market, ranging from $250 MSRP GPUs right up to cards costing more than $2500! The naming schemes for both brands are fairly simple when you get to grips with them. On the Nvidia side, RTX is a standard prefix which shows the card has Ray Tracing support, with the 30 showing the series of the card. The previous lineup was called the ’20-series’, with the next lineup, rumoured for around September of 2022, dubbed ’40-series’. The last 2 numbers then designate how powerful the card is, 50 being the least powerful and 90 being the most powerful out there. To complicate matters slightly, Nvidia then add ‘Ti’ to some cards – with the ‘Ti’ variants providing a small performance boost over their non-‘Ti’ counterparts.

On the AMD side of the equation the ‘6000’ series is once again an interaction of the previous ‘5000’ series. The 500 to 900 designations once again indicate how powerful the card is, with the units get more powerful up the range. In a similar vein as Nvidia, AMD also have an ‘XT’ designation, though handily apply it in a completely different way. Where a card has and XT designation, and a non-XT version, the XT unit is more powerful. Where the card has no non-XT version, the card is a standalone unit.

In the below table you can see how the cards roughly stack up against one and other, but we’ll be looking at detailed comparisons later. The below is just intended as an indication of each cards most closely matched competitor.

NVIDIAAMD
RTX 3050RX 6500XT
RTX 3060RX 6600XT
RTX 3060TiRX 6700XT
RTX 3070RX 6800
RTX 3070Ti/
RTX 3080RX 6800XT
RTX 3080Ti/
RTX 3090RXX 6900XT
RTX 3090Ti/
Since Nvidia first launched their Ampere, RTX 3000-series GPUs in 2022, we’e seen a lot of new GPU releases from Nvidia and AMD. With more than 15 new cards, it is an average of one new GPU every 6 weeks!

The Benchmarks

That’s enough of a background into the GPU market, now it’s time to jump into the real performance data, and evaluate which card is worth your cash, based on our testing. We’ll be opting to use solely gaming benchmarks for our tests, and leaving out synthetic benchmark tests. This should provide us with the best ‘real-world’ data.

Fortnite (1080p High Settings)

Fortnite is a great place to start with the testing. Fortnite remains one of the most popular games out there, and GPU manufacturers work hard to optimise their drivers for thew popular Epic Games title.

Here we see some really interesting results, as AMD’s 6800, 6800XT and 6900XT pull away from their more expensive Nvidia competition. AMD has always been very strong in Fortnite, and it shows here,

Fortnite (1080p Competitive Settings)

In our test at competitive settings (everything tuned down to low at 1080p, aside from the render distance), the results are more in line with what we might expect. Interestingly, the 3050 seems to punch above its weight class, while the RTX 3080Ti also outpaces the more expense AMD RX 6900XT.

Valorant (1080p High Settings)

In Valorant the results once again lined up with our expectations, though AMD does slip compared to Nvidia in this instance. (Based on our Fortnite testing, it looks like AMD 1 – 1 Nvidia so far!)

The 3060Ti also shows itself to be strong here, catching on the heels of the RTX 3070 despite its better value price point.

Forza Horizon 5 (1080p Ultra Settings)

Next up, we tested Forza Horizon 5 at both 1080p and 4K Ultra settings. This is the first game so far which includes a benchmark mode, great for getting very repeatable results. Here the cards all slotted in as we would expect – with the 6600XT looking at home ahead of the RTX 3060. We capped out our testing here at the RTX 3070, as any higher end GPUs are better off in FH5 at 1440p and 4K.

Forza Horizon 5 (4K Ultra Settings)

At 4K, we say AMD struggle, and Nvidia performing as expected in the overall results. The RTX 3060Ti struggles a touch at 4K, just surpassing the 60FPS, with the RTX 3070 and above being a more comfortable choice. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the relative MSRPs of each GPU.

Forza Horizon 5 is a much more demanding title than the FH4 and FH3 predecessors, and it shows here.

Apex Legends (1080p High Settings)

At 1080p, we expected the Apex Legends results to be pretty strong for all cards – and that is exactly what happened! (isn’t it great when that happens…)

The RTX 3050 on the low end showed itself to be a very capable entry-level card, closing in a solid 115FPS on average. The FPS started to get more and more competitive as we moved up the order, with the 3060Ti, 3070 and 6800 providing a great performance increase over their budget alternatives.

Apex Legends (1440p High Settings)

At 1440p in Apex, we still managed to pull in high frame rates – perfect for competitive FPS gamers! The 3060 and above all delivered more than 100FPS on average, while no card suffered a sub-60FPS frame rate. The RTX 3080 looked a little out of shape, being out-done by the newer (and cheaper) 3070Ti. At the top end, Nvidia once again pushed AMD aside, to claim the crown with their 3080Ti.

GTA V (1440p High Settings)

Another of the ‘benchmark run’ titles, GTA V is a really easy test to replicate at home – allowing you to compare your results to ours. With it being an older title, it is also easier to clock up high frame rates. The 3060 pulled in more than 110, while the 3070 and above all surpassed 140FPS – nice!

COD Warzone (1080p High Settings)

To wrap things up, we tested the old-faithful COD Warzone. A title which has maintained popularity over 2 years from its release, all current gen GPUs (aside from the 3050) brought in more than 100FPS on average. Tuning the settings down a little for the 3050 would be required, but even still, our high-settings tests gave solid results.

AMD GPUs slotted into the order in respectable positions, but Nvidia continued their pattern of overall dominance.

What About New GPUs?

With new GPUs always coming to market, and Intel and Nvidia both slated to see new GPUs releasing in the next few months – should you just wait? We’ve made a video exploring this in more detail, but this short answer is probably not. If you are after the best performance possible, it might be worth waiting, as high-end cards are likely to lead the charge. For those looking at a more budget GPU however, we aren’t expecting refreshes of these cards until later on. Lots of people held off, waiting for RTX 3000 series in 2020, only to be greeted with poor stock and availability, that lead many to miss out until recently.

If there is a card that looks to suit your needs, at a price point you are happy to pay, go for it. There will always be new GPUs out there, but the best card is the one you can game on right now.

Our Recommendations

With all of our results and testing in mind, which GPUs do we actually recommend you buy, and which should you actively avoid? We’ve split our results into 3 categories, Budget, Mid-Range and High-End. Our budget options are best suited to gaming at 1080p, while the mid-range suite are well positioned for 1440p gaming. The high-end cards include a good mix of 4K options, and also units great for rendering, video editing and more productivity oriented tasks.

Our recommendations are more skewed towards Nvidia, partly due to team-green having more options to choose from, partly due to more mature Ray Tracing & DLSS-equiv. tech and partly due to better stock and availability. After all, what point is there recommending you a GPU that you simply can’t buy!

Best Budget Graphics Cards

1. Nvidia RTX 3050

The newest kid on the block for Nvidia, the RTX 3050 is the best budget GPU we have ever seen. With support for Ray Tracing, DLSS and an uncanny ability to play all of the latest titles at 1080p, 60FPS it can’t be beaten for the price. It’s a superb choice and a welcome addition to the market!


2. Nvidia RTX 3060

Nvidia’s mid-range 3060 brings a nice chunk more performance than its cheaper, 3050 brother, opening the door for high frame rate 1080p gaming, and some work at 1440p! The ’60’ cards from Nvidia have always been a solid bet, and nothing changes here.


3. AMD RX6600 XT

AMD bring a solid choice to the party in their 6600XT. With great legs at 1080p, and standout performance in titles like Fortnite and Apex legends, you can’t go too far wrong. The Ray Tracing and DLSS-equivalent tech is behind its Nvidia rivals, but not by much.


Best Mid-Range Graphics Cards

4. Nvidia RTX 3060Ti

The 3060Ti remains my favourite GPU of the last 18 months. The card knocks firmly on the door of its more expensive, 3070 counterpart, as far as performance goes. It can also be found for highly competitive price points, and with some great AIB options.


5. AMD RX6700 XT

AMD seem to have hit a sweet spot with the 6700XT. The card boasts phenomenal rasterisation performance, making it a great bet for any title out there. It also has a lot more legs for Ray Tracing than its 6600XT counterpart, and plenty of video


6. Nvidia RTX 3070

AMD bring a solid choice to the party in their 6600XT. With great legs at 1080p, and standout performance in titles like Fortnite and Apex legends, you can’t go too far wrong. The Ray Tracing and DLSS-equivalent tech is behind its Nvidia rivals, but not by much.


Best High-End Graphics Cards

7. Nvidia RTX 3080

The newest kid on the block for Nvidia, the RTX 3050 is the best budget GPU we have ever seen. With support for Ray Tracing, DLSS and an uncanny ability to play all of the latest titles at 1080p, 60FPS it can’t be beaten for the price. It’s a superb choice and a welcome addition to the market!


8. Nvidia RTX 3080Ti

Nvidia’s mid-range 3060 brings a nice chunk more performance than its cheaper, 3050 brother, opening the door for high frame rate 1080p gaming, and some work at 1440p! The ’60’ cards from Nvidia have always been a solid bet, and nothing changes here.


9. Nvidia RTX 3090Ti

AMD bring a solid choice to the party in their 6600XT. With great legs at 1080p, and standout performance in titles like Fortnite and Apex legends, you can’t go too far wrong. The Ray Tracing and DLSS-equivalent tech is behind its Nvidia rivals, but not by much.


Conclusion

With lots of great GPUs on the market, it sure can be tricky to pick the best one for your system. Avoid cars like the RX 6500XT, due to video memory limitations, and look at features like DLSS, Ray Tracing and VRAM before buying. It is important to ensure your card comes equipped with the features you place the most priority on. There aren’t many bad options in 2022, and buyers remorse can be easily avoided by researching detailed benchmarks for each card. The GPU market is looking to be in a much better place than at any other point in the last 2 years – here’s hoping to a path of continued improvement!

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Founder of the GeekaWhat site and channel, 21 year old James has a passion for all things tech! He can be found spinning the virtual decks in his spare time, watching English rugby or hitting the Ski slopes! His current system is rocking an RTX 3080 & Ryzen 9 5900X, because... why not?!
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