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The best graphics cards in 2021

The best graphics card may seem like an elusive concept at the moment, with stock expected only to trickle in over the holidays. As of only a few months ago, it was impossible to source a new GPU, but the struggle has now lifted somewhat. And while GPUs fluctuate in price a lot as supply and demand balance out, we do have some tips as to how to buy a graphics card if you're still having trouble.

Although Covid-19 and cryptocurrency booms (among other things) have stretched the GPU market to it's limits, we've still managed to test every new graphics card from the most recent generation. Each one we've diligently put through our gaming benchmark wringer on our test bench, with in depth analysis comparing thermal performance, power draw measurements with dedicated tools, and even average frequencies and frame times.

One of our most major findings is that the GPU scene is finally getting competitive again. The launch of the Radeon RX 6600 XT made things very interesting, with Nvidia and AMD both now in the running for the title of top GPU. Next year, Intel will even be offering The Intel Alchemist graphics card, a new player in the GPU landscape.

Nvidia's Ampere generation has set the bar high for any prospective contenders. The GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 are two of the best graphics cards to date, and AMD isn't far behind with the Radeon RX 6800 XT—it rivals even the RTX 3080's stellar graphical performance at the high end.

Best graphics card

1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best graphics card for PC gaming right now

Specifications

CUDA cores: 8,704

Base clock: 1,440 MHz

Boost clock: 1,710 MHz

TFLOPs: 29.76

Memory: 10GB GDDR6X

Memory clock: 19 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 760 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Incredible gen-on-gen performance+Makes 2080 Ti look mid-range+Ray tracing no longer a sacrifice

Reasons to avoid

-Needs a beefy PSU-In high demand

Okay, right now, the RTX 3080 is rare as pigeon eyelashes, but there is no doubt Nvidia's new RTX 3080 is the best graphics card today. It represents a huge generational performance boost over the previous RTX 20-series. That's impressive when put up against either the RTX 2080 or 2080 Super, but when you consider that this nominally $699 card can not just match but massively outperform the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti, it really hits home.

The thing which really stands out from our testing is the difference it makes to ray-tracing performance. The first generation of ray tracing-capable cards required such a huge frame rate sacrifice that most people shied away from turning it on, but that's no longer the case with this generation.

When you can now get ray-traced performance that exceeds the frame rates you'd get out of the top card of the RTX 20-series when running without it, you know that this is a whole different beast. And hey, the RTX 3080 can actually run Crysis.

Nvidia has managed this by adding a whole load more CUDA cores to the mix in this 8nm GPU and updated Tensor Cores (for extra DLSS goodness) and second-gen RT Cores to make with the ray-traced pretties.

The RTX 3080 may need a fair chunk more power—you'll want at least an 850W PSU—and be tricky to get hold of, but this is the most desirable graphics card around today. Which I guess is also why it's so tricky to get hold of.

Please read our full Nvidia RTX 3080 review (Founders Edition).

2. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD's RDNA 2 architecture at its best

Specifications

RDNA cores: 4,608

Base clock: 1,825 MHz

Boost clock: 2,250 MHz

TFLOPs: 20.74

Memory: 16 GB GDDR6

Memory clock: 16 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 512 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+4K excellence+Cheaper than an RTX 3080

Reasons to avoid

-Moderate ray tracing performance-Slower than the 3080 at 4K

As a red team alternative to Nvidia's high-end graphics cards, there have been few finer than the RX 6800 XT. A highly competitive card that comes so close to its rival, with a nominal performance differential to the RTX 3080, is truly an enthusiast card worth consideration for any PC gamer with 4K in their sights.

It's a tough call between it and the RTX 3080, but the latter pips AMD to the post with the final touches à la RTX. The RX 6800 XT is $50 cheaper, delivers high 4K performance and a hefty VRAM increase over the RTX 3080. However, it's easy to argue that an extra $50 dropped on the RTX 3080 is money well spent: a small price to pay for greater 4K performance, much-improved ray tracing, and DLSS. All are available today and with two year's worth of developer support in the bank.

Yet we're still big fans of what AMD has managed to accomplish with the RX 6800 XT, a return to form for the Radeon Technology Group that injects some much-needed competition into the GPU market and offers a worthy red team alternative for any high-end gaming PC build.

Read our full AMD RX 6800 XT review.

3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

More affordable Ampere

Specifications

CUDA cores: 4,864

Base clock: 1,410 MHz

Boost clock: 1,665 MHz

TFLOPs: 16.20

Memory: 8GB GDDR6

Memory clock: 14 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 448 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Finally! Something a little more affordable+2080 Super performance+Under $400

Reasons to avoid

-Annoying 12-pin power connector-Not quite good enough for 4K

The best value Ampere to date, the RTX 3060 Ti, is very closely related to the RTX 3070. Both utilize the same GA104 GPU (the RTX 3060 Ti has fewer SMs enabled), with the same 8GB of GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit bus.

While 17% less capable in core count, the RTX 3060 Ti makes up for it with some judicious GPU Boost frequencies. That partially explains why the RTX 3060 Ti can be within 17% to just single digits off the pace of the RTX 3070, despite operating at a silicon disadvantage. Not bad for a $399 card (if you can find it for that price).

If you haven't already done the maths: At $399, the RTX 3060 Ti is 20% cheaper than the RTX 3070, so performance per dollar is on the up with the diminutive graphics card. That's why we love it so; it's a great GPU for the full stack of resolutions and has decent ray tracing capability to boot, courtesy of second-generation RT Cores.

If the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 seem out of reach, the RTX 3060 Ti certainly makes for a decent stand-in. Perhaps most impressive of this graphics card is how it stacks up to the 20-series generation: It topples the RTX 2080 Super in nearly every test.

Please read our full Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti review (Founders Edition).

4. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Finally, a reason for every 10-series gamer to upgrade

Specifications

CUDA cores: 5,888

Base clock: 1,500 MHz

Boost clock: 1,725 MHz

TFLOPs: 20.37

Memory: 8GB GDDR6

Memory clock: 14 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 448 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Turing-topping frame rates+Relatively low power+This FE card is smol

Reasons to avoid

-Annoying 12-pin power connector

Perhaps the only high-end Ampere that's anything close to reasonably affordable, the RTX 3070 is also impressive for its ability to match the top-string Turing graphics card, the RTX 2080 Ti, for less than half of its price tag.

At $499, it's still a significant sum by any means—we're talking next-gen console equivalent pricing here—but it's hardly an exorbitant sum when compared to PC gaming's top graphics silicon today. In return, you're gifted a 4K-capable graphics card that doesn't require too much fiddling to reach playable, if not high, framerates. And it'll absolutely smash it at 1440p, no question about that.

Its gaming performance credentials are undoubtedly impressive, but what makes the RTX 3070 our pick for the sensible PC gaming connoisseur is the entire Nvidia ecosystem underlying the RTX stack today. DLSS is a neat trick for improving performance, with only a nominal loss in clarity, and other features such as Broadcast and Reflex go a long way to sweetening the deal.

Please read our full Nvidia RTX 3070 review (Founders Edition).

Best CPU for gaming | Best DDR4 RAM | Best gaming motherboards
Best SSD for gaming | Best gaming laptop | Best gaming monitors

5. AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

If you've money to burn...

Specifications

RDNA cores: 5,120

Base clock: 1,825 MHz

Boost clock: 2,250 MHz

TFLOPs: 23.04

Memory: 16GB GDDR6

Memory clock: 16 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 512 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Occasional RTX 3090 performance…+...but cheaper!

Reasons to avoid

-Can lag behind RTX 3080 at times-Mediocre ray-tracing performance

The RTX 3090 may have sat unchallenged at the top rungs of graphics performance at launch, but it wouldn't be long until AMD rustled together a challenger in the RX 6900 XT, or 'Big Navi.' The RX 6900 XT hopes to knock Ampere's finest from its perch on high and send it spiraling back down to Earth. And it gets kind of close, too, with 4K performance a little off the pace of the RTX 3090—and all for one-third off the asking price.

For that reason, it's simply the better buy for any PC gamer without any ulterior motives of the pro-creator variety. But there's a reason it's not number one in our graphics card guide today, and that's simply due to the fact it's not that much better than an RTX 3080, and sometimes not at all. It's another $300 on top of the RTX 3080's price tag, and you'd hope for higher performance in both rasterized and ray tracing workloads. Yet, inevitably its ray-tracing acceleration lags behind the competition.

But the RX 6900 XT does come with assurances that the RTX 3080 can't make, such as its 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which is a whole 6GB greater than the 10GB of (faster) GDDR6X memory on the green team card. With that in mind, for raw gaming alone, the RX 6900 XT is a cheaper alternative to the RTX 3090 is still a victim to its own extreme price tag.

Read our full AMD RX 6900 XT review.

6. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

For the pro-creators, not the gamers

Specifications

CUDA cores: 10,496

Base clock: 1,395 MHz

Boost clock: 1,695 MHz

TFLOPs: 35.68

Memory: 24GB GDDR6X

Memory clock: 19.5 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 935.8 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Confidently top of charts+Massive memory buffer

Reasons to avoid

-Not really for gamers-RTX 3080 isn't far behind

This colossal graphics card is supremely powerful but far more fitting of Titan credentials than GeForce ones. It's not built with your average gamer in mind. Instead, it's targeting creative professionals and compute-intensive application acceleration, and that's why it doesn't come with your average price tag, either.

As immense in price tag as it is in stature, the question on everyone's lips is: Is it worth it? For gamers, no. It's just not much quicker than the RTX 3080. But for pro-creators, for whom time is money and where lower render time has a direct correlation with how much they can earn, that's where the RTX 3090 comes into its own.

It's for that reason that we've placed this card near the bottom of our list, but since we know PC gamers will undoubtedly spend ungodly quantities of cash to save face and ensure bragging rights, it's still worth a mention. After all, it is the most powerful gaming graphics card on the planet right now, whether it's a great deal or not.

Please read our full Nvidia RTX 3090 review (Founders Edition).

7. AMD Radeon RX 6800

Third-tier RDNA 2 feels cut adrift

Specifications

RDNA cores: 3,840

Base clock: 1,700 MHz

Boost clock: 2,105 MHz

TFLOPs: 16.17

Memory: 16GB GDDR6

Memory clock: 16 GT/s

Memory bandwidth: 512 GB/s

Reasons to buy

+Stellar 1440p card+Often outperforms cheaper RTX 3070

Reasons to avoid

-Doesn't compare well to the RTX 3070-Unexciting ray-tracing performance

As the only one of the AMD RX 6000-series cards to launch without undercutting a direct Nvidia Ampere rival, the straight RX 6800 feels as though it's almost been cut adrift. It's a strange situation because historically, we've always been keen to recommend the second string of any Radeon release. AMD tends to launch main series cards in pairs, one with the full might of the new GPU and a secondary card with a slightly stripped back chip.

Normally they perform at a similar level for a lot less cash. Except for this time, the performance gap is relatively large, and the price difference is not great enough to negate the issue. You've also got the RTX 3070 is priced $80 lower than this RX 6800 card. Sure, the RX 6800 does sometimes outperform the cheaper Nvidia card, but for the money, you'd surely want the only marginally more expensive RX 6800 XT because it's much faster. If I spent this much cash on a new GPU, the extra $70 would absolutely feel worth it.

The RTX 3070 also offers Nvidia's broad gaming ecosystem and, while ray tracing can be seen as a luxury, DLSS is an excellent performance-boosting feature still not matched by AMD. But it does have to be said; the RX 6800 is still a mighty impressive card outside of the ramifications of its place in the stack. This thing makes the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti look bad.

Read our full AMD RX 6800 review.

Graphics cards buying advice

How do I get a GPU in the the graphics card shortage?

You could attempt to manually refresh every store page in the hopes of striking gold on the next restock; that's one way to go about it. Or, you could sign up for a trusty app that goes about trawling major retailers for you. It's not a bot that tries to snap up stock the wrong way; it just does the refreshing, so you don't have to.

We've had success with the app HotStock in the UK, and sites such as Stock Informer offer a similar service in the US, although we've not used this service to score stock personally.

Similarly, you can find plenty of free Discord servers with dedicated stock alert bots and eagle-eyed community members, such as the popular StockDrops server. 

And don't forget Twitch streams. Those dedicated to finding your stock will often fire out a deafening klaxon the moment stock appears. We recommend checking out Falcodrin on Twitch for Nvidia GPUs, but there are plenty of kind souls out there offering a similar service.

Is there an easy way to get a new graphics card?

It's not for everyone, but the best way to ensure you'll receive a graphics card this year, and a modern one at something close to MSRP, is to buy a prebuilt gaming PC. It's a worthy consideration if you're considering a total rebuild at some point in the future, at least. System builders appear to enjoy a more stable supply of graphics cards, and while some still expect delays, you are at least guaranteed a PC with GPU in situ eventually.

Which is better GTX or RTX?

The older GTX prefix is now used to denote older Nvidia graphics cards which don't have the extra AI and ray tracing silicon that the RTX-level cards do. This RTX prefix was introduced three years ago with the RTX 20-series, and highlights which cards have GPUs which sport both the Tensor Cores and RT Cores necessary for real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling.

Is ray tracing only for RTX cards?

The RTX prefix is only used to denote cards which house Nvidia GPUs with dedicated ray tracing hardware, but they are still using the same DirectX Raytracing API Microsoft has created, and which is used by AMD's RDNA 2 GPUs. These AMD GPUs are able to suport real-time ray tracing, though with a higher performance impact than on Nvidia's GPUs.

Intel's upcoming Xe-HPG GPUs, with the Alchemist graphics cards first to use them, will also support ray tracing using Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing API when they launch early next year, too.

Is SLI or CrossFire still a thing?

If you're looking for maximum performance, you used to run two cards in SLI or CrossFire. However, it's become increasingly common for major games to ignore multi-GPU users completely. That includes all DXR games. There's also the fact that fewer of the next-gen cards actually support the linking of two cards. On the Nvidia side, only the $1,500 RTX 3090 comes with NVLink connections, only for creative apps.

So, no. It's not a thing.

Do I need a 4K capable graphics card?

The obvious answer is: Only if you have a 4K gaming monitor. But there are other things to consider here, such as what kinds of games do you play? If frame rates are absolutely king for you, and you're into ultra-competitive shooters, then you want to be aiming for super high fps figures. And, right now, you're better placed to do that at either 1440p or 1080p resolutions.

That said, the more games, such as CoD: Warzone that incorporates DLSS, the more Nvidia cards will be capable of making a close approximation of 4K visuals on your 4K monitor, but at higher frame rates.

What's a Founders Edition graphics card?

The Founders Edition cards are simply Nvidia's in-house designs for its graphics cards, as opposed to those designed by its partners. These are usually reference cards, meaning they run at stock clocks. 

Briefly, for the RTX 20-series, Nvidia decided to offer Founders Editions with factory overclocks. These had made it a little difficult to compare cards, as Founders Edition cards give us a baseline for performance, but Nvidia has since returned to producing them as reference again.

Sours: https://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/

Black Friday graphics card deals 2021: will there be GPU stock in November?

Black Friday graphics card deals aren't exactly the most promising proposition heading into November 2021, given the year-long shortages on some of the best graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. It will definitely be one of the more interesting things to keep an eye on, especially in the, very unlikely, case that RTX 30-series and AMD Radeon 6000 restocks should occur on the day. 

It's very unlikely, yes, but it's not an impossibility, especially as some online sources are now beginning to declare that the GPU shortages are beginning to lift, though this remains to be seen. Certain retailers have held restock events in the past few months, so we're not ruling it out completely. 

We personally aren't holding our breath for fresh supply drops of the RTX 3060, RTX 3070, or RTX 3080 over the hotly-anticipated sales event, especially as older graphics cards have either retained their value or are being listed for more than they originally retailed at in 2018. 

The best way to beat this serious hardware brought, therefore, is to aim for Black Friday gaming PC deals as, at the time of writing, prebuilt systems featuring the elusive RTX 30-line are selling at comparative rates to the standalone GPUs themselves from certain online retailers right now. We personally think the alternative is a much better value for money at the moment. 

When will the Black Friday graphics card deals start?

Black Friday is slated for November 26 this year. As touched upon above, however, no restocks have, as of yet, been promised or guaranteed by any major GPU manufacturers (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, etc.) or card creators (Nvidia and AMD) at this current point in time. It remains to be seen what stock will be available nearer the time, and even more interestingly, whether or not said GPU stock will feature discounts in any way, shape, or form. 

Where will the best Black Friday graphics card deals be?

Unfortunately, we don't yet know whether any of the popular online retailers are planning RTX 30-series or AMD Radeon 6000 restocks at this time ahead of Black Friday. However, we're hoping, given the rumors of Nvidia possibly resurrecting the RTX 2060, that previous generation GPUs could be cheaper than what we've seen throughout 2021 so far. This is what you can currently expect from all the biggest players on Black Friday right now. 

USA:
Amazon:
Average prices on current generation RTX and GTX graphics cards
Best Buy:Decent prices available on latest AMD Radeon generation GPUs  
Newegg:Little in the way of discounts or savings, but RTX-30 stock is in
Walmart:Limited supply with a focus on entry-level and mid-tier cards

UK:
Amazon:
Fair prices on some RTX 20-series and older GPU models
eBuyer: Decent, if still over-the-odds, rates on RTX 30-series cards
Currys:Expected prices on AMD Radeon 6000-series and RTX CPUs
Laptops Direct:Minor savings on AMD Radeon and older Nvidia GPUs
CCL Computers:Fairer rates on RTX and GTX graphics cards than most

Is it worth waiting until Black Friday to buy a graphics card?

Here's where the answer becomes complex. If you've stumbled upon a reliable retailer restocking the likes of the RTX 30-series for their MSRP before the sales event, then you absolutely shouldn't wait until Black Friday, as not only is stock not guaranteed, but whatever does show up isn't likely to be discounted below the retail price. However, if you've had no luck at all at getting your hands on a new video card, then there's no harm in waiting for Black Friday and waiting to see if RTX-30 series restocks or AMD Radeon RX 6000 cards are available. 

Black Friday GPU deals: what to expect

If you've been holding out for RTX 30-series stock at its MSRP on Black Friday then we have some depressing news for you. Now, given that Nvidia's newest graphics card line launched on September 2020, and disappeared completely within a matter of days, there isn't much to compare to when looking back on Black Friday 2020. 

However, discounts that were, in fact, available last year didn't exactly set the gaming world alight. The best Black Friday graphics card deals of 2020 were very much a sobering affair for many would-be PC builders, with the entry-level GTX 1660 Ti seeing a minor discount from some online retailers, and that was pretty much it from an enthusiast-level. 

The best advice that we can offer to take advantage of any Black Friday GPU deals is to get online early on the day and check through all the major retailer listings just in case the fabled RTX 30-series cards happen to show up for their MSRP, and aren't beholden to the current price hike that they've hovered at now for pretty much an entire year. 


Another great way of getting your desired GPU for less is through Black Friday laptop deals

What's more, take that action to the big screen with some great Black Friday gaming monitor deals, and sit in comfort with Black Friday gaming chair deals to complete your setup. 

I’ve recently graduated with a BA Hons degree in Journalism after what feels like an eternity. In that time, roughly seven years, I’ve written for the likes of Expert Reviews and Tech Spark, with my passion for all things tech and gaming related leading me here as Hardware Editor of GamesRadar+. This past year alone I’ve helped produce a documentary series for the BBC, and been active in the field of music journalism through my escapades seen in No Clean Singing and Vinyl Chapters.

Sours: https://www.gamesradar.com/black-friday-graphics-card-deals-2021/
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Best Graphics Cards for Gaming in 2021

The best graphics cards are the lifeblood of any gaming PC — they're they're the beating heart pumping out stunningly rendered pixels to your screen. While there's no single solution that's right for everyone, we're here to sort out the must haves from the wanna bes. Some want the fastest graphics card, others the best value, and many are looking for the best card at a given price. Balancing performance, price, features, and efficiency is important because no other component impacts your gaming experience as much as the graphics card.

Where our GPU benchmarks hierarchy ranks all of the cards based purely on performance, our list of the best graphics cards tries to look at the whole package. Price, availability, performance, features, and efficiency are all important, though the weighting becomes more subjective. Unfortunately, despite China's crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, Bitcoin and Ethereum prices have rebounded (again, after a slump at the end of September), which potentially means miners may want to try to expand. GPU mining profitability has dropped from where it was earlier this year, but it's not low enough to stop miners completely.

AMD's Radeon RX 6600 XT has now joined our benchmarks, and unlike Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, we've given it a spot on our list of the best graphics cards — contingent upon people actually finding them in stock, naturally. We'll have to see how availability and street pricing shape up over time (hint: not great, but better than any other AMD RX 6000-series card so far). AMD is also rumored to have the vanilla Radeon RX 6600 coming in the middle of this month. Nvidia's cards also implement Nvidia's hashrate limiter, and LHR (Lite Hash Rate) models have replaced all of the other RTX 30-series GPUs, except the RTX 3090, potentially making those cards less enticing to miners.

Team Red also recently launched AMD FSR, FidelityFX Super Resolution. A GPU-agnostic upscaling algorithm that competes against DLSS sounds great, and performance and image quality at the higher settings are good. Now we just need for it to get used in more games, preferably stuff that lots of people are playing. At present, none of the games in our core suite of benchmarks support FSR.

We're going to list the best graphics cards that are theoretically available right now, along with their nominal prices. As an example of the problem we face, the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB sells for over $700 on eBay, and the Radeon RX 6700 XT goes for over $800 — more than double the suggested etail pricing (SEP). If you're desperate for a new GPU, you could maybe justify paying 25% more than the launch price, but double or triple the MSRP is simply too much. If you need to upgrade, we recommend taking a look at pre-built gaming PCs instead. Or just wait, but prices might not get back to anything close to 'normal' until some time in 2022.

We test and review all the major GPUs, and we've done extensive testing of graphics card power consumption, using proper hardware. We've also looked at the broader AMD vs Nvidia GPUs breakdown. More recently, ourRadeon RX 6800 XT andGeForce RTX 3060 Ti launch articles have included test results for the latest GPUs running on Core i9-9900K, Core i9-10900K, and Ryzen 9 5900X. Mostly, the three CPUs are pretty close, though things vary depending on the game and settings (and motherboard firmware and RAM). Here we cut things down to a succinct list of the best graphics cards that are currently in production, that might even be available to buy if you search around or get lucky.

Choosing the Best Graphics Card for You

We've provided a dozen options for the best graphics cards, recognizing that there's plenty of potential overlap. The latest generation GPUs consist of Nvidia's Ampere architecture cards and AMD's RDNA2 architecture offerings. You can check our launch reviews of the GeForce RTX 3090, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, GeForce RTX 3080, GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, GeForce RTX 3070, GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, and GeForce RTX 3060 12GB for Nvidia, along with AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6800, Radeon RX 6700 XT, and Radeon RX 6600 XT. RDNA2 brought ray tracing support to Team Red for the first time and greatly improved performance compared to the previous generation GPUs. That's a dozen new GPUs in about as many months, and we'll likely see additional options using scaled down GA106 and Navi 22/23 GPUs in the future.

Theoretically, cards like the RTX 3070 and RX 6800 cost less than half as much as the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti, and generally match or beat it on performance. Meanwhile, the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 are 30% to 35% faster than the 2080 Ti for less money, and the RTX 3090 is 10-20% faster than the 3080 — at more than twice the price. You can also see how the RTX 3080 scales with a wider range of CPUs. Hint: You'll want something made in the past few years, generally with at least 6-cores and 12-threads, and 8-core and above add a few extra percent in performance.

Unfortunately, that's only in theory, as cryptocurrency mining combined with an already limited supply have caused a massive jump in GPU prices — see our GPU price index. Our advice: Don't pay more today for yesterday's hardware. If you want an RTX 30-series or RX 6000-series graphics card, be patient and you'll eventually be able to buy one at close to the official MSRP. If you already own a decent GPU, stick with it — or sell it for a premium and save the money until prices come down (assuming you have a spare you can live with in the interim). Or, hell, just give Ampere and RDNA2 a pass and wait for Lovelace and RDNA3, which will probably arrive in late 2022 and will hopefully have better availability (don't count on that yet!)

If your main goal is gaming, you can't forget about the CPU. Getting the best possible gaming GPU won't help you much if your CPU is underpowered and/or out of date. So be sure to check out the Best CPUs for Gaming page, as well as our CPU Benchmark hierarchy to make sure you have the right CPU for the level of gaming you're looking to achieve.

Our current recommendations reflect the changing GPU market, factoring in all of the above details. The GPUs are ordered mostly by performance, but price, features, and efficiency are still factors so in a few cases a slightly slower card may be ranked higher. There's been a massive shakeup at the top of the performance rankings already, and provided you can find the various cards in stock, these are the best graphics cards.

Quick Shopping Tips

When buying a graphics card, consider the following:

• Resolution: The more pixels you're pushing, the more performance you need. You don't need a top-of-the-line GPU to game at 1080p.
• PSU: Make sure that your power supply has enough juice and the right 6- and/or 8-pin connector(s). For example, Nvidia recommends a 550-watt PSU for the RTX 3060, and you'll need at least an 8-pin connector and possibly a 6-pin PEG connector as well.
• Video Memory: A 4GB card is the minimum right now, 6GB models are better, and 8GB or more is strongly recommended.
FreeSync or G-Sync? Either variable refresh rate technology will synchronize your GPU's frame rate with your screen's refresh rate. Nvidia supports G-Sync and G-Sync Compatible displays (for recommendations, see our Best Gaming Monitors list), while AMD's FreeSync tech works with Radeon cards.
• Ray Tracing, DLSS, and FSR: The latest graphics cards support ray tracing, which can be used to enhance the visuals. DLSS provides intelligent upscaling and anti-aliasing to boost performance with similar image quality, but it's only on Nvidia RTX cards. AMD's FSR works on virtually any GPU and also provides upscaling and enhancement, but on a different subset of games.

Note: Prices on most of the graphics cards remain seriously messed up right now. We've listed the official MSRPs, which is what we would expect to pay under normal circumstances. You shouldn't pay significantly more than the above prices, and nearly all of the top GPUs remain out of stock.

While we sorted the above list in order of performance, we've sorted the cards below based on performance as well as our own subjective rankings. We look at performance, price, power, and features and then adjust things accordingly, though opinions naturally differ. Plus, it's very hard to know how to rank anything given the current prices.

Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2021

1. GeForce RTX 3080

Best Graphics Card Overall, for 4K and More

Specifications

GPU: Ampere (GA102)

GPU Cores: 8704

Boost Clock: 1,710 MHz

Video RAM: 10GB GDDR6X 19 Gbps

TDP: 320 watts

Reasons to buy

+Excellent performance+Reasonably priced compared to 3090 and 6900 XT+Can legitimately do 4K ultra at 60 fps or more+Substantially faster than previous gen GPUs

Reasons to avoid

-Availability is severely limited-Requires 320W of power-Overkill for 1080p displays-Only 10GB VRAM

Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 sports the new and improved Ampere architecture. It's over 30% faster than the previous gen 2080 Ti, for $500 less. The new RTX 3080 Ti didn't manage to supplant the incumbent, thanks to its significantly higher pricing. If you're serious about maxing out all the graphics settings and you want to play at 4K or 1440p, this is the card to get — it's mostly overkill for 1080p gaming, though enabling all ray tracing effects in games that support the feature makes 1080p still reasonable.

If you skipped the first round of RTX GPUs, the RTX 30-series might finally get you you on board the ray tracing train. With potentially double the ray tracing performance of Turing, and games like Cyberpunk 2077 using even more ray tracing effects, the RTX 3080 is your best bet at playing games in all their ray traced glory without nuking the piggy bank.

Ampere also brings improved tensor cores for DLSS, a technology we're bound to see more of in future games now that it doesn't require per-game training by a supercomputer. We're seeing a lot more games with DLSS 2.0 these days, helped by the fact that it's basically a toggle and UI update to get it working in Unreal Engine and Unity. Nvidia's RT and DLSS performance are also quite a bit faster than what you get from AMD's new RX 6000 cards, which is a good thing as Nvidia sometimes falls behind in traditional rasterization performance (which is what our raw numbers are based on).

The biggest problem with RTX 3080 by far is going to be finding one in stock, at prices that aren't straight up terrible. Given the high price of the 3080 Ti, though, this remains our best pick for a fast GPU right now.

Read:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Review

2. Radeon RX 6800 XT

Best AMD GPU, Forget About DLSS

Specifications

GPU: Navi 21 XT

GPU Cores: 4608

Boost Clock: 2,250 MHz

Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TDP: 300 watts

Reasons to buy

+New RDNA2 architecture provides excellent performance+Beats 3080 in rasterization games+Easily handles 4K and 1440p+Lots of VRAM for the future

Reasons to avoid

-Weaker ray tracing performance-FSR needs wider adoption-Supply might be even worse than Nvidia

AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT is the best card for Team Red. The RX Radeon 6900 XT is technically about 5-7 percent faster, but it costs 54 percent more. That's not a great deal, at all, especially since you don't get more VRAM or any other extras. The RX 6800 XT provides a massive boost in performance and features relative to the previous generation RX 5700 XT. It adds ray tracing support (via DirectX Raytracing or VulkanRT), and is 70-90% faster across our test suite.

The GPU was affectionately dubbed 'Big Navi' prior to launch by the enthusiast community, and we got exactly what we wanted. Navi 21 is over twice the size of Navi 10, with twice the shader cores and twice the RAM. Clock speeds are also boosted into the 2.1-2.3 GHz range (depending on the card model), the highest clocks we've ever seen from a reference GPU by about 300 MHz. And AMD did all this without substantially increasing power requirements: The RX 6800 XT has a 300W TDP, slightly lower than the RTX 3080's 320W TDP.

A big part of AMD's performance comes thanks to the massive 128MB Infinity Cache. It improves the effective bandwidth by 119% (according to AMD). We're confident that few if any games in the coming years are going to need more than 16GB, so the 6800 XT is in a great position in that area.

What's not to like? Well, the ray tracing performance is a bit mediocre. Maybe it's because current games are more likely to be optimized for Nvidia's RTX GPUs, but overall the 6800 XT is just barely ahead of the RTX 3070 in ray tracing performance, and there are several games where it falls behind by up to 25%. And that's without turning on DLSS, which even in Quality mode can improve performance of RTX cards by 20-40% (sometimes more). AMD is working on FidelityFX Super Resolution to compete with DLSS, but it's not here yet and it's very much needed.

Read:AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Review

3. GeForce RTX 3090

Fastest Graphics Card, Great for Creators

Specifications

GPU: Ampere (GA102)

GPU Cores: 10496

Boost Clock: 1,695 MHz

Video RAM: 24GB GDDR6X 19.5 Gbps

TDP: 350 watts

Reasons to buy

+The fastest GPU, period+4K and maybe even 8K gaming+24GB is great for content creation workloads+Up to 30% faster than 3080 in professional apps

Reasons to avoid

-Over twice the cost of 3080 for 10-15% more performance-Extremely limited availability for now-High power requirements-Titan price without Titan enhancements

For some, the best card is the fastest card — pricing be damned! Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3090 caters to this category of user. At more than double the price of the RTX 3080, performance is only moderately better (10-15%) in most workloads. It's basically a replacement for the Titan RTX, at a still extreme price. Which is fine if that's what you're after — the 12GB RTX 3080 Ti doesn't reduce the price enough to shake things up.

The RTX 3090 is likely to reign as Nvidia's top GPU for a while as well. It sports nearly a complete GA102 chip, based off the Ampere architecture, so there's not really room for a new Titan card. Nvidia has said as much as well, that the 3090 brings Titan-class performance and features (specifically the 24GB VRAM) into the GeForce brand. If you simply must have the fastest graphics card available, that's the RTX 3090.

It's not just about gaming, of course. The RTX 3090 is the only GeForce Ampere with NVLink support, which is arguably more useful for professional apps and GPU compute than SLI. The 24GB of GDDR6X memory is also helpful in a variety of content creation applications. Blender for example frequently showed 30% higher performance compared to the 3080, and over twice the performance of the Titan RTX. Just watch out for lower than expected performance in some of the SPECviewperf 13 apps, where Titan RTX has additional features turned on in its drivers that aren't enabled for GeForce cards.

AMD's RX 6900 XT challenges the RTX 3090, and in traditional rasterization it's competitive. It also gets some wins in a few SPECviewperf tests. But if you want the absolute fastest graphics card right now, Nvidia wins, especially if you run games with ray tracing and DLSS enabled.

Read:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Review

4. GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Best Bang for the Buck Graphics Card

Specifications

GPU: Ampere (GA104)

GPU Cores: 4864

Boost Clock: 1,665 MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TDP: 200 watts

Reasons to buy

+Beats the 2080 Super for $300 less+Best overall value (fps/$)+Great for RT at 1440p with DLSS

Reasons to avoid

-Sold out and currently overpriced-4K is a a stretch even with DLSS-8GB might not be 'enough' VRAM long term

Nvidia's Ampere march continues with what might just be the best of the bunch. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti has all the same features as the other 30-series GPUs, with a starting price of just $399. In theory, of course, as it naturally sold out just as quickly as all the other new graphics cards. 

The 3060 Ti ends up beating the previous gen 2080 Super in performance, winning every test we ran. It's also only about 9 percent slower than the 3070 but costs 20 percent less. If you're still sitting on a GTX series or similar GPU, like a GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56, the 3060 Ti is up to twice as fast — sometimes even more, in the latest games.

The only real concern is the lack of VRAM. 8GB is enough, for now, but some games are starting to push beyond that threshold. Of course you can drop the texture quality a notch, and you might not even notice the difference, but deep down inside you'll feel regret. (Not really — high settings often look indistinguishable from ultra settings.)

Until AMD releases its next round of RDNA2 cards, which we expect in the first quarter of 2021, there's nothing else that can challenge the 3060 Ti at anything close to the $399 price point. It's 35-45 percent faster than the 2060 Super, and 25-30 percent faster than the RX 5700 XT, all for the same nominal asking price.

The biggest concern right now is just finding one of these cards for sale. Mining performance pretty much matches the 3070 (at least for the non-LHR models) and AMD's latest gen cards, which means prices are often triple the official launch price. Also, 8GB still feels a bit stingy, considering the 1070 had that much memory over four years ago.

Read:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Review

5. GeForce RTX 3070

Excellent 1440p Performance

Specifications

GPU: Ampere (GA104)

GPU Cores: 5888

Boost Clock: 1,730 MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TDP: 220 watts

Reasons to buy

+2080 Ti performance at half the cost+All the Ampere enhancements+Not as power hungry as 3080

Reasons to avoid

-Totally sold out and/or expensive-Can't do 4K ultra in some games at 60 fps-8GB VRAM feels stingy

The GeForce RTX 3070 continues the Ampere onslaught and the march of next-gen architectures. It's a sizeable step down from the 3080, and has less than half the VRAM of AMD's RX 6800 series cards. However, the 3070 also costs less than AMD's new cards and still has generally superior ray tracing performance, plus DLSS. It's too bad all of the 3070 cards will likely continue to sell out for quite some time. The new RTX 3070 Ti delivers slightly better performance for $100 more, but also bumps the power use up by 30%, so we recommend sticking with the non-Ti card for now.

The 3060 Ti's $400 price point makes the 3070 less endearing. It's about 10-12 percent faster but costs 25 percent more. Of course, if you factor in the rest of your gaming PC, that extra $100 probably isn't too big of a problem. For new gaming PC builds, you shouldn't buy anything right now that costs $300 or more unless it's sporting an Ampere or Big Navi GPU. Especially at current shortage-induced prices. We do have some reservations, however.

While 1440p and 4K gaming are totally possible, 4K at maximum quality often drops below 60 fps. DLSS can fix that, if a game supports it, but ray tracing even with DLSS often means 40-50 fps at 4K. We're also concerned with the 8GB of GDDR6. Not only is that less memory on a narrower bus than the 3080, but it's clocked quite a bit lower. We've already encountered a few games where 8GB starts to be a bit limiting at maximum quality, and that's only going to get worse in the future. AMD's decision to put 16GB on its Navi 21 GPUs makes Nvidia's 8GB look even worse, and Nvidia put 12GB on the RTX 3060, which makes the 8GB on the 3070 and 3060 Ti look even worse.

If you want a fast Nvidia GPU for the lowest price possible, the 3060 Ti gets the nod. If you can fork over an extra $100, the 3070 is a reasonable upgrade, which then leads to another $100 for the 3070 Ti, and at that point why not just get the 3080? It's the 'best' overall card, after all. That's the problem with looking at higher cost cards, and the law of diminishing returns. For now, if you've always wanted an RTX 2080 Ti but couldn't justify the cost, the price of entry has been (sort of) slashed in half.

Read:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Review

6. Radeon RX 6700 XT

Good 1440p Graphics Card, Lower Price

Specifications

GPU: Navi 22

GPU Cores: 2560

Boost Clock: 2581 MHz

Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TDP: 230 watts

Reasons to buy

+Good 1440p performance+Plenty of VRAM+Comes close to the 3070 in non-RT

Reasons to avoid

-Out of stock like everything else-Mediocre RT performance-FSR can't defeat DLSS

Start with the Navi 21 GPU and then cut down the various functional units to create a smaller die that can sell at lower prices and you have AMD's Navi 22 and the RX 6700 XT. It has the same number of GPU cores as the previous generation RX 5700 XT, but significantly higher clock speeds and more cache give it about a 25% boost to performance (at higher settings and resolutions, at least).

AMD's RX 6700 XT hits the highest clock speeds we've ever seen on a GPU, boosting at 2.5GHz and more during gaming sessions — and that's at stock, on the reference card. With some tuning and overclocking, we were able to hit speeds of 2.7-2.8GHz, still without cooking the GPU. That's very impressive, though we're a bit sad that it 'only' has 2560 GPU cores.

In our performance testing, the RX 6700 XT trades blows with the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti. It's a bit faster than the latter, and a bit slower than the former, so the launch price of $479 seems okay. Except, if we include pretty much any games with DLSS or ray tracing, the 6700 XT starts looking more like a 3060 Ti competitor.

The real issue is the same as with everything else. RX 6700 XT just launched, and it immediately sold out, even at radically inflated prices. Currently, the card shows up at over $1,100 on eBay. It's definitely not worth that, even if you want to mine Ethereum. Unfortunately, the prospects of finding a 6700 XT card at a more reasonable price are slim.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review

7. Radeon RX 6800

Great 1440p Graphics Card, Okay Ray Tracing

Specifications

GPU: Navi 21 XL

GPU Cores: 3840

Boost Clock: 2105 MHz

Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TDP: 250 watts

Reasons to buy

+Excellent overall performance+Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache+Easily beats the 3070 in non-RT

Reasons to avoid

-Good luck finding one-Middling RT performance-FSR will take a while to catch up to DLSS-Not much cheaper than 6800 XT

Take everything great about the new Navi 21 GPU that powers the 6800 XT (above), then trim it by about 10% and you get the vanilla RX 6800. You still get the full 16GB GDDR6 and 128MB Infinity Cache, but only 96 ROPs and slightly lower clock speeds. It's a reasonable compromise, but we think the 6800 XT is the better option all things considered (unless pricing eventually drops a bit more on the vanilla cards).

The RX 6800 also puts in a good showing against Nvidia's RTX 3070. In our current 9-game test suite, it's 9% faster overall. Of course it also costs 16% more, but we think having twice as much VRAM is a fair trade.

The real concerns are the same as with the 6800 XT: Ray tracing performance looks a bit weak, basically matching Nvidia's previous generation RTX 2080 Super. AMD's FSR as a DLSS alternative could help long-term, but right now it's only supported in a handful of games and can't quite match DLSS image quality. Take the RTX 3070 in DXR performance. Without DLSS, the 3070 is already 12% faster. Turn on DLSS Quality mode and the gap increases to more than 50%! Also, DLSS can be used without ray tracing, and typically looks better than temporal AA (or at least as good).

With AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution now available, it now needs game developers to implement the feature. It's open source, plus AMD RDNA2 GPUs are in all of the next generation consoles, which means FSR will probably see plenty of uptake… eventually. For now, we'd grab a 6800 more for the rasterization prowess and not worry so much about ray tracing. Not that you can find one in stock.

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6800 review

8. GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

An Excellent Mainstream Graphics Card

Specifications

GPU: Ampere (GA106)

GPU Cores: 3840

Boost Clock: 1,777 MHz

Video RAM: 12GB GDDR6 15 Gbps

TDP: 170 watts

Reasons to buy

+Lowest cost latest gen GPU+Great overall value for 1080p/1440p+Plenty of VRAM for mainstream+Limited mining appeal

Reasons to avoid

-Sold out and overpriced-Some people want to mine-Tied with old RTX 2070 performance-12GB of limited benefit

The lowest price and performance addition to Nvidia's desktop Ampere lineup is where the cuts to processing power might have gone too far. This is the first GA106 card, with a 192-bit memory interface and 12GB VRAM (though we suspect a 6GB model will show up eventually). But with 26% fewer GPU cores compared to the 3060 Ti, and less memory bandwidth, overall performance is only on the level of the RTX 2070. So, two and a half years later, you can now match a $500 graphics card with a $330 alternative.

Or that's the theory. Unfortunately, demand has once again eclipsed supply in a big way, and we're seeing RTX 3060 12GB cards selling on eBay for over $800. That's despite the measures Nvidia took to cut Ethereum mining performance in half, which ended up being meaningless when Nvidia hacked its own drivers (on accident). Word is miners had already found other workaround, and the pricing certainly suggests that's the case.

VRAM capacity at least isn't a problem, and there are a few instances where the 3060 12GB starts to close the gap with the 3060 Ti. It never quite gets there, however, and the 3060 Ti remains the better choice if you can find one at a reasonable price.

AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT has the same amount of VRAM, but with the large 96MB Infinity Cache it ends up performance quite a bit better — and costing quite a bit more. Maybe an RX 6700 will show up next month to provide some needed competition in the sub-$400 range, though of course those will also sell out.

If you discount ray tracing and DLSS, the RTX 3060 ends up being roughly the same performance as AMD's RX 5700 XT, 18 months later. Not exactly something to set the world on fire, but then that's typical of mainstream parts. We can only hope supply and pricing return to nominal levels sooner rather than later.

Read:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB Review

8. Radeon RX 6600 XT

Good Mainstream Performance, Weak RT

Specifications

GPU: Navi 23

GPU Cores: 2048

Boost Clock: 2,589MHz

Video RAM: 8GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TDP: 160 watts

Reasons to buy

+Faster than 3060 and RX 5700 XT+Power efficient design+Good 1080p performance+32MB Infinity Cache still works

Reasons to avoid

-Only 8GB VRAM on a 128-bit bus-Poor ray tracing performance-Expensive for 1080p-Still limited supply

AMD's answer to the RTX 3060 (sort of) comes via the Navi 23 architecture. Normally, we'd expect a 32 CU variant of Navi 22, dubbed the RX 6700 non-XT, but AMD trimmed CU counts, memory interface width, and Infinity Cache sizes to get a smaller and less expensive chip that still performs well. Right now, this is AMD's lowest cost current gen GPU.

Performance ends up slightly above the previous gen RX 5700 XT, which is impressive considering the memory bus has been cut in half to just 128 bits. There's a reasonable concern with the 8GB of VRAM, however, and there are certainly cases where the RTX 3060 ends up as the better choice. Still, it's surprising how much even a 32MB Infinity Cache seems to boost performance, when you look at the memory bandwidth. This is basically a chip that's smaller than Navi 10, built on the same TSMC N7 node, and it delivers 10–15% better framerates at 1080p.

There are instances where it struggles, however, ray tracing being a big one. Several games that we tested with DXR (DirectX Raytracing) support couldn't even do 20 fps at 1080p. Nvidia's RTX 3060 was about twice as fast, without using DLSS (where available). FSR doesn't really fix that, either, since it provides a similar boost in performance to both AMD and Nvidia — and even Intel — GPUs. Perhaps drivers and other tweaks will smooth out some of those idiosyncrasies, but after delivering impressive amounts of VRAM on the other Big Navi chips, the RX 6600 XT feels like a letdown.

Also, $379 as the starting point for a GPU that's ostensibly a replacement to the previous generation RX 5600 XT ($279 launch price) doesn't garner any goodwill. And while the initial launch supply at retail stores was pretty good, the RX 6600 XT is now sold out and commands prices at least 50% higher on places like eBay.

Read:AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Review

10. Radeon RX 6900 XT

AMD's Fastest GPU, Severely Expensive

Specifications

GPU: Navi 21 XTX

GPU Cores: 5120

Boost Clock: 2250 MHz

Video RAM: 16GB GDDR6 16 Gbps

TDP: 300 watts

Reasons to buy

+Excellent overall performance+Lots of VRAM and Infinity Cache+Second place in non-RT workloads+Good SPECviewperf results

Reasons to avoid

-Almost impossible to find-Not much faster than 6800 XT-Poor value overall

This is the other end of the Navi 21 spectrum. Where the 6800 cuts performance and price a bit, the RX 6900 XT boosts performance a bit and increases the (theoretical) price by over 50%. It's a big jump for small gains, and you don't even get something like more VRAM (the one saving grace of the RTX 3090). Also, good luck finding one for less than $1,500 right now.

AMD pulled out all the stops on the RX 6900 XT. It has a fully enabled Navi 21 GPU, which helps account for its scarcity. It's still a big chip as well, which means AMD is better off making more Zen 3 CPUs or console processors than trying to crank out Big Navi. Even as a mining solution, it's pretty mediocre, as the RX 6800 matches it on Ethereum hashing performance.

The same red flags are still present as well, like the mediocre ray tracing performance and lack of a direct alternative to DLSS. Basically, FSR works on everything, but DLSS only runs on Nvidia and has a three year head start on getting game developers to use it. In short, if you want the best RT experience right now, Nvidia still wins (not that you need RT to enjoy games).

Those who just want the fastest AMD GPU will still be happy with the 6900 XT. Unless by 'fastest' you're referring to mining performance, in which case the old Radeon VII still comes out over 30% faster. (Yeah, it's also selling at extreme prices these days.)

Read: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT review

11. GTX 1660 Super

Best Mainstream Esports / 1080p High Graphics Card

Specifications

GPU: Turing (TU116)

GPU Cores: 1408

Boost Clock: 1,785 MHz

Video RAM: 6GB GDDR6 14 Gbps

TDP: 125 watts

Reasons to buy

+Available at decent prices+GDDR6 gives it a healthy performance boost over the vanilla 1660+Turing is very power efficient, even at 12nm

Reasons to avoid

-Pricing is trending up right now-No hardware ray tracing support-Last gen tech and no DLSS

Dipping down closer to $200 (sort of), the main choice comes down to the GeForce GTX 1660 Super, the vanilla GeForce GTX 1660, or the RX 5500 XT 8GB

Sours: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gpus,4380.html
There are too many NVIDIA graphics cards - Tech News Oct 17

Nvidia warned earlier this year that the great GPU shortage would last throughout 2021, and now the company expects supply issues to continue well into 2022. Speaking on Nvidia’s Q2 fiscal 2022 earnings call this week, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said he expects supply constraints for the majority of next year.

“I would expect that we will see a supply-constrained environment for the vast majority of next year is my guess at the moment,” said Huang according to a transcript of the call, spotted by Videocardz. Nvidia has committed to securing long-term supply commitments, but demand is still higher than supply right now during a global chip shortage.

Nvidia’s warnings of a GPU shortage well into 2022 might not seem as bad as they sound, though. Anecdotally, we’ve noticed Nvidia managing to resupply a range of its GPUs across both Europe and the US more frequently in recent weeks than we’ve seen since the RTX 30-series debuted last year.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

AMD’s RX 6600 XT GPUs also sold at or under their recommended retail price recently, with plenty of the cards still in stock at UK retailers. It’s still not easy to just go out and buy the exact GPU you want, but it certainly feels like things are getting slightly better.

Despite the shortages, Nvidia still managed to hit a record revenue of $6.51 billion this quarter — up 68 percent year over year. Gaming made up $3.06 billion of Nvidia’s overall revenue, a big jump of 85 percent over the year prior. The company is now shipping most (80 percent) of its PC gaming GPUs with its Lite Hash Rate enabled to combat cryptomining demand.

While the gaming segment is clearly thriving at Nvidia, the company’s new Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) failed to hit Nvidia’s own predictions. CMP only hit $266 million in revenue, compared to the $400 million the company had predicted. China’s cryptocurrency crackdown has likely affected CMP sales, with miners selling off used GPUs.

Sours: https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/19/22632047/nvidia-gpu-supply-rtx-30-series-constraints-2022

2021 gpu nvidia

If you're like most people, you're probably using a graphics card that's several years old. And with PC gaming, video editing, animation and other graphics-intensive activities, that few years is forever in performance. A lot has changed in the past few years, so chances are you're no longer using the best graphics card available for taking advantage of modern technologies like smart resolution upscaling and ray-tracing acceleration. Meanwhile, games and software used for applications like 3D tools and video editors have only become more demanding. 

Even if you just need the basics for streaming video or surfing the web, a good graphics card can make your system feel snappier by improving the acceleration of video decoding or redrawing your screens faster, especially if you had previously used a budget GPU. With a Thunderbolt 3-equipped laptop or iMac, you can even upgrade the graphics using an external graphics processing unit (an eGPU with its own power supply) or a dedicated graphics card.

asus-rog-strix-radeon-rx-6600-xt-oc

But let's be frank: This is a horrible time to shop for a new video card. They're more elusive than a PS5 or Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Edition. The now-current generation of flagship cards from Nvidia and AMD launched in October 2020, with new models rolling out regularly since then, but they all continue to be in the LOL-try-to-get-one stage. 

And prices for anything you can find remain out of control. While they're not nearly as high as they were six months ago, they remain substantially higher than the manufacturers' fantasy target prices at launch and are slowly starting to rise again.

Read more:Radeon restock alert: Where can you find the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT?

And you do want one: Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060, RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and 3080, and AMD's Radeon RX 6600 XT, RX 6700 XT, RX 6800, 6800 XT and 6900 XT perform noticeably better than the previous generations. We expect the same from Nvidia's workstation versions of the 3000 series, the A4000, A5000 and A6000. But you can't get one -- or anything, really -- because cryptocurrency mining and bots have once again bogarted the entire available stock, creating shortages and driving up prices. 

Nvidia started throttling its cards for crypto mining when it launched the RTX 3060 as a deterrent to having them snapped up by miners (and announced an alternate GPU line specifically for that purpose, the CMP). It's a driver-based solution -- the driver handshakes with the card's firmware to detect and throttle mining-specific operations.

amd-radeon-rx-6700-xt-dsc01520

AMD's latest Radeon RX 6600 XT hits (in theory) at a $379 price, making it the current entry to the RX 6000 series. But given its price and performance niche between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti and intent of fast, high-quality 1080p gameplay, it's unlikely to remain the lowest-end card in that line. 

Read more:Where to check for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 stock

AMD chooses to take a more traditional approach to managing availability at launch -- bringing as many cards as possible to market on day one and attempting to limit sales to one per customer. But as with the rest of GPUs, the bots 'n' middlemen who broker the cards to sell them at least twice the list price jumped into action, so you certainly can't find either at their nominal prices. 

Now playing:Watch this: Full breakdown of Nvidia's new RTX 3000 series (3070,...

3:56

This list is updated somewhat regularly. For the most recent updates, I've left the price categories in place for reference so you can see where they were before the market went nuts. Since you can't find them to buy, the real prices are kind of moot, anyway, and stock trackers are a better friend for you.

Read more:Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and 3080: Check for inventory restocks at Best Buy, Newegg and more

The RTX 3000 series follow on the 20-series Super equivalents, and in the case of the 3090, the Titan RTX. The cards use the latest Ampere architecture, which has improved algorithms and more processing power dedicated to ray tracing (a second-gen Turing core), AI (for more efficient upscaling via DLSS) and programmable shaders. They deliver some big jumps in performance over the 2000 series. 

evga-rtx-3080-dsc08597

AMD's latest GPUs are based on its RDNA 2-gen architecture, used in the Xbox Series X, S and PS5 consoles, and for the first time target 4K gamers (the company previously concentrated on 1080p and 1440p gaming). Hardware performance improvements stem partly from the higher-density on-die Infinity Cache design (all have 128MB) and enhanced design of the compute units (including a new Ray Accelerator core for each compute unit). They combine to improve the memory subsystem by reducing the latency of moving data around, increase bandwidth by up to 2.2x with a narrower path (256 bits) and deliver better energy efficiency. That also allows the processors to hit higher clock frequencies without a substantial increase in power requirements. 

amd-rx-6800-xt-dsc09624

The AMD GPUs have been optimized to achieve peak performance when used in conjunction with the company's latest Ryzen 5000 series of desktop CPUs (and subsequently AMD added support for the Ryzen 3000 series), though it doesn't sound like they get much of a boost from it. If every frame counts, though, it's something to keep in mind. They also support Microsoft's DirectStorage programming interface, which accelerates SSD access by circumventing the CPU to improve storage-intensive game tasks like load times in games developed with it in mind. 

Read more:Where to check inventory of the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT

The new architectures for ray-tracing acceleration are accompanied by a larger set of technologies that tend to be lumped in with them because they also improve or accelerate rendering in general. These include upscaling algorithms, for example, which render for a higher resolution screen using native-resolution textures (while maintaining frame rates); in other words, using textures for 1080p to render for 1440p. Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling and AMD's Radeon Contrast Adaptive Sharpening do this. 

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/best-graphics-card/
AMD vs Nvidia - Which Is Better?! 🤔

GPU Availability and Pricing Update: September 2021

It’s time for our monthly graphics card pricing analysis update, yet another one. It'd be great if pricing was normal and we actually didn’t have to make these updates, but tracking GPUs is useful in case you are thinking about jumping the gun... and this month we can celebrate a rather unfortunate anniversary.

It was just over a year ago that Nvidia launched the first GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards, the RTX 3080 on September 17 and the RTX 3090 shortly after. Lots of excitement back then with Nvidia promising to sell these GPUs for $700 and $1,500, respectively.

Supply at launch was low, and from there it only got worse with ever increasing demand and other market factors at play. In the space of 12 months it’s been nearly impossible to buy one of these otherwise great GPUs off the shelf at the MSRP.

And back then it was shaping up to be such a good time to buy a graphics card. We had just sat through 2-3 years of average GPU launches with Nvidia’s RTX 20 series not delivering on the value front and AMD’s inability to compete at the high end, so lots of gamers were hoping to jump on a series of GPUs that finally looked good and worthy of an upgrade. Unfortunately, upgrading proved to be difficult, due to extreme pent-up demand from gamers waiting years for an upgrade, additional demand due to the rise of gaming throughout the pandemic, supply issues, and then the crypto boom that began in January, which crippled the market.

But enough about that, let’s explore how the market is looking today...

Market Update

Most people at this point know why we’re still unable to buy GPUs at the MSRP, but I wanted to focus specifically on a couple of things that we’ve been tracking over the last few months.

The first of those is AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 XT which launched in early August. AMD promised that this would be a $380 GPU -- not the best MSRP, but they claimed that plenty of stock would be available at this price level. It was clear shortly after launch that this probably wouldn’t be the case for any significant stretch of time, but now that we’re over a month post-release, it’s become exceptionally clear.

If anything, pricing for the RX 6600 XT has continued to get worse since launch, and it simply is not possible to buy one at a reasonable price in some regions like the United States. In Australia, it was available at the MSRP for about 24 hours, but days later that price had jumped up beyond the MSRP and hasn't returned to decent levels. In fact, right now you’ll have to fork out the equivalent of ~50% price inflation for that GPU in most markets. So at this point it’s safe to say that AMD’s original promise of good availability at the MSRP has proven not to be true for any significant period of time.

Why has the price gone up? Simply put, the original price was well below the current going price for other GPUs in the market. As soon as AIBs and distributors get a whiff of demand and know they can rip off customers, and as soon as AMD stops caring about making the price look good around the launch window, prices began to rise.

Retailers are once again telling us about all the usual issues with distributors raising prices, forcing bundles and so on, just now it’s being applied more to the 6600 XT than it was before. Retailers also tell us that since launch, miners are paying increasingly more attention to this card and its value proposition, which has reduced supply in the chain as cards filter out to miners before they hit retail, raising the price in the process.

With all of that said, the 6600 XT is still cheaper in several regions than Nvidia’s closest competitors, the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti. Despite unattractive retail pricing, availability is actually quite good in many regions, just not in the US.

At PC Case Gear (Australia), right now they have stock of every single current generation GPU, and for most variants you can choose from a significant number of AIB models with only a few out of stock. It’s simply the nasty pricing that means these GPUs are not flying off the shelves. Availability has been decent for months now and getting better depending on where you’re located. The longer overpriced models sit on shelves, the more pressure there will be to reduce prices.

No GPU for You!

While availability might be decent, gamers are not going to be able to buy affordable GPUs at retail any time soon for two reasons. #1: Nvidia aren’t making any significant efforts to bring the lower-cost RTX 3050 to retail. We might see AMD release an RX 6600 non-XT, but that’s unlikely to help much either. While the 3050 has been available in laptops for some time now, we haven’t heard anything from our contacts to suggest the card is coming to desktop buyers anytime soon. Reason #2: is the big reason, and that’s crypto mining.

Of course, it's now clear that GPU pricing is directly linked to mining profitability. It’s not related to supply, it’s not related to the pandemic, or anything like -- GPUs are being priced in line with how much money you can make mining on them. That’s the guide that AIBs and distributors are using when they set pricing, and prices clearly change in step with changes to mining profitability.

Crypto fans will probably rush to the comments to point the blame somewhere else, but pricing hasn’t been changing in the face of gaming demand -- which has remained high for a year now. The main reason why you can’t buy a GPU at a decent price is because it’s profitable to mine crypto on them, and miners are willing to pay higher prices indefinitely for essentially a money printer. If mining wasn’t profitable on modern GPUs, you’d probably have a new GPU in your hands right now at the MSRP, because the record level of supply this generation up to this point is enough to satisfy the gaming demand.

The Crypto Rollercoaster

So, what’s been happening over in the land of mining in the last month? Pricing of the most popular coin for mining, Ethereum, has been relatively flat month on month, there was a period a couple of weeks ago where prices were up, that cooled off, and for the past few days there's been a decline. But it’s a volatile market as usual, so on the whole it’s been flat.

Meanwhile in that period, Ethereum difficulty has risen about 15%, meaning that a decent amount of extra mining hardware is in the pool compared to a month ago. This would have been in response to the rising crypto prices over the last two months, but it has plateaued slightly in the past week. What this means is that miners have been interested in buying GPUs for mining, contributing to higher prices, though the impact is that when difficulty increases, the rewards for mining decrease. So seeing a rise in difficulty is both a good and bad sign for gamers.

Overall, this has led to a drop in mining profitability, right now it’s down about 25% month on month, though it does depend on the exact GPU in question. Cards where Ethereum is not the most profitable choice of coin for mining -- such as Nvidia’s LHR GPUs -- have seen more severe declines. However, most of these declines have occurred in the past week after crypto’s peak in price, and because there’s always a lag before this is reflected in GPU pricing, we’re only just starting to see those effects now.

GPU Pricing Update

How has this affected GPU pricing on eBay, which we’ve been tracking monthly for some time now. Here we have Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 series looking at completed eBay listings in the past week. Most mid to high-end GPUs haven’t changed in price much compared to what we observed a month ago. The RTX 3080 Ti has by 4% on average, while the RTX 3070 decreased by 4%. Then at either end of the scale we have slightly larger changes with the RTX 3090 increasing by 10%, and the RTX 3060 Ti going down in price by 9%, with this GPU still seeming to be in good supply right now.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
GeForce RTX 3090$1,500$2,599$2,607$2,86391%10%
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti$1,200$1,905$1,815$1,88057%4%
GeForce RTX 3080$700$1,623$1,643$1,673139%2%
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti$600$1,085$1,170$1,19199%2%
GeForce RTX 3070$500$1,075$1,228$1,180136%-4%
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti$400$1,012$952$866117%-9%
GeForce RTX 3060$330$723$752$708114%-6%
Average107%0%

At the moment, a majority of Nvidia’s line-up, especially for their mid-range offerings, are LHR products meaning they have been hit harder by recent reductions to mining profitability. This has been reflected to some extent in pricing, although on the whole Nvidia cards have been relatively flat. I suspect we’ll only see price reductions if the crypto market continues to decline for a few more weeks as it has done as of late. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the outlook for miners was much more positive and that helped to keep GPU prices high.

AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs are not in good supply, and there haven’t been many sales of cards like the RX 6800 XT, and especially the RX 6800 in the past week. However, the RX 6700 XT continues to be available, and its price has risen 11% month on month, close to the level of June pricing. With that said, prices are still 25% lower than the peak for this card in March, and there has been no change in pricing for the RX 6600 XT which is still a $640 GPU on the scalper market on average.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
Radeon 6900 XT$1,000$1,460$1,622$1,56957%-3%
Radeon 6800 XT$650$1,282$1,268$1,411117%11%
Radeon 6800$580$1,087$1,127$1,309126%16%
Radeon 6700 XT$480$733$793$88183%11%
Radeon RX 6600 XT$380$633$63968%1%
Average90%7%

Based on the volumes we’re seeing on eBay, and at retail, it seems that AMD are heavily prioritizing their mid-range GPUs at the expense of high-end products. But without any limitations on mining performance, AMD cards are more susceptible to changes in mining profitability, and that’s hurt them this month.

This has affected cost per frame value for buyers looking at a GPU for gaming. In August and in prior months, the RX 6700 XT (and also the 6600 XT) have been the outright leaders in value. However with some Nvidia GPUs seeing price drops, while AMD cards have risen in price, cost per frame is a lot closer in September than it has been. Right now, the RX 6700 XT is only 6% cheaper per frame than the RTX 3060 Ti, compared to 23% cheaper in August.

When you factor in the additional features that Nvidia GPUs offer such as DLSS and superior ray tracing performance, it’s no longer the case where AMD has an overall lead in value. With this cost per frame, I’d personally be choosing the RTX 3060 Ti over the RX 6700 XT, while the RTX 3070 Ti is also not looking too bad up against the RX 6800 and 6800 XT. It’s only Nvidia’s higher end cards that are poor value compared to the rest of the market, but of course we generally still don't recommend paying inflated prices (unless you can make money playing games :).

Used GPU Pricing

On the used market, prices for Nvidia RTX 20 series are up slightly month on month, with most cards in the mid-single digits for increases. The exception is the RTX 2080 Ti, which is priced far too close to the level of a brand new RTX 3070 Ti. That sort of pricing is ridiculous when for $50 more you can get better performance and a brand new product, but of course, mining.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti$1,000$952$1,043$1,15816%11%
GeForce RTX 2080 Super$700$788$802$80415%0%
GeForce RTX 2080$700$686$703$7365%5%
GeForce RTX 2070 Super$500$638$667$72044%8%
GeForce RTX 2070$500$603$614$65030%6%
GeForce RTX 2060 Super$400$613$615$66265%8%
GeForce RTX 2060$350$476$482$51447%7%
Average32%6%

Then we have the GTX 16 series which are still popular in the sub-$500 market. Currently these GPUs are disgustingly overpriced on the used market and products like the 1660 Ti and 1660 Super have gone up quite a bit. You’re faced with spending around double these card’s MSRP, and that’s unlikely to get better soon with Nvidia’s reluctance to release an RTX 3050.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti$280$428$426$49175%15%
GeForce GTX 1660 Super$230$425$452$494115%9%
GeForce GTX 1660$220$359$371$37872%2%
GeForce GTX 1650 Super$160$291$283$30289%7%
GeForce GTX 1650$150$248$247$26274%6%
Average85%8%

GPUs from Nvidia's GeForce 10 series have risen in price by 5% on average, with some crazy asking prices for cards like the GTX 1080 Ti. On the whole, 10 series cards are selling used for only slightly below their launch price 4-5 years ago, or above that launch price in the case of the GTX 1060 6GB. The 1080 Ti is also poor value compared to brand new RX 6600 XTs for gaming, although the 1080 Ti is much better for mining, so as always that explains a lot of the discrepancy.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti$700$550$616$676-3%10%
GeForce GTX 1080$600$395$441$459-24%4%
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti$450$398$406$4510%11%
GeForce GTX 1070$380$337$361$373-2%3%
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB$250$273$286$30924%8%
GeForce GTX 1060 3GB$200$189$223$2147%-4%
Average0%5%

It’s no surprise to see that in a month where crypto mining was highly profitable and getting more profitable for a significant chunk, that AMD’s RX 5000 series jumped in price by a substantial amount. The RX 5700 XT remains an excellent card for mining, nearly at the level of the RTX 3070 without LHR limits, and better than the RTX 2080 according to Whattomine.

MSRPeBay Average Price JulyeBay Average Price AugusteBay Average Price SeptemberCurrent Price InflationPrice Increase Aug to September
Radeon 5700 XT$400$762$800$865116%8%
Radeon 5700$350$719$730$829137%14%
Radeon 5600 XT$280$541$558$620121%11%
Radeon 5500 XT 8GB$200$363$344$404102%17%
Average119%13%

Similar effects with AMD’s older GPUs such as Vega 56 and 64, both those GPUs are also good for mining and are sought-after in that market, so most gamers should probably sell their Vega card to a miner and move up to a higher performing product. Cards like Vega 56 fetching over $700 these days is pretty wild, and even cards like the RX 580 8GB are not good value given their much higher price than the GTX 1060 6GB.

Not a Great Outlook

That does it for this month’s GPU pricing update. On the whole, prices for graphics cards rose month on month for September, but only slightly, with most cards recording a price hike in the mid single-digit range. Obviously, we’d like to see prices go the other way, so from that perspective it’s disappointing, however the crypto market has been going strong until recently, so seeing only a small rise in pricing isn’t too bad.

We still don’t recommend gamers to pay inflated prices for graphics cards, though we’re at a point where cards like the RTX 3080 are now a year old, so naturally some people will be desperate to upgrade and will have been waiting for a year or more. If you do fall into that category, GPUs like the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 Ti are on the better end of the value scale and Nvidia’s LHR program has been effective at reducing prices on what would otherwise be strong performers for mining.

Value has tightened up recently between AMD and Nvidia due to this, which makes cards like the 6700 XT harder to recommend at current scalper prices. However while the 6600 XT has risen in price and continues to rise, it’s also worth considering.

The main factor that's going to see graphics card prices drop is a drop in mining profitability. That's been happening across the past week, but will need several more weeks before that’s reflected in the GPU market, and of course, profitability might rise next week, who knows. Supply and availability is less of a concern, given GPUs are readily available on store shelves in most regions and have been for some time. It’s mostly down to pricing now, which is dictated by mining profitability at this point.

We’re also coming up to the holiday period, so it'll be interesting to see how pricing goes during that time and how availability is affected. You’d think that would increase demand, but a lot of people are still waiting for affordable GPUs from the previous holiday period, so it’s hard to say. We’ll be keeping an eye out and letting you know in these updates throughout the rest of 2021.

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