With summer 2023 coming to a close, it’s time to take stock of our new video card best buy guide. What is the best video card to buy right now? In this BBG, we provide an overview of GPU performance based on all our test results, so you can choose which graphics card will be optimal for your next upgrade.
Looking for buying advice for a complete computer? Then check the latest version of BBG desktop.
Video Card: The most important component for gaming performance
Anyone who likes to play PC games knows that the video card determines the frame rates you achieve in games: without a capable graphics processing unit (GPU), you won’t have good performance in games. This is also the reason why avid gamers reserve a large portion of their budget for this part. If you want to learn more about this, read our basic article on how a video card works. Just as with other components, you can of course argue that the more expensive video card is better, but for most consumers, price also plays an important role.
Which video card is the best choice for you depends not only on your budget, but also largely on your screen resolution and your screen’s refresh rate. If you’re playing on a 2160p monitor, you’ll need a lot more graphics processing power than if your games were still running at Full HD resolution. If you have a monitor with a refresh rate higher than the standard 60Hz, like many gaming monitors, you’ll need a faster video card to achieve a higher frame rate.
|Resolution (H x V)||Number of pixels (total)|
|1080p (Full HD)||1920×1080 pixels||2,073,600|
|1440p (HD resolution)||2560 x 1440 pixels||3,686,400|
|2160p (4K Ultra HD)||3840 x 2160 pixels||8,294,400|
Video card market in the fall of 2023
Since our previous guide to the best video card buy, the current generations of Nvidia and AMD have expanded. These manufacturers’ portfolios now include more affordable video cards, such as the GeForce RTX 4070, RTX 4060 Ti, RTX 4060, and RX 7600. In this list, it’s immediately noticeable that Nvidia has released many more cards in the mid-range segment than AMD. However, the Radeon manufacturer has two models, the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT, about to be released. When the actual street prices and availability of these models become clear, we will publish an updated version of this best buy guide.
A large number of the latest generation video cards have been on the market for a while and this means that the availability of these models is now more stable. At the same time, models of previous generations of video cards disappear. Compared to the previous BBG, the RTX 3090 Ti, RTX 3090 and RTX 3080, among others, have become more difficult to obtain. At AMD, stocks of the RX 6900 XT and RX 6950 XT in particular appear to be decreasing. This sometimes leads to sudden price increases. Separately, we also see that prices for current RTX 40 and RX 7000 series cards have fallen in recent months, with the biggest absolute differences between the faster models.
Features: Ray tracing, upscaling, and frame generation
Support for ray tracing is an important point for the current generation of video cards. With the RTX 40 series, Nvidia already has its third generation of cards with ray tracing support, which is the reason for the name change after the GTX series. AMD has released its second generation of video cards with ray tracing support in the form of the RX 7000 series built on the RDNA3 architecture. With Radeons, hardware acceleration for ray tracing isn’t as fast as Nvidia’s lineup. Instead, it’s almost up to par with its GeForce counterpart from a generation ago. Not every new game comes out that supports ray tracing, but the number of games that come with it is growing.
Then there’s the issue of upscaling, where images are displayed at a lower resolution and converted to a higher resolution with as little quality loss as possible. Nvidia developed DLSS, which uses Tensor cores on its GeForce cards to speed up this upgrade process. Radeon cards cannot use DLSS, but AMD has provided FSR as an analogue, which is made available for free and can therefore be supported on all video cards. Both technologies have now been further developed, but according to the manufacturer, they are far from fully developed. New versions are released regularly to increase the quality of the upgrade in order to further reduce the number of artifacts when used.
With the current generation, Nvidia has introduced a way to achieve a higher frame rate in the form of frame generation. With DLSS 3, Nvidia is making it possible on the RTX 40 series to use information from the previous and current rendered frame to not only upscale, but also to add an entirely new frame to the sequence. Nvidia calls this DLSS frame generation. AMD’s answer has taken some time, but it looks like it will be released soon under the name Fluid Motion Frames. What’s interesting about this is that the technology works at the driver level, and according to the manufacturer, it should work on all DX11 and DX12 games without the game itself needing to receive support for it.
More video cards? Hardly useful for gaming
For many years it has been possible for different video cards to work together in a system. In Nvidia this is called SLI, and in AMD it is called CrossFire. Getting this right requires a lot of extra work for game developers, which is one of the reasons why good, broad support never materializes. Driver support from Nvidia and AMD also leaves a lot to be desired in this area. This seems to have changed with the arrival of DirectX 12, but for now it remains a good search for games that support rendering using more than one GPU. For creative and professional workloads, different video cards can clearly provide added value in some cases, but for most games it’s better to use a single fast video card.
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