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The best graphics cards 2018: all the top GPUs for gaming

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The RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 are finally here and the Nvidia Turing revolution has begun in earnest. So, do you splurge on an expensive flagship graphics card? Or, do you go back in time a bit, pick up a Pascal card and save a couple bucks? No matter what you do, you’ll be able to use the best graphics cards to play the best PC games from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Battlefield V.

You should keep in mind that there are graphics cards out there for every kind of build, so it might be hard to find what’s best for you. That’s why we decided to compile a guide to the best graphics cards you can buy today, all of which have been tested and reviewed right here at TechRadar. So, before you go out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and before you pick a side in the AMD vs Nvidia turf war – let’s go over the best graphics cards out there. 

It’s no secret that the best graphics cards are expensive. Luckily, we expect that a lot of Black Friday components deals are going to appear, that’ll make the best gaming PCs affordable for once. So, on top of all the Black Friday gaming deals out there, stay tuned to TechRadar and we’ll help you keep an eye out for the best graphics card deals.

Turing is finally here, and shouldn’t come as a surprise that the RTX 2080 is the best graphics card out there right now. While it is much more expensive than Nvidia’s ‘80’ cards have been in the past, it’s also much more powerful – showing up even the four-figure price Titan Xp. With the RTX 2080, there should be nothing stopping you from achieving high resolution gaming, though you’ll have to turn down some settings on some titles in 4K if you want a silky smooth 60 fps at all times. 

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 

If you’re on the market for one of the best graphics cards, and you’ve got some cash to burn, you might want to consider the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Without a doubt, it’s the most powerful graphics cards on the market, as long as the price doesn’t scare you away. And, the first actual game with Ray Tracing is finally available, Battlefield V. While you can turn RTX On, just keep in mind that it’ll hamper performance a bit.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 

If you’re good sticking with QHD, but you want to experiment occasionally with 4K, then you might want to look at the RTX 2070 – at least once the GTX 1080 is out of stock. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 brings the new Turing architecture to the mid-range with performance that completely blows its predecessor out of the water. Not only will you be able to play all your games at 1440p, but you’re going to get insane performance – up to 120fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. However, keep in mind that the RTX 2070 is significantly more expensive than its predecessor, so that trade-off in price-to-performance might not be worth it – especially if you’re coming from a Pascal card.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is the best graphics card for Full HD gaming you can buy today – your benchmarks put it above the GTX 1070. And, now that it’s fallen in price to  what we would call an ‘acceptable’ level, there’s never been a better time to pick one up. While it’s arguably a bit overkill for Full HD gaming, the RX Vega 56 will come in handy for 144 to 240hz monitors and future-proofing against increasingly demanding games. You can also expect a fantastic 1440p experience with this card. 

Especially now that it’s fallen in price from the heyday of cryptocurrency miners, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 is the best graphics card for VR gaming. Boasting 4,096 stream processors, 256 texture units and 8GB of HBM2 memory, it’s every bit as competent as the Nvidia GTX 1080 – at a lower price. This truly is the AMD card to rule them all. 

Read the full review: AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

When you build a microATX or even a mini ITX gaming PC, you don’t have to settle for anything other than the best graphics cards – you can find mini GPUs like the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini. You’ll sacrifice some performance over its full-sized counterpart, but when it measures in at 211 x 125 x 41mm, the performance loss will seem practically non-existent when you’re staring at your beautiful mini PC. 

The Nvidia GTX 1050 might not look like much on paper, what with only 2GB of video memory onboard, but this affordable GPU plays games better than you would think. If you’re willing to drop settings to medium, you can play Overwatch, CS:GO and other popular competitive shooters well above the silky smooth 60fps mark. Thanks to its compact size, it’s also perfect for small builds and entertainment center-bound streaming PCs.

Any eSports player will tell you that high frame rates are far more important than beautifully rendered graphical details – and that’s where the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti shines. In a time where graphics cards cost as much as rent, it’s an affordable, but potent GPU that can play most eSports games well above 60fps. It’s a bit pricier than the lower-end Nvidia GTX 1050, but you’ll appreciate the extra power behind this card to play future eSports titles, as well as the odd AAA title. 

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti