Best Nvidia GeForce graphics cards 2022
Even if AMD’s Big Navi has given it a run for its money, the top Nvidia GeForce graphics cards remain largely unbeatable. While Team Red has done a wonderful job with the latest AMD graphics cards, Nvidia has lifted the bar, particularly with its RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3090 products, which all saw a performance jump over their predecessors, especially in terms of ray tracing.
Even better, Nvidia has taken a page from Team Red’s playbook and lowered the price of its RTX 3000 graphics cards to match Team Red’s, making them more accessible to regular customers. The Radeon RX 6800XT from AMD, for example, is only $50 cheaper than the RTX 3080, yet the 3080 still outperforms it at 4K gaming. Furthermore, prior generations of Nvidia cards are now more affordable, providing consumers with even more options.
You’ll find the perfect card to power your PC here, whether you want ray tracing on a budget with the RTX 3060 Ti or you’re ready to splurge on the latest flagship with the RTX 3080 Ti. Right now, these are the finest Nvidia GeForce graphics cards.
Best Nvidia GeForce graphics cards
1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 has done for 4K gaming what the GeForce GTX 970 accomplished for 1080p gaming: made it more accessible to the general public without sacrificing performance. The GTX 970, released in 2014, lets consumers enjoy 1080p gaming at maximum settings and high frame rates at a lower cost, giving a legendary performance on titles like The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight, which are still GPU-intensive even by today’s standards.
The performance of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 may not be as impressive as that of the GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090. It is, however, an impressive card in its own right, with 4K performance that virtually matches the RTX 2080 Ti without burning a $1,199 hole in your pocket. And, because of its low price and good performance, it has become the de facto graphics card for the majority of people. Starting on October 28, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 will be available for $499. That is simply the starting price for the RTX 3070, which includes the Founders Edition tested here, with certain aftermarket cards increasing in price from there.
The Ampere GA104 GPU powers the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. Based on the same Nvidia Ampere architecture as the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, this GPU contains 5,888 CUDA cores split among 46 Streaming Multiprocessors. And, like those cards, there is a slew of upgrades here, both in terms of raw performance and power efficiency, that propel this mid-range graphics card to levels of performance rivaling only the top graphics cards from the previous generation.
The most significant difference between Turing and Ampere is that both data pathways on the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) now handle FP32 workloads, thus doubling the number of CUDA cores per SM. That’s why, despite having 36 SMs, the RTX 2070 only has 2,304 CUDA cores. While the RTX 3070 only increases the SM count by 27%, it more than doubles the CUDA core count, resulting in substantial improvements in raw rasterization speed.
That’s amazing enough, but we’ll also receive second-generation RT cores and third-generation Tensor cores, implying that ray tracing and DLSS will be significantly faster and more efficient. This new RT core has twice the throughput of the first-generation RT core available on graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, making ray tracing substantially faster. This is why, even though the RTX 2080 Ti has far more RT cores, the RTX 3070 can keep up with the RTX 2080 Ti in ray tracing-intensive workloads like the new 3DMark Port Royal benchmark.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 is also the only graphics card in the Ampere portfolio that consumes a fair amount of power, with a TGP of 220W, which is 100W less than the RTX 3080. This means that cooling requirements will be significantly lower than those of the more powerful Ampere cards, which is great news for those who don’t have many places in their cases for larger graphics cards.
That’s a lot of jargon, but the point is that, despite being a considerably smaller chip, the RTX 3070 can put a lot more meat into it for a cheaper price, bringing last-generation flagship performance to the masses.
But, beyond merely architecture enhancements, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 comes with a slew of new capabilities that will come in handy whether you’re a PC gamer or just trapped in a never-ending cycle of video conversations.
Nvidia Broadcast is one of the most notable features here; it’s geared at game streamers, but the utility is far broader. For example, this piece of software will employ AI Tensor Cores to blur or replace your background in video conversations, and it will do so far more effectively than built-in alternatives in apps like Zoom. The best feature is that it works with any type of video conferencing software. You can use this software to remove the background from Google Meets, Discord, OBS, or Zoom.
This software also includes the RTX Voice software, which was released earlier this year and masks background noise from your microphone or the voice inputs of other participants in the conference.
There are a few technologies, such as Nvidia Reflex and RTX IO, that will directly benefit gamers. RTX IO is likely the most crucial, especially with the PS5 and Xbox Series X on the horizon, which will deliver true next-generation data access via their SSD solutions.
Nvidia’s RTX IO will operate in tandem with Microsoft’s future DirectStorage API to optimize data transport from your SSD to the GPU. When a game wants to access data, it sends it from your storage to your CPU, then to system memory, where it’s then routed back through your CPU to your graphics card, before eventually reaching your VRAM.
When it becomes available, RTX IO will remove the CPU from the equation, removing one of the most significant bottlenecks in modern PC gaming. There aren’t any games that use this storage API yet, but when they do, substantial reductions in load times and overhead should be seen in massive open-world games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Nvidia Reflex, on the other hand, is now accessible and reduces latency between your CPU and GPU by clearing the Render Queue, allowing frames to be rendered only when they’re required.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, like the rest of the Nvidia Ampere range, is a full-featured solution that does more than just render the top PC games. If any of this software appeals to you, and RTX graphics card should be on your shopping list, and the RTX 3070 is the greatest value RTX graphics card currently available. The RTX 3070 will be the graphics card we suggest to the great majority of consumers until Nvidia decides to release a GeForce RTX 3060.
2. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, like the rest of the Nvidia 3000 series, has proven to be a significant upgrade over the company’s previous generation of graphics cards. It’s the most significant generational shift in power we’ve seen in a long time.
4K gaming is now more accessible than it has ever been thanks to the RTX 3080. Additionally, it outperforms the GPUs it replaces by a significant margin. Playing the top PC games in high resolutions and fast refresh rates has never been easier, thanks to a performance improvement of 50-80% compared to the RTX 2080 and 20-30% compared to the RTX 2080 Ti.
Nvidia has done more than merely improve performance. All of this performance comes at a significantly lower cost than the 2000 series. It’s almost half the price. So, not only is the RTX 3080 more powerful, but it’s also more inexpensive for gamers, like the rest of the Nvidia 3000 series. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is built on Nvidia’s new Ampere graphics architecture, which improves raw performance and power efficiency dramatically. Because Nvidia boosted the power budget so much over the RTX 2080 while increasing power efficiency, the entire performance profile is much beyond what any Nvidia Turing graphics card could achieve.
This means that, while having only 46 percent more SMs (68) than the RTX 2080, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has more than doubled the CUDA core count (from 2,944 to 8,704). This equates to a roughly threefold increase in potential FP32 throughput, from around 10 to 29.7 TFLOPs – a tremendous generational leap.
When you combine the increase in CUDA cores with massive increases in Cache, Texture Units, and Memory Bandwidth – all thanks to the switch to faster GDDR6X memory on a 320-bit bus – gaming performance sees one of the biggest generational leaps in years, even if it falls short of the ‘2x performance’ target that we’re sure some people were hoping for. But we’ll get to that later.
Nvidia RT cores are also returning – after all, that’s why Nvidia has the RTX moniker – and they’ve gotten a lot better. Second-generation RT cores are included in Nvidia Ampere graphics cards, including the RTX 3080, and will perform comparably to first-generation RT cores while being twice as efficient.
When using ray tracing, the SM will cast a light ray in a rendered scene, and the RT core will take over from there, performing all of the calculations required to determine where that light ray bounces and reporting that information back to the SM. This implies the SM is left to render the rest of the scene on its own. However, we’re still not at the point where enabling ray tracing does not affect performance. Perhaps one day.
Tensor cores are also twice as powerful this time around, prompting Nvidia to incorporate only four in each SM instead of the eight seen in a Turing SM. When you add in the fact that there are now more SMs in general, DLSS performance skyrockets. However, this generation of graphics cards isn’t just for gamers, as Nvidia has included a few new features that will benefit almost everyone who owns an RTX card.
For example, we were already great fans of RTX Voice, which Nvidia has now taken out of beta and turned into a fully functional broadcasting tool. While RTX Voice removed background noise from your microphone, Broadcaster can remove backdrops from your camera — or simply apply a blur. The video part is still in beta, and we noticed some bugs, but it’s far superior to any other method for blocking out your background without using a green screen.
Nvidia RTX I/O, which will operate in collaboration with Microsoft’s DirectStorage API to transmit data directly from your SSD to your graphics card, is one of the features we’re most interested to see deployed. This should not only drastically cut loading times in next-generation games, but also reflect the breakthrough I/O performance teased with next-generation consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This technique is far more crucial to future gaming technologies than fast frame rates or beautiful images.
Unfortunately, this is a technique that game creators must integrate into their games, and we weren’t able to observe what type of effect it will make in the real world. Though that’s something we’ll be actively exploring until the technology is widely adopted – and, given the consoles will be using identical technology, we expect it to be faster than ray tracing.
Nvidia chose an entirely new cooler design for the Founders Edition graphics card, which is far more practical than anything it’s ever done with a reference design previously. To make the rear end of the card all heatsink, the business employed a shorter, multi-layered PCB. Nvidia was able to put a fan on the back of the graphics card, sucking cool air through the heatsink and expelling it up and out of the chassis as a result of this.
3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti arrived at an unusual moment. The average refresh time is nine months, which is around the same amount of time as the non-Ti version of the RTX 3080. And Nvidia may have its motivations for releasing this mid-generation upgrade in that timeframe. However, the planet is currently in an unusual state. Even the world of GPUs has been impacted, whether from Nvidia or AMD.
Consumers have had a difficult time getting their hands on any of the top graphics cards. Because of a worldwide silicon scarcity, the available supply is extremely constrained. In addition, prospective customers have had to deal with store lotteries or pay excessive fees to scalpers to own one. This is a difficult moment to try to buy a 3080 Ti, given Nvidia’s asking price of $1,199.
Despite this, the RTX 3080 Ti is a strong card, based on the RTX 3090 but with half the VRAM for a more consumer-friendly card. Though a 20GB version of the 3080 Ti is said to be on the road, the current model will be able to handle just about every game on the market at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. It’s not the easiest GPU to suggest even in more typical circumstances. It is not significantly more powerful than the RTX 3080, but it is significantly more expensive.
The RTX 3080 Ti, like the rest of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series, is based on the Nvidia Ampere architecture and features the same enhancements as the rest of the lineup. However, there is something fresh on the table. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, introduced in March 2021, has a hardware-based hash rate cap, which could limit its appeal to cryptocurrency miners.
Aside from that, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is significantly more powerful than the original RTX 3080, thanks to increased core count and memory bandwidth.
Because, yes, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has more VRAM, with 12GB of GDDR6X versus 10GB on the original card, but it also has a quicker 384-bit memory bus. The RTX 3080 Ti has 912 GB/s of memory bandwidth, compared to 760 GB/s for the RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 Ti should be much better at 4K gaming in the future, thanks to quicker VRAM and greater memory.
The RTX 3080 Ti is also significantly more powerful. The GPU contains 10,240 CUDA cores spread across 80 computing units, compared to 8,704 CUDA cores on the RTX 3080. That’s a 17 percent boost in core count, but don’t expect a 17 percent boost in performance – more on that later.
You’ll also have access to Nvidia’s entire suite of software functions, which isn’t only for gaming. Nvidia Broadcast, which is allegedly created for streamers and video creators but we find immensely handy in everyday life, is the one we are still in love with. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti we tested is a Founders Edition card, and it looks very much the same as the rest of the RTX 30-series Founders Edition cards. The graphics card is finished in a stylish black and gunmetal gray color scheme. Nvidia and RTX 3080 Ti branding is also carved into the metal. That’s not something you’ll notice after the graphics card is installed on your computer, but it’s a lovely touch.
The RTX 3080 Ti is the same size and weight as the original RTX 3080, with a thickness of 4.4 inches and a length of 11.2 inches, so it should fit in most cases. The RTX 3080 Ti has two fans, one on the front and the other on the back, just like the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. This fan layout pushes air through the front of the card, through the card, and out through a fan on the back of the card, most likely spewing hot air through your case’s top.
It’s a very effective means of cooling the RTX 3080 Ti, and despite a peak power consumption of 350W, the RTX 3080 Ti only reaches 78.9 degrees Celsius. Even while both cards consume the same amount of power, the RTX 3090’s peak temperature of 72C is significantly greater.
However, considering that Nvidia was able to downsize the cooler back down to a dual-slot design, rather than the massive triple-slot RTX 3090 Founders Edition, it’s impressive that it was able to come so close in thermals. In all but two tests, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti outperforms the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: Fire Strike Ultra and Assassins Creed Valhalla. Even yet, the RTX 3080 Ti gives the same performance as the RTX 3090 at 4K, so you’re getting excellent performance in either case.
The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is 7-26 percent slower than the RTX 3080 Ti in the rest of the games, thus Assassins Creed Valhalla is not the standard. This would normally be enough to convince us to suggest the RTX 3080 Ti above the Radeon RX 6900 XT, but based on MSRP alone, Nvidia’s Graphics card is $200 more expensive. As a result, you’ll want to be sure the RTX 3080 Ti is worth the extra money.
4. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
Despite AMD’s best efforts, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 continues to reign supreme. Nvidia’s latest flagship features 24GB of GDDR6X RAM hidden beneath that massive heatsink, and it excels at intensive gaming and 3D graphics. It has subsequently replaced the Nvidia Titan RTX and the RTX 2080 Ti, the company’s two highest-performing graphics cards from the previous generation.
Even with the most recent AAA games, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 gives incredible 4K performance and can even manage 8K gaming at 60 frames per second, albeit it isn’t flawless at that level. So, while its forerunners may have set a high bar for it to clear, it has proven to be up to the task. While it can easily handle the most demanding PC games, it’s more appealing to people who require extensive graphical processing for 3D animation and video rendering.
At that price, it’s a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is also very expensive, so most mainstream gamers will prefer the somewhat less expensive RTX 3080 or the 3090’s counterpart, the Radeon RX 6900XT. The 3090 is by far the most powerful GPU on the market for consumers, but it’s still best for individuals who don’t care about pricing and want the best, or for those working on projects that require hardware-accelerated rendering.
The RTX 3090, like its smaller sibling, the RTX 3080, is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and uses the full-fat GA102 GPU. This time around, we’ll get 82 Streaming Multiprocessors (SM), totaling 10,496 CUDA cores, as well as 328 Tensor cores and 82 RT Cores.
At first look, the Ampere design appears to be a little gain over the Nvidia Turing-based Titan RTX’s 72 SMs, but one of the most significant changes with the Ampere architecture is the ability for both datapaths on each SM to support FP32 workloads. This practically doubles the number of CUDA cores per SM, which is why the RTX 3090 is such a rendering powerhouse.
The RTX 3090 also has 24GB of GDDR6X video memory on a 384-bit bus, resulting in a memory bandwidth of 936 GB/s – nearly a terabyte of data per second. Anyone who conducts significant 3D rendering work in software like Davinci Resolve and Blender will benefit greatly from having such a large allocation of VRAM that is so quick. And, when your job requires you to use these tools, anything that can reduce project timelines saves you money in the long run. When you consider the RTX 3090’s low price – at least when compared to the Titan RTX – it’s a no-brainer.
The SM will effectively cast a light beam in ray tracing applications, then offload ray tracing duties to the RT cores, who will calculate wherein the scene bounces and relay that data back to the SM. Ray tracing used to be practically hard to implement in real-time because the SM had to do the entire calculation on its own, on top of whatever rasterization it had to do at the same time.
However, while the RT Core handles a large portion of that burden, ray tracing is still a computationally expensive technology with a high-performance penalty, which is why DLSS is becoming increasingly significant in gaming and programs like D5 Render.
The third-generation Tensor Cores found in Nvidia Ampere graphics cards have also witnessed a significant boost in performance, with the speed of the Turing Tensor Core being doubled. However, because each SM now has a single Tensor Core, whereas Turing had two Tensor Cores per SM, DLSS performance hasn’t improved by a factor of two.
However, these Tensor Cores are used for more than only DLSS. They’re also the foundation for Nvidia Broadcast, which is one of the most underappreciated aspects of this generation. Anything that makes video conferencing less stressful is a significant benefit now that we’ve all been working from home for so long, and it appears that this will become the new normal. The best aspect is that anyone with an Nvidia RTX-enabled device can use this technology.
With a black and gunmetal gray color scheme and fans on either side of the GPU, it looks quite similar to the RTX 3080 Founders Edition. Suck air up through the graphics card and exhaust it towards the top of the chassis is the same cooling theory that applies here. The heatsink also has a large surface area, which helps with cooling efficiency.
The PCB had to be rebuilt to allow air to enter through the back of the graphics card, to make this cooler design practical. As a result, instead of the dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors, you may expect, Nvidia introduced a unique 12-pin PCIe power connector. There aren’t any power supplies that natively accept this new power connector as of this writing, though some custom cables from companies like Corsair are in the works. Fortunately, Nvidia includes a 2 x 8-pin to 1 x 12-pin power connector in the box, so you won’t have to worry about it for the time being.
5. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
While the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti doesn’t add anything new to the Ampere design, it does make it more accessible (well, if you can find an RTX 3060 Ti that does exist). It combines performance and affordability even better than the cheaper RTX 3060, making it the greatest graphics card for most people — providing you can locate one.
In some games, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti outperforms the RTX 2080 Super, a card that cost nearly twice as much just a few years ago. Sure, it’s not the fastest card on the market, but that’s irrelevant when you can get that much power for such a low-ish price. You’ll be able to run all of the greatest PC games at 1440p with Ultra settings and ray tracing — and possibly 4K if you utilize DLSS – with this graphics card.
Furthermore, it presents a compelling option for consumers who find the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and the more expensive RTX 3090 to be overkill for their purposes, with a price tag that they simply cannot justify. As a result, for the vast majority of users, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the finest graphics card. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is based on the same Ampere architecture as the RTX 3080, and it shows us how the Ampere portfolio will appear in the mid-range and budget GPU market. This isn’t going to be the graphics card that can push Watch Dogs Legion to 4K with ray tracing, but it can certainly handle 1080p.
This graphics card comes with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, the same as the RTX 3070, as well as 38 Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors (SM). However, due to enhancements made by Nvidia to its SM since Turing, each of them now has 128 CUDA cores, which is double the number of CUDA cores found in each Turing SM. This means that the RTX 3060 Ti now has 4,864 CUDA cores, up from 2,176 in the RTX 2060 Super.
The RTX 2060 Super has a higher power consumption than the RTX 2060, although it’s not as high as previous Nvidia Ampere cards. The RTX 3060 Ti’s total graphics power (TGP) is 200W, up from 175W for the RTX 2060 Super. It’s more, but not so much that you’ll have to worry about updating your power supply to accommodate it – provided you already have one that’s adequate to the task.
Each SM in Turing has two datapaths: one for Floating-Point (FP32) workloads and the other for Integer tasks. Nvidia was able to construct the SM with Ampere, and thus the RTX 3060 Ti, to have one of the datapaths practically do double duty, which is why the number of CUDA cores per SM has effectively doubled with Ampere.
Each SM additionally features Tensor Cores for AI applications like Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and dedicated ray-tracing cores in addition to CUDA cores. One RT core and four Tensor Cores are included in each SM. The observant among you may have noted that each SM has half the number of Tensor Cores as Turing did, but there’s a reason for that: they’re more than twice as fast this time.
The ray tracing that everyone is talking about is handled by the RT core. The goal is to offload the tremendous computational load that any type of ray tracing implies so that playable framerates can be achieved.
In a gaming engine, when a light ray is cast, the SM sends that information to the RT core, which calculates where the ray bounces and reports that information back to the SM so it can render the image. However, as you can see from Metro Exodus’ significant performance drop when ray tracing is enabled, this does not make ray tracing computationally free.
The performance hit without these dedicated RT cores, though, would convert the game into a slideshow. Fortunately, the Tensor Core, another dedicated sort of core, is the second part of the equation that enables ray tracing reasonable to activate when playing the greatest PC games. DLSS, which is essentially an AI-enabled upscaling technology, can be integrated into games using the Tensor Core. This improves speed by having the SM produce a scene at a lesser resolution, then having the Tensor Core intelligently scale that scene up to full resolution using data from Nvidia’s Supercomputers.
You can make up a lot of the speed difference that ray-tracing brings to the table with DLSS, so you can enjoy the amazing image quality benefits of ray tracing without sacrificing too much performance. Ray tracing would be unprofitable without DLSS.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti also comes with a long list of functions. Nvidia Reflex, which attempts to reduce system latency, RTX IO, which interacts with Microsoft DirectStorage to load data directly from your system storage to your VRAM, and Nvidia Broadcast, which filters out background noise and visuals while broadcasting or video chatting, will appeal to esports players.