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Which graphics cards are the best?

Graphics cards, sometimes called video cards, manage how your computer renders video, whether you’re playing games at their highest settings or playing VR and 4K. For gamers, graphics cards are among the first pieces of hardware to consider when building or buying a computer, and yet understanding the differences between different video cards can be daunting, so it’s worth a refresher before buying.

the Asus GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card delivers high-performance video on up to three displays, and it’s the perfect choice for gamers.

What to know before buying a graphics card

What is a graphics card?

A Graphic card is the hardware component inside a computer responsible for rendering images, video, and general display needs. Graphics cards can determine your computer’s refresh rate, which is the number of times your computer’s screen refreshes per second. Cards with higher refresh rates provide better and smoother displays than those with lower refresh rates.

Many low-end computers have simplified video hardware such as integrated video chipsets instead of video cards. However, graphics cards are essential for gaming and other high-performance tasks such as computer-aided design or animation projects.

Game Preferences

For the vast majority of graphics card buyers, gaming comes first. Even low-end graphics cards can help you run some games, but it’s essential to consider the games you hope to play or the programs you hope to run to ensure you choose the best card. Newer games have higher hardware requirements and may require higher end graphics cards. Be sure to check the requirements of any game or program you plan to use before choosing a video card.

Computer space

Graphics cards also take up physical space inside your computer and on your motherboard. Check your computer’s motherboard to make sure there is a port for graphics cards. Also, check that there is enough room to insert the video card when placed on the motherboard, especially if you have a small computer case.

What to Look for in a Quality Graphics Card

graphics processor

Although the term graphics processing unit is sometimes used interchangeably with graphics card, it explicitly refers to the hardware that renders the video, rather than the fans, RAM, or other hardware elements included on a video card. Nvidia and AMD are the two brands that offer GPUs, and each company offers a wide range of cards with varying performance.

clock speed

The clock speed offered by a graphics card is how often the card’s cores can perform new tasks. Graphics card clock speed is measured in megahertz, much like a computer processor, and it operates at a variable level. Most graphics cards advertise an “accelerated clock speed”, which is how fast the cores refresh when running at maximum workload. A faster clock speed translates to better refresh rates and improved overall performance.

RAM

In addition to the RAM included in computers, graphics cards have their own dedicated RAM units for video output tasks, often referred to as VRAM. Like regular RAM, VRAM comes in 2 gigabyte increments, most commonly seen in 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB configurations. Video card RAM types also vary in quality and performance based on their seniority. In order of oldest to newest, common RAM types include SDRAM, GDDR5, GDDR5x, and GDDR6.

How much you can expect to spend on a graphics card

Inexpensive graphics cards can cost as little as $60. However, you can expect to spend between $150 and $700 on most mid-tier and high-end graphics cards, with performance versions sometimes costing even more.

Graphics Card FAQ

Can you use two graphics cards at once?

A. Yes. Using two graphics cards at once can improve performance, but there are some requirements. Both graphics cards must be from the same brand and be compatible with two cards. Also, your motherboard needs multiple graphics card slots. You will also need to use AMD’s CrossFire or Nvidia’s SLI to use the cards together.

Does the number of fans on a graphics card matter?

A. The number of fans in a video card does not necessarily matter. However, those with only one fan may have to work harder to keep the device cooler, thus louder. Some people prefer graphics cards with two or three fans to minimize bulk and further reduce the risk of the card overheating.

What is the best graphics card to buy?

best graphics card

Asus GeForce RTX 2060 Overclocked 6GB Graphics Card

What do you want to know: This powerful graphics card is a great choice for playing games at the highest settings or in VR, and it offers quiet operation that many buyers love.

What you will love: This includes Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, with up to 1,785 MHz of increased clock speed. It also includes 6GB of overclocked GDDR6 RAM for even better performance than other cards with the RTX 2060.

What you should consider: This card is expensive and best suited for serious players.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Best graphics card for the money

Zotac GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 4GB graphics card

Zotac GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 4GB graphics card

What do you want to know: It’s a great upgrade from integrated graphics cards and chips, offering basic graphics specs and a design that fits most computers.

What you will love: This pick includes Nvidia’s GeForce GT 730 GPU and is perfect for those with low video needs. Its slim design makes it ideal for fitting small computers. This graphics card also features a boosted clock speed of 1600MHz with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM.

What you should consider: This only offers 64-bit video, making it less suitable for high-performance gaming.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 4GB Gaming Graphics Card

Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 4GB Gaming Graphics Card

What do you want to know: This graphics card has lower power requirements than many others, and it still delivers gameplay at high settings and 4K compatibility.

What you will love: With a clock speed that jumps to 1620MHz and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, this card offers excellent performance for the price. It only draws 75 watts of power and includes 4GB of GDDR6 RAM.

What you should consider: This graphics card is noisier than many others, even at idle.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

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Peter McGuthrie written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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