Best graphics cards

The current market is full of numerous graphics cards to choose from, a situation that can confuse many users when buying a new card, so we have prepared this article in which we will talk about some of the best options among the to choose by price range

Of course, before starting with the guide, we are going to provide some interesting information so that we do not go blindly to choose our graphics card. There are numerous factors to take into account when choosing a GPU for our equipment, and not only the price.

What is a GPU and an APU

GPU or Graphics Processing Unit is basically a graphics processor. Just as a CPU is the central processing unit of our computer, in this case we are dealing with the graphic processing unit of the computer. GPU is NOT a graphics card , but the chip that is in charge of performing the graphics processing, floating point and 3D calculations that form the greatest weight in a game, or graphics rendering program.

The GPU can be located on an expansion card, which we acquire independently from our own equipment, or it can be integrated into the motherboard. In any case, this processing is specially designed for graphics processing, thus freeing our main processor from such complex and heavy calculations.

Now we will see the meaning of an APU or Accelerated Processor Unit . This term was invented by AMD to define processors with an integrated GPU inside the package. This means that within a normal processor or CPU we will also have in a specific place, another circuit that will be in charge of the 3D processing of our computer’s graphics. Many of today’s CPUs have this type of cores integrated into the same silicon, even with an external graphics card. Of course the graphics processing capacity of an APU is much lower than if we have a dedicated graphics card .

What we have to make clear from this is that the fact of having a processor with integrated graphics does not mean that we cannot have a dedicated graphics card, in fact, it is the most normal thing today, and surely you yourself have an APU on your PC. Game consoles are the living example of an APU , they contain a processor that will play the role of both CPU and GPU.

Difference between a dedicated card and an internal card

We start with the integrated graphics cards. We have already seen that a processor can have within itself a graphics processor to form an APU. Well this precisely means having an internal graphics card. In this type of computer, there will not be a card connected to the PCI slots, but we will have a DisplayPort or HDMI connector directly coming out of our motherboard.

This is very common in laptops , where space is very limited and manufacturers need to get the maximum integration in the components so that everything fits. We will quickly notice that our laptops have an integrated graphics card if we do not see an Nvidia or Radeon sticker anywhere, or we go to the device manager and find in the graphics section something similar to “Intel HDxxxx Graphics” or “AMD Embedded” .

Currently the processors have powerful integrated GPUs, with which we can reproduce content in 4K, and even play many games, but they will NEVER reach the level of a dedicated graphics card . In addition, an integrated graphics card will take a portion of RAM for its own use , so we will have less available for normal PC use.

Dediccated Graphic Card

These are the ones that interest us, the ones that are purchased independently and connect to a PCI Express slot. We will notice that our computers have one of them when we see an Nvidia sticker on the outside or a Radeon one in some cases. These types of cards have their own high-performance GPUs and exclusively designed to process 3D graphics and floating point operations. In addition, they install their own RAM memory , called VRAM or GDDR RAM, and it is also much faster than normal RAM.

The most powerful ultrabooks or gaming laptops will almost all have a dedicated graphics card. This does not mean that we can extract it and change it, since it, even being dedicated, will be installed through a chip on the same motherboard as the processor . We will notice it because it will have its own heatsink.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a dedicated graphics card?

Well, for a player it will be practically mandatory to have one of them . Let’s see what they bring us and what negative aspects they have:

Advantage

  • They are much more powerful than an integrated GPU.
  • They can be bought and exchanged whenever we want for a better one.
  • It has its own GPU and its own memory.
  • We can play all the games we want and activate advanced and higher quality filters without slowing down our team.
  • They have their own built-in cooling system.
  • If it is good, we will be able to play the latest titles on the market, even if our team is old.
  • There are many models from the most powerful to the most ordinary, and almost all will perform better than an integrated card.

Disadvantages

  • The investment of money in a good one is quite large, almost always more than 300 euros.
  • They consume quite a lot of power, and we need power supplies of more than 500W.
  • They put more heat in our box.

In any of the cases, the advantages are more than the disadvantages, and if you want to play the latest, you will necessarily need one of them, and that is why you are here.

Graphics card multimedia connection ports

We now turn to connectivity in terms of multimedia ports, which is becoming increasingly important for high-resolution monitors and virtual reality glasses. We are going to review then which connectors we can find on a card and which ones we will need depending on which monitor we have.

HDMI connector

High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a communication standard for uncompressed sound and image multimedia devices. It is an elongated connector with two grimaces at the ends. We have various sizes, HDMI, Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI . We are interested in having an HDMI connector and much more in the version of HDMI that it brings.

The HDMI version will influence the image capacity that we can get from the graphics card. The latest version is HDMI 2.1 , which will allow us to connect monitors with resolutions up to 10K and reproduce 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz.

Most cards come with HDMI 2.0b , which allows us to connect 4K monitors at 60 Hz, and dynamic synchronization . A graphics card worth its salt must bring at least one of these if we have a monitor with this type of interface.

DisplayPort connector

It is a connector very similar to HDMI, but with only a grimace on one of the sides. As before, the version of this port will be very important, and we will need it to be at least 1.4, since this version has support to play content in 8K at 60 Hz and in 4K at 120 Hz.

If we have a high-performance monitor, it will surely have a connector of this type, and you will need the graphics to also have it to make the most of our equipment.

DVI connector

This interface is unlikely to be found on current monitors, although graphics such as the RTX 2060 still have one. There are different versions of the DVI connector, although the most widespread currently is the DVI-D. It has a 24-pin connector and a flat horizontal plate that acts as ground. It supports resolutions up to 4K, but it is not recommended if we have any of the previous connectors.

USB Type C connector

This is one of the new additions to the connectivity of next-generation graphics cards. This connector is going to be very important from now on, especially for laptops and virtual reality devices.

This USB has DisplayPort Alternate Mode , which is nothing other than the functionality of DisplayPort 1.3, with support for displaying images at 4K resolution at 60 Hz. This port, then, will be very interesting for ultra-thin laptops that do not have DisplayPort connector and we want to get an external monitor with this interface.

But this does not stop here, another of the great uses of this port is to provide a connection for virtual reality glasses , since these normally bring this type of connectivity today. Especially the ones from Nvidia with VirtualLink . So, if we want to use the graphics card for VR, the best thing will be to have this port.

Size of a graph: length and slots it occupies

Another section that we must take into account are the measurements of the graphics card, since there are chassis in which certain card configurations do not fit. So we must always look at the width, length and height of the card , and compare it with the specifications of our chassis, or directly take a meter and measure it ourselves.

Virtually every graphics card will have its own measurements, and it is very difficult to categorize them into standard measurements. If we do, we will have basically three types:

Extended size or ATX: These cards are the longest configuration of the three, and will almost always be more than 220mm long , and can go up to 300mm or even more. We will have to pay special attention to these measurements and those of our chassis. They will be easy to identify because they almost always have three fans

Normal size : These are cards that will measure a maximum of 220 mm long , and will fit practically in all chassis. They are almost always dual fan or turbine fan cards.

Compact size or ITX : they are the smallest of all, although they are not less powerful for that. It is normal to find one of these versions in each model, with slightly less power than the long configuration. Their measurements will be around 120mm wide by 150mm long or less, and are intended for small ITX towers.

Another very important factor is the height of the cards , since the current trend is to make them taller and taller, with larger heatsinks and taking up more space. This space can be measured by slots or expansion slots. We all know what it is. The higher it is, the more slots will be unused on our motherboard.

  • 1 slot : almost forget it, for a graph to occupy a single slot, it must be only 2 cm high and it is very rare to find one that works for something.
  • 2 slot : equivalent to a height of 4 cm or 40 mm, and yes we can find many of them limited to this height.
  • 3 slot : this makes a height of more than 40 mm, reaching up to 54 in some models, and greater that we will soon see.

Best high-end graphics cards

Once and for all AMD has conquered the high-end with its new graphics cards, where hegemony has always belonged to Nvidia. The new Radeon RX 6900 XT and RX 6800 XT are capable of battling the powerful RTX 3080 in games and do so at a fairly competitive price on custom models. The dominant problem is undoubtedly the lack of stock , and the few models that come out sell out quickly without even giving the opportunity to see them. For us, the best models in quality, performance and price will be the ones we will see below.

Card Core frequency Memory speed Amount of memory Memory interface Memory bandwidth Custom heatsink
MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM X 1875
MHz
19.5 Gbps 24 GB GDDR6X 384 bits 936 GB / s Tri Frozr 2S
AORUS RTX 3090 Exterme 1860 MHz 19.5 Gbps 24 GB GDDR6X 384 bits 936 GB / s WINDFORCE 3X
Sapphire Radeon RX 6900 XT 16G 2360 MHz 16 Gbps 16GB GDDR6 256 bits 512 GB / s Triple Fan
Asus ROG Strix LC RX 6800 XT O16 2250 MHz 16 Gbps 16GB GDDR6 256 bits 512 GB / s Liquid cooling 240 mm
MSI RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO 16GB 2155 MHz 16 Gbps 16GB GDDR6 256 bits 512 GB / s Triple fan
MSI RTX 3080 SUPRIM X 1920 MHz 19 Gbps 10 GB GDDR6X 320 bits 760 GB / s Tri Frozr 2S
Asus TUF RTX 3080 O10G Gaming 1815 MHz 19 Gbps 10 GB GDDR6X 320 bits 760 GB / s Axial-Tech Triple
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio 1830 MHz 14 Gbps 8 GB GDDR6X 256 bits 448 GB / s Tri Frozr 2
Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Dual OC Edition 1830 MHz 14 Gbps 8 GB GDDR6X 256 bits 448 GB / s Double fan

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