This review presents a general ranking of video cards by performance, including their prices as of early June 2022. Once upon a time, over a year and a half ago, there were several price ranges in our reviews like this, and in each one we would choose the most useful model for your money in terms of performance. Now the prices are generally much higher, and we are not happy about that at all, but time goes on, people are building new computers or replacing video cards in old ones, and you can’t just give up such an important and useful PC component forever. Somebody needs a video card for work purposes (many professional packages, e.g. video processing or 3D-rendering are greatly accelerated when running on GPU), somebody wants to play the latest video games (their production has not stopped with the deficit of video cards and the price increase), somebody is planning to do some crypto mining when free from other loads… But anyway the video cards keep being purchased, albeit in smaller quantities. And at these prices it becomes very, very important to make the right choice right away.
Our approach does not change, we help to make a choice only by one of the criteria – by gaming performance on Windows (now – on Windows 11) in general and separately by price segments. To make the results transparent across the list of accelerators, we conduct testing under the same settings at the highest possible 3D graphics quality in 10 games (with classic rasterization) and 3 resolutions. Given that the cards on our list support ray tracing, as well as Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR image scaling technologies, additional tests were conducted in the corresponding games with the inclusion of these technologies.
So, what were the best GPUs at the end of April 2022 based on the latest tests, taking into account retail prices?
The absolute leader in price-to-performance ratio
Best 3D Accelerator Family: GeForce RTX 3050
Best graphics card: Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition (8GB)
Equipped with the LHR anti-mining protection allows the GPU to cost a bit cheaper, because it makes it almost unusable for mining, which means that such cards have a chance to get to ordinary users. With a modest hash rate (13-15 megashes per second) there is no point in even bothering with optimizing GeForce RTX 3050 for Ethereum mining.
The graphics card is excellent for playing with maximum graphics quality in Full HD resolution even with RT, but DLSS support is definitely needed, as its use will largely compensate for the drop in performance from turning RT on. Dimensions of Asus card are quite standard (300×134×55 mm), there are 3 DisplayPort 1.4a and two HDMI 2.1 video outputs. Power is supplied via one 8-pin connector.
The GPU is stable when you overclock the core to the maximum 2137 MHz and the memory to 16.04 GHz, which provides a performance gain of about 8% over the reference. Powerful cooling system, which would not be ashamed of other top accelerators, at the same time keeps the core temperature at a non-serious 54 °C, and the cooler noise is only 20.2 dBA, which barely exceeds the background noise level in a specially muffled room.
There are a lot of GeForce RTX 3050 video cards from other manufacturers on sale, not that much different in price. However, according to the aggregate characteristics it is the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition (8 GB) card that we recognize as the leader.
The Best GPU Below 1k$
Best 3D Accelerator Family: Radeon RX 6600 XT
Best graphics card: Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT Eagle PCI-E 8GB GDDR6
The un-backlit card looks modest, but it’s a solid workhorse. It performs great in Full HD resolution, and in some games it provides good performance in 2.5K resolution without any decrease in graphics settings. The model is equipped with three fans, i.e. in this case the cooling is even redundant. The card has four video outputs: two HDMI 2.1 and two DisplayPort 1.4a. The amount of video memory is 8 GB, for a GPU of this level this is enough to spare. Basically, the card is interesting even for mining cryptocurrencies, as it uses GDDR6 memory, fast enough, but not as boiling as GDDR6X. PCIe 4.0 interface, but cut down to x8.
The base frequency is 1626 MHz, the maximum frequency is 2491 MHz.
The Best GPU 1k-2k$
Best 3D Accelerator Family: Radeon RX 6700 XT
Best graphics card: Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6700 XT (12GB)
Stylish design, three-slot cooling and big memory size are the main trump cards that make this model stand out among Radeon RX 6700 XT competitors. This GPU allows to comfortably play modern games at 2.5K resolution at maximum graphics settings (but without ray tracing!). Sapphire card is slightly faster than reference analogue, and in games without ray tracing Radeon RX 6700 XT almost catches up with GeForce RTX 3070. When RT is turned on, performance of Radeon RX 6700 XT drops dramatically, but if the game also supports AMD FSR technology, its use can partially compensate for the drop in speed from turning on RT.
The graphics card has a standard set of video outputs: 3 DP 1.4a and 1 HDMI 2.1. It has one of the highest boost frequencies (2622 MHz) when compared to other models with the same GPU. The cooler is very quiet: 23,4/20,7 dBA (depending on selected mode). Manual overclocking gives good results: up to 8% performance gain.
Best 3D Accelerator Family: GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
Best graphics card: MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Gaming X Trio 8G
The card has a massive cooling system and a nice ARGB backlight. Its performance is enough to play at 2.5K resolution at maximum graphics quality settings, and in many games it delivers around 50 FPS even at 4K resolution with ray tracing and DLSS. This model uses a GA104 graphics chip clocked at 1575 MHz, and it can be overclocked to 1965 MHz in Boost mode. The 8GB of GDDR6X memory runs at 19GHz, and except that memory for some applications would already be more desirable. For many this will be sad to hear, but the card has LHR mining protection. The standard set of video outputs: 3 DP 1.4a and 1 HDMI 2.1.
Best 3D Accelerator Family: Radeon RX 6900 XT
Best graphics card: Gigabyte Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming OC 16G (16GB)
The accelerator has a decent thickness, occupying a full 3 slots. The CO is noisy in OS mode, and even in “quiet” mode you can’t call it really quiet. Power comes through three 8-pin connectors, the GPU power converter has 17 phases. The card can heat up the core to almost 80 ° C, the noise rises to 38 dBA (you can not sleep; if you overclocked the card and fell asleep at the PC, the accelerator will wake you up).
The card is overclocked initially, additional manual overclocking is also possible, which eventually provides up to 8%-9% performance gain. The base CPU frequency is 1815 MHz, the increased frequency is 2285 MHz. The set of video outputs is represented by pairs of DisplayPort 1.4a and HDMI 2.1.
Radeon RX 6900 XT easily pulls 4K resolution at maximum graphics settings, and in some games can provide good playability even in 8K. When ray tracing is turned on the performance drops to the level of GeForce RTX 3070, but still there are a lot of games without this technology, and in some games ray tracing seems to be there, but visually almost nothing gives (and then turn it on makes no sense).
The Best GPUs for 4K Gaming
The best GPUs for 4K resolution (at maximum graphics quality) are GeForce RTX 3090, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, GeForce RTX 3080, Radeon RX 6900 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT. They provide a high level of comfort in all games without the use of ray tracing. When RT is turned on, Radeon RX 6000 GPU looks much paler for 4K, rather in their case you can only count on 2.5K. In principle, for 4K still quite suitable GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, GeForce RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800, but not all games will be possible to get full comfort at maximum graphics settings, even without RT.
Nvidia’s previous generation flagships, the GeForce RTX 2080 Super and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, can also provide acceptable 4K playability without RT. All other GPUs are no longer for 4K even for classic games with rasterization.
The Best GPUs for 2.5K
Besides all above mentioned GPUs for 2.5K resolution at maximum picture quality in classic games with rasterization, first of all GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and Radeon RX 6700 XT (in some games they can try to reach 4K), and if we talk about games with RT, then Radeon RX 6900 XT and Radeon RX 6800 XT will show themselves well in this resolution. Radeon RX 6600 XT is quite good for this resolution, but only without RT and not in all games (and certainly not in 4K). GeForce RTX 3060 and previous generation GeForce RTX 2070 Super/2070/2060 Super and Radeon RX 5700 XT are also quite good at 2560×1440.