Enthusiast graphics cards for PC powerhouses
The following are some of the highest-performing graphics cards on the market.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Nvidia’s RTX 3080 has been wildly popular since its release due to its gaming performance capabilities. This card manages high refresh 1440p and 4K 60+ fps with ultra settings in most games. It’s also a realistic option for if you want to use ray tracing without heavily impacting framerates. Unfortunately, finding one of these remains a challenge. Most of the listings you’ll see go way above $1,000, let alone the $699 MSRP. In addition to this, today’s limited availability suggests Nvidia is phasing out the original RTX 3080 in favor of the slightly more powerful RTX 3080 12GB version. You may just want to spring for the upgrade, but you can still find a few 10GB models going for decent market prices.
The RTX 3080 does require a lot of power to run. The reference spec begins at 320W and requires two eight-pin power connectors. You’ll want to assess your PSU to make sure it’s up to the task before springing for one of these cards. Consequently, all of that power creates a lot of heat that needs to be dispersed by a large cooler. Make sure your case can fit the card you choose.
EVGA XC3 Gaming – Find it at EVGA for $789.99
EVGA’s own website has one of the better deals going for an RTX 3080, but availability remains tight on this one with stock cycling in and out. The price is still over the MSRP, but it’s close enough that it’s an incredible deal compared to last year. Visually speaking, it features a simple and sleek look. You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want that extra splash of RGB color, but this will deliver the performance. As a triple fan card, this model is not as big as some others on this list with a length of 285mm and a thickness of 2.2 slots. That’s because it provides reference levels of performance and nothing more. EVGA includes a 3-year warranty.
Gigabyte Gaming – Find it at Newegg for $899.99
This option from Gigabyte overshoots the MSRP by a lot, but the availability is there. This is a card we briefly tested when the RTX 30 Series launched and it’s still humming along great today. The build quality is good overall, and the cooler is huge to help things stay cool and reasonably quiet. When it comes to looks, the two-tone color scheme and the select use of RGB give it a simple and clean look. This is a massive triple fan card though, coming in at 320mm with a width of 2.7 slots, so check that you’ve got enough room for it. With this, you’ll get a 3-year warranty.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 12GB
Nvidia released the RTX 3080 12GB at the beginning of 2022 to a generally negative reception. This was mainly due to the lack of an MSRP, marked-up prices over the standard RTX 3080, and a lack of transparency with no day one reviews. Since then, prices have come down drastically, making this card far more attractive and more understandable as a mid-generation refresh.
It features a slightly better version of the same GA-102 chip, a higher throughput memory interface, and an additional two gigabytes of GDDR6X memory. To power all this, the 12GB version requires 350W (sometimes even more power for overclocked versions). What you get is a card that performs a few percent better in most games, but the additional memory capacity should help it keep up with newer games in years to come. It’s also not far off from the performance of the RTX 3080 Ti and the RTX 3090.
Considering the inflated market prices throughout 2021, the spring 2022 list prices for this level of performance aren’t bad. Still, you’re paying a premium no matter which version of these graphics cards you buy in 2022, so it may be best to wait a little longer.
EVGA XC3 Ultra – Find it at EVGA for $979.99
This RTX 3080 12GB from EVGA is one of the better offerings going at the moment. If you’d like a card that’s slightly factory overclocked and doesn’t overdo it with RGB then look no further. Aesthetically speaking, the design isn’t too far off EVGA’s other cards, but there are a few details here that help it stand out. This is a chunky triple fan card that comes in at 285mm with a width of 2.2 slots. Make sure you’ve got plenty of room to accommodate it first. If it does fit the criteria, this card would be an excellent inclusion in any high-end gaming setup. With this card, you get a 3-year warranty.
MSI Ventus – Find it at Newegg for $899.99 ($819.99 after rebate and promo code)
MSI’s own 3080 12GB comes with a unique design and a decent price. This card has an interesting look with the angular blades framing each of the fans. It’s one of those designs that isn’t too flashy, but will still look good in your system. Performance wise, it’s pretty standard to the spec. In terms of size this is also a chunky card with a length of 305mm and a width of 2.5 slots. Again, make sure you’ve got the space for a card like this before going all in. With this card, you get a 3-year warranty.
ASUS TUF Gaming – Find it at Newegg for $1,199.99
This is one of the pricier listings going at the moment, but we do recommend the TUF if you want a card from ASUS. This series features a downright impressive build quality, from the quiet fans to the all-aluminum frame. You’ll get a small factory overclock on this model, but nothing too aggressive. The TUF does have RGB, but it’s only visible on the TUF Gaming logo in the top right corner. One thing we like about the software integration is that you can also customize the RGB in iCUE if you want. This card comes in at 300mm with a width of 2.7 slots, so make sure you’ve got the space for it. Here, you get a 3-year warranty.
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT and 6950 XT
AMD’s RX 6900 XT is a very powerful graphics card that often keeps pace with the RTX 3090 in 2022. As you’d expect then, it’s able to handle even 4K gaming at high frame rates on ultra settings. The large power consumption will require a stout PSU though, as this graphics card uses at least 300W depending on the model. You’ll also need to ensure your case has the space to house this beast.
At the MSRP of $999, this card is by no means cheap for the extra performance you get. If prices for the 6800 or 6800 XT were at or even near MSRP, then this could be a slightly different conversation. Given the current market though, it’s better just to spring for AMD’s best if you’re not going with the 6700 XT. At least it easily beats the steep pricing for the RTX 3090.
PowerColor Red Devil – Find it at Micro Center for $949.99
If you can go to a Micro Center, PowerColor’s overclocked 6900 XT is going for a relatively cheaper price there. PowerColor is a great brand to buy AMD graphics cards from in 2022 and this card is no exception. The Devil series cards from Powercolor are built for overclocking and come factory overclocked, so you can expect great performance. Likewise, the cooler on this card is quite big, measuring in at 320mm in length, though only two slots wide. The Red Devil cards come with some RGB LEDs you can tweak, but the default black and red color scheme really hammers home the fact that this is an AMD card. The downside to this card is the 2-year warranty.
MSI Gaming – Find it at Newegg for $1,049.99 ($999.99 after rebate)
MSI’s 6900 XT is another good option to go for if you’re shopping on Newegg. Again, it’s still a bit over the MSRP, but the MSI Gaming series is solid if you want to act on it now. The design of this card is probably one of MSI’s most unique, with a very sleek angular design that comes with plenty of RGB. The cooler is also well designed and the fans run silent based on our experience with this series. This also happens to be the largest card on the list at 324mm in length. However, you get a card with serious cooling power, great looks, and slightly overclocked performance. To top it off, you’ll get a 3-year warranty.
ASUS TUF – Find it at Newegg for $1,099.99
If you don’t mind spending a little more, the revamped 6950 XT with faster memory and higher clock speeds typically manages 3-5% better gaming performance. AMD raised the MSRP for this model to $1,099. Although this doesn’t offer much more performance, you’ll still get more frames at a price that would of been considered a great value in prior months. Considering the impressive build quality, design, and performance of the ASUS TUF line, this is a choice pick for the top level AMD graphics card. A few more things to note about the ASUS 6950 XT is that it requires 350W, it’s 320mm long, and it takes up three slots. You’ll get a 3-year warranty.
Graphics card pricing is slowly improving
With that we have a list of some of the best graphics cards with great prices as of spring 2022. As you can see, things are steadily improving and more than a few cards are selling near MSRP. However, there are also quite a few models that are still too far above the recommended pricing. On the bright side, there’s plenty of stock going around right now, so it’s one of the best times to get your hands on a decent graphics card in 2022.
We expect prices will continue to improve over the next few months. In fact, by the summer, we may see the best graphics card prices for this entire generation. As we lead into the fall, the trend could further continue with the rumored release of next generation graphics cards. This brings us to the question of whether you should buy a graphics card now. If you want to save some money, it may be better to hold off for now and see how things look in a short while. However, if you need a graphics card right now, 2022 prices really aren’t so bad right now, and current gen performance is already excellent.
Please note that all prices are in USD. PC Invasion does not receive a commission for these links.