GPU, or Graphic Processing Unit is the component in a PC that is responsible for handling all the graphic bound tasks that are done in the PC. Most computers are equipped with integrated GPUs that are able to do some small amount of graphical task, but nothing highly intensive.
For highly intensive tasks, you need a dedicate graphics card in order to push all the pixels, and provide you the high end performance you so desire. Now the thing about dedicated graphic cards is that they are available in a lot of different configurations, starting from a mere 2 gigabytes, and going all the way up to 12 gigabytes.
However, the good thing here is that these graphic cards only have 2 manufacturers; and while from the market standpoint, it may sound weird, but it’s actually a lot better because you don’t have to get lost in the market, looking for what’s best for you.
Graphic cards have improved a lot, and while some may think that the price they are paying for them is pretty high, if you’re looking to play games at the maxed out resolution and settings, you’re going to need something as powerful to drive all those settings without a hitch.
The companies that are manufacturing these graphic cards are AMD, and Nvidia; however, instead of just keeping everything in house and reference, both companies also supply the processing units to other companies like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, EVGA, and a few more. This gives them the chance to basically design their own, highly overclocked versions based on the same chip.
These cards are known as AIB cards, and they usually cost more than the reference version, look better, and provide the best possible performance. At the same time, they require more power due to the custom PCB design.
Now that we are cleared from all the technical details, the purpose of this article is to list some of the best graphic card of 2020, and although they are from the previous generation, the fact that they are still the leading performers can’t be denied.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best graphic cards of 2021
Top 8 Best Graphics Cards 2021
1. Nvidia Titan X (Pascal)
Just 2 months after the release of GTX 1080, Nvidia shocked the world and released a refreshed version of their Titan X, dubbed simply as the Titan X Pascal, or Titan XP. This was quite a shock to the consumer and prosumer market because no one saw this coming.
Perhaps the most expensive single GPU in the market, the Titan X Pascal is providing the fastest possible performance in the market at the moment, and while the GPU is still not able to run games at 4k @ 60 FPS, it’s a lot more powerful.
The Titan X Pascal comes with blazing fast 12 gigs of GDDR5x memory that’s really, really fast, and performs brilliantly in all the games that are available. Do keep in mind that this card is only available in the reference design, but you can buy aftermarket coolers if you so wish to.
Overall, the Nvidia Titan X Pascal is basically a prosumer level card, and costs almost equivalent to 2 GTX 1080s, however, considering how it’s the most powerful single GPU, the comparison is unfair to begin with. The performance is excellent, and while you are not getting the best price to performance ratio, this GPU is aimed at enthusiasts.
We have absolutely no complaints with the performance as the card bests the competition in almost.
2. ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX
When it comes to being an AIB partner, Asus knows what they are doing, the company has a long standing of providing some of the finest aftermarket graphic cards, and this year, they made things even better by combining their much loved Republic of Gamers branding with their Strix branding, and creating something really, really unique.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX comes factory overclocked with rather impressive base and boost clock, however, that isn’t the best thing, considering how the PCB is custom, the graphics card can easily be overclocked further beyond the 2,000 megahertz point, something that’s rather impressive. As for the cooling side of things, there are a 3 fans that are taking care of that part, and the good thing is that when the card is idle, or not on enough load, the fans don’t spin at all.
In addition to that, the card features a gunmetal colour on the shroud, and the back plate, speaking of the back plate, you get a nice, metal back plate with patterns on it, and on the end, you get a rather large Republic of Gamers logo that is actually integrated with RGB LED lights that you can control through the Aura software.
In addition to that, the top and the front of the shroud are also equipped with LEDs, and they all sync together, creating a uniform effect that looks amazing. The card requires one 8 pin, and one 6 pin power connector, and is relatively thin, however, the cooling performance remains one of the best.
In terms of the performance, the card can easily max out any game on 1440p and still provide frame rates above 60, something that is really good for high end gaming, something that a lot of people are looking for.
In addition to that, the card can maintain above 30 frames per second on 4K resolution, and that is another plus point. Overall, the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX is one of the best graphic cards in the market, and quite simply, the faster consumer grade graphics card too, and while you may think that it costs a lot, every penny is worth the performance you’re getting out of it.
3. MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
MSI or Micro Star International is one of the leading board partners in graphic cards, and they have been creating some of the best, performance centric GPUs for quite some time, their Gaming series is known to be most popular one among the bunch.
The graphic card we’re looking at right now is the MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1070 8GB, and this one is featuring MSI’s beloved Twin Frozr cooler, something a lot of people actually want to get, the card features a nice red and black theme that is popular on almost all the MSI cards we have used.
As for the performance side of things, the GTX 1070 is almost as fast as the GTX 980Ti, however, draws a lot less power as compared to the brother from Maxwell generation, and that is certainly a good thing because people are now aiming at overall better thermals than they normally got before.
Overall, the GTX 1070 is about 25 percent slower than the GTX 1080, and while the performance and price difference is certainly there, the price to performance ratio or the performance per dollar certainly is more generous on the GTX 1070
The gaming performance remains amazing across the board, and the card can actually handle 1440p games rather well, and while it may not go beyond 60 frames in some games, the fact that it can actually hold up on 1440p is something we definitely commend.
At the end, we’d just say that for those who don’t have enough money to spend on a GTX 1080, the GTX 1070 is your next best bet, however, do keep in mind that the GTX 1070 is slightly faster than the GTX 980Ti, so, for those upgrading from the 980Ti, this may not be the best choice there is.
4. EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition 8GB
When Nvidia released the Pascal architecture, they surprised the world by launching the GTX 1070, and 1080 as Founders Edition cards as well, these cards were basically a $100 more expensive, and for those wondering, the Founders Edition cards were basically what people knew as reference cards. Nvidia just charged a premium, and offered the same, reference specs.
Needless to say, these cards were bought by a lot of people mainly because at the launch, the AIB board partner cards kept getting sold out, believe it or not, even after 3 months of the launch, finding the GTX 1070 or 1080 in a non-reference design was hard, and for those who did find it, paid a lot of money.
So, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition 8GB is basically a completely reference GTX 1070, that provides the exact same performance as the GTX 980Ti, and while it’s reference, the performance numbers, and the cooling is relatively good.
It’s cooled with 1 blower style fan that blows all the hot air from the back of your case. Overall, there are absolutely no frills, and flairs about this graphic card, it’s designed to give you a great amount of performance, and a lot of people actually want the reference design over a custom one.
5. MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
Nvidia didn’t just announce the high end cards in the 10 series, as a matter of fact, soon after the successful launch of the 1080 and 1070, the company came up with a mid-range card, the GTX 1060. Although this card didn’t have some features such as the SLI capabilities, it was still hailed as an amazing mid-range graphic card aimed at a solid 1080p performance.
For those who don’t know, the 1060 provided performance that was equivalent to the 980, and a bit faster in some modern games where the latest architecture was needed. With that said, the card we have today is the MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5, this time, it’s again from MSI, and features the same amazing cooler design that we have seen on their high end cards.
The shroud is red and black, with 2 fans that provide ample amount of cooling, and while some people may show concern over the fact that you’re only getting 2 fans, the thermals remain under check, and everything goes as planned without the temperature going above the limits.
Overall, the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1060 is certainly not the fastest graphics card in the market, however, the amount of performance it provides for what you’re paying, it’s quite commendable to say the least. While it may not be able to break the speed barriers, it is there to provide you some decent performance in almost all the games that you throw at it.
The card is available in 3, as well as 6 gigabytes version, but just for the sake of futureproofing, the 6 gigabytes is preferred because that is at least enough future proofing for anyone who’s looking to spend some years with this GPU.
6. MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 8GB
Moving over to the AMD side of things, AMD released the RX 400 series, and although there’s no high end GPU to match the GTX 1080 and 1070 in the series, the AMD Radeon RX 480 is one of the best mid-range graphics card available in the market.
Now, when the RX 480 was launched, the performance wasn’t as good in the beginning as compared to the GTX 1070, however, as the time went by, the GPU got more and more performance boosts thank to AMD’s amazing driver support, and now, the RX 480 is clearly winning when it comes to the mid-range GPU market.
The RX 480 is available in 4 and 8 gigabyte variants, and while some users may want to stick to the 4 gigabyte variant because of the low price point, it’s always better to have more performance by going for the 8 gigabyte version, and that’s also giving you a better futureproofing.
The MSI version obviously comes with a better cooling, and as compared to some of the other aftermarket versions, this one is cooled the best because everything is custom designed, providing this graphic card some really, really good thermals.
Performance wise, you can pretty much call this card a budget king because it absolutely rocks the performance side of things by providing some of the best numbers we have seen, however, the card shines best when it comes to DX 12 thanks to the A-Sync compute that has been giving an age to AMD cards for quite some time.
7. MSI GAMING Radeon RX 470 GDDR5 4GB
For those who just want something for gaming like DoTA or Counter Strike, something like an MSI GAMING Radeon RX 470 GDDR5 4GB is perhaps the best choice you have in the market at the moment, this moderately priced GPU is powerful, and provides enough fire power on games that don’t have enough demand.
The MSI GAMING Radeon RX 470 GDDR5 4GB comes in a 4 gigabyte model, a memory that is actually enough for gaming on 1080p, the card is available for a rather small price, and while it may not provide performance as good as the RX 480, the specs are actually good enough.
Another good thing about this card is that the form factor is rather small, and the card can fit easily into small cases. Last but not the least, the power requirements of this card are relatively low as well, so, even if you are running a power supply that isn’t equipped with the best of the best watts, you’ll be just fine with what the GPU has to offer.
8. Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
The last GPU on our list is the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, this GPU was released just a few months ago, and it’s one of the best for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money. Now before we start getting into the details, you should know that this GPU is best suited for PCs that visit a lot of LAN parties, considering how those games don’t really require a lot of horsepower, it’s understandable.
With that out of the way, the Geforce GTX 1050 Ti is a pretty low profile card with relatively low requirements, you don’t really need a really high end power supply, or a big case just to fit this in, as it happens to be quite small.
On the performance side of things, one thing that’s clear is that this graphics card isn’t built for high end gaming, and provides only the basic functionality that is made for games like Counter Strike, DoTA, Counter Strike, and some other games.
This editor’s choice will be having 2 entries, and the reason behind that is rather simple, the list has a graphics card aimed at prosumers, and then there’s one amazing graphics card that’s aimed at the consumers. Picking the editor’s choice wasn’t really difficult mainly because we just looked at the performance numbers, and the winner was decided.
With that said, the best graphic card for consumer level is definitely the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX, the GPU is loaded with additional features that will please the enthusiasts and the performance numbers alone are good enough.
As for the prosumer side of things, picking the winner again wasn’t all that difficult, the Nvidia Titan X Pascal is possibly the fastest single GPU available in the market that is made solely for performance oriented users who want to spend a lot of money getting something extremely powerful, and expensive at the same time.
With that said, both graphic cards have their own spot on the list, and comparing them both would be unfair.
So, there you have it. The list was kept short because the start of the year doesn’t really have new graphic cards, we will update the list as soon as Nvidia and AMD comes with new graphic cards, something that will be happening rather soon.
Do keep in mind that despite the variants that are different, the actual graphic card is suggested. So, even if we’re telling you that the Asus GTX 1080 is amazing, do keep in mind that the same goes for any other GTX 1080 in the market.