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What Are The Best Graphic Cards for 4K Gaming?

What Are The Best Graphic Cards for 4K Gaming?

What Are The Best Graphics Cards For 4K Gaming?

You’ll need a powerful graphics card (or two) to run cutting-edge PC games at 4K resolution. These high-end GPUs are the top performers.


4K Gaming: High-End Cards and Dual-GPU

At the moment, to deliver smooth frame rates at high settings at 4K resolution on a PC (that’s 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, for the record) with the most-demanding games, you’ll need to opt for one of the most powerful consumer-grade graphics cards available. These days, those cards include Nvidia’s “Turing”-architecture GeForce RTX 2080 Ti , the one-step-down Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition and GeForce RTX 2080 Super, or one of the many custom-cooled and/or overclocked models based on these cards’ GeForce RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti graphics processors (GPUs).

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the card you’ll want to opt for, though, if you want butter-smooth frame rates at or above 60 frames per second (fps) in anything above high settings. Alternatively, you could pick up two GeForce RTX 2080 cards and use them in a paired NVLink arrangement, or scrape the bare minimum with a single GeForce RTX 2080 Super. In some games, that setup should deliver significantly better gaming performance than a single RTX 2080 Ti card. Note, though, that if you do go this route, multi-graphics setups can introduce side issues. Most games don’t ship on launch day with the optimizations to take advantage of multiple-card graphics, and some games never deliver multi-graphics support at all.

And then there’s Nvidia’s aptly named Titan line of cards. The pricey Nvidia Titan RTX is the beast of beasts, the crème de la crème, the absolute beefiest consumer-level graphics card you can buy today. And while technically the card is more powerful than anything that’s come before it, much of that power would be wasted on games alone.

These cards are made for much more than gaming, deployed more often in creative fields that do a lot of 4K and 8K video editing, 3D rendering, or 3D modeling. In a price-for-performance sense, they’re way, way overkill for games, and they are often not optimized to take advantage of top titles as well as the gaming-centric GeForce RTX 2080 Ti cards (and its lessers) are.

If your budget can’t quite bear laying out $600 or more for a graphics card, you can find some less-expensive cards that can handle 4K gaming at lower settings. You won’t get the absolute best visuals possible, but 4K gaming is technically attainable.

If you don’t mind running games closer to medium detail settings at 4K, but you still want to experience the pixel-dense glory of games running at 3,840 by 2,160, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, and GeForce RTX 2060 Super are all capable engines. Just remember that you won’t be able to play many games at the highest detail settings.

GeForce RTX 2060 Super
Speaking of the RTX 2070 Super, GeForce RTX 2070 Super cards start at around the $499 mark, challenging cards like the older GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on performance. The RTX 2070 Super will even beat the AMD Radeon VII, or at least tussle with it, in some games.

Overall, we can’t recommend going much lower than $400 on your card today if you’re serious about 4K gaming, though. One of the biggest concerns that any cost-conscious PC gamer should have when choosing new hardware is how “future-proof” a card is, and given that these options barely scratch the surface of pushing 60 frames per second (fps) on most current titles at middling settings, that viability will only continue to drop for new games released later this year.

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