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The Best Video Card Buyer’s Guide – Winter 2021

By Ari Altman | Published February 10, 2021 | Updated February 10, 2021

If you’re a PC gamer or HTPC enthusiast looking for the best graphics cards on the market at every price point, you’ve come to the right place! Our list profiles every card worth buying, starting at under $100 for a simple drop-in upgrade for older systems, through low-profile cards favored by Home Theater enthusiasts, and going up to the fastest gaming cards on the market!

For Winter 2021, Nvidia continues to dominate the ultra-high-end with its RTX 3000 series, which includes the RTX 3080, perhaps the most game-changing release in a decade based on its performance and MSRP at launch. AMD also has some great offerings at the high end, which is a market AMD hasn’t catered to since the early 2010s, but it’s had even more trouble than Nvidia getting these into gamers’ hands. Stock issues abound, and likely will continue to be a challenge through Summer 2021.

Products shown in this guide will link to Amazon or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for our readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU. If you decide to purchase one of the cards we profile, please use the links we provide, which helps support continued development of this guide.

Video Cards – Winter 2021

Main Products

  • This card provides dual ultra-HD output for your system: an HDMI 2.0 port (for full 4K TV compatibility), plus a DispayPort for high-end monitors. It’s the only GT 1030 of its kind – most substitute in a much older DVI port!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is one of the few low-cost cards with two UHD (4K-capable) outputs.

  • This card is a perfect match for use with UHD screens. That’s thanks to its DisplayPort output and dual HDMI 2.0 outputs, each of which can handle resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 (which is an incredible 4x1080p). Most other video cards in this price class feature no more than two ultra-high-resolution outputs.
    The Guru’s Tip

    While there was also once a low-profile GTX 1650 card, they sold out and may not return to stock.

  • Offering high performance in a compact package, along with very low power use, the GTX 1660 Super 6GB set new standards for GPUs under the $250 pricepoint. It’s significantly faster than the original 1660 due to a much more advanced memory subsystem.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Once offering the best performance per dollar of any GPU, the 1660 Super has sold out, but hopefully will return!

  • Under the $300 pricepoint, the RX 5600 XT is the new king, nearly matching the much more expensive RTX 2060 from Nvidia, and doing it with low power use and low noise levels.
    The Guru’s Tip

    AMD's often the underdog, but in this price range, it's the only contender!

  • The new king-of-the-hill in the midrange segment is the RTX 3060 Ti 8GB, which offers simply exceptional performance per dollar, beating last-gen’s $700 RTX 2080 Super! Unfortunately, since its launch it’s been hard to find in stock, as with all the GPUs launched around the same time.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is among the smallest 3060 Ti cards, making it a perfect pick for smaller systems.

  • Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 8GB is what we recommend for this build, but it soft launched on October 29th, and has not been almost completely unavailable ever since. Widespread availability probably won’t happen until May 2021. We’ve seen many RTX 3070 officially go up in MSRP since October, but hopefully, the original MSRP of $500 for base models will not disappear entirely by the time these cards are actually available!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We expect prices to rise once these cards restock. The original $500 MSRP is unlikely to stick around!

  • Nvidia’s new RTX 3000 series, and specifically the RTX 3080 that we recommend, cannot be purchased anywhere, and likely won’t be available in reasonable numbers until June 2021, Also note that while we have linked to a card here that is still listed at the $700 MSRP as of our latest update, we believe that by the time it is available for purchase again, it will have gone up to $800+ just like every other 3080 card listed.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The 3080's original MSRP of $700 was simply mind-blowing, but we expect it be reset to around $770 by all manufacturers.

  • The absolutely mind-blowing RTX 3090 24GB arrived on Sept. 24, 2020, and sold out within minutes. You can forget about finding them on store shelves, virtual or otherwise, until May 2021 at the earliest, according to Nvidia’s latest predictions. Buying a GPU is a non-starter at this point due to demand from gamers and miners.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The 3090 may not offer the same bang for the buck as the 3080, but it's the undisputed champ!

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