2020 has been a fantastic year for hardware – with the caveat that getting hold of the new stuff has actually proved nigh-on impossible to find in the shops. Stock issues will doubtless begin to ease in the coming days and weeks however so these our the top five cards you should definitely be looking out for to boost your set-up to the next level.
CUDA cores: 8,704 | Base clock: 1,440MHz | Boost clock: 1,710MHz | TFLOPs: 29.76 | Memory: 10GB GDDR6X | Memory clock: 19 GT/s | Memory bandwidth: 760GB/s
- A true leap in generational quality
- The beast that was the 2080TI now looks likes a ridiculous purchasing decision
- Affordable ray-tracing for the future
Getting hold of one of these has proved more annoying than a wasp on a bus listening to its ringtones but for the chosen few, it is clearly the go-to card of the moment. There is no real argument to be had that this is the best graphics card on the market today and is, pound-for-pound, the best thing Nvidia has ever created.
Right off the bat the Ray Tracing performance in games that have been adapted for the tech such as Minecraft is mind-blowing. Even with the 2080TI you always had the feeling in the back of your mind that you were sacrificing performance to get it to run, and as you had dropped the best part of £1500 on one, you just didn’t want to accept that.
This simply isn’t the case with the 3080. This second-gen of Ray Tracing is now showing why the technology will soon become the staple of how PC gaming looks.
Besides the difficulty in actually obtaining one, you are going to need to consider a few other upgrades to get the most from it (go on, you know you wanted to anyway!).
First up the card sucks a lot more power so you are sure as anything going to need a beefier power supply than you possibly have currently (no pun intended – well not much). An 850W PSU is what you should be looking for going forward and these too have become rarer due to this increased new demand. It will all get easier to get hold of when supply chains ease but if you see one on your internet travels, snap it up immediately.
Another upgrade you will want to consider is a 4K monitor as the 3080 brings this within reach of all gamers now. With all of this new gear you really will be set up for the next few years when it comes to gaming without limits.
CUDA cores: 5,888 | Base clock: 1,500MHz | Boost clock: 1,725MHz | TFLOPs: 20.37 | Memory: 8GB GDDR5 | Memory clock: 14 GT/s | Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
- Low power consumption comparatively
- A very tempting price point
The 3070 is the affordable graphics card you have always wanted. A card that while living in the cheaper end of town, still has more than enough about it to allow you game at levels you always previously desired but could never quite reach.
Like seemingly everything else that has been “launched” in 2020, getting hold of one is a mission in itself, but fast forward just a little bit of time and this could definitely be the card that hits many sweet spots between price and performance.
We mentioned further up the page the cost of the (excellent at the time) 2080TI, well this matches it blow for blow and costs less than half the price. Insanity
If you are still holding onto your 10 series GPU and didn’t make the leap to 20 series, we can tell you now is the time to let go and upgrade. The 3070 is another card that will last you for the foreseeable future and makes us excited about where technology will be in the next two generations.
RDNA Cores: 2,048 | Base Clock: 1,375MHz | Boost Clock: 1,750MHz | TFLOPS: 8.07 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 12 – 14GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 288 – 336GB/s
- Perfect 1440p performance
- Highly affordable
The new 6000 series Radeon cards have launched now and, guess what, you can’t buy them anywhere either. We have included some older Radeon here as they are being heavily discounted and might be just what you need, if you aren’t looking for the out and out latest tech that money can buy.
The RX 5700 is still the best 1440p card you can buy, so if you haven’t, or have no imminent intention of moving to 4K gaming you could save yourself some real cash on your build and swap it out at a later date.
It’s been hobbled by AMD to not show up the XT version of the card and keep distinct lines between price points, It’s 1440p performance is outstanding, and if you have this kind of display at the ready you can’t go wrong with this, especially if it experiences heavy discounting in the very near future as we expect it to until stocks disappear.
CUDA cores: 1,408 | Base clock: 1,530MHz | Boost clock: 1,785MHz | TFLOPS: 5 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory speed: 14GT/s | Memory bandwidth: 336GB/s
- Still the best 1080p card available
- Great upgrade for aging PCs
Not everybody is going to be ready to drop big money on a graphics card. It’s easy to get carried away thinking that people only want new technology as soon as it comes out, but people tend to upgrade in cycles as and when they need it and this sub £250 card is a great way to boost an ailing PC.
Maybe you have a PC that just needs a gaming boost before you give it to the kids or something but Fortnite is not going to run well with the in built graphics. For just over £200 if you hunt around you can give it a new lease of life and get it playing the games they want.
It’s last-generation technology so it isn’t a long-term solution but if you aren’t ready to drop on 4K gaming any time soon then you might just have found your ideal GPU partner with the 1660 Super.
It’s not that long since cards such as these were a lot more desirable. The fact that they aren’t anymore is good for the buyer as the price has come right down and the capabilities haven’t dropped.
RDNA Cores: 2,048 | Base Clock: 1,375MHz | Boost Clock: 1,750MHz | TFLOPS: 8.07 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 12 – 14GT/s | Memory Bandwidth: 288 – 336GB/s
- Great 1080p performance
- Good base price
Much like the GTX 1660 Super above this is a good card still for the non-4K gaming crew. At the time of writing this was about to disappear into the ether, but seeing as AMD managed to launch its 6000 series stock without having any available, we are keeping it in because it is still one of the best value cards that you can actually buy – plus its price will dip further in the near future, we are sure of this.
It’s a fraction more expensive than the 1660 Super but a last-minute firmware update ramped up the clock speed and memory performance which makes it that little bit more powerful than its Nvidia rival.
There has been a huge amount of excitement around the new AMD cards but in truth, this old school still performs admirably and is a lot more wallet-friendly. It all depends on what you are planning on playing and what your expectations are.
What we have here are five GPUs that will suit all purposes. Covering a whole range of budgets and needs you are sure to find something you want here. The only issue with the 30 series cards is how soon you will be able to get your hands on one. Keep looking though as good things come to those who wait