The Best Video Card Buyer’s Guide – Fall 2021

By Ari Altman | Published October 15, 2021 | Updated November 8, 2021

XFX Radeon 6900 XT MERCGet Your Game On!

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 $300 and going up to the fastest gaming cards on the market!

We’ll Give It To You Straight: There’s Good News and Bad News!

For Fall 2021, things continue to be totally crazy in the GPU market, thanks to the lasting effects of the longest cryptocurrency mining boom ever. A lot of folks out there are saying no one should buy any video cards, but we disagree. Here’s why: GPUs have been scarce since August 2020, well before the cryptocurrency boom hit, and we expect this to continue until late-2022, when the next generation of GPUs arrive. So while you can just say wait it out or “boycott” the manufacturers, waiting over two years to upgrade could mean practically giving up on your PC. And that’s not what you want to do!

And here’s another way to look at it: even with today’s inflated prices, the current crop of high-end GPUs we recommend in this guide actually provides more performance per dollar than you could get back in mid-2020 when GPUs started selling out. So from that point of view, things are actually better than they’ve ever been! In terms of our recommendations, Nvidia holds onto the lower-end and mid-range with some of its older GPUs, while serious gamers will want to turn to AMD and its awesome, game-changing Radeon 6000 series for high-end gaming needs. We anticipate that Nvidia’s competing RTX 3000 series GPUs will continue to be absorbed almost entirely by scalping markets (read: eBay) for many months to come.

Parting Thoughts

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 Card

    Zotac GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5

    $150

    This efficient, low-profile card will be supported by nearly every PC, and provides an HDMI 2.0 output that supports anything up to a 4K monitor or TV. That means the sky’s the limit in terms of what you connect to it. And this GDDR5 version is far faster than the weaker DDR4 versions that Nvidia snuck in after the fact. Translation: not al GT 1030 cards are the same!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This is the perfect card to use in a Home Theater PC, or as an upgrade to any older PC that needs modern connectivity!

  • Video Card

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB @Newegg

    $325

    This powerful and efficient GPU offers 4GB of fast GDDR6 VRAM and an efficient cooler to keep noise and temps down, making it perfect regardless of how much you push it!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This card is a great stepping-stone into gaming, and also the perfect home theater PC GPU!

  • Video Card

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB

    $524

    The GTX 1660 is the card that unleashed true high-end gaming potential at a mainstream pricepoint. With 6GB of VRAM on board, it’s a great match for running the latest games at 1080p, and it’s massively efficient, making this model cool and quiet.

    The Guru’s Tip

    You can jump right into serious gaming with this card!

  • Video Card

    Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT 8GB

    $775

    Get into your serious PC gaming today with the Radeon RX 6600 XT 8GB. It has plenty of power to tackle any modern game, easily beating any Nvidia GeForce GPU anywhere near its pricepoint. And Sapphire is AMD’s preferred design partner, thanks to its highly-refined cooler designs that always come out on top!

    The Guru’s Tip

    The 6600 XT is actually faster that Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060, while costing a lot less, which is why you don't see a 3060 in our list!

  • Video Card

    PNY GeForce RTX 3070 XLR8

    $1050
    PNY’s GeForce RTX 3070 8GB offers fantastic performance and amazing cooling with very low noise levels. It has three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs plus an HDMI 2.1 port, and measures 11.57″ long. Note that the RTX 3070 is selling for well above its MSRP, and it likely will for the rest of its product life. Basically, MSRP’s have been reset due to current market conditions!
    The Guru’s Tip

    The 3070 has the advantage of dedicated Ray Tracing cores, so its performance when RT is enabled will be better than even the fastest AMD cards.

  • Video Card

    PowerColor Radeon RX 6900 XT Red Devil Ultimate

    $1600

    Long name, but this one’s earned it! Step into gaming today with a video card that puts Nvidia non-existent GPUs to shame, the RX 6900 XT Red Devil Ultimate from PowerColor. Clocking in at a boost frequency of 2425MHz, this massively-overclocked card can take on any game and put up amazing framerates! Plus, the custom triple-slot, triple-fan cooler looks great and works even better! Sure, the price is above the original MSRP, but everything’s been reset by the cryptocurrency mining craze, and this is a card that makes an RTX 3090 tremble!

    The Guru’s Tip

    The RX 6900 XT is actually far faster than the GeForce RTX 3080, which forced Nvidia into launching an RTX 3080 Ti. Alas, that card is far more expensive and harder to find in stock!

  • Video Card

    ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6900 XT TOP 16GB

    $2311

    Long name, but this one’s earned it! Step into gaming today with a video card that puts Nvidia non-existent GPUs to shame, the super-secret 6900 “XTX” edition from Asus. Fitted with a 240mm AIO liquid cooler, and sporting boost clocks of 2525MHz thanks to the black magic “XTX” tuning. Sure, the price is above the original MSRP, but everything’s been reset by the cryptocurrency mining craze, and this is a card that would make an RTX 3090 tremble!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This may have the same category of GPU as the model above, but with a huge factory overclock and a liquid cooler bolted on, it will perform very differently!

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