Over the last decade AMD has been making some rather large waves within the tech universe – just take their impressive range of Ryzen 5000 processors as a prime example.
Dr. Lisa Su (AMD’s CEO) has made some pretty outrageous claims over the last couple of years, and to most people’s surprise, most of them actually came to fruition.
We’ve seen huge improvements in AMD’s processor range, with their 3000 series CPU sales helping reduce the size of the market share gap between them and Intel to the lowest it’s been in 12 years. The recent launch of AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors saw them take the ultimate title of best desktop processor, featuring strong single-core performance and unrivaled value.
And, even though Nvidia’s 3090 is still the king of consumer-grade graphics cards, AMD now has some extremely powerful, well-priced GPUs on offer – most of which we will go through in this article.
We’re going to be breaking down the best AMD graphics cards available right now and exactly how they might be right for your requirements.
So, let’s not waste any more time, and dive into some of the contenders for the best AMD graphics card!
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It requires hours of product research, performance benchmarking, and user feedback to get anywhere close to a definitive conclusion on what to use.
If you aren’t tech-savvy and struggle to put time aside to go through the above requirements, you may end up purchasing a GPU that simply isn’t right for you, or whatever task you want to use your graphics card for.
Fear not though, friends! Here at WePC, we like to take the stress of research away, and transform the whole process into an easy-to-follow, complete buyers guide. That’s right, our team of PC enthusiasts has done all the hard work for you!
Testing the products we recommend is a huge part of the overall selection process in our best of guides. It’s a way to make sure what we recommend is, without a doubt, the best option in its specific category.
To be sure a product is “the best,” it must show excellent performance in our tests, and display better qualities over the competition it faces.
Most of the products we recommend here at WePC have gone through a strict testing process that involves everything from price to performance and efficiency. Each product is pushed to the limit to see how it performs under intense stress to make sure it warrants the coveted top spot.
Doing this enables us to provide you with the most accurate review of how the product performs and, ultimately, whether it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
Let’s be honest; choosing the right graphics card for your specific needs is never an easy task. There is a tonne of key areas that you need to consider before coming to a final conclusion.
Understanding how a product works and what to look for is something we take very seriously. We try to educate people on these areas as often as possible so they can make their own informed decision.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the areas we feel you should consider before purchasing a graphics card.
The first, and potentially most important aspect of any hardware choice, is its price. That’s right, whether you’re looking at one of the latest gaming monitors or a high-end motherboard, you must ensure that it falls within your budget.
Price is an interesting area when it comes to your PC’s GPU. Most people (unless you’re building a premium tier PC that isn’t restricted by budgetary requirements) try to stick to a strict price point. Which is exactly what you should be doing if you ask me.
However, what new PC builders may not be aware of is the current price of a graphics card in relation to the rest of the build. Let me give you an example.
If you’re building a PC in the region of $1,000, you’d be expected to put at least $400-$500 aside for the graphics card. Yes, 50% of the overall budget.
Even though that might sound a little crazy, it’s actually the smart way to go. The next section will explain this point further.
Most people reading this article will be seeking a graphics card for one of two reasons; they either need more graphical power for a gaming PC or a content creation PC. Most other tasks don’t require the need for a powerful GPU.
Since games started to shift their performance demands from the CPU to the GPU, more people have been investing larger amounts of money in their graphics processors – something we should all be looking to do if the aim is higher in-game FPS.
Obviously, this isn’t the only factor that goes into your PC’s ability to run games, but it’s certainly the main contributing factor. The GPU, ultimately, controls what screen resolution your PC can handle, what frames your PC is likely to get, and how well it can render graphics in creation type scenarios.
This is why you must find the perfect balance between price and performance when selecting your next graphics card.
Figure out what games you want to play and at what graphical settings before jumping into a purchase. If you don’t, you might end up with a GPU that simply isn’t good enough for your needs.
The next factor to consider before purchasing a GPU is the cooling system it comes equipped with.
Cooling and performance go hand-in-hand when it comes to… well, most hardware components. That’s because when under stress or high load they tend to create heat – a lot of heat.
Heat will compromise your hardware’s efficiency levels and as a result, could lead to a lesser gaming experience. Believe me, no one wants that.
For that reason, having the correct cooling is absolutely essential and an area that should be considered well in advance of your next GPU purchase.
Finally, we have size. You might be thinking at this stage – bigger is always better. Thankfully, that isn’t always the case.
When we reference size, we’re talking about the physical dimensions of a product. Some people aren’t always aware that graphics cards can vary in size dramatically – with budget offerings usually being much smaller than high-end offerings.
Always make sure that your case has the capacity to accommodate the size of the GPU you’re looking to purchase.
If you have any PC building experience then you probably already know what clock speeds mean. If you don’t, then don’t worry; they’re pretty easy to understand.
Clock speed, or clock rate, is the speed at which your microprocessor (in this case, the GPU chip itself) runs. It basically refers to how fast your GPU performs instructions.
Each GPU is clocked at a different speed, meaning each one can perform tasks at different rates. Even though clock speed is one of the most important factors in a GPU purchase, it isn’t the sole factor that affects your in-game performance. That comes down to a number of factors.
VRAM is your GPU’s video RAM (random access memory). It has a direct impact on how well your graphics card performs and how much data it can read at any one time.
VRAM is very similar to your computer RAM; it stores data that your GPU can access at any time in any order. The more VRAM you have, the more access you have to data without having to go via the CPU.
Higher-resolution game formats require more VRAM, as do tasks like anti-aliasing. For that reason, we always recommend looking for at least 6GB of VRAM when purchasing a GPU.
One of the big questions that leave many first time builders scratching their heads is whether to choose AMD or Nvidia for their graphical requirements.
It’s a battle as old as time, and one that still makes headlines today.
Historically, Nvidia has been number one for pretty much all price categories. For some (price points) that still remains the case today. However, thanks to leaps forward in technology from the guys at AMD, that is no longer the story across the board.
Thanks to AMD’s previous and new range of GPU’s – the Radeon RX 6000 series – certain price points are now much more evenly matched. The RX 5700XT, which currently retails competitively, might be the best card you can purchase right now at that price point. Similar examples can be found across the mid-lower price points as well, especially now RX 5000 series GPUs are set to lower in price.
Unfortunately (for AMD fans anyway) the higher-end of the price spectrum is still completely dominated by Nvidia. Their “king of all graphics cards” RTX 3090 is unmatched at the top of the pecking order and has been since it’s arrival.
Having said that, if AMD continues to improve their GPUs at the same rate as their CPUs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those stats change in the next couple of years though. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see!
Best AMD Graphics Cards
Excellent value for money
Comes to the table boasting the latest Navi architecture
Great for 1440p gaming
Quite large in dimensions
Does not come with ray-tracing
AMD’s hugely anticipated RX 5700XT gets our number one spot in this guide, and for good reason. But before we touch on some of the tech that’s gone into this fantastic new card, let’s take a quick look at the design.
It comes to shelves plastered in the ROG Strix branding which, as we all know, means this thing has been built with purpose and quality in mind.
The triple-fan cooling solution it uses offers excellent efficiency in keeping temps low during the most stressful of scenarios. The Axial-tech design has longer fan blades and a unique barrier ring for increased air pressure as well.
As with most ROG products, it comes laced with RGB in numerous areas which (to me at least) looks superb in almost any build.
It is, however, worth mentioning the size of this card, as it’s on the large side. It takes up 2.7 case slots and sits at 30.5x13x5.4cm which is considered quite large for a GPU.
Looks aside, the 5700XT from ASUS comes with solid performance across both 1080p and 1440p gaming, making it an excellent all-rounder.
With 2560 stream processors, a boost clock speed of 2035MHz, and 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, this card is more than equipped to handle both high-intensive gaming and creator work tasks.
It isn’t the most powerful card in this list though. It falls short of that title thanks to the Radeon VII, which takes the crown when it comes to pure power. However, we’ve decided to give the RX 5700XT our number one slot as it offers strong gaming performance alongside a much cheaper price point than the VII.
Overall, we can’t really knock this GPU. It looks great, stays cool under pressure, and provides an enjoyable gaming experience across a number of different platforms.
Fantastic 1080p and 1440p ultra settings gameplay
Fairly good value for money
16GB HMB2 memory
Less powerful than the 1080Ti
Short on features
In second place comes AMD’s first-ever 7nm enthusiast gaming GPU, the RADEON VII.
Now, before you start shouting, we already know this is the most powerful graphics card in the bunch. The reason why it comes second is purely down to the price tag – it just doesn’t showcase the same value for money as the RX 5700XT.
However, price aside, it still finished a close second in this guide and offers a bunch of cool features that the RX 5700XT does not.
First; aesthetics. The card comes equipped with a very effective cooling design, which is comprised of three fans inside their vapor chamber cooler – similar to that of the RTX competition. This does add a lot of weight to this card, but we had no issues when installing it.
From a design standpoint, this thing is quite basic – but it does come with an RGB zone which will please some readers.
Looking at performance then, readers can expect the RADEON VII to deliver 3,840 stream processors, a base clock of 1,400 MHz, and a boost clock speed of 1,750 MHz, making it great for both gaming and creator PC builds. One of the main highlights of this card has to be the impressive 16GB of HBM2 memory which has twice the memory bandwidth of it’s predecessor.
Overall, if you’re looking for all-out power and price plays no part in your decision making, this is the card to go for. However, if you like getting the most for your money, we recommend having a look at one of the other options in this list.
Another great GPU that displays excellent value for money
Very proficient cooling solution
High FPS in both 1080p and some 1440p games
Still over $300 at time of writing this
Up next is the ever-popular AMD RX 5700 graphics card. It’s the little brother to the RX 5700 XT and offers extremely good performance in both 1080p and 1440p at an incredibly competitive price tag.
We’ve gone for XFX’s 5700 as it offers excellent cooling, a great design, and high clock speeds that help it compete with the likes of the RTX 2060 Super.
The cooling design is a dual-fan setup that offers low temps throughout usage and was particularly quiet in most scenarios that we put it through.
It’s actually one of the best looking cards in this list in my opinion, even though it is on the large side. Similar to the RX 5700 XT, be sure to check your case before purchasing as this card is both long and wide.
Performance, as we mentioned before, is very similar to that of the RTX 2060. The RX was designed to out-perform that card and seems to do so in our tests. The RX 5700 had, on average, around 5-10% better FPS over a number of different games.
It offers a game clock of 1,720 MHz and a boost clock of 1750 MHz similar to that of the RADEON VII. With 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, this GPU is great for 1440p and creator work tasks.
Overall, a well priced, less powerful alternative to the RX 5700XT which we think is going to do very well at this price point.
Easily outperforms both the RX 580 and GTX 1060
Great value for money
Excellent 1080p and 1440p performance
More expensive that Rx 590
Next up comes AMD’s latest release, the RX 5500XT.
It was a pretty tough decision choosing between this and the RX 590 because of how close they were in terms of both price and performance.
Ultimately, it came down to a few individual factors. Firstly, the RX 5500XT is a much newer piece of hardware, and with that comes a tonne of new tech that simply isn’t implemented into the RX 590.
The cooling solution is much more efficient, it produces much less noise, it comes with new RDNA architecture, and it only requires an 8-pin connector for its power requirements. When you consider all these factors alongside the performance of the 5500XT, we thought it edged it over the 590.
In terms of price, the RX 590 does start at slightly cheaper than the 5500XT. In fact, it actually outperforms the 5500XT ever-so-slightly in some AAA game titles.
That means there is a real case for choosing the RX 590 over the RX 5500XT. Having said that, on this occasion, we’ve gone for the future-proofing, power consumption, and the cooling superiority of the RX 5500XT.
So, how does the 5500XT perform in real-world situations? The answer is that it’s great for its price. This card is a great addition to any esports gaming PC and will be perfect for 1080p gaming – widely considered the go-to resolution for competitive esports. It’s going to provide well over 100FPS in lesser-intensive titles at this res as well.
To conclude, if you’re looking for a very reasonably priced GPU that’s going to be able to handle 1080p gaming across most titles, then look no further. The RX 5500XT ticks all these boxes and more.
Much cheaper than other cards in this list
Great for 1080p performance
Not the best in highly demanding titles
Lastly comes our budget pick, the hugely popular XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition.
It holds a firm position as the best budget AMD graphics card and for good reason. It displays a seriously good value for money.
XFX’s RX 570 is outfitted with textbook XFX aesthetics. Twin red fans and a fairly large cooling design allows for great cooling over extended gaming sessions. These fans also come with Zero db technology for an ultra-quiet build as well, which is always a plus.
Moving onto performance, the RX 570 delivers a 1,286MHz clock speed, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and 2048 stream processors all based on last gen’s GCN architecture – which isn’t a bad thing.
It will be able to push 60FPS in AAA game titles in 1080p but is tailored towards lesser-intensive esports titles such as CS:GO, Fortnite, and DOTA 2.
This is the perfect card for someone looking for a cheap increase in gaming performance. It offers decent aesthetics, good cooling, and immersive gaming experiences in 1080p. Overall, we think this is a superb card for the price point.
So, there you have it; our comprehensive guide to the best AMD graphics cards available right now.
It was pretty tough coming up with a definitive five, especially when you consider how closely matched some of the cards are. Ultimately, though, we feel we’ve done a pretty good job in narrowing down the options.
AMD has come a long way in the last 5-10 years when it comes to graphics cards and the architecture behind them.
We’re just now seeing exactly what they can do with the new technology they have at their disposal. Hopefully, the trend continues and the battle for GPU hierarchy becomes as close as it has between AMD vs Intel CPUs.
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