Best GPU for 4K UHD resolution, ray tracing, and more | ENBLE

Best GPU for 4K UHD resolution, ray tracing, and more | ENBLE

The Best Graphics Cards for 4K Gaming: Pushing the Limits of High-Resolution Gaming

Nvidia RTX 4090 Image: Jacob Roach / ENBLE

With the rapid advancements in technology and the increasing demands of gamers, 4K gaming is becoming a reality for more and more products. While it was once considered an expensive enthusiast-class resolution, the best GPUs for 4K gaming can now deliver high frame rates and stunning resolution simultaneously. In this article, we will delve into the top graphics cards that excel in the realm of 4K gaming, providing detailed insights into their performance and capabilities.

Nvidia RTX 4090: Unleashing Unparalleled Power

Why you should buy this: If you want the highest frame rates for 4K gaming and excellent performance for creative applications, the RTX 4090 is your best bet.

Who it’s for: Users with big budgets who crave top-tier performance in games and apps.

When it comes to 4K gaming or any other resolution for that matter, the Nvidia RTX 4090 stands head and shoulders above the competition. This GPU not only delivers outstanding performance for gaming at 4K but also excels in creative applications, thanks to its massive 24GB VRAM and raw power. Priced at $1,600, the RTX 4090 offers a significant leap in performance compared to last generation’s flagship models.

In our review, we found that the RTX 4090 averaged an impressive frame rate of 108 frames per second (fps) across multiple games tested at 4K and maximum or near-maximum graphics settings. To put this into perspective, the previous-generation RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti achieved only 57 fps and 64 fps respectively. By enabling DLSS, users can further boost frame rates without sacrificing visual fidelity. The RTX 4090 also introduces support for DLSS 3, making ray tracing at 4K truly possible. In Cyberpunk 2077, for example, the RTX 4090 achieved 43 fps at 4K with ray tracing turned up to Ultra, surpassing the performance of the RTX 3090. By enabling DLSS and making slight adjustments to settings, it’s even possible to reach a smooth 60 fps.

Although the RTX 4090 comes with a hefty price tag, its exceptional 4K gaming performance and workstation capabilities make it the best choice for demanding users.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX: AMD’s Finest for 4K Gaming

Why you should buy this: The 7900 XTX is AMD’s most powerful graphics card to date and offers excellent 4K gaming abilities.

Who it’s for: Gamers seeking near-flagship performance without the premium price of Nvidia’s offerings.

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX marks a new high for team red in the graphics card arena. With increased stream processors and higher clock speeds, this GPU delivers exceptional performance in a compact form factor and draws a reasonable 350W at peak usage. The 7900 XTX boasts advanced ray tracing capabilities, a redesigned reference cooler, and AI accelerators, which will prove especially useful when AMD’s FSR 3 releases in 2023. Although the price of the 7900 XTX is relatively high, it is also one of the best AMD GPUs currently available.

While the 7900 XTX falls short in ray tracing compared to Nvidia’s offerings, it outperforms the 6900 XT in most games and showcases substantial improvements over even the best RX 6000 series cards. The card handles 4K gaming with ease, exceeding 60 fps in demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077. Although Nvidia still takes the lead in ray-traced experiences, the RX 6950 XT manages to surpass Nvidia’s RTX 4070 Ti in most games with ray tracing turned off, all while being $100 more affordable.

Enthusiasts will appreciate the 7900 XTX’s relative silence during operation, but it’s important to note that a powerful GPU like this does generate a fair amount of heat. While the price of the 7900 XTX may decrease over time, its popularity and high demand may still make it challenging to find in stock.

Nvidia RTX 3080 10GB: Affordability Meets Performance

Why you should buy this: The RTX 3080 10GB delivers excellent performance at a more affordable price, making it the definitive 4K gaming GPU that sits just below the top-tier range.

Who it’s for: Gamers looking to take advantage of Nvidia’s exclusive features and the RTX 3080’s commendable ray tracing capabilities.

Nvidia RTX 3080 10GB

The Nvidia RTX 3080 10GB has solidified its position as an iconic 4K GPU of its generation. Although it doesn’t achieve the same performance as its newer counterparts like the RTX 4090 or the previous-gen RTX 3080 Ti, it offers a great balance between performance and price. With prices starting at around $600 to $700, the RTX 3080 10GB provides a more affordable option compared to the 3090 while delivering strong performance. While it may have a lower VRAM capacity, the RTX 3080 focuses primarily on 4K gaming.

In demanding games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the RTX 3080 10GB manages to exceed 60 fps at 4K with maximum settings, a commendable achievement. With the option to enable DLSS and make slight adjustments, users can further enhance performance. Although the results may vary in older or less-demanding games, the RTX 3080 10GB consistently delivers better frame rates. For example, in Battlefield V, it achieves an impressive 103 fps.

The RTX 3080 10GB is also well-equipped for ray tracing. By enabling DLSS and leveraging all the unique features Nvidia offers, users can experience top-notch visual quality. While it may not match the capabilities of the newer RTX 4080 or RTX 4090, its affordability makes it an attractive option for those seeking an excellent 4K gaming experience.

AMD RX 6950 XT: A Viable Alternative to Nvidia’s Flagship

Why you should buy this: The RX 6950 XT provides a more affordable alternative to the RTX 3090, delivering similar performance levels at a lower price point.

Who it’s for: Budget-conscious gamers seeking an affordable 4K GPU without requiring DLSS.

AMD RX 6950 XT Image: Jacob Roach / ENBLE

AMD’s RX 6000 series introduced impressive 4K gaming performance, with the RX 6950 XT standing out as one of the best options available. This GPU showcases outstanding performance at 4K, offering an ample 16GB of VRAM while maintaining a relatively affordable price. While the base RX 6900 XT is normally recommended, the RX 6950 XT’s price has significantly decreased since its launch, making it an attractive option at around $600.

The RX 6950 XT delivers smooth gameplay in most 4K titles, easily reaching above 60 frames per second in demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077. While it may not outperform Nvidia’s offerings in terms of ray tracing capability, the RX 6950 XT often outpaces the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti in games without ray tracing, all while being $100 less expensive.

The primary trade-off with the RX 6950 XT is the absence of Nvidia’s DLSS. Although AMD’s FSR upscaling technology provides a viable alternative, it still falls short of Nvidia’s DLSS performance. Nevertheless, the raw power of the RX 6950 XT ensures that FSR is seldom necessary.

Nvidia RTX 4070: A Reasonable Alternative for Budget Gamers

Why you should buy this: The RTX 4070 offers solid performance, and DLSS 3 enables exceptional 4K frame rates with ease.

Who it’s for: Gamers on a budget who still seek flagship 4K performance.

At $600, the RTX 4070 may not be considered a cheap option. However, if you desire a premium 4K gaming experience without exorbitant costs, the RTX 4070 is the most reasonable alternative to Nvidia’s flagship models. While its overall performance may not reach greatness, the RTX 4070 possesses a compelling trick up its sleeve – DLSS 3.

In the most demanding games, DLSS 3 transforms the RTX 4070 from an average 4K GPU into one of the best graphics cards on the market. The performance surpasses even that of the pricier RTX 4090 in titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Portal RTX when DLSS 3 is enabled, making features like path tracing possible at such high resolutions.

The RTX 4070 strikes a sweet spot within Nvidia’s current generation lineup. If you’re lucky enough to find one on sale, it will offer a remarkable gaming experience. However, if ray tracing is not a priority and raw 4K gaming performance takes precedence, the RX 6950 XT offers superior performance at a similar price point.

AMD RX 6800 XT: Balancing Affordability and Performance

Why you should buy this: The RX 6800 XT provides good performance at a decent price, delivering high frame rates at 4K without requiring a top-tier GPU like the 3090 or 6900 XT.

Who it’s for: Gamers seeking higher frame rates over higher graphical quality.

AMD RX 6800 XT Image: ASRock

For gamers who prioritize high frame rates over top-tier graphical quality, AMD’s last-generation GPUs, such as the RX 6800 XT, offer an excellent balance between performance and affordability. Their superior performance without ray tracing, coupled with the lower prices often associated with AMD GPUs in the current market, make them an attractive option for 4K gaming. The RX 6800 XT can typically be found for around $500 to $600, representing a relatively affordable price for a GPU built for 4K gaming.

According to a recent review by TechSpot, the RX 6800 XT achieved an average of 70 fps across 12 games at 4K with maximum quality settings, just below the performance of the RTX 3080 10GB, which reached 72 fps. While hitting 144 fps may require adjusting some graphics settings, this challenge is not exclusive to the 6800 XT, as it applies to the 3090 Ti or 6950 XT as well.

It’s worth noting that the RX 6800 XT does not support DLSS. Instead, users can rely on FSR where available. Despite this drawback, the 6800 XT’s affordability, combined with the growing popularity of FSR 2.0, makes it a viable choice for gamers seeking a satisfying 4K gaming experience.

Nvidia RTX A5000: The Workstation Powerhouse

Why you should buy this: The A5000 is an exceptionally fast GPU designed for workstation applications, offering an abundance of VRAM for any workload.

Who it’s for: Users in need of high-performance 4K capabilities for workstation applications.

Nvidia RTX A5000 Image: Nvidia

The Nvidia RTX A5000 reigns supreme as the fastest workstation GPU available. For most users, we recommend Nvidia GPUs due to the software ecosystem’s reliance on CUDA for professional applications. The only downside to the A5000 is its price, which usually exceeds $2,000. However, for users who require optimal workstation performance, the A5000 justifies the investment. It’s important to note that the A5000 is essentially an unlocked version of the RTX 3090, providing enhanced performance and unlocked Tensor core features through optimized drivers. If you prioritize workstation tasks over gaming performance, the A5000 is the ideal choice.

For those unable to allocate a significant budget to a GPU, the A4000 is a slightly slower and less expensive option at around $1,100. Although it only boasts 16GB of VRAM, it remains a compelling choice. Additionally, the A2000 offers further affordability and delivers respectable performance at a lower VRAM capacity of 12GB, priced between $600 and $700. Lastly, users with bigger budgets can explore the RTX A6000, which offers 48GB of VRAM and performance comparable to the RTX 3090 Ti.

AMD has also introduced a line of workstation GPUs. However, due to the prevalent use of CUDA in professional software applications, AMD struggles to compete with Nvidia. If you’re considering switching to an AMD workstation GPU, it’s essential to evaluate its compatibility with your specific applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about the best graphics cards for 4K gaming? Take a look at the following FAQs:

  1. What defines a good GPU for 4K gaming? A good GPU for 4K gaming should provide high performance, delivering smooth frame rates, and maximizing graphical details at the highest resolution possible. It should also support features like DLSS or FSR for enhanced performance and visual fidelity.

  2. Why is VRAM capacity important for 4K gaming? VRAM capacity is crucial for 4K gaming as higher resolution textures and assets require more memory. Insufficient VRAM may result in stuttering or reduced graphical fidelity.

  3. Can I achieve 4K gaming with budget GPUs? While it’s possible to achieve 4K gaming with budget GPUs, the compromise may involve sacrificing graphical settings or accepting lower frame rates. For the best experience, investing in a mid-range or high-end GPU is recommended.

  4. Are the listed GPUs suitable for professional tasks like video editing? Yes, GPUs like the Nvidia RTX A5000 and AMD RX 6900 XT provide excellent performance for professional tasks like video editing, 3D rendering, and other workstation applications. Their high VRAM capacities and optimized software support make them ideal choices for such tasks.

  5. Do these GPUs support ray tracing technology? Yes, all the listed GPUs, especially the Nvidia RTX series, offer ray tracing capabilities. Ray tracing enhances lighting and visual effects, providing more realistic and immersive experiences in supported games.

In conclusion, 4K gaming is no longer a distant dream. Advances in GPU technology have made it more accessible than ever before. From the high-end Nvidia RTX 4090 to the budget-friendly AMD RX 6800 XT, there is a graphics card to suit every budget and performance requirement. Whether you’re a professional seeking optimal workstation performance or a passionate gamer craving the best 4K gaming experience, these graphics cards will elevate your visual experience to new heights.