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Best GPU for 4K Gaming on PC [2021]

No doubt, graphics cards that are capable of playing games at 4K resolutions need you to throw more cash on the table. And if you are a PC gamer like us, you might have tested the limits of your old GPU to achieve that high-end immersive gaming experience. However, it is quite hard to get those cutting-edge graphics if you don’t have the right 4K GPU in your gaming machine.

If you want to play modern AAA games with the best 4K graphics, you need to install a high-end graphics card that supports gaming at 4K resolution. But still, there are many other things other than a powerful GPU, of course, a 4K monitor that can catch up with your GPU.

And if you are all set up, now is the time to look for the best 4K GPU according to your budget.

Now, some ultra-high-end 4K graphics cards like Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti might not be a good option for everyone.

So, we have broken down GPUs according to your needs and budget. And, all of these are highly capable of playing games at 4K.

Best Graphics Card for 4K Gaming

Best GPU for 4K Gaming

Here are some of our top picks when it comes to play games at 4k on a desktop PC.

1. Nvidia RTX 2080 Super | The Overall Best 4K GPU for Gamers

best valued 4K GPU for gamers

Memory: 8GB | Ram Type: GDDR6 (256 Bit) | Boost Clock:  1830 MHz

If we go on with the highly valued 4K gaming GPU, then our first choice would be RTX 2080 Super. Although this card costs a little bit higher for you if you are a budget gamer, it worths every penny you pay for it.

Sitting well under the $730 price tag, the RTX 2080 Super is ideal for 4K desktop gaming.

Although it is pricy as compared to other gaming chips in the market, after all, you would be playing modern games with over 60 fps on a 4K resolution.

If we talk about playing old gaming titles, then you can easily scale the fps over to 100+. We tested RTX 2080 Super with a 144Hz gaming monitor and the results were truly amazing. Moreover, with the right motherboard that supports RTX 2080, you can get better gaming performance as well.

2. Nvidia RTX 2070 | The Best Valued 4K Graphics Card to Game on

top 4k resolution GPUs

Memory: 8GB | Ram Type: GDDR6 (256 Bit) | Boost Clock: 1620 MHz

The Nvidia RTX 2070 is also highly recommended for 4K gaming due to its exceptional performance. This little brother of 2080 Super costs just a little bit less but packs almost the same gaming value.

Well, you can play also play 4K modern gaming titles on this GPU by dropping just a few settings. And if your target is to just achieve 60+ fps at 4K resolution, then you might have to sacrifice some graphical settings in the latest titles.

Last but not least, this GPU supports real-time ray tracing. And if you don’t know what it means, check it out here at Nvidia.

3. Radeon NITRO+ RX 5700 XT | Unparalleled 4K Gaming Performance

ideal 4K GPU for desktop PC gaming

Memory: 8GB | Ram Type: GDDR6 (256 Bit) | Boost Clock: 1840 MHz

The Radeon Nitro+ RX 5700 XT is the most demanded 4K gaming card in the market. With colorful RGB fans and a tri-x cooling system, it is one of the best 4K GPUs to have in your gaming build.

With advanced cooling system, this graphics card is pefect to max out games at 4K resolution. Now this chip is cheaper than the RTX 2070 & 2080 Super.

However, in terms of performance, it delivers the same experience in 4K gaming as the Nvidia cards do. So if you want to save few bucks to enjoy 4K gaming, this GPU might be your best bet.

On top of all, if you really don’t those fans blowing up your mind while playing games at ultra settings, you would be glad to know that RX 5700 XT would be ideal for that silence in your room.

The only negative about this card is the amount of power it draws to deliver higher fps. You might need a good quality gaming PSU to power this beast.

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4. Saphire 11304-01-20G Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT | The Best AMD 4K Gaming Card on Market

powerful gaming graphics card to play games at 4K settings

Memory: 16GB | Ram Type: GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 2110 MHz

Radeon RX 6800 XT is one of the most expensive 4K GPUs out there in the market. This one costs over $1500 if you to really want to experience smooth 4K gaming.

No doubt, throwing this much cash on the table will give you a peace of mind for years before you end up buying a new GPU. To handle this beast, we highly recommend you to have a 4K gaming monitor with a high refresh rate.

With 16 GB of memory and clock speed of 2110 MHz, this 4K gaming GPU beats the hell out of Nvidia’s 3080 & 2070 in many games. However, this card really doesn’t shines when we talk about the ray tracing technology.

Although, AMD cards aren’t able to play ray traced games when we push the resolution over 1440p. However, if you are more focused on getting higher fps while playing 4K games, we highly recommend going with RX 6800 XT.

It has a better cooling design as it packs 3 horizontal RGB fans. With the cutting edge cooling technology you can really push the limits of this graphics card in gaming.

5. MSI GTX 1050 TI 4GT | Cheapest 4K Graphics Card for Playing Games

cheapest 4k GPU for gamers

Memory: 4GB | Ram Type: GDDR5 (128 Bit) | Boost Clock: 1455 MHz

Now if you are tight on budget and need a gaming card that can let you taste what 4K games feel like, then GTX 1050 Ti is an ideal choice for you.

With this GPU, you are quite limited on fps when it comes to play games at 4K. As you are quite limited on Ram Type and Memory in GTX 1050 Ti, you may expect fps to fall well below 30 on AAA titles.

Well, most of the performance while playing games on GTX 1050 Ti might depend upon rest of your gaming specs like ram, cpu, etc.

All in all, for just under $400 you can buy this 4K gaming GPU.

What to Look For When Buying 4K Graphics Card for Gaming?

Well, if you want to go for options other than available on our list, here are some important factors to keep in mind while buying a 4K graphics card.

Mind Your Display

This should be your first priority when buying a 4K GPU. If you already have a 4K gaming monitor that supports DisplayPort 1.4 input, there isn’t anything else you need to have at this point. For sure, any latest-gen GPU will easily catch up with such a display screen. On other hand, if you are planning to play games on a branded 4K OLED TV, you will come across input jack compatibility problems.

Nvidia RTX 2080 Super maxed out at 4K settings in PC game
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC game at 4K Ultra-Settings using Nvidia RTX 2080 Super

As most 4K TVs in the market support HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1 jacks, chances are that you will be stuck at a 60Hz refresh rate. However, if you really want to push above 60Hz and your only concern to game on a bigger screen, you can go for a gaming TV. Other than this, we highly recommend you stick with a 4K gaming monitor with more than a 60Hz refresh rate.

The reason we suggest you buy a 4K gaming monitor with high-end GPUs is that you will have a rich gaming experience. All the 4K graphics cards on our list support higher refresh rate gaming monitors. But if you sole intention is just to scale your game settings up to 4K, you can go with a normal monitor or a TV as well.

Last thing you must keep in mind the HDR (high dynamic range. You cannot have a rich gaming experience on a 4K gaming if your monitor doesn’t support HDR. Don’t worry about the high-end GPUs in this case, both the Nvidia and AMD 4K gaming graphics cards come with HDR capability for an immersive gaming experience.

Clock Speed

Many GPUs are overclocked right away as you take them out of the box. This is the reason you get different price of the same model from different vendors like ASUS, Saphire, ZOTAC, etc.

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For 4K gaming, we highly recommend choosing a card with more clock speed. You should opt for a GPU that at least comes with a base speed of 1500 MHz.

Size of Your GPU

High-end graphics cards come in different sizes. Premium GPUs that support 4K resolution are bulky and do not easily fit in small cases. Therefore, you must make sure that you have enough space in your PC case to install a new GPU.

4K ready GPU installed dimensions to know before buying
4K GPU installed in a tower PC case

Most 4K-Gaming Ready graphics cards are almost 3 slots wide and 10.5 inches long. So if you own a microATX PC case, these bulky graphics cards aren’t a good fit. However, RTX 2060 can easily fit in a midsize PC case due to its compact dimensions.

Compatible Power Supply

To power up your 4K-capable GPU, you should install a high quality power supply in your system. A reliable 800 watts power supply is good enough to handle a high-end gaming GPU.

Most high-end 4K GPUs also require two cables (6 or 8 pin) to run properly. Make sure the power supply you choose for your graphics card has adequate power cables.

Image Sharpening, Ray Tracing & DLSS

The Nvidia’s RTX and AMD’s RX 6000 series can play games with ray-tracing effects. Nvidia RTX 30-series take advantage of AMD cards when it comes to high performance in 4K gaming.

The DLSS (deep learning super sampling) is an advanced technology used by Nvidia in RTX-Series cards. This is a technology that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate the process of anti-aliasing. And the results with DLSS are phenomenal when it comes to play 4K games.

DLSS results of a 4k gaming card
Red Dead Redemption 2 Game on RTX 2080 with DLSS turned on

Yes, with DLSS turned on, you will see huge improvements while playing advanced gaming titles like Red Dead Redemption 2. Having technology like this will surely help in pushing your frame rates over 60fps on 4K settings.

And in the near future, we will see some mid-range graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD adopt this technology. While Nvidia is crowned for using DLSS in their flagship GPUs, AMD still relies on RIS (Radeon Image Sharpening) to deliver stunning results in gaming.

How Much Video Memory You Really Need in a 4K-Ready GPU?

This is another most important factor to consider while shopping for gaming graphics cards that support 4K resolution. Now you go right away with a 4GB of video memory if you want to game at 1080 resolution.

However, in the case of a 4K graphics card, you must opt for a higher VRAM as your GPU needs to handle a lot of data. Many PC gamers recommend buying a 4K gaming GPU that comes with at least 6GB of video memory.

But if you really don’t worry about cash, our honest suggestion would be to have a GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 memory for an excellent gaming experience. And if you are a gaming geek like us who loves to download gaming mods with high-end textures, having a 4K GPU with 8GB of memory would be an ideal choice.

Again, Nvidia RTX 2080 Super is our most favorite gaming card when it comes to play AAA gaming titles

4K-Gaming Benchmarks of the GPUs We Tested

Benchmark test was run while playing Red Dead Redemption 2

System Specs:

  • Core i9 9900K
  • 32 GB DDR4 Crucial Ram
  • ASUS Z390 Motherboard
  • Corsair 850W Powersupply
Graphics CardFPS
Nvidia RTX 2080 Super36
Nvidia RTX 207035
Radeon NITRO+ RX 5700 XT27
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT25
MSI GTX 1050 TI 4GT24
Results of the benchmark test

Our Recommendation

When it comes to playing games at 4K resolution, we highly prefer Nvidia RTX 2080 Super if you really don’t care about the budget, and just need a top performing graphics card.

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