Lowest Priced GPU’s for Highest Settings 60+ FPS @ 1080p/1440p


TL : DR – Title says it all – list away!

PLEASE NOTE – Please ensure you post prices in US Dollars ONLY - to save confusion. List as US $1000 etc.

Also this will be for a 12700K, 16/32GB Win 10/11 System.

I’m trying to find out what are the Lowest Priced GPU’s you can buy that will do most of Today’s most demanding games at the COMPLETE Highest Settings with at least 60+ FPS specifically for BOTH 1080p/1440p – but minimum please do list for 1080p as I might have to stick to that to get the highest settings in my budget?

Primarily only interested in Full size GPU’s – not AERO Mini type things etc…

Mention some if you want as an extra – but I’m not really interested in them (unless you convince me otherwise as they sound kind of crippled and super noisy).

I’ve not gamed for like 5-10 years and still trying to get up to speed on the modern GPU’s – so feel free to spell out/list important things to look for etc assume I’m an intermediate noob ok!

My understanding is RT and DLSS are needed for most of the really hardcore games (which ones)? Are there any other specific features like those that will also be needed (G-sync, Freesync etc)?

If you could maybe suggest a few GPU’s or as many as you like, with current/rough estimates of prices in US Dollars, and order the suggestions by lowest price to highest.

Please remember to list how many GB of RAM, as well as which Resolutions you're referring to...

I'm not sure - but was assuming I should get something with at least 6-8GB - maybe up to 11-16GB if I could afford it (not a given as that'd be crazy prices for me though)?

What would you recommend as Minimum RAM on the GPU if you are going to spend such heavy coin?

Is 60+ FPS really a high enough Minimum when you're at such Insanely High Settings? I know that's the average - but what's the minimum 'lowest' FPS you need to have to not have your gameplay start to get messed up?

BTW what are the games you would measure these cards against? I know Cyberpunk 2077 is one of them that’s up there?

Just as an aside - If I did spend between US$400-$1000 in an effort to get a very good card that would be somewhat Future Proofed – how many years do you think it’d still hold up well for new future games at Highest Settings and or Medium High to Highest? Only 2-3 years or up to 8+?

Any other advice on GPU’s would be most welcome as I’ve lots to learn.

If you have links to any good Benchmarks, sites, videos, guides whatever – post em if you’ve got ‘em!

Thank you for your help
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Note I'm not familiar with current hardware, so just general comments for what it's worth :)

any other specific features

Size of card—some are monsters, some even take up 3 slots on mobo!

Power draw—make sure your PSU has plenty of gas in the tank, the top-line GPUs are greedy.

at least 6-8GB - maybe up to 11-16GB if I could afford it
My 1060 has 6GB, so my guess is you want minimum 12GB.

I assume you're familiar with the current state of the market? So you may be disappointed in the [lack of] responses—unless you can get a card via a waiting list or similar good fortune, prices will vary quite a lot by the day.

Current situation is expected to last into 2023, by which time I assume the next gen of cards will be out—eg 40XX from Nvidia—so it's an option to get a placeholder 16XX or 20XX for now, and splurge on the 40XX or 50XX when the market returns to sanity. Not that 16XX or 20X are easy to get these days either… :(
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Lot of questions, lots of factors involved!

You can't guarantee anything unfortunately. Future proofing is a myth.

There's always a chance a Crysis comes along and is so advanced its completely unplayable on current cards at the highest settings. There's also always a chance of a Cyberpunk that's so broken and poorly optimized at release it brings the fastest cards to their knees. Or an RTS game like Ashes of the Singularity that's so hard on the CPU your GPU doesn't matter as much.

Very important to note also that a lot of the time 'Ultra' settings look barely different in practice than 'High' . Medium can still look amazing and the frame rate would be a lot better.

Remember that an RTX 3080 is an 3080, a AMD 6800 is an AMD 6800 and so on for every card. The difference between the Zotac, EVGA, Powercolor, Gainward, Asus etc etc for a gamer is all in the cooler. Cheaper models might be louder and not cool as well but performance difference is not significant. Silicon lottery plays more of a part than the cooler attached. The variance in performance between samples is aeound 5% on average as far as I can see and there's no way of knowing before you buy it what you're getting. That's why we call it a lottery :)

Gsync and Freesync are features of monitors not GPU's, all modern cards are Freesync compatible, and only Nvidia cards are Gsync compatible, but they are basically the same thing.

Some people are fine with a steady 30FPS and others say their eyes are hurting when it goes under 144. Its subjective to the person, and also dependent on the game type. 144 vs 30 in a turn based strategy game not important, but playing competitive FPS in a world championship its going to make a difference. Adjust settings until you reach the balance of performance and quality that works best for you.

AMD vs Nvidia
Nvidia DLSS is a better solution than AMD's version of the same thing, FSR at the moment, and their ray tracing performance is stronger. However Nvidia cards tend to have less VRAM than comparable AMD models potentially making them less future proof, and not all games include ray tracing or DLSS/FSR.

Which is more important to you?

Also worth noting that performance in some games leans one way or the other depending on who the developer sided with while making the game, or just how the game engine works. Example here

VRAM 8GB is probably minimum for max settings at 1440p currently. Its impossible to say how long 8GB will be viable, see future proofing section, but probably have to start dropping down textures quite soon if not in some games already. :)

Some benchmarks will show games using more than they actually are because they will assign VRAM if its available even if they dont use it all. Beware people in forums telling you their 3090 is using 18GB in so and so, it might be fine with much less on a card with less overall VRAM.

The MSRP for an RTX 3060TI is 399 Dollars, but currently you might pay 1000
Important to remember even if we cant affect it. In a couple of years when things hopefully return to some kind of normality, you would get an almost top tier card for 1000, whereas now you get something mid-high.

Its been a long post and I hope I havent waffled too much. If I missed something or you have more questions, ask.

Buy the fastest card you are comfortable paying for.

In the future when you buy a game that you cant play at settings or a frame rate you are comfortable with look to upgrade. No one can say how long that will be.

GPU tier list @ Toms Hardware

Techpowerup ranking from their last review. 21 games tested.

Average FPS for reference across TPU's suite
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Size of card—some are monsters, some even take up 3 slots on mobo!

I didn't even know that!
Is there a rough rule of thumb to know which types of cards are likely to be 3 slots?

Power draw—make sure your PSU has plenty of gas in the tank, the top-line GPUs are greedy.

yeah I had heard that but maybe I under estimated how important it is!

My 1060 has 6GB, so my guess is you want minimum 12GB.

How do you rate that card now - how well does it play/hold up on modern FPS and other games etc?

One thing I find confusing when I'm looking at gpu prices on shop sites is that I quite often see 8gb GPU's at around the same price as 12GB GPU's? Similarly, I'll often see 8GB GPU's that cost way way more than 12GB GPU's... whats going on there?

I know that each card has varying specs which make it worth more... but I thought going by how many GB's a card had used to be a good rule of thumb when it comes to power/value?

Has that changed too? What am I missing?

Current situation is expected to last into 2023

Yeah I heard the NVIDIA CEO say that too.... that's exactly what they want though. They could easily produce way more but they won't cause they want their share price and the market price to stay high.

Do you think there will be any substantial discounts for Christmas/after Christmas sales for GPU's? I can't see why the shops would bother? However - do you think most people who will get a new card for Christmas will start selling their old ones either now or after Christmas?

I can't quite figure out if most people would buy a new card and then sell their old one, or sell the old one first cause they'd need the cash to get the new one - what do you think?

@Kaamos_Llama answered a lot of your questions in post #3—the one directly above your last one—and supplied useful extra info also. Please read that, because:
I'm not familiar with current hardware, so just general comments

maybe I under estimated how important it is
Most important parts of a PC:
1. PSU
2. Motherboard [must match CPU]

How do you rate that card now - how well does it play/hold up on modern FPS and other games
My 1060 6GB is perfectly fine for me, but I'm a Patient Gamer—most modern FPS I've played is Far Cry New Dawn, which is nearly 3 years old. I play at 1080p x 60Hz.

For the rest, over to the experts :)