With the graphics card market as volatile as it is today, it’s difficult to pinpoint GPUs that fall within a price range. However, with the bar set at $1000, it gets a little easier. Many of the options on this list can be found for under $1000 right now, and others are under $1000 MSRP but are currently inflated.
With a budget of $1000, you can easily find a GPU capable of producing stunning visuals and fast processing speeds suitable for running dense AAA titles (see also the best GPUs for 1080p 144Hz gaming). The trick is to be able to find the right one for you. To help with that, I’ve included a helpful guide in this article to help you narrow down your search.
That being said, I’ve also compiled a list of the best GPUs under $1000, we also have the most expensive GPUs here that you might want to check. Once you know what your system needs, you should be able to find a good match from this list.
The GPU is the component in your system that provides graphics, and there are a wide variety of price ranges and features for different graphics cards. Generally, budget GPUs offer limited performance but are priced under $500, usually less.
With a $1000 budget, however, you can get a GPU packed with performance-boosting features that will keep your card operating at maximum performance for years. For this reason, you’ll want to find a GPU under $1000 MSRP that suits the needs of your system.
How to Choose the Best GPUs Under $1000
AMD and Nvidia are the two best graphics card manufacturers in the world. However, both have different benefits for each gamer. AMD focuses on making well-balanced graphics cards that produce balanced results. Nvidia puts an emphasis on high-quality, ultra-powerful cards and are better for intensive gamers.
Brands like Asus, Gigabyte, and EVGA are licensed to use AMD and Nvidia cards with their own tweaks and balances, so determine which type of GPU would work best for you to narrow down your search.
Clock speed is just as important in a GPU as it is in a CPU. The higher the clock speed, the faster your GPU will perform and the better results you’ll get. Higher clock speeds are also more capable of handling graphics-heavy games and multitasking, so if you’re going for a powerful build, try and find a GPU with a high clock speed within your budget.
Just like clock speed, memory speed and bandwidth are equally important in both GPUs and CPUs. The higher the bandwidth and storage capacity, the faster your GPU can store and access data and the more data it can hold at a given time. Ideally, the best GPU will have at least 6GB GDDR6 VRAM.
Graphics cards are manufactured as either dual-slot, single-slot, compact, low-profile. The best GPU for you will fit on your motherboard and not take up too much room in your case.
Dual-slot GPUs generally require an ATX form factor motherboard, and you’ll want a comparably sized case to fit it all into. The latter three form factors will fit in most small builds, again depending on the size of the motherboard and case.
Thermal Design Power
Thermal design power, or TDP, is a measurement of how much power your GPU will consume to function properly. The lower the TDP, the more efficient the GPU is, and the cooler it will run under stress. For small builds, you want a GPU with a low TDP to avoid overheating in the small case and avoid the need for excessive fans.
The Radeon RX 6900 XT is a powerhouse of a graphics card. Priced right at the top end of the budget, this card provides exceptional VRAM capacity and speeds, all while boasting a whopping 5120 stream processors and a boost clock speed of 2250.
The RX 6900 XT offers the best of both worlds: a graphics card capable of supporting heavy-duty gaming and graphics needs while having the capacity to handle complex, rich environmental displays.
With 5120 stream processors, this card has more than enough computational power to run any AAA title on max settings, assuming you have the CPU to suit it and the monitor to allow it. With this card, you can expect virtually no screen tearing or stuttering.
With one-click overclocking and ample VRAM capacity, this graphics card can take anything you throw at it. The VRAM in this card is special in that it utilizes Smart Access Memory technology that AMD created to optimize the VRAM usage.
Overall, you can’t get a card much better than this for under $1000 (assuming you’re able to find it at MSRP). If you have the budget for it, this card will outperform any other on this list by a moonshot.
What We Like
Performance - This all-powerful being of a graphics card is capable of tackling the most demanding AAA titles out there without breaking a sweat. Expect 60+ fps on any game you play on medium to high settings.
Cooling - This graphics card is equipped with three fans to keep it cool during even the most intense gaming sessions.
Overclocking - With AMD’s GPU software, you can easily overclock this GPU with just one mouse-click.
Know Before Buying
TDP - I know I just praised the cooling power of this graphics card above, but the TDP is still 300W. As such, it requires a lot of power and will heat up eventually without ample case cooling.
Price - This graphics card is right around $1000 MSRP, which maxes out the budget, but it’s hard to find it even at that price these days. Consider yourself warned.
The GeForce RTX 2070 Black Gaming graphics card from EVGA is one of the few powerful graphics cards you can find priced under $1000 these days. It’s a marked step down from the RX 6900 XT above, but it has the capacity to perform well for most AAA titles.
The GeForce RTX 2070 Black Gaming graphics card offers real-time ray-tracing, as is standard for the RTX series from Nvidia. The 2070 will give you stunning visuals for most games, though it lacks the processing power to run some games on max settings.
With 2304 stream processors and a boost clock speed of 1620 MHz, you have enough power for most mainstream games, and it can run The Witcher 3 without breaking a sweat. Ray-tracing makes rich environments look great, and this card has the power to capitalize on that.
Additionally, the 8GB GDDR6 VRAM is enough to offer fast graphics generation, particularly with the 448 Gbps bandwidth this card boasts. It won’t be able to keep up with the RX 6900 XT, but it will get the job done for under $1000.
This card has a low TDP of 175W and is equipped with two fans, so you won’t have to worry about overheating the card over long periods of use. Overall, this is a great graphics card from Nvidia that will be able to seamlessly handle all but the most demanding tasks.
What We Like
Ray-Tracing - The RTX series prides itself on real-time ray-tracing, and this card delivers that expectation flawlessly. This card is sure to boost your gaming experience no matter what game you’re playing.
Bandwidth - While this card has half the memory capacity of the RX 6900 XT, it makes the most of it with a 448 Gbps bandwidth, which is fast enough for generating game environments without hesitation.
GeForce Experience - Nvidia chipsets are compatible with GeForce Experience, which allows you to easily toggle GPU settings and monitor temperatures and outputs in a simple dashboard.
Know Before Buying
Memory - Despite the fast bandwidth, this card only has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which is still capable of handling most tasks but might struggle with dense 3D rendering projects.
Fans - This card comes with two fans, but the fans have been known to underperform at times, which means you’ll want good case fans to help them out.
The GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce 8G graphics card from Gigabyte offers similar performance, though slightly more powerful, to the RTX 2070 reviewed above. With more stream processors, higher clock speeds, and higher power consumption, this card is sure to handle demanding games easily.
The RTX 2080 is a step up from the 2070 in a few ways. First, it has more stream processors, and is thus capable of creating richer, more vibrant environments in the games where it counts.
It has a higher boost clock speed than the 2070, which allows this card to process and display a bit faster than its predecessor. It does, however, have a higher TDP of 250W, which means you’ll want a good cooling setup to keep it at a safe operating temperature.
Furthermore, it has the same memory interface and bandwidth as the 2070, which means this card will also be able to store and access memory and instructions quickly and efficiently. This card has the same 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM that the 2070 has, so not much improvement there but still enough to get the job done without any problems.
Not to mention, this card is an RTX series, which means it has real-time ray-tracing functionality. The increase in processors and clock speed makes ray-tracing even more efficient on this card compared to the 2070.
Overall, this is a great card for those that want the best performance for the value, and who have the budget for a card a step above the RTX 2070.
What We Like
Ray-Tracing - Just like the 2070, the 2080 has real-time ray-tracing that makes every game look better and play smoother, ideal for gamers with an eye for details.
Performance - This card has an ample amount of stream processors and a relatively fast boost clock speed, which means it can handle tasks and games without working too hard.
Fans - The special thing about Windforce GPUs are the fans. This card comes with three fans to keep it cool under stress, which means you can worry less about how much cooling you have in your case.
Know Before Buying
TDP - While this card comes with three fans, the TDP is still 250W, so you’ll need to watch its temperatures under stress. 250W isn’t as high as some, but it’s best to make sure you’ve got a suitable amount of cooling in your case.
In summation, the best GPU under $1000 is the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT; it provides the most power for its class, and will outperform any other on this list. The trouble is finding it at that price, but for patient gamers and PC enthusiasts, the payoff is worth the wait. In the end, the best GPU for you will fit your budget and satisfy your particular needs for the system.
In general, yes. RTX is a newer series and features newer technologies, the most notable of which is real-time ray-tracing. With an RTX series card, you’ll get the best visuals and performance in most cases.
Which GPU is Best for Budget?
For a budget of $1000, you’d likely be best off with the RX 6900 XT. However, if your budget is lower, like $500 or less, you’d be best off with a GeForce RTX 2070, also reviewed on this list. If your budget is lower, though, you’ll likely want to wait for prices to drop back down before buying so you can get the best value.
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