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The best 1080p graphics cards in 2021

By far the most popular resolution for gaming is 1080p, which makes up about two-thirds of all monitor resolutions in Steam’s most recent hardware survey. Although it’s easy to get excited by the RTX 3080 Ti or the RX 6900 XT, they’re overkill for gamers’ favorite resolution. Our guide to the best 1080p graphics cards has a few more sensible options for Full HD.

We selected five GPUs that are not only capable of running games at Full HD but are capable of running them with high frame rates. The rise of high-refresh-rate monitors has pushed the goalpost back for 1080p, so our picks are targeted at gamers who don’t mind sacrificing resolution for a big boost in frame rates.

The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti is the best 1080p GPU. It’s a little more expensive than the competition, but the card can absolutely shred Full HD.

The best 1080p graphics cards at a glance

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition on a pink background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti is the pinnacle of 1080p gaming — and it’s even capable of pushing resolutions to 1440p. Built using the Nvidia Ampere architecture, the card delivers the suite of RTX features, including real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) in supported games.

In our testing, the RTX 3060 Ti managed 152 frames per second (fps) in Battlefield V at 1080p Ultra settings, and 73 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p Epic settings. Across five games, the card managed an average of 130.2 fps at 1080p.

That’s without DLSS, too. Once you factor in Nvidia’s A.I.-assisted upscaling tech, the RTX 3060 Ti has the range to blow away most games at 1080p while still handling 1440p with grace. If you want a 1080p card that will last for many generations to come, the RTX 3060 Ti is for you.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

AMD RX 6600 XT sitting on a table.

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is too expensive, so it takes a backseat to the RTX 3060 Ti. Still, it’s great for 1080p gaming. The card is targeted at 1080p monitors with high refresh rates, and it hits that market. Across a suite of five gaming benchmarks, the RX 6600 XT averaged 117.6 fps at 1080p, making it a great choice for a 144Hz monitor.

It features 32 of AMD’s RDNA 2 compute units (CUs). Although it’s the cheapest card in the RX 6000 range, it still comes with the bells and whistles of the more premium offerings. That includes hardware-accelerated ray tracing in supported titles, though the ray tracing performance isn’t as good as Nvidia’s recent offerings.

Still, the RX 6600 XT comes packed with 8GB of GDDR6 memory and a boost speed of 2.59GHz. In real-world tests, the RX 6600 XT was able to manage 68 fps in Red Dead Redemption 2 at Full HD with max settings, as well as 137 fps in Fortnite with the 1080p Epic preset.

Read our full AMD RX 6600 XT review

Nvidia RTX 2070 Super

RTX 2070 Super sitting on a table.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The Nvidia RTX 2070 Super is a little overkill for 1080p — though much less so than the newer RTX 3070. Since it’s a card from the previous generation, you can usually pick up the RTX 2070 Super for less than the price of a new RTX 3070, and you still have access to RTX features like ray tracing and DLSS.

Over the base RTX 2070, the Super variant bumps up the CUDA cores count and clock speed, roughly matching the performance of a base RTX 2080. The card chewed through Fortnite at 1080p Epic with a 172 fps average. It’s even capable of 4K in titles like Civilization VI if you pick up a 4K monitor down the line.

The RTX 2060 Super is an option, too, though it performs behind the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti. Compared to the RTX 2070 Super, there’s about an 11% performance difference. You can make that up in games that support DLSS, but the RTX 2070 Super still has more raw power.

Read our RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2060 Super review

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

AMD RX 5600 XT on a white background.

AMD’s Radeon RX 5600 XT is an aging graphics card, but it still performs at 1080p, and you can usually pick one up at a discount. Built on AMD’s first-generation RDNA architecture, it doesn’t support ray tracing. That said, it can still boost frame rates with AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR).

In AnandTech’s testing, the RX 5600 XT managed 76.4 fps in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the Very High preset, and it even maintained a playable 50 fps at 1440p. In a less demanding title like Forza Horizon 4, the card managed over 100 fps at 1080p with all the sliders cranked to max.

Given the prices of graphics cards in August 2021, the RX 5600 XT may not be as good of a deal as it was a year ago. Depending on the price, you might be able to pick up the RX 5700 XT instead, which excels at both Full HD and 1440p.

Nvidia RTX 3060

EVGA RTX 3060 sitting on a table.

The RTX 3060 is a disappointing card stacked up against the RTX 3060 Ti — though it still delivers excellent 1080p performance. It’s not quite as powerful as its older Ti sibling, but the RTX 3060 comes in at nearly $100 less and still supports RTX ray tracing and DLSS in supported titles.

In our testing, the card just barely scraped by Cyberpunk 2077 with a 59 fps average, and Cyberpunk is one of the most demanding games on PC. In the much less demanding Fortnite, the card managed a 132 fps average at 1080p Epic.

The real strength of the RTX 3060 comes in DLSS. It’s capable of high frame rates at 1080p in most games. But in cases like Cyberpunk 2077, where it couldn’t maintain 60 fps, you can flick on DLSS to improve your frame rate without sacrificing too much image quality.

Read our full RTX 3060 review

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