4K gaming is a stunning experience, but not one that’s feasible on just any graphics card. 1080p and 1440p are mostly solved problems by now, but 4K is still challenging for most GPUs. So if you want to game at 4K at 60 FPS (4K60), you’ll need one of the best GPUs for 4K gaming to do so.
High-quality upscaling and image reconstruction technologies mean that 4K gaming is much more accessible than it used to be. However, we’ve opted to focus on cards that can come close to 4K60 at native resolution to keep our list more concise. Let’s get started.
- Best Nvidia Graphics Card for 4K Gaming Overall: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC is a strong 4K gaming card with all of Nvidia’s AI-assisted features, albeit at a problematic price.
- Best Value Nvidia Graphics Card for 4K Gaming: Asus GeForce RTX 4070 Dual OC isn’t quite a 4K60 card, but reduced settings and upscaling should get it there without issue.
- Best AMD Graphics Card for 4K Gaming Overall: XFX Speedster MERC310 AMD Radeon RX 7900XTX Black is an excellent card for 4K gaming, provided you’re OK with giving up ray tracing and DLSS.
- Best Value AMD Graphics Card for 4K Gaming: XFX Speedster MERC319 RX 7800 XT Black Edition slightly outperforms the RTX 4070 in rasterized workloads for less money—and with more VRAM, to boot.
- Best Premium Graphics Card for 4K Gaming: Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition is a brutally fast—and brutally expensive—graphics card capable of 100+ FPS at native 4K with ease.
Our Favorite 4K Gaming GPUs
|Boost Clock||2535 MHz|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6X|
|Ports||• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1x HDMI 2.1a
|Power Consumption||~320 watts|
|Dimensions||13.46 x 5.91 x 2.95 inches|
Nvidia’s RTX 4080 is a complicated beast. On the one hand, its 4K performance is impressive, capable of handling modern Triple-A games at native 4K with ease. Combine that with its DLSS capabilities and strong ray-tracing performance, and you should have a stone-cold winner. However, its roughly $1200 pricing means it’s in an awkward position compared to other high-end rivals.
But let’s focus on the positives first. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 is a high-performance GPU capable of a locked 4K60 at maxed-out settings in all but the most demanding modern games. Tom’s Hardware tested the RTX 4080 over nine games and recorded an average FPS of 86.3, with 1% lows of 69 FPS.
As you may expect, A Plague Tale: Requiem drags the RTX 4080’s averages down here, with Nvidia’s second-most-powerful card struggling to hit the 60 FPS target. But that’s not surprising; only one card on the market hits 4K60 when the game’s maxed out at native resolution. So we can’t hold sub-60 FPS performance in A Plague Tale: Requiem against the RTX 4080 here.
Other tests show the RTX 4080 acquitting itself with aplomb. The surprisingly demanding Borderlands 3 hits around 90 FPS average, while Far Cry 6 and Red Dead Redemption 2 both achieve roughly 110 FPS averages.
The RTX 4080 trails AMD’s top-tier RX 7900 XTX slightly in rasterized tests, which isn’t necessarily the best look considering the approximately $200 price difference. However, as you might expect, Nvidia’s card is the hands-down winner regarding ray-traced performance.
Let’s be clear: ray tracing at 4K ultra without upscaling is a fool’s errand. So performance is quite depressed here, with even the RTX 4090 under 60 FPS over Tom’s Hardware’s test suite. But that doesn’t change the fact that the RTX 4080 is a good ~10 FPS faster than AMD’s closest competitor. This gives the RTX 4080 a better baseline, resulting in higher framerates once you enable upscaling (whether DLSS or FSR).
DLSS is another point in the RTX 4080’s favor compared to the AMD RX 7900 XTX. While AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) offers decent quality, Nvidia’s DLSS generally looks noticeably better, especially in motion. So while RTX 4080 cards are often about $100 pricier than AMD’s product, we think there are valid reasons to opt for the pricier card.
As far as Gigabyte’s RTX 4080 goes, it’s a solid card overall. We appreciate the restrained approach to RGB, which takes the shape of RGB rings behind the three fans. Temperatures and noise are also great with either the silent BIOS or the OC BIOS (which ramps up fan speeds).
KitGuru tested the Gigabyte and recorded 63.4 degrees Celsius on the GPU with the silent BIOS, with the card running at 36 dBA. The OC BIOS dropped temperatures significantly, bringing the GPU core down to 57.7° C, albeit at a slightly higher noise level of 38 dBA. We think the OC BIOS is the way to go, given the minor increase in noise.
Overall, the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC is as solid of an RTX 4080 graphics card as you could want. 4K gaming performance is predictably excellent, while cooling is a step up from the Founder’s Edition. The pricing is problematic compared to AMD’s RX 7900 XTX, but that’s not Gigabyte’s fault.
|Boost Clock||2550 MHz|
|Memory||12 GB GDDR6X|
|Ports||• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1x HDMI 2.1a
|Power Consumption||~230 watts|
|Dimensions||10.51 x 5.27 x 2.01 inches|
Nvidia’s RTX 4070 is currently the most affordable Ada Lovelace GPU; unlike its bigger brothers, it offers surprisingly decent value, albeit not without caveats. It’s not quite able to hit a locked 4K60 on its own, but adding some upscaling to the mix makes it a perfectly capable 4K gaming GPU.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 is essentially the replacement for the RTX 3080, with Nvidia targeting similar performance for a $100 lower MSRP. Unfortunately, the 4070 can’t quite match the RTX 3080, although it’s only around 5-7% slower in games. The RTX 4070’s smaller 192-bit memory bus is likely the culprit here, constraining memory bandwidth very slightly compared to the older card.
The 4070 comes close to averaging 60 FPS in most games and even manages to hit a locked 60 FPS in some less-demanding titles. For example, it blazes through Forza Horizon 5’s benchmark, recording an 81.7 FPS average and minimum framerates of 70 FPS. It also does a decent job in Far Cry 6, with 74.5 FPS on average and a 61 FPS minimum.
Of course, titles like A Plague Tale: Requiem bring the RTX 4070 to its knees at native 4K, with Nvidia’s $600 GPU struggling to break past 30 FPS with all the settings cranked. But that’s not too surprising.
Predictably, ray-tracing performance isn’t the RTX 4070’s strong suit at 4K. It’s faster than the RTX 3080, but expect sub-30 FPS performance if you try and turn on all the eye candy at this resolution. But that’s not surprising, considering the monster RTX 4090 barely breaks past 30 FPS here. You’ll want DLSS if you want ray tracing at 4K; even then, you may have to turn down graphics settings to really get the performance you want.
The RTX 4070’s improved ray tracing cores give it a slight lead over the RTX 3080 in RT tests, but it’s overall the slightly slower card compared to the 3080. This isn’t ideal, but a couple of factors make the RTX 4070 the slightly better buy.
First up is DLSS Frame Generation, which is exclusive to Nvidia’s latest GPUs. While it’s still not quite a mature technology, frame generation has the potential to push the RTX 4070’s performance beyond that of the RTX 3080 in games that support it. There is a latency penalty, but it may not be that noticeable depending on your sensitivity (and the games you play).
There’s also the fact that RTX 3080s are still selling well above their $699 MSRP, even with the launch of RTX 40-series cards. So, the RTX 4070’s minor performance deficit is quite a fair tradeoff. Provided you can find a version that sells at MSRP, though, which is precisely what Asus’ RTX 4070 Dual does.
If you’re wondering why we’re not recommending the RTX 4070 Ti here, it’s because we don’t think it’s worth it. RTX 4070 Tis generally cost north of $800; at that point, you may as well save up for a bit longer and get the objectively superior RTX 4080 for 4K gaming.
Asus’ RTX 4070 Dual is a compact, two-fan GPU that feels veritably tiny next to its hulking RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 siblings. It’s also reasonably efficient, consuming less than 230 watts even in most worst-case scenarios. This makes the RTX 4070 Dual a great choice in setups with limitations on clearance, power, or both.
You’re not giving up cooling performance here either, which isn’t always true when buying cheaper graphics cards. Guru3d tested the Asus and recorded a 46-degree Celsius temperature delta during stress testing, with the card running at 66 degrees Celsius in a 21-degree room.
If you want to get into 4K gaming but don’t want to spend four-figure sums, the Asus RTX 4070 Dual is a solid choice. You’ll have to rely on reduced settings or upscaling tech for that final push to 4K60 in most games, but we think both are acceptable compromises at this price point.
|Boost Clock||2455 MHz|
|Memory||24 GB GDDR6X|
|Ports||• 2x DisplayPort 2.1
• 1x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1x HDMI 2.1a
|Power Consumption||~400 watts|
|Dimensions||13.54 x 5.04 x 2.24 inches|
AMD’s halo card for this generation, the RX 7900 XTX, is a great 4K gaming GPU that offers comparatively good value compared to Nvidia’s offerings. It trades blows in pure rasterized workloads, making it an excellent choice for those seeking the best bang for their buck in the $1000-and-above price range.
The AMD Radeon 7900 XTX competes directly with Nvidia’s RTX 4080 and holds some crucial advantages. It offers more video memory, boasting 24 gigs of GDDR6X vs. the 4080’s 16 gigs. While 16 gigs is plenty, 24 GB offers a bit more headroom for future games, especially considering how VRAM-hungry 4K gaming can be.
Secondly, the RX 7900 XTX often outpaces the RTX 4080 in pure rasterized workloads without ray tracing or upscaling involved. Tom’s Hardware’s nine-game test suite shows the 7900 XTX recording about 90 FPS on average, with 1% lows of 73.5 FPS. It’s not massively faster than the RTX 4080, but it holds a slight advantage despite usually costing between $100 to $200 less.
Despite the similar mean results, AMD’s highest-end offering dominates the RTX 4080 in some games. Borderlands 3, for example, sees the RX 7900 XTX hitting 107 average FPS and 92 FPS 1% lows compared to the RTX 4080’s 89.2 and 75.6 FPS, respectively. But Borderlands 3 is an exception rather than the norm; for the most part, the cards are quite evenly matched, with a slight overall advantage to Team Red.
Of course, ray tracing turns this on its head. AMD’s ray tracing tech is about a generation behind Nvidia’s, so it’s no surprise that the RX 7900 XTX stumbles here. It just about manages a 30 FPS mean average across Tom’s Hardware’s six-game test suite, compared to the RTX 4080’s 41 FPS result.
If you’re interested in ray tracing, we think it’s worth paying extra for an RTX 4080. However, if you’re not much of a fan of the technology, the RX 7900 XTX is a worthy buy. What’s slightly harder to overlook is the lack of Nvidia DLSS upscaling here, which is often a higher-quality solution compared to AMD’s FSR.
But it’s not a deal-breaking issue, as FSR does a good (if not necessarily excellent) job at upscaling in most games. It would be nice if DLSS weren’t vendor-specific, but FSR is a competent enough alternative that will satisfy most of you.
It has to be said that XFX’s Speedster MERC310 AMD Radeon RX 7900XTX Black (that’s a mouthful!) isn’t the fanciest RX 7900 XTX out there. However, it’s a solid option that offers solid thermals at a lower price than many competing AIBs.
ETeknix tested the XFX and noted that it managed to keep the GPU hot spot—a notorious issue with RX 7900 XTXs—at just 71 degrees Celsius, with overall GPU temperatures in the 50s. That’s excellent compared to other RX 7900 XTX’s 80-plus degree hot spots, notably Sapphire’s pricey RX 7900 XTX Nitro+. The downside, of course, is that the XFX features no RGB whatsoever.
Overall, we think AMD’s RX 7900 XTX is an excellent high-end GPU for 4K gaming. XFX’s take is one of the best ones out there, with better cooling and a lower price than some rivals. You will lose out on RGB flashiness with the XFX, but we’d take lower GPU temperatures over bling any day of the week.
|Boost Clock||2565 MHz|
|Memory||16 GB GDDR6X|
|Ports||• 3x DisplayPort 2.1
• 1x HDMI 2.1a
|Power Consumption||~280 watts|
|Dimensions||17.51 x 9.25 x 4.92 inches|
There are two ways to look at the new AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT. On the positive side, it offers better non-ray-tracing performance than Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4070 at a significantly lower price. On the negative side, it’s not much of an improvement over the old RX 6800 XT, making it a poor upgrade for those already rocking RDNA 2 hardware.
But let’s start with the positives first. Despite costing less than most Nvidia RTX 4070 models, cards like this PowerColor RX 7800 XT manage to outperform the pricier card in most games, even at 4K ultra, all while offering four gigs of extra VRAM.
In Tom’s Hardware’s nine-game test suite, the RX 7800 XT posted an impressive 59.9 FPS average, with 1% lows of 49 FPS. That’s roughly 8% better performance at a 14% lower price than even the cheapest RTX 4070 on the market. Turn down some settings, and you have a bonafide 60-plus FPS card at 4K; a great deal, no matter how you slice it.
Of course, the RX 7800 XT still stumbles in ray tracing, exhibiting none of the generational improvements we would have hoped for from AMD. Of course, you’re not likely to be using RT at 4K anyway, but we would have loved to see a more significant uptick here. As it is, the RX 7800 XT is faster than the RX 6800 XT, but its 20.1-FPS average still trails the RTX 4070’s 25.1-FPS average.
However, we’d argue that the biggest drawback with opting for an AMD card for 4K gaming is FSR’s continued weakness against DLSS regarding upscaling quality. While FSR is a competent upscaling solution, it’s still noticeably worse than DLSS in many scenarios.
If you plan to use a $500 card for 4K gaming, you will likely be using Performance or even Ultra Performance mode to get the framerates you need. With such low internal resolutions, you’ll want the best-quality upscaler money can buy—and that’s DLSS. But we think many will be fine with this compromise if it means slightly better 4K performance at a noticeably lower price.
AMD’s FSR 3 frame generation isn’t out yet as we write this, so we can’t say whether AMD’s platform-agnostic solution can compete with Nvidia’s AI-powered DLSS frame generation. We’re optimistic, but we’ll have to hold off judgment until we can see for ourselves. So we don’t recommend you base your buying decision on frame generation quite yet.
You may be tempted to opt for the older RX 6800 XT instead, but we don’t think that’s a good idea. For one, RX 6800 XT prices seem to have climbed, and you’ll be paying around 5% less for about 5% less performance, which is not a good deal in our books.
Secondly, RX 7000-series GPUs like the RX 7800 XT are the only ones receiving AMD’s driver-level Hypr-RX features such as Anti-Lag+ (not to be confused with the basic Anti-Lag), Radeon Boost, and the upcoming driver-level frame interpolation feature (separate from FSR 3 frame generation). Anti-Lag+ is going to be essential to keep latency manageable with frame generation, so you’ll want the newer GPU there.
On balance, the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT is the AMD card to get if you want a 4K gaming card at the $500 price point. The generational improvements make it a solid 4K, 60 FPS GPU in many games, especially if you turn down settings or use FSR upscaling. It’s also a better buy than Nvidia’s RTX 4070, even if FSR still lags behind DLSS in raw image quality.
|Boost Clock||2565 MHz|
|Memory||24 GB GDDR6X|
|Ports||• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 2x HDMI 2.1a
|Power Consumption||~480 watts|
|Dimensions||13.71 x 5.91 x 2.86 inches|
If you’re after the very best in 4K gaming, then the Nvidia RTX 4090 is your best bet. Its raw power makes it capable of exceptional performance at 4K, blazing past 100 FPS in some games without image reconstruction or frame generation. But this sort of performance doesn’t come cheap, with cards like this Asus setting you back around $1800.
What you get for that outlay is undoubtedly impressive, however. Tom’s Hardware put the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition through its paces and recorded a mean average of 112.6 FPS in its 9-game non-RT test suite, with an average 1% low reading of 84.3 FPS. Only AMD’s RX 7900 XTX and Nvidia’s RTX 4080 come close; the RTX 4090 leaves every other GPU (including last-gen products) in the dust here.
Highlights include a minimum of 66 FPS and an average of 75 FPS in Asobo Studio’s punishing (and beautiful) A Plague Tale: Requiem, one of the most demanding PC games available right now. In fact, that’s likely the game that brings the RTX 4090’s averages down, as it comes close to—and often exceeds—100 FPS in most other games.
Want to run Red Dead Redemption 2 at around 140 FPS without upscaling? The RTX 4090’s your card. Does 130 FPS in Borderlands 3 sound good? Again, that’s where you’ll want the RTX 4090.
Add Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and DLSS Frame Generation into the picture, and you’re looking at a close-to-locked 4K120, even in a game as punishing as A Plague Tale: Requiem. That’s quite stunning, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the RTX 4090 maintains this level of performance for the next few years.
Asus made an excellent impression with its TUF graphics cards for RTX 30-series cards, and the Taiwanese company continues the trend with its TUF RTX 4090. It has a chunky, industrial design, excellent cooling, and reasonably low noise output. It lacks RGB lighting, which may turn some of you off, but we think the performance and price outweigh the minor aesthetic issues.
For example, Hardware Unboxed tested the TUF 4090 and found that it ran 5 degrees Celsius cooler than the RTX 4090 Founders Edition at stock, hitting 67 degrees Celsius while maintaining an agreeable noise profile. Overclocking didn’t change things much, raising the temperature to 72 degrees Celsius for a 4-degree gap to the Founders Edition.
One issue you’ll have to watch out for with the ASUS TUF RTX 4090, like all RTX 4090s, is its dimensions. Asus’ 4090 is a 3.65-slot card that measures just under 14 inches long, dwarfing many high-end cards from older generations. So you had better check that you have enough room before dropping your hard-earned cash on this.
Overall, the Asus TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition is the best GPU for 4K gaming. Its insane raw performance and access to DLSS Frame Generation mean it’ll be a relevant card for years—which is just as well, considering the roughly $1800 you’ll have to pay for the privilege of owning one.
Before You Buy
We’re not going to discuss GPU-buying tips here, as we’ve covered that quite thoroughly in our guide to choosing a GPU. Instead, let’s quickly go through a few vital reminders that we think anyone seeking to game at 4K should know.
Ultra Settings Often Aren’t Worth It
All the benchmarks we’ve shared use ultra (or equivalent) settings at 4K to stress the GPUs in question. It makes sense, as this offers an easily-repeatable test scenario that shows the graphics cards at their worst. But there’s no reason why you have to do the same!
Turn down some graphics settings (or even drop down an entire preset: ultra to high, for example), and you’ll be surprised how much extra performance you can gain. Some ultra settings have a considerable GPU cost for little to no visual benefit, and you can safely turn these down without impacting the visuals much.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about which settings you should or shouldn’t turn down, so it’ll come down to experimentation. However, post-processing quality, shadow quality (or resolution), and draw distances are all worth turning down to start with. More granular settings like volumetric fog are also often overly expensive at ultra.
If you’re playing a more recent game, you can also check out Digital Foundry’s optimization guides. Admittedly, they often focus more on getting playable framerates on mid-range cards. But you could easily apply the same settings to help push cards like the RTX 4070 or RX 6900 XT to a stable 60 FPS at 4K.
Nvidia users can also opt for GeForce Experience’s optimized settings, which let you load up a personalized set of settings that “balance performance and image quality” with a single click. It’s not perfect, but these settings can offer a great starting point to tweak to your liking.
Unless you’re rocking an RTX 4090, you’ll likely need to use upscaling to get the best out of your GPU at 4K, especially if you aim to hit 100 FPS or more. Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) are the leading technologies in high-quality upscaling.
Both run the game at a lower internal resolution before using upscaling algorithms (and dedicated AI hardware in Nvidia’s case) to enlarge it to your monitor’s native resolution. Neither is perfect, but they often provide comparable image quality while improving performance over native resolution.
However, Some games have somewhat poorer DLSS and FSR implementations that mean upscaling isn’t necessarily the best option. Forza Horizon 5 is a great example, where certain elements just don’t look as crisp as at native resolution.
However, most games look great with upscaling, especially DLSS. I almost always turn on DLSS when available, as the performance benefits and reduced power draw (which equals reduced heat and noise) generally outweigh any visual artifcacts.
4K gaming is more achievable than ever, thanks to the ever-increasing power of modern GPUs. Unfortunately, it’s still an expensive target, especially if you demand more than 60 FPS at native 4K. If that’s what you want, then expect to pay north of $1000. But you don’t have to, provided you’re ok with upscaling and compromising on settings.
If you’re an Nvidia fan, we think the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Gaming OC is the 4K gaming card for you. Pricing is a bit awkward, but its superior ray-tracing performance and access to DLSS Frame Generation make it a justifiable, if expensive, buy. AMD fans will love the XFX Speedster MERC310 AMD Radeon RX 7900XTX Black, which offers RTX 4080-rivaling performance at a lower price.
Can’t afford to spend $1000 on a graphics card? We don’t blame you. Check out our list of the cheapest 4K graphics cards for much more affordable options.