Best GPU for Apex Legends – The Ultimate Guide
Your gear is about as important as your actual skills when it comes to competitive gaming. You can be the best aimer in the world but you’ll never be taking down entire squads on your own if you’re struggling to get 30 frames per second while playing with a 15 year old trackball mouse. In order to help you get the best performance possible we’ve been analyzing what’s on the inside of your favorite professional players’ gaming PC and we came up with the top five most used GPUs.
If you’re in the market for a new gaming GPU or you’re just wondering what the professionals are going for you’ve come to the right place.
What makes a GPU good for Apex Legends?
If there’s one thing to be sure of it’s that the ’60Hz vs 144Hz’ debate is well in the past. Across all of our analyzed games less than one percent of pro gamers use a regular 60Hz monitor. There’s a clear takeaway here; 144Hz (or higher) has become the industry standard for competitive gaming, so if you want to make sure you’re not left in the dust you’ll need to grab yourself a high refresh rate monitor and a GPU that can push enough frames to said monitor.
In case you’re running a regular 1080p 60Hz monitor you can rest assured that every card on this list will quite comfortably run the game to the full potential of your monitor, but we do recommend you to start looking into upgrading your setup if you’re serious about competing in shooters. Having a higher refresh rate monitor won’t automatically make you a demigod but it greatly enhances your ability to track whatever is going on in the game and it can definitely improve your performance.
Luckily you don’t need a super beefy computer to get the most out of Apex at 1080p (only 3% of our analyzed professionals run the game at a higher resolution, by the way) but you will need a dedicated GPU to play this game smoothly, so if you’re running with an old laptop with an integrated graphics processor you might want to think about upgrading.
As 144 frames per second is the minimum for competitive gaming we don’t recommend you to go for a high resolution as you’ll sacrifice your framerate for increased visual fidelity which doesn’t really give you a competitive advantage. Some of these GPUs will be able to handle 144+ frames at 1440p but we don’t recommend going for a higher resolution than that if you’re planning on being competitive.
What kind of GPU you decide on will largely depend on your budget. In an ideal world we’d all have an unlimited budget for our builds and go for the best parts out there, but we know that this isn’t the case in the real world. When going through this list it’s important to realize that professional gamers play these games for a living, and that investing money in the best gear is something that they have to do to keep coming out on top.
Always make sure to have a balanced build; there’s no need to spend all of your money on a GPU if that means that you have to bottleneck it with a subpar CPU, for example.
Nvidia as number one
NVIDIA is by far the most represented GPU manufacturer among our analyzed professionals. This is true for every game we’ve been analyzing so far.
Both major GPU manufacturers have their advantages and disadvantages, but it’s quite clear that NVIDIA is the choice of the professionals. Every Apex Legends professional that we’ve analyzed so far is using an NVIDIA card.
As you can see to the right most of these cards are fairly high tier cards. That’s because professional players don’t want to be hampered by their gear at any point. If you’re playing at the very highest levels of gaming every drop in frames can cause you to miss a crucial shot so it’s only natural that these players select the best gear for the job. In the list below we’ll give you a brief estimate on the amount of frames you can expect at different settings and resolutions (click here to check out our Apex Legends settings and options guide) with these cards. Hopefully this will help you select the card that’s right for you.
Note: the average FPS you get ingame will severely depend on your ingame settings, as well as the rest of your rig (CPU, RAM, …) so take these estimates with a grain of salt.
Most used GPUs
GTX 1080 TI
RTX 2080 Ti
1. GTX 1080 Ti
Last generation’s high end card
The GTX 1080 Ti was the absolute king of cards throughout the last generation and it still packs a mean punch. It’ll comfortably keep you above 144 frames per second if you drop your settings to low-medium (which is what we always recommend if you want to be competitive in any game, since eye candy only limits performance and can even be distracting), delivering around 185 frames per second on average.
If you want to play on high it’s still going to be delivering a very playable experience but you won’t be soaring above 144 frames per second constantly. Around 125 frames per second on average is what you should expect.
This card seems to be your best bet if you’ve got a 144Hz monitor and you don’t mind dropping the ingame quality a bit to get framerates which are comfortably above the 144 mark.
144+ Hz performance
The 1080 Ti is a great choice for people with a 144Hz monitor, but if you want to get the most out of a higher refresh rate monitor you might want to look at some of the higher tier RTX cards. The 1080 Ti will quite comfortably work for a 165Hz monitor but if you’ve got a 240Hz panel on your desk it’s not going to take full advantage of that, even with the settings turned down.
2. RTX 2080 Ti
The best right now
If you want to get the absolute best of the best right now and budget isn’t an issue there is the RTX 2080 Ti. NVIDIA’s latest high tier card is a great option for people with a 240Hz monitor. This card can easily do 144 frames per seconds, so we’re looking at this primarily as a 240Hz card.
On our recommended settings the 2080 Ti stays above 240 frames per second with relative ease (around 245 on average) making it the best option out there for people who really like to go all out when it comes to the power of their rigs.
If you set the graphics to high you can naturally expect fewer frames: around 190 per second on average. That’s still very, very respectable so if you’ve got a 240Hz monitor you’ll still be benefiting from the higher refresh rates, even if you turn the graphics up beyond our recommended competitive settings.
The RTX 2080 Ti could be your choice if you want to future-proof your build and have plenty of frames to spare even at high settings and at a high(er) resolution if that’s your kind of thing.
144+ Hz performance
The RTX 2080 Ti is the best graphics card that money can buy at the moment so this is obviously going to be your best bet if you want all the frames. It’ll comfortably keep you above 144 frames per second no questions asked, even on the highest settings, and it’s the only card on this list that will let you take full advantage of a 240Hz display.
Thanks to all of this power it’s also the best option for 1440p gaming. If you use our recommended ingame settings you should get around 190 frames per second which is more than enough for a 144Hz panel. Turn the graphics up and you’ll have to make due with average framerates that are a bit below the 144 mark (around 120) which is doable for 1440p, but we don’t recommend it.
3. GTX 1080
The middle ground
The GTX 1080 was the second best card of the previous generation and it’s one of the ‘middle of the road’ options in this top five. It’s a great choice if you’re certain that you’re gonna keep your settings at the ‘competitive level’ (i.e. not everything on high) as it can comfortably give you average framerates in the low 170s at those graphical settings.
If you want to increase the graphical fidelity and game on high settings you’ll find the 1080 lacking a bit, coming up with 115 frames per second on average. That’s still pretty decent, but not enough to get the most out of a 144Hz monitor.
Still, if you don’t really care about graphics and want the best ‘bang for your buck’ performance at 1080p this could be one of your better options.
144+ Hz performance
The GTX 1080 is a really solid option for 1080p 144Hz gaming at low-medium settings, but anything above that is gonna be a struggle. You’ll want to be wary of which settings you turn up if you want to keep a framerate that’s steadily above 144 frames per second, but if you’re okay with these limitations it’s certainly a great option.
The 1080 is just about powerful enough for a 165Hz panel, but if you’ve got a 240Hz monitor you should look elsewhere if you want to use it to its full potential.
4. GTX 1070
The budget option
The GTX 1070 is the most budget friendly option in this lineup and that obviously also shows in the performance. It’s gonna give you around 150 frames per second on low-medium settings which means that it’s passable if you’ve got a 144Hz monitor, but it will drop below that 144Hz mark quite often which can get annoying for some people.
If you want to go for some higher settings the 1070 will walk around the 100 frames per second mark, which is respectable, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend going for the higher settings if you’re running a 1070 along with a 144Hz monitor.
144+ Hz performance
The GTX 1070 is the most wallet-friendly card in this lineup which means that it’s gonna come with a few compromises. It’s just powerful enough to run Apex Legends on a 144Hz monitor (at lower settings) but you can forget about trying anything higher than that. Still, if you’re on a budget this is a good option for you.
5. RTX 2080
The second best
The RTX 2080 Ti is the very best GPU in NVIDIA’s lineup at the moment, but all of that horsepower does come at a cost. This 2080 is the more budget friendly top tier RTX option.
That doesn’t mean that it’s a slouch though. At high settings you’ll be getting around 160 frames per seconds on average, which gives you plenty of juice if you’re running a 144Hz monitor. Low-medium settings are an absolute walk in the park for the RTX 2080, coughing up 210 frames per second at 1080p. This means that the RTX 2080 is going to be your second best option if you’ve got yourself a 240Hz monitor and you really want to take advantage of that technology.
This is certainly an option if you want to get an RTX card that can reliably give you the performance that you need to really get a benefit out of a 240Hz monitor but don’t have the budget to get the RTX 2080 Ti.
144+ Hz performance
If you’ve got a 240Hz monitor this is the second best card to go for, which might not surprise you since it’s the second most powerful card out there. It won’t be at 240+ frames per second all the time (look at the 2080 Ti for that) but it does have plenty of horsepower to really take advantage of the extra frames that a 240Hz display can push.
If you’ve got a regular 144Hz monitor this is probably the best card to get right now. You can safely turn up some settings (though not all of them) and still maintain a framerate that’s well above 144 frames per second on average and the RTX 2080 cruises to framerates above 200 on our recommended settings.
If you’re someone with a 1440p screen this is the only card aside from the RTX 2080 Ti that we’d consider. It won’t reach 144+ frames per second at that resolution but at around 125 it’s certainly still respectable.
Conclusion: The best GPU for Apex Legends
We said it in the introduction: professionals tend to go for the best gear out there. Some of these cards might seem like overkill for lower settings at 1080p but every frame matters at the very top of the pyramid so with their livelihood on the line it’s only logical that professionals don’t want to take any risks.
Apex Legends isn’t the most difficult game in the world to run, but if you want to get the best out of a high refresh rate monitor you will want to invest in a decently beefy GPU regardless of that.
You can see the average expected frames per second at low-medium settings in the graph to the right. You should take these results with a healthy dose of salt since they’ll depend on a large number of factors, but they do indicate the general performance difference between these GPUs.
As you can see they’re all pretty much fine for running the game at 1080p at lower settings. It’s when you want to go for some higher graphical settings or you want to play at a higher resolution that you’ll really want to start carefully investigating what you want to go for.
Thanks for reading!