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. Apex Legends is not the easiest game in the world to run, so if you want to maximize your framerates to get a competitive advantage you’ll want a decently beefy PC, which of course includes your GPU. In order to help you with that we’ve been analyzing the market and Apex Legends itself in order to come up with the best GPUs to help you reach those buttery smooth framerates at all times.
Read on to find out which GPU best suits your needs, no matter if you’re on a budget or you want to get the absolute best setup money can buy right now.
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 easily 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. Recent GPUs are powerful enough to run the game at 144 frames per second, even if you’re on a budget card, so if you’re even a little bit serious about the game we would definitely recommend investing in a 144 frames per second setup. 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.
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. Also important to note is that the vast majority of pro gamers play at 1920×1080 (because framerates are more important than eye candy for competitive gaming) so that’s the resolution we’ll mostly be focusing on.
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.
What is Nvidia Reflex?
Having a smoother visual image is commonly cited as the main advantage of playing at higher frame rates (and using a high refresh rate monitor) but it doesn’t end there. Another huge advantage of playing on a system that is capable of putting out as many frames as possible is a lower system latency. If you’re gaming at the highest levels (and even at lower level if you want to be the best player you can be) then a low latency is something you need to strive for. If your mouse only registers your clicks half a second after you’ve actuated the button you probably won’t be getting any kills, for example. That’s why it’s so important to get good gaming gear (this includes peripherals, but also your PC itself) if you plan on competing in any given game.
Nvidia’s Reflex (click here to see their in depth article on it) offers a way for you to both analyze the performance of your PC and peripherals while also allowing developers to work with the tech in order to reduce latency in their games. Seeing as Apex Legends is one such game that’s compatible with Reflex it pays off to learn a bit more on the technology if you’re browsing for a new GPU (though the Reflex Low Latency Technology works with all GeForce 900 series and up cards) which is why we’ve included this section.
The green cards
Nvidia is by far the most represented GPU manufacturer among our analyzed professionals. This is true for every game we’ve been analyzing.
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. This doesn’t mean that you cannot go for another card, but there is not really a debate with the pros at to which brand offers the best performance right now so that is of course something we are taking into account.
Something else that’s important to note is that we try to only recommend cards that are still in production. We do not list discontinued products for obvious reasons, but if you can somehow snag a 20 series card at a great price in a clearance sale or from a trusted second hand source then of course you can still go for that, though you would miss out on features such as Reflex.
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 manufacturer (pro scene)
1. RTX 3070
Our top pick
The RTX 3070 might just be our favorite card of the 30 series cards so far. The value/performance proposition is undeniable, with this card offering great competitive performances in most games without costing a great deal of money, meaning that it’s perfect for gamers who are not planning on maxing out the latest graphical powerhouse single player games.
For Apex Legends this might just be the perfect 240Hz card, offering well over those frames at 1080p with the game only dropping below that mark (but never a lot lower than 200 frames per second) for very short stints when the action gets extremely hectic.
Combine that with the fact that it performs really well for all of our other analyzed games and is powerful enough to run graphically intensive games at high settings (so you can enjoy your eye candy games every once in a while) and you’ve got a card that’s basically perfect for gamers who focus on Apex Legends but play other games on the side as well. If you play at 1440p 144Hz this is also a great card to get, seeing as it will almost never drop below the 144 frames per second mark at that resolution.
2. RTX 3080
The best top tier choice
If budget is not an issue and you want to really go for the best performance then this RTX 3080 is a great choice. If you’re going to be playing at competitive ingame settings (which basically means ‘not maxed out’) at 1080p it might even be too much, as it does not perform all that much better than the RTX 3070 at 1920×1080.
This card really does shine at higher resolutions, however. If you want to play at 1440p 240Hz then this is the card to get, as it will reliably stay above those frames even at that resolution (with some drops here and there during very hectic scenes, as per usual with these sorts of games) so if you’ve got a top tier setup this might be the card for you. Of course it’s also going to have no issues running other games at their maximum visual capacity.
We definitely wouldn’t recommend playing any competitive game at 4K if you’re even a little bit competitive minded because the performance hit just isn’t worth it, but if you’re a bit more of a casual player (there’s no shame in that of course) and you want to make use of your 4K monitor you can rest assured that the RTX 3080 will keep the framerate above 144 frames per second even at 4K.
3. RTX 3060
The budget option
If you’ve got a budget build (or you’re planning on making a budget build) then the RTX 3060 can be a great choice. The card will have little to no issues staying above 144 frames per second (even during frame dips it should only go a few frames under the limit, so it won’t be very noticeable) in Apex Legends at 1080p, making this the ideal card for people who cannot afford a 240Hz setup or just don’t want to spend that kind of money on a monitor.
This is of course the lowest powered GPU in this list, meaning that it won’t be perfect for people who value eye candy (be it in the form of higher resolutions or in the form of playing single player games at high graphical settings) but it’s still powerful enough to deliver respectable performances at 1440p, though you will not get a steady 144 frames per second at that resolution.
4. RTX 3060 Ti
Budget 240Hz option
If you’re planning on playing the game on a 240Hz monitor we would highly recommend the 3070 if you’ve got the money to spare since it is more reliable in reaching the required framerates, but if you’ve got a tight budget and/or you don’t want to spend more on a GPU because you know you won’t need more graphical processing power then the RTX 3060 Ti is a fantastic choice.
It stays around 240 frames per second rather reliably, but once the action really starts to get going it can drop below those frames quite often, with dips going in to the 170s. That’s of course still very respectable (which is why we definitely consider the RTX 3060 Ti as an option for people who want to play at 240 frames per second) but as we said: if you want to have some slightly more table performances we’d recommend the 3070.
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!