Best GPU for Overwatch – The Ultimate Guide
In a game that’s as fast-paced and frantic as Overwatch it’s of critical importance that you have enough frames per second so that you can make sense of everything that’s flying around on your screen. That’s why 99% of our analyzed Overwatch professionals game on a system and monitor that’s capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second. You can read why that is in our detailed article here but if there’s one thing we’ve learned by analyzing all of these professionals (across all of our games) it’s that investing in a higher framerate setup is one of the first things to do if you really want to take your gaming to the next level.
Getting a high refresh rate monitor isn’t gonna cut it, however. You’ll need a powerful PC that can push the required amount of frames to said monitor and inside of that PC you’ll want a good processor, enough RAM, and, perhaps most importantly, a dedicated graphics card (or Graphical Processing Unit – GPU) that can handle whatever game you throw at it.
In this article we’re taking a look at your options for Overwatch. We’ve been combining our expertise and our extensive data on professional players to create this list of GPUs so that there’s something to be found for every budget and setup.
What makes a GPU good for Overwatch?
We mentioned it in the intro already: these days 144 frames per second is the minimum competitive limit. One hundred percent of our analyzed professionals play at 144 frames per second or more. If we go a bit further we see that 74% of professionals even go for a 240 FPS setup and that the Overwatch League is using 240Hz monitors on stage. The message is clear: you’ll want to maximize your framerate in this game.
Overwatch luckily isn’t a (massively) demanding game. It’s gotten heavier to run since its release with all these new screen-filling heroes and abilities added but that still doesn’t push it into a category where you need the best system in the world in order to comfortably run the game. That said: if you want to get a consistent 240+ frames per second at the higher settings you’ll obviously need a beefy PC, but if you’re prepared to turn some settings down (which might be a good idea, since some visual settings are distracting for performance; see our settings guide here) you can get away with some more budget-friendly options.
We’ll be giving you a number of options so that you can pick what you want/need depending on your budget and your monitor. Always keep in mind that it’s important to have a balanced system. While a GPU is a very important component for gaming it doesn’t make sense to spend your entire budget on a GPU and then having to bottleneck your system by going for a CPU that can’t keep up, for instance.
On Nvidia Reflex
The shooter games that we analyze might have major differences, but they also have some things in common. The fact that you’re going to want to maximize your frame rate, for example. Across all of our analyzed games (including Overwatch) we see that players generally do not play at higher resolutions, even if their PCs could handle it with ease. That’s because professional (and competitive) players prefer higher framerates over visual fidelity. Gaming at high frame rates not only makes the game look smoother, it also reduces your overall system latency.
Reflex Low Latency is a technology by Nvidia that was released alongside their 30 series cards (though it’s available for GeForce 900 GPUs and newer) and it’s made to do two things: reduce your overall system latency (click here for Nvidia’s explanation on that, or click here to read our own more basic article) and allow you to measure your system latency. The caveat is that it only works in certain games (though 7 out of 10 of the most popular shooters today already are compatible) and since Overwatch is among the supported games we thought we’d add a small section about it in this guide.
Nvidia with the gold medals
If D.Va were a real person she’d probably be gaming on an Nvidia GPU just like almost every other pro gamer out there. As you may or may not know Nvidia has been ruling the graphics card market for a couple of years now. It’s thus no surprise that the vast majority of Overwatch professionals use an Nvidia card, and this will be reflected in this list.
Overwatch isn’t the heaviest game to run so if you’re really on a budget you can shop around for a used last gen card, but we are only recommending cards that are actually being produced and officially sold right now. A nice advantage of going for a newer card is that you’re future proofing your build as well, which is always a good idea with Overwatch 2 (and a largely revamped engine) coming up next for the game.
Almost every pro plays at 1920×1080 so that is what we mostly focus on in these GPU lists, but these current GPUs are so powerful that they all very easily reach way over the 240 frames per second mark. If that’s your goal you can basically just buy the most budget friendly GPU that you can find in this list, but because these cards are all powerful enough to run the game at 1920x1080p we’ll be focusing more on the performance at higher resolutions in this article.
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.
On uncapping framerate
Overwatch is capped to 300 frames per second, but most professionals play at higher framerates using a simple trick to unlock the framerate.
To do the same, open the game and go to Options -> Video settings and set them to the following:
- Display mode – Fullscreen
- Resolution – Your native resolution + refresh rate; if you have a 1080p 240 Hz monitor you’ll want it set to 1920 x 1080 (240)
- VSync – Off
- Limit FPS – Custom
- Frame Rate Cap – 300
Make sure you’ve got everything correct and then click ‘apply’.
Then you’ll need to exit Overwatch and go to Documents\Overwatch\Settings and open Settings_v0.ini. Search for [Render.13] and change FrameRateCap=”300″ to FrameRateCap=”400″ and then save the file. Launch Overwatch and you should be breaking through that 300 FPS barrier. Important here is that you don’t go into settings after you’ve done this or the game will switch back to 300 FPS.
1. RTX 3060
Best overall choice
There are a lot of things you can say about Overwatch, but you can’t say that it’s not incredibly well optimized. As a result, this RTX 3060 is the card we would recommend for most Overwatch players. If you’ve got a 360Hz monitor it won’t quite have enough juice, but for everything else the RTX 3060 gets the required frames with ease. The average framerate at 1080p sits around 340, with dips going into the low 300s (these dips are the same across all of the GPUs in the list, amusingly) so for 1920x1080p gaming that is definitely enough.
If you play at higher resolutions we’d recommend to look a bit further in this list though: for playing at 1440p 144Hz this card is still a decent choice since it almost never dips below 144 at that resolution, but for anything higher/faster it’s not going to be powerful enough.
Since most competitive gamers play at 1080p and prioritize framerates this is definitely a fantastic choice if Overwatch is your main game to compete in though.
2. RTX 3060 Ti
For maxing out the framerate
If you’re playing at 1080p this RTX 3060 Ti is an ‘endgame card’: on average it stays around the framerate cap of 400 frames per second, making more powerful cards not worth it if you’re playing at 1920×1080 and you’re going to be focusing on Overwatch.
If you play at 1440p this is a good call: like its cheaper sibling it handles 1440p 144Hz with ease, but it’s also good for 240 frames per second at that resolution, making it our choice for 1440p gaming.
It’s also a solid option if you have a 4K 144Hz display, seeing as it will never dip below 144 frames per second.
3. RTX 3070
Great for people who also play other games
Overwatch is a game where it’s easy to ‘hit the ceiling’ when it comes to framerates, so if you’re just going to be playing that game we recommend either the RTX 3060 or 3060 Ti, but if you also like to play other games on the side (be it tryhard multiplayer games or visually stunning single player games) this RTX 3070 is difficult to beat. We really love the value/performance proposition that this card offers, and if you’re someone who likes to play a wide variety of games without necessarily wanting to go for the latest and greatest (and most expensive) gear then the 3070 is the best card to get right now.
4. RTX 3080
Best all out card
If you’ve been reading the article you’ll know what we’re about to say, but if you skipped to this bit we’ll give you a brief summary: if you play at 1080p or 1440p this card is going to be too powerful. If your main game is Overwatch and you hardly play anything else we’d honestly recommend a cheaper card than this beast of an RTX 3080, unless you’re playing at 4K and higher refresh rates.
At 1080p and 1440p this card will sit at the framerate cap for the vast majority of time, while at 4K it gives you an average of 235 frames per second. That’s still a lot so unless you’ve got a higher refresh rate 4K monitor it’s still a good idea to consider a lower tier card, unless you’ve got a large budget and want to create a high tier build. As a dedicated Overwatch card this is probably overkill, but given the fact that the RTX 3080 is one of the most powerful cards in the world it’s the obvious choice for people who like to play other games with the video settings maxed out.
Conclusion: The best GPU for Overwatch
As you can see Overwatch is not a very demanding game to run, to say the least. Therefore it’s important to consider your other needs when shopping for an Overwatch card. If you’re someone who likes to dabble in other games and enjoys looking at visuals then it’s never wrong to go for a powerful card but if you pretty much only play Overwatch it’s certainly viable to go for a more budget-oriented GPU. This can clearly be seen in our roundup to the right, where all but one GPU easily reaches the framerate cap at 1080p.
Thanks for reading!