Best GPU for Valorant – The Ultimate Guide
When Riot initially announced their plans to release a competitive shooter (then still called ‘Project A’) the (gaming) world obviously got extremely excited. The developers behind arguably the esport of the past decade taking a dive into the wonderful world of competitive shooters? Sounds great! Of course there were (and still are) doubters: with little to no experience with the genre it’s extremely easy to miss the mark completely, but if we look at the amount of hype and the community behind Valorant it’s clear to see that Riot are doing everything they can to make what they feel is the perfect competitive shooter.
With a serious first person shooter also come serious players: if you want to make it to the top ranks you’ll need your aim to be on point and keep your wits about you, but you’ll also want to make sure that you get enough frames per second. Pretty much every competitive shooter player is playing on a rig and monitor that’s capable of displaying at least 144 frames per second, which gives them an undeniable advantage over players on a 60Hz rig. Valorant might not be the hardest game to run (as per Riot’s promise) but if you want to get to that magical 240Hz mark (which is where the vast majority of pros are playing) you’ll need a decently powerful GPU.
We’ve unleashed our analysts and had them come up with this list of 5 graphics cards that should suit every budget and build out there so that you don’t have to do the research and can just get to fragging!
What makes a GPU good for Valorant?
Every single one of our analyzed Valorant professionals is using a setup that’s capable of displaying at least 144 frames per second, with 97% being on a 240Hz setup. Going by what the pros use it’s thus a certainty that you’ll want a GPU that’s capable of displaying the game at 240 frames per second.
Of course we realize that there is such a thing as a budget, and that not everyone will have one that allows for a 240Hz setup. Reaching those numbers requires a hefty investment if you’re starting from scratch, so if you don’t want to or can’t spend that kind of money you can definitely go for a 144Hz system. We wouldn’t recommend going any lower if you’re at all serious about the game though. For games such as Valorant, going for a higher refresh rate offers plenty of benefits that can and will make you a better player. It’s not a magic ‘go up X amount of ranks’ kind of thing (that doesn’t really exist) but as you can read in our article the benefits are well worth the investment.
So, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card that’s capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second, but ideally 240, if we’re going by what the pros are doing. Luckily Riot made good on their promise and they didn’t make Valorant a super demanding game, meaning that you don’t automatically have to go for the most expensive, top tier GPUs depending on what your expectations as far as framerates go. We’ve listed a bunch of options for every ‘framerate standard’ so that you can make an informed decision that suits your budget and build, but don’t forget that it’s important that you get a balanced build. It doesn’t make sense to go for an RTX 2080 Ti if you’re going to be pairing it with a budget CPU and 8GB of RAM, for example.
Nvidia as number one
We’ve been doing these GPU guides for all of our analyzed games, and it’s blatantly clear that Nvidia is the choice of the professionals at this point in time. Around 99% of our analyzed pros are using an Nvidia card so it’s only natural that we’re recommend their cards in this article as well.
You’ll also notice that we’re not recommending something like the GTX 1080. That’s because these older GTX cards aren’t officially in production anymore, and we’ve chosen to only go for cards that are being produced and officially sold right now.
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 GPU manufacturer in the professional scene
1. RTX 2060 Super
Best for 240Hz displays
The RTX 2060 and 2070 Super are among our favorite cards for competitive gaming as they offer great value for money whilst still delivering plenty of power. The 2060 Super is a great card if you’ve got a 240Hz display and want to make the most out of it. With the graphics set to medium/low you get a massively respectable 305 frames per second on average, ensuring that your frames will never dip so low that it becomes noticeable and impacts your performance.
Even with the graphics at max (which still doesn’t make for a very demanding game, which is good news for the competitive gamers among us) you’re getting a reliable 270 frames per second, making the 2060 Super a great card if you’re set on mainly playing VALORANT for the foreseeable future.
It’s also a decent pick for our other analyzed games (if they’re not too demanding) and the 2060 Super has plenty of power to allow you to play the latest single player games at respectable framerates if you’re willing to lower the graphics on some of them.
2. RTX 2060
Best budget 240Hz card
As we mentioned before VALORANT isn’t a very difficult game to run so we definitely recommend going for that 240 frames per second setup if you’re going to be serious about Riot’s competitive shooter. The RTX 2060 is a good call if you’re planning on doing that but don’t quite have the budget for something like the 2060 Super.
The regular RTX 2060 is still a very reliable card that will deliver an average of 275 frames per second at medium-low settings, making it more than powerful enough to run the game at the necessary framerates to get the most out of a 240Hz monitor. If you really want to set all the settings to max it will drop below that mark during hectic moments (delivering something around the 242 frames per second mark) so if that’s your goal we recommend a stronger card but for competitive settings this is a great 240Hz card.
It of course isn’t the most powerful card on the block so if you’re planning on playing other (more demanding) games as well you might want to look at some more powerful options but as a card for someone with VALORANT as their main game this is a super solid option.
3. GTX 1650 Super
Best for 144Hz setups
If you’re still on a 144Hz monitor and/or you don’t have the budget or inclination to upgrade to a 240Hz system this GTX 1650 Super is a great option for you. Thanks to VALORANT’s optimization and the power-to-cost ratio of this card you can experience 144Hz gaming in this game without breaking the bank.
The GTX 1650 Super gives you around 180 frames per second at medium to low settings, meaning that you will practically never drop below the native refresh rate of a 144Hz monitor. Even if you raise the settings to max you get around 155 frames each second so this really is an ideal 144Hz card as far as we are concerned.
This is the weakest card of the bunch so if you’re planning on also playing heavier games (such as Rainbow Six or Apex: Legends) at competitive framerates you might want to look elsewhere but as a budget card this really is a great buy, and the fact that it comfortably reaches the required frames for a 144Hz setup in this game makes it very alluring for people on a budget.
4. GTX 1660 Super
The middle of the road option
If you’ve got a monitor with a higher refresh rate than 144Hz but you don’t quite have the cash for a 2060 or 2060 Super you might want to look at the 1660 Super.
It isn’t quite powerful enough to give you the required frames to fully take advantage of a 240Hz monitor, delivering around 220 frames on average at medium-low settings and 195 at max but it does push well above the 144 mark making this ideal if you’re going to be playing on a 144 frames per second setup but also want some extra juice to play some slightly more demanding games, or if you’re playing VALORANT at higher resolutions on a 144Hz panel.
More frames are always better, though, so if you’ve got a 240Hz monitor but can’t quite justify the purchase of a higher tier card this will still give you plenty of bang for your buck. It is of course also an ideal card for 165 or 185Hz monitors, though those are very uncommon.
5. RTX 2080 Ti
The pro choice
The immensely powerful RTX 2080 Ti is the most used card in the pro scene at this point in time. That makes sense, as pros literally make a living playing the game so they invest in the best gear available so they can play at their best with minimal distractions.
If you’ve got the budget for it we of course recommend the 2080 Ti: it’s the most powerful card out there at this point in time so why not go for the best of the best if budget isn’t an issue at all? You won’t be disappointed by the performance either: with around 375 frames per second at medium-low and 345 at max you don’t have to worry about dropping below 240 frames per second even if you go and stand right in the middle of a ‘use all abilities’ gunfight.
Of course we recognize that this card is going to be overkill for the vast majority of VALORANT players, which is why it’s placed so low despite being the favorite of the pros. Again: if money isn’t an issue this is obviously the best card to get (more frames are always better, even if you’ve already gone beyond your monitor’s refresh rate) but if you’re on any kind of budget we recommend taking a look at another card.
Conclusion: The best GPU for VALORANT
As you’ve no doubt been able to see VALORANT isn’t a very demanding game. Riot set out to make a game that runs well even on budget hardware and as far as we can tell they’ve really succeeded on that front.
Reaching the competitive standard refresh rate of 240 frames per second isn’t very difficult here, but of course you will still need a pretty powerful card that’s at least mid tier to get to those frames reliably as is always the case.
Getting to 144 frames per second is pretty easy even on a budget. Some of the most affordable cards on the market right now reach those frames with relative ease. That’s great news because it means that you can be gaming at high framerates even on a relatively small budget.
Pros of course always go for the best of the best (you can read why here) so they always trend towards the higher end cards. If budget is no issue you can of course do the same but otherwise a mid tier card seems like the best option for this game.
Thanks for reading!