Best GPU for Gaming and Esports

Reaching the top at any given game means hours upon hours of dedicated practice and study. If you want to become the best player you can be, you just can’t afford to be held back by your gear and your PC is another critical weapon in your arsenal.

Professional gamers all use high refresh rate setups. Having a high refresh rate system gives you a myriad of advantages, and with every serious competitive gamer chasing the perfect setup you can’t really afford to be left behind if you want to be even a little bit competitive. No matter which way you spin it: a 60Hz system is going to be a massive handicap if you’re playing against players who are on an esports-grade PC with a high refresh rate monitor.

In order to drive all of those frames towards your monitor (and do so steadily and reliably) you need a good GPU. The best graphics cards will provide high framerates (allowing you to play on top tier high refresh rate monitors) and have other benefits such as lowering your overall system latency.

Knowing that, a simple answer here would be to plainly recommend the best one, since the top tier graphics cards of the moment will obviously be able to put out the most frames, but graphics cards are a costly component, and depending on which game you’re playing you might want to consider going for more budget-friendly cards, as the top-of-the-line cards are often reserved for diehard enthusiasts or for people who are using their PC to make a living (be that by playing games or by creating content, doing visual work, …).

It pays off to consider your needs. We have dedicated GPU guides for all of our analyzed games, so if you really specialize in one specific game we’d encourage you to go and take a look at those guides, but if you’re looking for a more generalized approach, this is the guide for you. Here, we’ll be considering the system requirements of all of our analyzed games, and we’ll also take single player gaming at higher graphical settings into account.


The Pro Usage Top 5 gets updated daily so that you can get an up-to-date overview of what the pros are using at any given time, which includes discontinued cards. In the body of the article we will focus on cards that are currently available for purchase.

The most used graphics cards by all players

The most popular graphics cards are calculated based on 1430 professional players.

What makes a GPU good for esports?

As we mentioned earlier: we see 144 frames per second as the bottom limit for esports setups. Over 98% of our analyzed professionals play on a setup that’s capable of pushing and displaying at least 144 FPS, so if you really want to be competitive we recommend that you try to reach at least that. There are a lot of advantages here, and once you’ve played competitive games at higher refresh rates you will not want to go back, so it’s certainly worth the extra investment if you’re looking for a dedicated GPU for gaming.

While we’re at it: it’s also important to have a balanced build. It makes no sense to go for an RTX 4090 and stick it in a PC with an i3 CPU and 8 GB of RAM, for example. You don’t want an underpowered system to bottleneck the speeds of your GPU. So in essence: make sure to budget appropriately and consider what your needs are before purchasing something as critical as a GPU.

A good/powerful GPU also lowers your overall system latency, and reducing your overall system latency to be the lowest it can be is of critical importance in competitive gaming. This latency-reducing effect can also be emphasized by technology such as NVIDIA Reflex. Games can adopt this technology in order to further reduce the overall latency that a gamer experiences, and with more and more games adding Reflex to their options menu these are exciting times for competitive players.

With that out of the way, we can say that it’s definitely important to have a good graphics card in your rig. The current competitive refresh rate standard is 240 FPS and (depending on the game you are playing) that requires some serious horsepower to reach consistently. With 360Hz monitors now available at 1440p resolutions for competitive gaming, your GPU will be even more important if you want to keep up with the competition.

The latest and greatest GPUs can power 1440p gaming at competitive refresh rates, delivering performances that esports gamers demand. Using the latest GPUs (in a suitable setup that doesn’t bottleneck anything) increases the pixel density, giving you a clearer overview of the battlefield ahead of you, and the latest cards are powerful enough so that they don’t compromise on the framerates or response times to achieve these resolutions.

In short: a good esports GPU delivers as many frames as possible and reduces system latency. This is also the reason that you see esports pros gravitating towards the top tier cards, even if the games they are playing are very easy to run for modern GPUs. These people are being paid to play the game, and as such they invest in the absolute best gear that they can get.

Our List and Options

NVIDIA is by far the most represented graphics card manufacturer among the professional gamers that we analyze; around 97% of analyzed professionals are using an NVIDIA-based card. We don’t know what the future holds, but at this point in time there’s no denying that NVIDIA is the best option if you’re going for high performance cards, which is why you’ll only see cards from ‘team green’ in this list.

We’ve been taking a look at our analyzed games to come up with cards that should suit every budget and setup so that you’re sure to find the card that’s right for your particular needs in this list. Important to note is that we’ve only gone for cards that are currently in production and being sold. You can of course always consider used cards from older series if that’s what you want, but we generally advise you to go for the newer RTX lines if you’re shopping for a GPU.

Fun Fact

of analyzed professionals are using a card based on NVIDIA architecture

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070

NVIDIA Reflex Compatible

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070

Used by 1 player (Jun, 2023)
  • dexter

The GeForce RTX 4070 is part of the 40 series of graphics cards, made by NVIDIA. These succeeded the 30 series of graphics cards.


Boost Clock2.48GHz
Memory Size12GB
Memory TypeGDDR6X

The 4070 is a new kid on the block, and performance-wise it’s basically on par with the RTX 3080 at a cheaper price. Given that the RTX 3080 was our pick for best gaming GPU of the last generation, it’s only logical to see this one pop up in our list.

What you’re getting here is a very reliable gaming GPU that offers reliable and solid performances at both 1080p as well as 1440p. That, coupled with the fact that competitive gamers lower their ingame settings in order to eliminate visual distractions and ensure stable framerates, makes this the ideal card for competitive-minded players who are looking for a card from the newest generation of GPUs.

Looking purely at a price-performance perspective, the 4070 is the one to get if your mind is on competing (and competing at 1440p now or in the future). If you are someone who wants a little extra computational headroom for ultra graphics at 4K you should look up a tier at the 4080s and 4090s of this world, and if you’re going to stick to 1080p you can look a little lower, but the 4070 is our current recommendation as a dedicated gaming/esports card for most people. It’ll run our competitive games with ease and it’ll also allow you to dial up the settings of the latest single player games without breaking a sweat.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080

NVIDIA Reflex Compatible

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080

Used by 31 players (Jun, 2023)
  • MAJ3R
  • stanislaw
  • AdreN

The GeForce RTX 4080 is part of the 40 series of graphics cards, made by NVIDIA. These succeeded the 30 series of graphics cards.


Boost Clock2.51GHz
Memory Size16GB
Memory TypeGDDR6X

If you want a card that’ll run competitive shooters at 360+ FPS at 1080p and 1440p without issues that also gives you the option to crank up the graphics in the latest and greatest single player games so that you can enjoy the fantastic visuals that these games provide, then the 4080 is a good card to consider.

It’s an ideal ‘future-proofing’ card that’ll ensure that you don’t need to upgrade within the next couple of years at least, and it also has enough horsepower to allow you to easily transition to 1440p. It’s logical to assume that that’s the next ‘standard resolution’ for competitive gaming now that GPUs, CPUs, and PCs in general are getting overpowered for 1080p gaming, so upgrading your GPU so that your system is ready for this change is a good idea.

All in all, this would be our pick for a high tier gaming PC that’s also being used for some single player gaming here and there. If you’re a hardcore competitive gamer and you only play games that are easy to run (think VALORANT) then you can consider going for a lower tier card, but if you’re building a new system for dedicated gaming purposes, this would be our pick.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

NVIDIA Reflex Compatible

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

Used by 55 players (Jun, 2023)
  • Twistzz
  • sScary
  • EpikWhale
  • Crws

The GeForce RTX 3070 is part of the 30 series of graphics cards, made by NVIDIA. These succeeded the 20 series of graphics cards.


Boost Clock1.73GHz
Memory Size8GB
Memory TypeGDDR6

As a competitive gamer, it is important to consider your budget. If you have an unlimited budget you’d of course just purchase the most expensive GPU (since those are also the most powerful) but if that were the case you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

The RTX 3070 is, if you ask us, the best budget option for competitive gamers. It is powerful enough to deliver 240+ frames per second at 1080p in all but the most demanding of our analyzed games, meaning that, if you’re someone who is dedicated to competitive gaming (and you, as such, have no problem lowering some ingame settings and what not) this card offers the best bang for your buck.

It’s also got plenty of juice to allow you to play the latest and greatest games at comfortable framerates, provided you don’t have an issue with lowering some ingame settings here and there. Unless you absolutely want to be on the cutting edge of GPU technology (or if you’re a gamer playing at the very highest levels) we would heavily recommend the RTX 3070 as an esports card for players on a 1080p setup.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090

NVIDIA Reflex Compatible

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090

Used by 36 players (Jun, 2023)
  • dev1ce
  • shroud
  • Nick Eh 30
    Nick Eh 30
  • Bugha

The GeForce RTX 4090 is part of the 40 series of graphics cards, made by NVIDIA. These succeeded the 30 series of graphics cards.


NVIDIA CUDA Cores16384
Boost Clock2.52GHz
Memory Size24GB
Memory TypeGDDR6X

If you truly want to go all out, the 4090 is your best bet right now. It’s the best graphics card on the market, and despite being priced highly, it’s a nice bang-for-your-buck option if you want to get the most powerful card on the market.

If you are someone who wants to squeeze every drop of performance out of their rig and get every possible advantages that you can get, the 4090 is a great option as it’s currently the most powerful graphics card on the market. It’s almost laughably overpowered for 1080p gaming, and even at 1440p it can deliver way above the ‘norm’ of 360 frames per second and it won’t even break a sweat reaching the 360 FPS mark, depending on the game that you’re playing of course. If you plan on playing at 4K and you’re not willing to compromise your performance even a little bit, this is also your best bet.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti

NVIDIA Reflex Compatible

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti

The GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is part of the 40 series of graphics cards, made by NVIDIA. These succeeded the 30 series of graphics cards.


Boost Clock2.54GHz
Memory Size8GB, 16GB
Memory TypeGDDR6

The 4060 Ti is a great budget 1080p card. It’s going to deliver reliable 240+ FPS performances at 1080p in a lot of our analyzed games (we say ‘a lot’ because some games are just simply too heavy to run at those framerates, even for the best cards) if you’re willing to drop some settings here and there, and at this price point that’s great news, since it means that competitive 1080p gamers will be able to get a GPU that matches their ambitions (even if they’re playing at higher refresh rates) for very friendly prices.

It’s of course not going to run the latest and greatest single player games at max settings, but thanks to its DLSS 3 support it’s a budget card that’s ready for the future, and there are some meaningful gains to be made when using this technology.

It does okay at 1440p if your target is 60 frames per second, but if you’re someone who is planning on gaming at 1440p now and well into the future we would recommend stepping it up a notch and going for a more powerful card such as the RTX 4070.

All in all, this is a worthy successor to the 3060 Ti as it’s faster and uses less power, so if you’re in the market for a budget GPU we would always recommend this one over the older 3060 Ti.

Best GPU for Gaming – Conclusion

While ‘the best’ GPU for competitive gaming is obviously going to be the most powerful card (remember: frames win games) the best card for gaming and esports for you depends on a number of factors. If you’re someone who basically only plays CS:GO, for example, with a bit of 2D indie games on the side for when you want to relax you won’t need a beast of a graphics card. Someone who is deep into PUBG and who wants to enjoy the latest singleplayer games at max graphics and higher resolution will obviously want to go for one of the more powerful cards.

This list has something for everyone, ranging from the most powerful cards in existence right now to budget cards for gamers who are just looking to play competitive shooters at 1080p, so this should be a good guide to get you started in your search for your next GPU.