Best 1440p graphics cards: sweet spot PC gaming

1440p is perhaps the perfect resolution for high-end gaming thanks to its much higher quality than 1080p and its lower impact on frame rate than 4K, allowing for the perfect blend of high pixel density and high framerates. However, running games at 1440p requires at least a midrange GPU and a decent amount of VRAM, and to get high framerates you’ll need a high-end GPU.

Thankfully, GPU prices are cooling down due to lower demand (probably because many are waiting for next-gen RX 7000 and RTX 40-series GPUs) and also because of the recent crypto meltdown. Now that many of these GPUs are finally attainable at more reasonable prices, here are our picks for the best GPUs for 1440p gaming.

nvidia rtx 3070 ti review 2

RTX 3070 Ti

The best 1440p graphics card

Pros

  • Gorgeous design
  • Decent value
  • Great 4K gaming
  • HDMI 2.1 included
  • Strong content creation performance

Cons

  • Requires more power than the RTX 3070
  • Closer to RTX 3070 than 3080 in performance

Why you should buy this: The 3070 Ti is right in between the middle of the midrange and the beginning of the high end, with the price and performance to match.

Who it’s for: Gamers who have a large budget but don’t need or want the fastest GPU.

What we thought of the RTX 3070 Ti:

Because Nvidia GPUs excel mostly at 4K and are usually more expensive than AMD GPUs with similar levels of performance, it has been difficult to find Nvidia GPUs to recommend, but we think the RTX 3070 Ti is pretty decent. It has 8GB of VRAM, which is actually lower than the 3060’s 12GB, but at 1440p this is enough for everyone except perhaps hardcore game modders. The 3070 Ti retails for about $700 (give or take a few bucks) which puts it somewhere between the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT.

In our review of this GPU, we found that the 3070 Ti was about 15-20% faster than the 6700 XT, and other reviewers have found that the 6800 is about 10% faster than the 3070 Ti. Since the 6700 XT and 6800 are either significantly cheaper or about the same price as the 3070 Ti and thus have better value, you might be wondering why the 3070Ti is even on this list. Well, it has all those Nvidia exclusive features, and although not everyone wants or uses them, they’re hard to ignore.

DLSS can easily put the 3070 Ti ahead of the 6800 in framerate while having equivalent image quality, and if you’re into ray tracing, performance is going to be better on the 3070 Ti. In its 3070 Ti review, Digital Foundry found that the 3070 Ti was almost 30% faster than the 6800 in Metro Exodus with ray tracing on. That was actually the best result for the 6800; in Battlefield V the 3070 Ti was a little over 30% faster and in Control it had nearly twice as fast. Combine both DLSS and ray tracing, and the 3070 Ti is just in a tier of its own and has way, way better value.

It’s the best overall 1440p GPU unless you don’t need the Nvidia features. If you happen to play lots of games that support DLSS and ray tracing, or if you want to use other Nvidia apps like Nvidia Broadcast, then the 3070 Ti is definitely one of the best GPUs you can buy for 1440p gaming. Even if you’re not taking advantage of Nvidia’s features and technologies, the 3070 Ti is still a perfectly fine GPU, just with a price tag that’s a little higher than we like.

EVGA RTX 3070 Ti FTW3

RTX 3070 Ti

The best 1440p graphics card

amd rx 6600 xt review featured

RX 6600 XT

The best cheap graphics card for 1440p

Pros

  • Smooth gaming at 1080p
  • Doesn’t require a lot of power
  • Capable of 1440p gaming
  • Support for FidelityFX Super Resolution

Cons

  • A little too expensive
  • Lackluster content creation performance
  • Poor ray tracing performance

Why you should buy this: It’s the best bang for buck GPU that can game at 1440p with a good framerate

Who it’s for: Gamers want better value than the 3060.

What we thought of the RX 6600 XT:

Although the 6600 XT is one of the slower GPUs among our recommendations, it definitely has the best value, provided you can compromise on performance and features. Its greatest strength is its price, which is usually around $400 and sometimes lower. That’s a pretty good price for entry-level 1440p gaming. We also like that the 6600 XT has 8GB of VRAM, which is good for a GPU of this performance.

We found that in several games tested at 1440p and max graphics settings, the 6600 XT can usually manage at least 60 fps, even in newer and more demanding AAA games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Red Dead Redemption 2. Much higher frame rates like 120 fps are possible in older and less demanding titles like Battlefield V and Fortnite. Reducing some graphics settings would definitely yield higher frame rates, too.

The 6600 XT, like other AMD GPUs, miss out on Nvidia’s killer exclusive feature: Deep Learning Super Sampling, or DLSS for short. DLSS essentially takes a lower resolution (such as 1080p) and uses AI to enhance it to look like a better resolution, which results in better performance without reducing the image quality very much if at all. Though, this isn’t that much of a problem for AMD now that the company has FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR. FSR has actually been out since June 2021, but it wasn’t very good until the 2.0 version came out in May 2022, and the newer version looks almost as good as DLSS and works on not only basically every AMD GPU since the 500 series but also on almost all Nvidia GPUs.

So, is FSR 2.0 good enough to outweigh the inability to use DLSS? In May, we decided that DLSS was overall the better technology thanks to its superior game support, but AMD, game devs, and even modders have been working very hard to bring FSR 2.0 to more and more games. At the time of writing, only three games officially support FSR 2.0 with many more promising support in the future, but unofficial mods are also bringing FSR 2.0 to games like Red Dead Redemption 2. These mods probably don’t provide the same kind of quality an official FSR 2.0 update would, but that these mods exist at all suggests FSR 2.0 can catch up to DLSS in game support.

You might be willing to overlook the 6600 XT’s relative weakness in the upscaling department, but if you’re interested in ray tracing at 1440p, the 6600 XT will disappoint you. In our ray tracing benchmarks, the 6600 XT was simply unplayable at this resolution. Even with FSR 2.0, you won’t be getting a very high frame rate. If you have to have ray tracing, pass on the 6600 XT.

One last thing to note is that AMD refreshed three of its 6000 series GPUs, including the 6600 XT. The new RX 6650 XT is about $30 more and very slightly faster. The value for both GPUs is about the same so it doesn’t matter which one you choose, but the 6600 XT is cheaper, which is why it got the recommendation over its faster counterpart.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

RX 6600 XT

The best cheap graphics card for 1440p

The AMD RX 6700 XT sitting on a table.

RX 6700 XT

The best 1440p graphics card for high frame rates

Pros

  • Can consistently achieve framerates higher than 60fps
  • Relatively affordable
  • Plenty of VRAM

Cons

  • Still not fast enough for ray tracing at 1440p

Why you should buy this: The 6700 XT is made for 1440p and can easily hit 60 to 120 fps in most games at 1440p.

Who it’s for: Gamers with a mid- to large-sized budget.

What we thought of the RX 6700 XT:

The 6700 XT is essentially a faster 6600 XT with 12GB of VRAM for about $450 to $500, or $100 more than the 6600 XT. Whereas the 6600 XT is just barely capable of 60 fps in the most demanding titles, the 6700 XT’s extra speed can get it to 60 fps much more easily. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we were able to get to 75 fps at max graphics settings on the 6700 XT while the 6600 XT got 60 fps, which is a fair bit slower. In other titles, the 6700 XT easily got to 120 fps or more without turning down any settings.

Of course, what weaknesses existed on the 6600 XT also exist on the 6700 XT: poor ray tracing performance and worse access to upscaling technology. The 6700 XT is faster than the 6600 XT, so ray tracing goes from unplayable to playable, but still very behind the Nvidia competition. And again, FSR 2.0 is promising but at the moment not as accessible as DLSS is.

Finally, the 6700 XT also got a refresh in the form of the RX 6750 XT. The 6750 XT is about $50 or so more expensive than the 6700 XT, which is a terrible deal because the performance is barely any higher. Avoid the 6750 XT if you can, it just doesn’t have good value.

MSI RX 6700 XT Mech 2X

RX 6700 XT

The best 1440p graphics card for high frame rates

EVGA RTX 3060 sitting on a table.

RTX 3060

An alternative cheap GPU from Nvidia

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Tons of VRAM
  • Good enough performance for 1440p

Cons

  • Not good enough for ray tracing at 1440p

Why you should buy this: It’s one of the cheapest GPUs capable of gaming at 1440p while maintaining a good framerate.

Who it’s for: Gamers on a budget.

What we thought of the RTX 3060:

Our first Nvidia GPU on our list, the RTX 3060 is a pretty decent option for 1440p. Although it’s the slowest GPU we’re recommending, it has some things going for it. Firstly, it has a relatively low price tag of around $400 to 450. Secondly, it has a ton of VRAM, 12GB, which is usually found on much more expensive Nvidia GPUs. This amount of VRAM is absolute overkill even for 1440p, but it’s nice knowing you’ll never run out.

As for performance, the 3060 gets the job done. It performs a little worse than the 6600 XT in most titles like Battlefield V, where the 3060 achieved 123 fps at max settings, just behind the 6600 XT at 139 fps. One thing that helps the 3060 is that Nvidia GPUs tend to perform better at higher resolutions. At 1080p, the gap between the 6600 XT and the 3060 is a bit wider, but at 1440p things are more competitive between AMD and Nvidia.

Of course, one of the advantages the 3060 has over the 6600 XT is DLSS, and although it’s only in just over a hundred games, many of these games are demanding, AAA titles that would normally run poorly on a 3060. With DLSS on, the 3060 is much faster than the 6600 XT while having about the same visual quality. This only matters in games that have DLSS but not FSR 2.0, so it might not be relevant to everyone.

Ray tracing is better on the 3060 than the 6600 XT, but it’s still not really good enough to be playable at 1440p. If you want ray tracing, make sure you have DLSS available, too.

Asus RTX 3060 ROG Strix

RTX 3060

An alternative cheap GPU from Nvidia

A reference model RX 6800.

AMD

RX 6800

Ideal value upper mid range 1440p gaming

Pros

  • Very good performance
  • Can be found at a very low price
  • Just fast enough for ray tracing at 1440p

Cons

  • Low supply can cause fluctuations in price

Why you should buy this: The RX 6800 is the most ideally priced GPU for high midrange 1440p gaming.

Who it’s for: Gamers who really want really high-end performance for a good price, as long as they can wait for a good deal.

What we thought of the RX 6800:

The RX 6800 is almost the perfect GPU for 1440p gaming. It’s super fast, it has more than enough VRAM at 16GB, and it can be found for around $600. The key word here is can, however, as supply for the 6800 isn’t great and not all models are being sold for $600. Still, if you can find one for this price or a little more, it’s a great deal.

Techspot benchmarked the 6800 and found that in every single title it tested, the GPU got at least 100 fps with all the settings maxed out. Overall, the 6800 slots right between the RTX 3070 Ti and the 3080, which is impressive because the 6800 can be cheaper than both of those GPUs.

The 6800 is also just barely fast enough for ray tracing at a high framerate. In its initial review of the 6800, Techspot found that the 6800 could achieve 68 fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1440p with the graphics settings maxed out, including ray tracing. Just like other AMD GPUs, the 6800 isn’t as good at ray tracing as similarly priced Nvidia GPUs, but this level of performance should be acceptable at the right price.

Just like other AMD GPUs, you get FSR support with the 6800, but it’s not as important for this GPU since the 6800 is a big step above the 6700 XT.

Sapphire RX 6800 Pulse

RX 6800

Ideal value upper mid range 1440p gaming

A Gigabyte branded 6800 XT.

Gigabyte

RX 6800 XT

High frame rate 1440p gaming

Pros

  • Performance just shy of top end GPUs
  • Much cheaper than top end GPUs
  • Ideal for overclocking

Cons

  • Ray tracing performance not amazing

Why you should buy this: The 6800 XT is a high-end GPU without the price tag that comes with top-end models like the 6900 XT and 6950 XT.

Who it’s for: Gamers who want a high-end GPU without spending way more than necessary.

What we thought of the RX 6800 XT:

Just as the 6700 XT is basically a faster 6600 XT, the 6800 XT is essentially a faster 6800. Across several titles, it’s about 10% faster at 1440p, so ideally it would be only a little more expensive, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. While many 6800 XTs go for around $800, there are some models on sale for closer to $700.

The value of the 6800 XT isn’t great compared to the 6800 or other, slower GPUs, but at the high end you have to accept that value is generally worse. The 6800 XT is fast enough to set itself apart, and the 6800 XT’s additional GPU cores, higher power budget, and better binning make it more ideal for overclocking, which can help get your money’s worth out of such an expensive GPU.

The 6800 XT isn’t the fastest GPU, but you don’t need a top-end RX 6950 XT or an RTX 3090 Ti for 1440p anyways. The 6800 XT is easily capable of 120 fps at maximum graphics settings in almost all games, and about 60 fps or more with ray tracing enabled. This is the kind of performance where you will never feel like your GPU isn’t fast enough, except in ray tracing enabled games where you may need to turn down a few settings.

Sapphire RX 6800 XT Pulse

RX 6800 XT

High frame rate 1440p gaming

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wait for the next generation of GPUs instead of buying one of these?

Later this year, we expect AMD to launch its RX 7000 series and Nvidia its RTX-40 series. We generally expect the next generation, top-end GPUs from both companies to be significantly faster than the current top-end cards (the RX 6950 XT and the RTX 3090 Ti), but we can’t say for sure how much slower GPUs will cost and whether or not their value is worth waiting for. What we know for sure is that current generation GPUs are the cheapest they’ve ever been, so buying now wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Is Nvidia better than AMD?

Unless you plan on using every single unique feature Nvidia GPUs have (which is going to be difficult since not all games support DLSS or ray tracing, for example), then no, Nvidia isn’t just better overall. Likewise, although AMD GPUs are usually better priced than Nvidia GPUs in the current market, the lack of features can be a dealbreaker for some. You’ll have to figure out on your own which GPU brand is best for what you want to do.

Which GPU is the fastest?

Nvidia’s fastest GPU is the RTX 3090 Ti, while AMD has its RX 6950 XT. At 1440p, these GPUs are basically neck and neck, but since they cost well over $1,000 and are really for 4K gaming, we didn’t recommend them here. Of the GPUs on this list, the 6800 and 6800 XT are the fastest, having similar performance at 1440p in most games.

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