GPU Hierarchy 2021 – Graphics Card Ranking and Comparison Charts

The era we live in is the era of technology and advancements. Everything is more developed and more reliable than ever before. Video games have been one of the fundamental elements of entertainment in this era. You will find the best of the best games being played now.

One of the main reasons video games have become famous is the quality of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) available now. GPUs have played an integral part in making the video gaming experience so smooth. You can play games without having interruptions due to graphic processing, all thanks to the modern GPUs.

GPU Hierarchy and Tier List 2021

Tier Level The Card VRAM Memory Bus Width CUDA cores/Stream processors
Tier 1 – Enthusiasts Nvidia Titan RTX 24 GB GDDR6 384-bit 4608
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11Gb GDDR6 352-bit 4352
Nvidia GeForce Titan V 12 GB HBM2 3072-bit 5120
Nvidia GeForce Titan Xp 12 GB GDDR5X 384-bit 3840
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB GDDR5X 352-bit 3584
Tier 2 – High-End Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2560
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2432
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit
1920
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6 GB GDDR5 384-bit 2816
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2 2048-bit 4096
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB HBM2 2048-bit 3584
AMD Radeon R9 Fury X 4GB HBM2 4096-bit 4096
Tier 3 – Mid Range Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB / 3 GB GDDR5 192-bit 1280
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2048
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 1664
Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3 GB GDDR5 384-bit 2880
AMD Radeon RX 580 8 GB / 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2304
AMD Radeon RX 480 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2304
AMD Radeon RX 570 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 2048
AMD Radeon R9 390 8 GB GDDR5 512-bit 2560
AMD Radeon R9 290X 4 GB GDDR5 512-bit 2816
Tier 4 – Budget Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB GDDR5 128-bit 768
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 640
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 1024
AMD Radeon RX 560 4 GB / 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 1024
AMD Radeon R9 380 4 GB GDDR5 256-bit 1792
AMD Radeon R9 280X 3 GB GDDR5 384-bit 2048
AMD Radeon R9 280 3 GB GDDR5 384-bit 1792
Tier 5 – Budget-Friendly Starter Kit Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 512
Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 768
Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 2 GB GDDR5 64-bit 384
Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 1 GB GDDR5 256-bit 336
AMD Radeon HD 7790 1 GB GDDR5 128-bit 896
AMD Radeon HD 6870 1 GB GDDR5 256-bit 1120
AMD Radeon HD 5850 1 GB GDDR5 256-bit 1440
AMD Radeon R7 360 1 GB GDDR5 128-bit 768
AMD Radeon R7 260 1 GB GDDR5 128-bit 768
AMD Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5 128-bit 640
AMD Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 256-bit 960

We are well aware that the CPU is the brain of your PC, but still, you need a graphics card to keep up with the latest games. There are a lot of games that will push your graphics card to its limits. 

Since there is the boom of the gaming era and the best of the best games are being released now and then, you would really need to upgrade your graphics card quite frequently. But if you choose the right GPU, it should last you at least two years.

If you have had the experience of setting up a gaming PC in the past, you will be familiar with the fact that the graphics card is relatively the most expensive component in your build. It’s tough to find a low-budget as well as a well-performing graphics card.

You will have to do a lot of research first to find the best graphics card for you while staying within budget. In this article, we have done that research for you. All you need to do is carefully go through this article and select the best GPU per your budget needs.

GPUs are ruling the gaming world nowadays. They have so many different varying options available depending on the type you’re interested in. Every GPU has its own value and worth.

They come with different specifications and price ranges. In this article, we will see which GPUs are ruling the market, and then you can decide which one is the most suitable for you.

The GPUs here are divided into five categories. They are assigned tiers; one, two, three, four, and five. We will discuss the specifications of the GPUs lying under each tier.

Tier 1-Enthusiasts

The first tier contains the premium GPUs and is known as the “enthusiasts” tier.  The most powerful GPUs in the world pile up in this tier. Currently, Nvidia is the only one who is producing GPUs of such caliber. They have been undisputed dominators of this tier for a very long time.

These GPUs offer an impeccable 60 FPS 4K gaming experience and are quite powerful. They can sometimes really blur the lines between professional cards and gaming cards. The tier 1 GPUs are the most expensive of the bunch.

These GPUs really do cross the lines in terms of both price and performance. These GPUs have given the technology a really great boom. They have paved the path for even more powerful and advanced technology to come in the future. Here is a list of the tier 1 GPUs.

The CardVRAMMemory Bus WidthCUDA cores/Stream processors
Nvidia Titan RTX24 GB GDDR6384-bit4608
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti11Gb GDDR6352-bit4352
Nvidia GeForce Titan V12 GB HBM23072-bit5120
Nvidia GeForce Titan XP12 GB GDDR5X384-bit3840
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti11GB GDDR5X352-bit3584

If you are a passionate gamer who wants to be updated with all the latest games, this tier is made for you. In this tier, you’ll experience graphics like never before. The GPUs of this tier can operate 100% of the games that have been released till now.

Nvidia GeForce Titan V is the best GPU ever made. There is no competitor of Titan V at the moment in the market. It’s the most powerful GPU ever made. This tier is like the royal realm in the world of gaming and GPUs. Only the most passionate and enthusiastic gamers dare to enter this tier for purchasing a GPU.

If you want to get a GPU from the first tier, be ready to spend well over $1,000 on it alone. You also have to have a matching system memory and a powerful monitor. But let me tell you that you will not regret purchasing it.

It will offer you the best graphics and textures without sacrificing even a tiny bit of overall speed and performance. These GPUs are with your money and time. If you’re an enthusiast, do give them a try.

Tier 1 Enthusiasts
Tier 1 Enthusiasts

Tier 2 – High-End

The second tier is commonly known as the “high-end” graphics card. As mentioned in the first tier, Nvidia is dominant; the same is the case for the second tier. AMD has attempted to compete with Nvidia, but Nvidia is still the dominant brand here.

Here is the list of some GPUs that lie in the category of the second tier.

Brand Model Memory Memory Chipset
Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X
GTX 1070 Ti 8GB GDDR5
GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
GTX 980 Ti 6GB GDDR5
AMD RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2
RX Vega 56 8GB HBM2
R9 Fury X 4GB HBM2

In the list above, you can observe a little variety as we have included AMD entries. We did not see any GPU from AMD in the first tier because it goes as high as the second tier. This is not as bad as compared to the quality they still offer.

Although Nvidia is still dominating the list, AMD also offers great quality. This tier smoothly runs graphics up to 2K at 60 FPS. This means that 1080p will run even more smoothly. 1080p can reach 100 fps easily on these GPUs. Gamers can have a great experience in tier 2 GPUs.

In this list, Nvidia’s 1080 lead the race. The rest of the GPUs comes after it. It has an 8GB dedicated memory, making it a powerful gaming experience with more power-saving and quiet performance.

AMD’s best GPU, lying under tier 2, is the RX Vega 64 at the moment. It is comparable to Nvidia’s GTX 1080, but still, it does not quite surpass it. AMD still is improving and is out there, not lagging far behind.

The GPUs of the second tier are not much expensive as compared to the tier 1 GPUs. Their price varies quite often due to high manufacturing and low supply curve. You can expect the price of tier 2 GPUs to lie in the range of $300-$700.

These will definitely be worth your money. You’ll have a satisfying 2K gaming experience on these GPUs. If you’re a game lover, you won’t mind spending a few bucks on these beauties.

Tier 2 High End
Tier 2 High End

Tier 3 – Mid Range

If you ask which GPUs are the most common among PC gamers, you will find out that tier 3 GPUs are the ones. Most gamers use these GPUs because of a few factors, such as being medium range in the price category.

These are known as “Mid-range” because of being in the medium price range. These being affordable, they can still handle a lot of the latest games. Mid-range refers to their price; don’t think the quality is compromised in these GPUs. You still get a smooth experience in gaming.

Brand Model Memory Memory Chipset
Nvidia GTX 1060 6 GB / 3 GB GDDR5
GTX 980 4 GB GDDR5
GTX 970 4 GB GDDR5
GTX 780 Ti 3 GB GDDR5
AMD RX 580 8 GB / 4 GB GDDR5
RX 480 4 GB GDDR5
RX 570 4 GB GDDR5
R9 390 8 GB GDDR5
R9 290X 4 GB GDDR5

As already mentioned above, tier 3 GPUs are most commonly used around the world by gamers. You can play in high to ultra-high settings with minimal interruptions.

Obviously, you won’t be able to avail of 4K quality. As far as fps is concerned, you can roam around 30-60fps for 2K graphics. There is also good news for the fans of 1080p. You will not regret using these GPUs. They give a satisfactory and uninterrupted experience on 1080p.

This category is quite balanced in terms of the brand offering such GPUs. Nvidia and AMD go side by side in mid-range GPUs’ comparison. They are equal in quality in tier 3 GPUs with a slight edge to AMD’s Radeon series.

You can easily rely on these GPUs for a couple of years. The GPUs in this list are very reliable in terms of memory and 1080p textures. Both Nvidia and AMD offer very optimal graphics in these GPUs. At a medium price, these GPUs are best.

Tier 3 Mid Range
Tier 3 Mid Range

Tier 4 – Budget

We are well aware of our society, and we can understand that not everybody can afford a beastly gaming PC. Not all have enough money to get a powerful and high-performance gaming system.

The gaming and PC market has introduced several affordable yet reliable solutions to choose from to cope with these issues. There are many low-end budget GPUs and systems available in the market that people with low budgets can purchase.

These GPUs are classified as tier 4 GPUs. They give a very satisfying gaming experience while being within the budget of almost everyone. Nvidia and AMD again offer a variety of tier 4 GPUs. These GPUs are built for 1080p gaming. Their performance can vary from game to game and also with the system they’re being used with.

A list of some popular tier 4 GPUs is given below.

Brand Model Memory Memory Chipset
Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 6 GB / 3 GB GDDR5
GTX 1050 4 GB GDDR5
GTX 960 4 GB GDDR5
AMD RX 560 4 GB / 2 GB GDDR5
R9 380 4 GB GDDR5
R9 280X 3 GB GDDR5
R9 280 3 GB GDDR5

The above-mentioned GPUs are well-performing, but you can still not expect them to be outstanding and provide an elite experience in every game. They are best for those who have a limited budget.

Radeon RX 560 by AMD and GTX 1050 Ti by Nvidia are the leading GPUs in this tier. As we saw in Tier 3 that gave a maximum of 2K experience, these Tier 4 GPUs give a maximum quality in 1080p.

You can still play the latest games on the Tier 4 GPUs. The difference will only be that they won’t be as smooth as they are in higher tiers. If you are new to gaming, you can start these GPUs and enjoy the latest games. These are affordable, simpler, and somewhat straightforward. This is the best choice for you if you have a low budget.

Tier 4 Budget
Tier 4 Budget

Tier 5 – Budget-Friendly Starter Kit

This tier is the cheapest of all in terms of price. This fifth tier is classified as “Budget-Friendly Starter Kit.” In this tier, you can see a few more GPUs. These are basically money-saving GPUs and don’t get much out of the performance.

If you are not a professional gamer who must have the latest games at your earliest, this tier is built for you. You can still enjoy classic games and the less demanding ones on the GPUs of this tier.

You might get 60fps for 1080p, but it won’t be as stable and smooth as Tier 4 GPUs. If you try to go even a bit higher on these GPUs, you’ll see a clear lag in your game.

The GPUs included in this Tier are listed below.

Brand Model Memory Memory Chipset
Nvidia GTX 750 2 GB GDDR5
GTX 650 Ti 2 GB GDDR5
GT 1030 2 GB GDDR5
GTX 560 1 GB GDDR5
AMD HD 7790 1 GB GDDR5
HD 6870 1 GB GDDR5
HD 5850 1 GB GDDR5
R7 360 1 GB GDDR5
R7 260 1 GB GDDR5
HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5

You might be thinking, what are these Tier 5 GPUs good for? Basically, if you use your computer just for regular stuff and occasionally play video games, these GPUs are the perfect match.

If you are not interested in the latest games, you shouldn’t spend too much on higher-tier GPUs. For seasonal gamers, these Tier 5 GPUs are the ideal ones. You can enjoy a classic game or any other random game on these GPUs.

Other than more advanced games, your system will run quite smoothly on these GPUs. For a simple and stable light PC, you can definitely rely on Tier 5 GPUs. They are very light on your wallet and very suitable for a basic PC system.

We have briefly laid out the GPU Hierarchy above. This hierarchy is not so simple and obvious as it seems. Many factors determine the ultimate hierarchy of GPUs.

Except for the Tier 1 GPUs, all other tiers have tough competition among the brands in the GPU hierarchy race. The GPUs which compete are tested for various latest games.

Their responses to those games determine which GPU is more powerful and better in performance. This is a very long and laborious work. After those various tests, a GPU is declared better than the other.

Tier 5
Tier 5

One may ask, which is the most powerful and best GPU in the market at the moment in terms of performance? Well, this has a simple and obvious answer. Currently, the most powerful GPU in the market is Nvidia’s GeForce Titan V.

It tops the list with an impressive combination of performance and power. It has a stunning design. No GPU has looked as cool as Nvidia GeForce Titan V looks. If we talk about the groundbreaking capability of Titan V, it has the power of 12 GB HBM2 memory and 640 Tensor Cores, which delivers 110 teraflops of performance.

Now, these are pretty impressive stats. It also features Volta-optimized Nvidia CUDA for maximum results. These features give you an experience like never before. It will cost you about $3000. This is a very expensive GPU, and only the enthusiasts will go for it. But mark my word; you will not be disappointed after using this GPU.

It offers 4K gaming experience like never before without any hiccups. You will need an equally powerful monitor and PC system to get the best results out of this beast. If you are a passionate gamer and want the best graphics and fps for your gaming experience, you should definitely get one of these.

They will be costly, but you will not regret it for a second when you’ll see their performance. Other than this, you can go for other GPUs as well mentioned in the tiers above. As you go ahead in the tiers list, you can see less-expensive GPUs, and you can pick the one that suits your needs the best.

So there you have it, everything you needed to know about the GPU Hierarchy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best GPU in 2021?

Nvidia has always been on top when it comes to the graphics card, and their RTX 2080ti is the best graphics card for performance. It is better to wait for RTX 3000 series as they will be released in September, and the other two, 3070 and 3090, will also be released soon.

What is the best AMD graphics card 2021?

XFX RX 5700 XT THICC III is the best AMD graphics card in 2021.

What is AMD GPU equivalent to GTX 1080?

AMD’s RX 5700 performs similarly to GTX 1080. Other than this, Vega 64 is the graphics card known as the equivalent of GTX 1080.

What is the best GPU on the market?

RTX 2080ti is the best GPU available on the market right now. But it won’t take long for RTX 3000 series to wipe out 2080ti’s greatness at a lesser price.


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Atif Liaqat
By Atif Liaqat

I have been fond of computer technology for a long time, ever since childhood, and was always meddling with various hardware and software. With graduation in computer engineering from a recognized university like NUST was a dream come true and enabled me to pursue my dreams in swift ways.



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