5 Best GPUs for Graphic Design Professionals

09 september 2023 year
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If you're building a PC for graphic design, choosing the right graphics cards can be a key component to helping your working process.

A graphics card, also known as a GPU, processes the tasks your computer calculates into images and displays them on a monitor.

The good news for graphic designers is that most, if not all, of their tasks, don't require high-performance GPUs. Most graphic design tasks are handled by the CPU, RAM, and video memory of the graphics card. As a result, this is one of the professions where you don't have to break the piggy bank for a graphics card.

But if you also do 3D graphics, video editing, designing, or playing games in your free time, you should consider a more powerful GPU. Even if you don't participate in the above, you still need an optimal graphics card that will display quality images on your monitor.

In this article, we will show 5 graphics cards with different budgets that we recommend for graphic designers. Also, the specifications of these graphics cards are excellent for PC gaming and other tasks. Therefore, you can also get a great gaming graphics card for a relatively low cost.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

Specifications:

  • Stream Processors: 4,864
  • Core Clock: 1,900 MHz (2,500 MHz Boost)
  • Memory: 24 GB GDDR6
  • Video Memory Speed: 20 Gbps (960 GB/s bandwidth)
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x DisplayPort 2.1, 1 x USB Type-C
  • Power Connectors: 2 x PCIe 8-pin

Pros:

  • Colossal performance
  • Competitive pricing for a premium-class card
  • Fits into most cases
  • No 16-pin connector

Cons:

  • Creative performance could be better
  • Ray tracing still lags behind Nvidia's latest cards by a whole generation
  • Very power-hungry

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX had a lot to prove when it hit the market in late 2022, and it brilliantly succeeded in becoming the most powerful graphics card on the market for under $1,000, surpassing Nvidia's RTX 4080, which costs 20% more.

The new second-generation "ray" accelerators in the RX 7900 XTX make 4K using ultra settings with ray tracing a reality on an AMD card, something the previous flagship, the RX 6950 XT, couldn't quite achieve. It's not without its flaws, including trailing Nvidia's RTX 4000-series in ray tracing (though it outperforms the RT performance of Nvidia's RTX 3090) and uneven performance in creative workloads. However, overall, this is the only graphics card that can be recommended to nearly everyone looking to finally upgrade their graphics after years of card shortages.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Specifications:

  • Stream Processors: 4,864
  • Core Clock: 1,410 MHz (1,670 MHz Boost)
  • Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Video Memory Speed: 14 Gbps
  • Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
  • Power Connectors: 1 x PCIe 8-pin (with a 1x 12-pin adapter included)

Pros:

  • Excellent 1080p performance
  • High ray tracing performance
  • Good cooling system

Cons:

  • Unsatisfactory 4K performance
  • Annoying 12-pin connector

Has AMD lost its crown as the king of affordable graphics cards? Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 Ti challenges this notion with its impressive blend of price and performance. This graphics card punches well above its weight class, delivering performance that can rival the RTX 2080 Super while maintaining an incredibly affordable price point for most consumers. All of this comes with impressive ray tracing capabilities.

During testing, experts even found it capable of 4K, albeit with some compromises in settings and ray tracing disabled. Given this, the 3060 Ti has few downsides. It remains exceptionally cool and looks aesthetically pleasing inside a PC case. As a result, it's truly the best graphics card for most people.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Specifications:

  • Stream Processors: 2,560
  • Core Clock: 1,780 MHz
  • Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Video Memory Speed: 12 Gbps
  • Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI
  • Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin

Pros:

  • Affordable price compared to other models
  • Excellent 1080p performance
  • Ray tracing and DLSS support

Cons:

  • Still relatively pricey for a "budget" graphics card

The best graphics cards released in recent years all share one common trait: they are very expensive. This is largely due to a shortage of graphics cards, but also because Nvidia and AMD neglected the world of budget graphics cards for far too long.

Fortunately, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 has finally arrived. While it's considerably more expensive than previous 50-series cards from Nvidia, this GPU is much more accessible than nearly everything else in the current generation. With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, you can work in almost any graphics editing software at high settings.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090

Specifications:

  • Stream Processors: 16,384
  • Core Clock: 2,235 MHz
  • Memory: 24 GB GDDR6
  • Video Memory Speed: 21.2 Gbps
  • Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1 x HDMI 2.1a
  • Power Connectors: 1 x 16-pin

Pros:

  • Impressive performance
  • DLSS 3 game-changer
  • Ideal for creative professionals

Cons:

  • Still comes at a very high price
  • Requires a 16-pin connector, testing cable management skills

Yes, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 comes at a high cost. Additionally, it requires a 16-pin connector or an adapter. It's also very, very large. But the first release of Nvidia's new 4000 series is sheer power, capable of handling whatever you throw at it. It's the most powerful GPU in existence.

During testing, experts found it to perform significantly better than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, with two to four times the performance in synthetic benchmarks and up to 100% higher performance in some games. Moreover, DLSS 3, included in the package, could be the next gaming revolution once it becomes widespread.

However, this is more than what most people need. Creative individuals and those interested in a no-compromise GPU at any cost will appreciate the power of this graphics card. Just make sure you have a powerful enough power supply (and a large enough case) to accommodate and sustain it.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

Specifications:

  • Stream Processors: 10,496
  • Core Clock: 1,400 MHz (1,700 MHz Boost)
  • Memory: 24 GB GDDR6
  • Memory Speed: 19.5 Gbps
  • Outputs: HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
  • Power Connectors: 2 x PCIe 8-pin

Pros:

  • Outstanding Performance
  • Supports up to 8K Resolution

Cons:

  • Extremely High Price
  • Larger Than Standard Size

It's hard to surpass the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 when it comes to performance. With a massive 24 GB of RAM, no game or, more importantly, heavy graphic project will struggle with performance. This is an incredibly expensive device, and it's quite large, so it might be too much for most users.

Essentially replacing the Titan, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is more aimed at creative users dealing with intensive 3D rendering and video work rather than hardcore gamers. Nonetheless, its price has significantly dropped compared to the Titan, making it a worthwhile investment for creative professionals accustomed to investing in tools for their trade.

Specifications and Capabilities of Graphics Cards

Understanding the components of a graphics card is crucial when selecting the ideal one for your PC. This involves considering compatibility and capabilities.

Power

The GPU generates heat during computational processes, known as "thermal design power" (TDP), measured in watts. Ensuring that your power supply can deliver the required wattage for the graphics card is essential. Additionally, you should calculate the power consumption of other PC components.

Memory

The memory of a graphics card is referred to as vRAM (video RAM). This memory stores the data necessary for displaying information on your screen. You'll typically encounter GPU vRAM options ranging from 2GB, 4GB, 6GB, 8GB, and beyond.

The amount of vRAM you need for graphic design depends on your software and monitor's resolution. Working with 3D or Motion Graphics demands more vRAM to handle complex data for on-screen display.

For users with one or two 4K resolution monitors, 8GB is recommended. On the other hand, 4GB is suitable for 4K resolution monitors.

Connections

Most GPUs offer standard ports, including DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The specific number and type of ports vary by the model. To decide which connections you require on your graphics card, consider the available ports on your monitor.

Interface

Modern video cards connect to the motherboard using PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) connectors. PCIe slots come in several configurations: x1, x4, x8, x16, and x32. To unleash the full potential of most GPUs, you'll need a PCIe x16 slot.

When considering the interface, two primary factors should be taken into account. Firstly, ensure that your motherboard has compatible slots for the graphics card. Secondly, confirm that other components in your system do not obstruct the graphics card from occupying the correct slot.

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