Top x best NVIDIA graphics cards of all time, ranked
Image: NVIDIA

Top 6 best NVIDIA graphics cards of all time, ranked

A walk down DDR memory lane

Team Green has been the king of the ring when it comes to producing GPUs with little to no competition since they first arrived on the scene. More recently, AMD has stepped up to the plate in a big way, but there is no denying Nvidia’s pioneering history. Taking a look back over their prestigious domination, we can take some time to pay our respects to some of the best Nvidia graphics cards of all time.

Recommended Videos

#6 Nvidia GeForce 256

No list, whether it is purely Nvidia or all chips of all time, would be complete without the monumental Nvidia GeForce 256. This was the first chip to be marketed as a GPU. It was designed to take the stress and workload away from the CPU and focus graphical processing in one dedicated place.

Nvidia 265 Best Graphics Cards
Image: Wikipedia

It took the prime spot from the VooDoo hand over fist, stepping up the processing power more than eight times. For comparison, the VooDoo chip previous to the GeForce 256 had only 4 MB of DDR memory, whereas this Nvidia graphics card came with a phenomenal 32 MB.

The Nvidia GeForce 256 can never be ignored on the long and impressive list of the best graphics cards. It brought 3D graphics, unmatched lighting, and huge framerates to PC gaming. This card also marked the beginning of Nvidia’s commitment to the graphics card market.

#5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

Roll on 2014 and the release of the incredibly budget-friendly and breakthrough Nvidia GeForce GTX 970. Selling at only $329 and competing with even flagship models from the previous generations, this graphics card became a favorite amongst PC gamers and secured it solidly in the Nvidia Best of Hall of Fame.

Top x best NVIDIA graphics cards of all time, ranked
Image: Amazon

Apart from the very attractive price tag, what was notable about this card is its architecture. The new Maxwell architecture in the GTX 970 provided exceptional power per watt and introduced the first of many groundbreaking technologies. Dynamic Super Resolution was able to render games at a higher resolution and then downscale them for razor-sharp resolution.

#4 Nvidia GTX Titan

The Nvidia Titan was the benchmark competition for the generation of graphics cards. However, it was pretty much unattainable at an enormous $999 price tag. Nvidia really pulled all the stops out when they built this 6GB monster of a card. It boasted 2,688 CUDA cores and 6GB of GDDR5, which is impressive even today.

Nvidia Gtx Titan
Image via Nvidia

The GTX Titan was built as a true enthusiast graphics card, designed to only be bought by the obsessive. It was able to crunch through absolutely everything you could throw at it at the time. However, it quickly got superseded by the next generation of Nvidia cards, slipping off the best of graphics card tables before it really had time to age.

The Titan was an immensely expensive and powerful card. But, with the speed of technology and hardware development at the time, it quickly dropped from relevance. This left a lot of people out of pocket but paved the way for Nvidia to sell uber-expensive super cards.

#3 Nvidia GTX 1080 TI

I still want one of these. When I first started building PCs, this was the card to have. Even years later, it was still one of the most sought-after and most valuable resales on the market. The GTX 1080 Ti was easily one of the best graphics cards ever built, and it deserves its crown.

The GTX 1080 TI sat at a very pocket-friendly price in comparison to other graphics cards in the same performance range. The new Pascal architecture replaced the old Maxwell seen in the GTX 970. It pushed forward some game-changing improvements for Nvidia.

1080 Gtx Nvidia Best Graphics Cards
Image: Nvidia

Using the new Pascall architecture, Nvidia was able to reduce not only the physical size and power usage but also boost the speeds by 30% and double the efficiency. All this was done at a very conservative 250W. The leap in speeds and output marked a new era for Nvidia, which they have never really matched.

The 10 series of Nvidia graphics cards were the company’s heyday of production. They had enormous leaps in performance and had something for everyone in the series. Whether you wanted the ultra-cheap 1050 or high-end 1080, all of the cards provided impeccable gaming with their new architecture.

#2 Nvidia RTX 2080

Even though the RTX 2080s architecture was rapidly superseded by Ampere and Ada Lovelace, there is no denying the first RTX cards on Nvidia’s best graphics card lists. Despite its rapid fall from grace, these cards introduced Ray Tracing and AI Upscaling. Where would we be without those monumental jumps in technology?

Geforce Super 2080 Angle
Image: Nvidia

The RTX 20 series brought Ray Tracing and all types of DLSS we now take for granted in Nvidia graphics cards. This leap in AI technology and lighting tech forever changed the way games look and play. We’re now able to run games at phenomenally higher frame rates at higher quality settings, thanks to the Turing architecture in these cards. The RTX 2080 graphics card is the granddaddy of modern high-end gaming and made everything that came before redundant.

#1 Nvidia RTX 4090

At the time of writing, this is the leviathan of gaming, heralded as the first “true 8k” graphics card. I know full well that within a matter of months, it will be superseded by something cheaper and more powerful, just as the 4080 Super has done to the 4080. But, for now, this is the best Nvidia graphics card on the market.

Nvidia Rtx 4090 Atx 3.0 Connectors Melting
Image: Nvidia

Nvidia is just flexing on the market with what they have produced with the RTX 4090. It is outrageously expensive, brutally powerful, and so big it needs its own PC case to even be housed. The 4090 is blisteringly faster than the previous generation of cards and can run 8k gaming at more than acceptable FPS.

Although the RTX 4090 is completely unobtainable by anyone with any kind of financial responsibility, it is a sign of the things to come from Team Green. Sure, most people won’t be running with the 4090, but the bar has been set. It is now up to the one other graphics company out there to step up to the plate. AMD: The hero we need, not the one we deserve.


PC Invasion is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Are the changes to classes in Destiny 2 “Game Breaking” or just an indicator of a new direction?
How To Raise Your Rank Fast In Destiny 2 Into The Light Featured Image
Read Article 8 best changes to Diablo 4 Season 4 PTR
8 Best Changes To Diablo 4 Season 4 Ptr
Read Article 10 reasons why Into the Light is the best time for new players to get into Destiny 2
Destiny 2 Into The Light Featured Image
Related Content
Read Article Are the changes to classes in Destiny 2 “Game Breaking” or just an indicator of a new direction?
How To Raise Your Rank Fast In Destiny 2 Into The Light Featured Image
Read Article 8 best changes to Diablo 4 Season 4 PTR
8 Best Changes To Diablo 4 Season 4 Ptr
Read Article 10 reasons why Into the Light is the best time for new players to get into Destiny 2
Destiny 2 Into The Light Featured Image
Author
Leo Gillick
Leo is a Freelance Writer for PC Invasion. He has a degree in English Literature and Film Studies and more hours buried into videogames than he cares to admit. He has worked extensively in the Videogame and Travel writing industry but, as they say, get a job doing something you love and you'll never work a day in your life. He uses his writing as a means to support indefinite global travel with the current five year plan seeing him through Latin America.