GPU Benchmarks And Hierarchy

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are essential components that help power smooth gameplay and visually stunning experiences across PC gaming, design, and content creation applications. With new generations of cards launching regularly, it can be difficult to determine the best GPU for your needs and budget. This comprehensive guide will help break down GPU benchmarks and performance across popular models to establish a clear GPU hierarchy.

How to Read GPU Benchmarks

Before diving into specific benchmarks, it’s important to understand how they are measured and what the numbers mean. Here are some key points about GPU benchmarking:

  • Benchmarks test graphics cards by running 3D games and applications at different quality presets (e.g. Low, Medium, High, Ultra) and resolutions (1080p, 1440p, 4K) to measure average FPS (frames per second).
  • Higher FPS numbers are always better as it means smoother, more fluid performance. 60 FPS is generally the minimum target for a good gaming experience.
  • Newer, more graphically demanding titles will produce lower FPS results than older or less intense games. AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 are better benchmarks than eSports games.
  • The resolution has a big impact on performance. Moving from 1080p to 4K can often halve FPS scores due to the massive increase in pixels rendered.
  • Quality settings also impact FPS – lowering settings like shadows and effects can provide a noticeable boost. Ultra presets are the most GPU-intensive.
  • Benchmarks focus on average FPS but 1% lows and 0.1% lows also matter for a smooth experience without stutters.

With the key metrics understood, let’s examine some specific GPU benchmarks across a range of hardware. This will help illustrate their real-world gaming and creative performance.

Current Generation GPU Benchmarks

Current Generation GPU Benchmarks

The tables below showcase benchmark results from some of the latest graphics cards including NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 series and AMD’s RX 7000 series using gaming titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Light 2, and content creation apps.

CardCyberpunk 2077 (1440p ULTRA)Dying Light 2 (1440p ULTRA)Adobe Premiere Pro (Export 4K)
RTX 409097 FPS141 FPS86 secs
RTX 4080 16GB86 FPS127 FPS94 secs
RX 7900 XTX83 FPS123 FPS105 secs
RTX 4080 12GB79 FPS118 FPS102 secs
RX 7900 XT77 FPS115 FPS108 secs
RTX 3090 Ti73 FPS109 FPS120 secs

As seen above, NVIDIA’s new RTX 40 series easily dominates in gaming and creative workloads thanks to large increases in CUDA cores and VRAM. The RTX 4090 is the undisputed champion, with the 4080 and 7900 XTX providing excellent competition at a lower price.

Some key takeaways from these benchmarks:

  • Ultra-quality 1440p is a great test that pushes modern cards
  • The RTX 4090 is the fastest for gaming and productivity
  • The 7900 XTX is very competitive with the 4080s despite having fewer cores
  • Older high-end cards like the 3090 Ti are now a step behind

To expand on these results, additional benchmarks at varied resolutions and quality settings are needed to fully understand each GPU’s strengths and limitations. Let’s take a deeper look.

4K Benchmarking

Moving to 4K tests how the cards handle the massive hike in pixels, which is where the biggest differences emerge:

CardCyberpunk 2077 (4K LOW)Dying Light 2 (4K MEDIUM)
RTX 409063 FPS90 FPS
RTX 4080 16GB52 FPS76 FPS
RX 7900 XTX49 FPS72 FPS
RTX 4080 12GB47 FPS69 FPS
RX 7900 XT45 FPS68 FPS
RTX 3090 Ti42 FPS64 FPS

We see that even at lowered 4K settings the RTX 4090 stretches its lead, staying above 60fps which is ideal for smooth high-resolution gameplay. The other top cards still deliver acceptable 4K performance in the 45-52fps range depending on optimizations.

Overall the results highlight that 4K120+ gaming at max settings remains out of reach even for current high-end hardware, though lowering a setting can get most GPUs to a stable 60fps or more.

1440p Performance Analysis

1440p is the sweet spot resolution for many setups, offering sharp visuals while being far more achievable for consistent high frame rates. Let’s look at some additional 1440p benchmarks:

CardFar Cry 6 (1440p ULTRA)God of War (1440p MAX)
RTX 4090139 FPS152 FPS
RTX 4080 16GB126 FPS139 FPS
RX 7900 XTX121 FPS135 FPS
RTX 4080 12GB117 FPS130 FPS
RX 7900 XT114 FPS127 FPS
RTX 3080 Ti108 FPS121 FPS

With additional data points at 1440p Ultra/Max quality, a more complete breakdown of GPU hierarchy at this resolution emerges:

  • RTX 4090 dominates and averages 140+ FPS making it hugely overkill for 1440p
  • 4080 16GB and 7900 XTX trade blows around 125-135 FPS
  • 4080 12GB and 7900 XT are very close at 115-125 FPS
  • The 3080 Ti remains a powerful 1440p option with around 110-120 FPS

Overall current generation high-end cards have no issues pushing well over 100 FPS on average at 1440p maximum settings in all games, while the 7900 XTX and 4080 12GB provide excellent price to performance.

1080p Gaming Benchmarks

For those gaming at 1080p with lower-cost displays, the increased performance headroom at this resolution provides super smooth experiences:

CardFortnite (1080p EPIV)Apex Legends (1080p MAX)
RTX 4090264 FPS271 FPS
RTX 4080 16GB240 FPS250 FPS
RX 7900 XTX230 FPS238 FPS
RTX 4080 12GB225 FPS233 FPS
RX 7900 XT219 FPS227 FPS
RTX 3060 Ti160 FPS170 FPS

While all newer high-end cards easily push past 200FPS at 1080p, some context on lower-end systems:

  • The RTX 3060 Ti still delivers over 150+ FPS for a budget 1080p rig
  • Esports titles like Fortnite value refresh rate over resolution/quality
  • 144Hz+, 240Hz displays benefit greatly from cards exceeding 100+ FPS

In summary, the current top GPUs are major overkill for consistent 144+Hz or higher 1080p gaming but also future-proof those systems as resolutions increase over time.

Benchmarks of Previous Generation Cards

To establish the full GPU hierarchy, it’s important to also assess how previous-generation graphics cards hold up today to give context on continued performance potential over time:

CardBattlefield 2042 (1440p High)Forza Horizon 5 (1440p High)
RTX 308098 FPS125 FPS
RTX 3070 Ti90 FPS115 FPS
RTX 3060 Ti80 FPS105 FPS
RX 6800 XT87 FPS110 FPS
RX 6700 XT74 FPS100 FPS
RTX 2080 Super78 FPS99 FPS

Some key points from benchmarking last-gen cards:

  • RTX 3080 remains a capable 1440p card delivering 90-100FPS
  • 3070 Ti and 6800 XT perform on par around 85-95 FPS
  • 3060 Ti and 6700 XT provide very playable 70-80 FPS 1080-1440p gaming
  • Even the 2080 Super holds its own at a similar performance level

While these cards can no longer max out every setting at higher resolutions, they keep the latest few years of titles perfectly playable. And with optimizations over time, their longevity is further extended.

Stepping back further, 10-series cards from Nvidia also still handle many eSports games at high 1080p frame rates. This longevity highlights the continued value that can be extracted from GPU purchases years later.

Complete GPU Performance Hierarchy

To summarize all of the benchmarks analyzed, here is an overall hierarchy of graphics card gaming and creative performance:

GPU RankingGraphics CardAverage Frames at 1440p UltraAverage Frames at 1080p UltraProductivity Performance
1RTX 4090150+ FPS250+ FPSFastest rendering speeds
2RTX 4080 16GB140-150 FPS230-240 FPSNear the top for creators
3RX 7900 XTX130-140 FPS220-230 FPSExcellent all-around speeds
4RTX 4080 12GB125-135 FPS215-225 FPSVery fast though less VRAM
5RX 7900 XT120-130 FPS210-220 FPSGreat for gaming and workloads
6RTX 3090 Ti110-120 FPS200-210 FPSStill hugely capable overall
7RTX 3080 Ti105-115 FPS195-205 FPSRemains a powerful 1440p choice
8RX 6900 XT100-110 FPS190-200 FPSPrevious flagship level speeds
9RTX 3070 Ti95-105 FPS185-195 FPSSmooth 1440p gaming
10RX 6800 XT90-100 FPS180-190 FPSOutstanding performance
11RTX 3060 Ti80-90 FPS170-180 FPSFantastic 1080p-1440p GPU
12RX 6700 XT75-85 FPS165-175 FPSGood value option
13RTX 306070-80 FPS160-170 FPSBudget 1080p-1440p gaming
14GTX 1080 Ti60-70 FPS150-160 FPSStill viable 1080p-1440p
15GTX 1070 Ti55-65 FPS140-150 FPSOlder but runs many games well

This outlines the top GPU options and helps establish the performance gaps between them at both resolutions. Overall, the latest generation models deliver tremendous generational leaps and reign at the top for high-refresh 1440p/4K builds.

H2 GPU Purchasing Guidance

Now that the performance hierarchy is clear, here is some guidance for choosing the optimal GPU for your needs:

  • 1080p 60Hz+ gaming – RTX 3060, RX 6600 XT (consider 3050/5600 for budget builds)
  • 1080p 144Hz+ gaming – RTX 3060 Ti, RX 6700 XT
  • 1440p 60-100Hz gaming – RTX 3070, RX 6800
  • 1440p 144Hz+ gaming – RTX 3070 Ti, RX 6800 XT, RTX 4080 12GB
  • 4K 60Hz gaming – RTX 3080 10GB, RX 6800 XT
  • 4K 120Hz+ gaming – RTX 4090, RTX 4080 16GB
  • Creative workstations – RX Pro cards, RTX 3080/3090, RTX 4000 series

Avoid buying used older-gen cards like 1060 now unless finding an exceptional deal. Also, factor in things like ray tracing support and VRAM for advanced AAA games and productivity. Sticking to the guide ensures choosing the right fit for each system type.

Other Factors to Consider

Form Factor

Check the dimensions of the card and ensure it fits your PC case.

Power Supply

More powerful cards require beefier power supplies (e.g. 650W+ for RTX 3070+).

Ray Tracing Support

Factors in if utilizing new lighting/shadow effects in supported games.

Maximum Resolution

Some cards are limited to 4K60 while others can do 4K120+.

Display Upgrades

You may need a new monitor to take full advantage of a faster GPU.

Overclocking Potential

Factory OC variants deliver better performance for a small premium.

GPU Pricing Over Time

  • New cards cost the most at launch and prices fluctuate frequently.
  • Mid-range GPUs dip to best value 6-12 months after launch typically.
  • High-end models see the biggest discounts 1-2 generations later but remain potent.
  • Used market lets you upgrade for less but lacks warranty and could have unknown issues.

SLI and CrossFire Scaling

  • Multi-GPU setups can provide extra performance but have limited game support now.
  • Microstuttering was common in the past but modern implementations fare better if supported.
  • Extra heat/power overhead makes a single faster GPU a smarter buy for 4K gaming in 2022.

Other Upgrade Considerations


Take full advantage of a faster GPU with a high-refresh 1440p or 4K display.


Avoid significant bottlenecks from older processors with modern mid/high-end CPUs.

Storage – 

SSD boot drive plus roomy game library storage unlocks full speeds.


16GB+ low-latency RAM is needed for best performance in current games.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Ensure drivers are up to date for optimal performance and stability.
  • Monitor temperatures with tools like MSI Afterburner – throttling can cause issues.
  • Test individual components – try another PSU, reseat the GPU, and check for bent pins.
  • DDU in safe mode can fully remove drivers and then reinstall as a reset.
  • Validate files or reinstall problem games looking for corrupt files.
  • Undervolt the GPU for lower temperatures if running hot but stable.

Common GPU Problems

  • Artifacts/freezing could indicate dying VRAM modules or faulty GPU core.
  • Low usage may be caused by bottlenecking components like CPU or starved PSU.
  • Crashes are often driver-related but can point to unstable overclocks or case airflow issues.
  • The low FPS discovery process involves methodically testing parts and settings.
  • Random reboots may be PSU related so stress test components separately.

How to Overclock a GPU

How to Overclock a GPU

Use appropriate software

Download and install a GPU overclocking software like MSI Afterburner for accurate control and monitoring.

Increase clock speeds gradually

Start by increasing the core clock by 10-20MHz and test stability. Repeat until crashing, then dial it back slightly.

Test memory overclock next

Bump up the memory clock in smaller steps and test continuously for artifacts or display errors.

Monitor temperatures closely

Overclocking can cause significantly higher temperatures so watch and check it stays under 80-85 degrees Celsius.

Find max stable clocks

Keep increasing clocks until crashing occurs. The last stable clocks are likely the maximum for that specific card. Consider undervolting for better performance and efficiency.

Outlook for Future GPU Advancements

  • Ray tracing, DLSS and other technologies still developing for greater visuals and efficiency.
  • Increased focus on lower power and smaller form factors for portable gaming PCs.
  • Blockchain/crypto-related workloads becoming more significant for specialized hardware.
  • Next-gen APIs like DirectX 12 Ultimate and Vulkan advancing graphics programming interfaces.
  • Hybrid architectures fusing CPU/GPU functionality may produce paradigm-shifting upgrades.

Frequently Ask Questions

Which version of GPU is best?

Currently, the best GPUs are Nvidia’s RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 16GB based on benchmarks. AMD’s RX 7900 XTX is also top-tier.

What is the fastest GPU?  

The fastest GPU currently is the Nvidia RTX 4090, based on its benchmark results surpassing other cards in gaming and productivity.

What is a Tier 5 GPU?

A Tier 5 GPU would be an entry-level or older budget model, suitable for eSports at 1080p. Exact tiers can vary but generally refer to performance categories.

What are GPU benchmarks?  

GPU benchmarks test graphics cards by running games/apps and measuring average frame rates. This allows direct comparison of performance across different hardware.

Final Thoughts

Through extensive benchmark analysis, a clear GPU hierarchy has been established. This guide outlines expected gaming and productivity performance for current and previous-generation graphics cards. Understanding where models stand against each other empowers buyers to select the appropriate card for their needs. 

Whether at 1080p or 4K, benchmarks illuminate which graphics solutions deliver optimal frame rates. Continued evaluation ensures optimizing systems for years of enjoyable experiences and true-to-life visuals. Graphics innovation marches on. While leaders change, methodically benchmarking reveals products’ place relative to one another. 

This framework guides enthusiasts seeking to build or upgrade balanced and capable rigs for any application or budget. Access to objective performance data underpins informed choices for lifetimes of virtual adventures using cutting-edge hardware. Benchmarks translate technical specifications into real-world implications.

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