Best graphics card for i9-9900K in 2021

If you’re unsure of the best GPU to pair with your i9-9900K, read on.

The Core i9-9900K from Intel is still an extremely powerful gaming processor. While it isn’t at the top of the list of best CPUs for gaming anymore, the 9900K has enough power to offer high performance in years to come, no matter which game you throw at it.

Its eight cores and sixteen threads can handle any graphics card on the market at the moment. No matter which card you pick for this CPU you won’t create a CPU bottleneck. But which graphics card is the best for the Core i9-9900K?

Well it, as always, depends on which games you play and which resolution you’re using. If you prefer playing esports titles and your monitor’s max resolution is 1080p even something like the budget GTX 1650 Super might do the trick. If you like playing AAA single-player titles at high refresh rates and 1440p then even the RTX 2070 Super might not be enough.

Today, we’ve picked the best graphics cards for the 9900K for various usage scenarios. You have the best GPUs for 4K gaming, for 1440p gaming whether at 60fps or higher, or for building a gaming build based on a Mini-ITX case. You have the best graphics card for esports titles but also AAA games. You have something for every 9900K owner and their gaming preferences. Let’s begin.

1. ASUS RTX 2080 Ti OC: Best overall graphics card for i9-9900K

MEMORY
11 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1350 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1650 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
2× HDMI
1× USB-C

As everyone knows already the RTX 2080Ti is the best overall GPU to pair with the 9900K. This card is a beast and can push three-digit performance at 1440p in most games as well as stable 60fps with all settings maxed at 4K.

The price of the card certainly doesn’t reflect its performance since the RTX 2080 Super offers about 90 percent of the power for almost half the price, but having the best gaming GPU at the moment comes with a premium price tag. If you want the absolute best, get ready to pay for it.

2. EVGA RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming: Best graphics card for 4K 60 FPS gaming with i9-9900K

MEMORY
8 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1350 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1815 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× USB-C

Those who want the best possible gaming experience at 4K or 1440p no matter the price will spend their hard-earned cash on the RTX 2080Ti. Everyone else will look at its price and say “yeah, I don’t want to pay a four-digit price for a graphics card,” and start searching for an alternative.

And the best alternative is the RTX 2080 Super. This is the best choice for 4K 60Hz gaming since the only upgrade has about seventy percent higher price while offering up to 10-12 percent better performance. Now, you won’t be able to play every game at 60fps and with all settings cranked out, but most of them will run just fine. Esports and multiplayer titles will run without issues, even at three-digit frame rates, if you have a monitor that supports high refresh rates at 4K. Most AAA games will run at 60fps or a bit below.

System hogs such as RDR 2, Metro Exodus, or AC: Odyssey will struggle to achieve 60 frames but the good news is that two of the three titles come with a wide range of visual settings allowing users to achieve the best ratio between eye candy and performance. And if more games (current and future titles) include DLSS support in the future, you will be able to use the RTX 2080 Super for 4K 60fps gaming with all settings maxed out, even in future titles.

3. Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT & EVGA RTX 2070 Super Gaming: Best graphics card for 1440p gaming with i9-9900K at 60 FPS gaming

Here, we have two gaming scenarios. The first is the good old case of stable 60 frames per second. The second scenario includes the 1440p resolution and three-digit frame rates. Luckily, there are great graphics cards for both cases.

MEMORY
8 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1670 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1925 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI

If you want to run all the latest AAA games at 60fps and 1440p something like the RX 5700 XT or the RTX 2070 Super is your best bet. Of course, both cards are capable of achieving results way higher than 60fps in most games but the most demanding ones will stay in the 60-80fps range.

The good thing is that, while AAA games will work at 60fps or higher, esports titles will run at 100 frames or higher, making these two cards excellent choices for 1440p high refresh gaming. At least if you’re satisfied with AAA games running at double-digit frame rates and only demanding esports and multiplayer titles to run at 120fps or higher.

MEMORY
8 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1605 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1770 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× USB-C

On the other hand, if you’re ready to lower some details, even something like the RTX 2060 Super can be used for a great 1400p 60fps experience. If you want to go even lower, you can use the RX 5600 XT and RTX 2060 for 1440p 60fps gaming but then you’ll have to play with lower details in most AAA titles, first-person shooters notwithstanding.

4. EVGA RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming: Best graphics card for 1440p gaming with i9-9900K at high refresh rate gaming

MEMORY
8 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1350 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1815 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× USB-C

For zero compromise 1440p high refresh rate gaming the RTX 2080 Super is the best choice. At least if you want to play both AAA titles and esports games at high refresh rates. If you’re ready to shave some details off or are satisfied with AAA titles running at 60 frames well, you’ve already read the best choices for those use cases.

5. Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT & EVGA RTX 2060 KO Gaming: Best graphics card for 1080p gaming with i9-9900K

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1130 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1750 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI

If you want to play AAA games at 60 frames per second or higher and esports games at high refresh rates, the RX 5600 XT and the RTX 2060 are the best choices at the moment. Both cards can achieve 60fps or higher in the great majority of current titles with all settings cranked to the max. And when it comes to FPS games or esports and multiplayer titles, they will run at 100 fps or higher without issues.

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1365 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1680 MHz
OUTPUTS
1× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× DL-DVI-D

If you need a graphics card for the ultimate 1080p high refresh rate gaming experience, get the RTX 2070 Super. That way, no matter which game you throw at the card, it will run at 100fps or higher (some exclusions may apply) with every visual setting turned on. Yes, it’s an expensive card for 1080p gaming but if you own a 240Hz 1080p monitor the RTX 2070 Super could be worth the price.

6. ASUS GTX 1660 Super OC & TUF Gaming GTX 1650 Super OC: Best graphics card for eSports gaming with i9-9900K at 1080p

If you just want to play esports and multiplayer titles, you don’t need a beast of a GPU. Mid-range graphics cards are more than enough for a great esports gaming experience, at 1080p and 1440p.

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1530 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1860 MHz
OUTPUTS
1× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× DVI-D

The GTX 1660 Super is the card to buy if you desire a zero compromise 1080p esports gaming experience. That includes playing games with higher visual settings and at high refresh rates. The GTX 1660 Super is perfect for that. And you’ll also be able to play AAA games with all settings maxed at 60fps, which isn’t so bad.

MEMORY
4 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1530 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1800 MHz
OUTPUTS
1× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× DVI-D

If you are fine with lowering some details, staying below 144fps, or both, the GTX 1650 Super could be a solid choice. This card is quiet and cheap and can run any esports title at high frames per second and 1080p resolution. The nice thing about this card is that it is capable of running AAA titles. Not all will run at 60 frames per second, but that’s great gaming performance for the price.

7. Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT & EVGA RTX 2060 KO Gaming: Best graphics card for eSports gaming with i9-9900K at 1440p

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1130 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1750 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI

At 1440p the GTX 1660 Super is a solid choice for esports gaming. That means that more demanding titles will have to see some of their visual settings turned off. You’ll have to turn on some eye candy in most esports games if you want to reach 144fps.

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1365 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1680 MHz
OUTPUTS
1× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× DL-DVI-D

But if you want high refresh rate esports gaming with almost all settings set to max and framerates hitting at least 100fps, get either the RX 5600 XT or the RTX 2060. If you want an even better experience that includes all settings turned on and framerates hovering around 144Hz well, get the RX 5700 XT or the RTX 2070 Super.

8. Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT & EVGA RTX 2060 KO Gaming: Best graphics card for waiting for next-gen GPUs

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1130 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1750 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI

If you somehow got the 9900K months before Nvidia and AMD are rumored to unveil next-gen GPUs you can get something like the GTX 1650 Super and wait those months with a card that will run modern games at settings higher than lowest.

But the thing is if you own the 9900K you probably game at 1440p. Also, you probably expect at least a “high settings and 60fps” experience. And for that use case, a card like the RX 5600 XT or the RTX 2060 is the way to go.

MEMORY
6 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1365 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1680 MHz
OUTPUTS
1× DisplayPort
1× HDMI
1× DL-DVI-D

They are great for both 1080p and 1440p gaming without lowering visual quality. They aren’t too expensive. Next, you’ll probably be able to get some money back once you sell them on the used market. And finally, if you decide to wait a bit with getting a next-gen GPU, both cards should provide enough power to run cross-gen titles at 60 frames per second with medium to high settings.

If you’re looking for a graphics card ready to tackle upcoming blockbusters like Cyberpunk 2077, wait for next-gen GPUs. These cards will pack enough power to run those games at max details, high framerates, and high-def resolutions. It makes zero sense to buy a GPU right now to play a game that will come out just after next-gen GPUs hit the market.

9. Zotac Gaming RTX 2070 Super Mini: Best graphics card for an i9-9900K SFF build

MEMORY
8 GB GDDR6
BASE CLOCK
1410 MHz
BOOST CLOCK
1770 MHz
OUTPUTS
3× DisplayPort
1× HDMI

There are loads of cool, short PCB cards made for SFF builds. The Zotac RTX 2070 Super Mini is probably the best of them all. It’s short and can fit into something like 95 percent of all Mini-ITX cases while offering the same performance as a full-fledged RTX 2070 Super.

If you need something more powerful, there are a couple of petite RTX 2080 Super models. Those aren’t specifically made for SFF cases but can fit most of them. The EVGA RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming, for instance, measures only 279mm and can fit into most Mini-ITX cases.

If you don’t need something as powerful as the RTX 2070 Super you can get a bunch of gaming cards with short PCBs. Our choice would be something like the Zotac Gaming RTX 2060 Super Mini. It should be enough for an excellent 1440p gaming experience and it’s short enough to fit almost every Mini-ITX case.

Best graphics card to buy used

And last but not least, what if you want to get a graphics card from the used market? Maybe you bought the 9900K on the used market from someone who already upgraded to the 10900K and now you want to get a used GPU too. Well, the used market has lots of cards with prices blown way out of proportion. The reason is probably the current situation in the world but no matter the reason used GPU prices are quite high nowadays.

Something that can offer decent performance these days, both at 1080p and 1440p, is the GTX 1080. The card can match RTX 2060 performance and you can buy it for a solid price on eBay. Just be patient and don’t click on the first listing you see. When it comes to modern GPUs, RTX 2060 and 2060 Super models have okay prices. There are lots of cards listed so you should set an upper price limit to see the best offers.