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The new Intel Alder Lake CPU lineup is here, and if you’re interested in buying an Alder Lake CPU, you probably also need a new graphics card. Now, GPU prices are what they are, but at least now you can get a GPU without using tracking bots or subscribing to Discord groups. For those who want to buy a GPU but don’t have an Alder Lake CPU we recommend visiting our graphics cards section. It features a ton of GPU buying guides for all kinds of gamers.
Below you can find our picks for the best graphics cards for Intel Alder Lake CPUs. We have picks for any budget and for any Alder Lake CPU that can be used for gaming (read: Core i3-12100 onwards).
Now, if you planning on buying an Alder Lake processor we recommend checking out our guides for the best Z690 motherboards, best RAM kits of Alder Lake CPUs, and best 700W and 750W power supplies. If you’re after more specific recommendations take a look at our guides for the best motherboards for i5-12600K and best motherboards for i9-12900K.
1. MSI Gaming 3080 Ventus 3X OC: Best value 4K gaming graphics card for Alder Lake CPUs
The RTX 3080 isn’t the fastest GPU in the world, but, right now, it has the best price-to-performance ratio when compared to other high-end GPUs. This makes is the best 4K gaming GPU for Alder Lake CPUs. Those that want to game in 4K but don’t know which monitor to pick should definitely read our guide for the best 4K 144Hz monitors for gaming.
The card’s about 10-12 percent slower than the Ti version while having, on average, 30-40 percent lower price. With that said, gaming performance is more than enough for 4K, and 10GB of DDR6X memory should be sufficient for almost every current and upcoming AAA title.
There are some outliers, such as Deathloop and Doom Eternal, but we don’t think paying upwards of 40 percent more just to be able to play with ultra-quality textures is worth it. Finally, DLSS can give you the performance boost needed to reach stable 60fps with ultra settings.
And if a game doesn’t support DLSS, you can still use AMD FSR where possible. In other words, The RTX 3080 is a perfect companion for the Core i9-12900K or any other Alder Lake processor (cough, 12600K, cough). Do note that the 12900K+RTX 3080 combo can get quite hot so make sure to check out our guide for the best CPU coolers for i9-12900K.
The specific card we recommend is one of the cheapest RTX 3080 models on the market. Despite this, the performance is in line with most other RTX 3080 versions. The good news is that the MSI RTX 3080 Ventus 3x is very quiet while staying below 70 degrees Celsius when under load.
2. EVGA RTX 3080 Ti XC3 Ultra: Best 4K gaming GPU for Alder Lake CPUs overall
We’re placing the RTX 3080 Ti as the second-best 4K gaming GPU for Alder Lake CPUs. We picked it over the RX 6900XT despite it being pricier than the AMD offering. 13-15 percent higher price gives you a tad bit higher rasterized performance, but also much faster raytracing performance and the luxury of being able to use both DLSS and FSR.
You get 4GB less memory, but 12GB found on RTX 3080 Ti is more than enough for any current or upcoming AAA game, even in 4K. As for our choice, the EVGA RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra isn’t the coolest RTX 3080 Ti out there, but the card stays in line with the Founders Edition while being somewhat louder.
On the flip side, memory temperature under load is much lower than on the Founder Edition card. Undervolt the card slightly – here’s our guide on CPU & GPU undervolting – and thermals should see a massive decline without a noticeable drop in performance. At the end of the day, the FTW3 Ultra is a great buy simply because you won’t find any of the higher-end RTX 3080 Ti models at this price.
3. PowerColor Red Devil RX 6900 XT: Best bang for buck graphics card for Alder Lake CPUs
Back when it came out, the RX 6900XT was seen as, more or less, an unnecessary product. Its only purpose was for AMD to have something to compete with the RTX 3090. But these days, the RX 6900XT has pretty good value.
It can be found for the same price as the RX 6800XT while offering noticeably higher performance. Next, The RX 6900XT costs less than the RTX 3080 Ti while being faster in rasterized performance. Also, the RTX 6900XT comes with 16GB of video memory compared to 10GB or 12GB found on the RTX 3080/3080 Ti GPUs.
On the flipside, raytracing performance is below Nvidia GPUs, and DLSS is pretty nice to have when gaming in 4K. AMD FSR is here, but it isn’t as prominent as DLSS in popular games. Further, the image quality of the two upsampling techniques is similar in 4K, but DLSS is a bit better.
The card listed above is about 3 percent faster than the reference RX 6900 XT model while staying very quiet and relatively cool. What’s more important is that, at the moment, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 6900 XT is the most affordable RX 6900XT you can find.
And considering its high build quality, lower price compared to other RX 6900XT models makes this card an even better buy. If you’re not interested in RTX effects this card’s the best bang-for-buck GPU for Alder Lake CPUs.
4. EVGA RTX 3060 Ti XC: Best bang for buck 1440p graphics card for Alder Lake CPUs
RTX 3060 Ti is the sweet spot for 1440p gaming. The card’s more than capable of providing a high refresh rate 1440p experience with high/ultra settings in most games. On top of that, its street price is about 30 percent lower than RTX 3070 while achieving about 85 percent of the performance of its bigger cousin.
Overall, the RTX 3060 Ti is the best bang-for-the-buck card for Alder Lake CPUs if you’re gaming in 1440p resolution. And if you want to game at 1440p but don’t have an adequate monitor you should visit our guide for the best 1440p 240Hz monitors. The RTX 3060 Ti can definitely push 240Hz and higher frame-rates in every esports title and many older AAA games.
The card we recommend to snag alongside an Alder Lake CPU is the EVGA RTX 3060 Ti XC Gaming. This is one of the cheapest RTX 3060 Ti cards on the market, but its build quality is quite high despite its low (relative to other RTX 3060 Ti models) price.
You get a metal backplate and more than a decent cooling solution that’s quiet while keeping the card south of 70 degrees Celsius. Considering the GPU’s 200W TDP, you don’t need a three-fan cooling system.
5. PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT: Best 1440p AMD graphics card for Alder Lake CPUs
If the RX 6700 XT had the same raytracing performance as the RTX 3060 Ti, we would put it in front of the Nvidia’s GPU. There’s also the issue with FSR, which looks noticeably worse than DLSS in 1440p resolution. Still, if you don’t care about any of this and are just interested in raw rasterized performance in games, get the RX 6700 XT instead of RTX 3060 Ti.
It’s about 9-10 percent faster in games than the RTX 3060 Ti while also coming with 12GB of video memory instead of just 8GB. The price difference is about 10 percent in favor of the RTX 3060 Ti.
Our recommended model is the PowerColor RX 6700 XT Red Devil. This model has the same performance as the RX 6700 XT reference card, which translates into 9-10 percent more frames when compared to the RTX 3060 Ti. Compared to the RTX 3070, the RX 6700 XT Red Devil is, on average, just a couple of percent slower.
The card’s in the middle of the pack when it comes to thermals, but this is also one of the quietest cars on the market under load, period. Overall, considering that the Red Devil is much cheaper than other RX 6700 XT models, it’s an excellent buy and the best AMD GPU for any Alder Lake CPU if you game in 1440p resolution.
6. MSI RTX 3070 Gaming Z Trio: Best 1440p graphics card for Alder Lake CPUs overall
Since both the RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti can achieve more than playable framerates in 1440p resolution, we don’t think the higher price of the RTX 3070 Ti is worth it. As for the RTX 3070, the card’s a superb GPU for 1440p gaming. if you ask us, the RTX 3070 is the best overall 1440p GPU for Alder Lake CPUs.
The RTX 3070 is capable of delivering triple-digit framerates in most modern titles, and that’s with high/ultra visual settings. DLSS quality is there for when you need an extra performance in the most demanding games (Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla).
8GB of memory is the right amount for 1440p resolution, at least for now. Finally, while the RTX 3070 has decent ray tracing performance, most games will struggle to achieve 60fps with RT effects turned on, so we recommend either disabling them or setting them at medium, if possible, to achieve a 60fps experience.
Our recommendation is the cheapest RTX 3070 model with a triple-fan cooling setup. There are cheaper dual-fan models on the market, but their thermal output is higher while also being louder than triple fan models. The MSI RTX 3070 Gaming Z Trio, on the other hand, is both cool (64 degrees Celsius under load) and very quiet while costing only about five percent more than the cheapest dual-fan models.
7. PowerColor Red Devil RX 6600 XT: Best 1080p gaming GPU for Intel Alder Lake CPUs overall
At the release, the RX 6600 XT wasn’t the best-value GPU option on the market. After the release, the situation changed since the RTX 3060 kept its sky-high pricing. Since then, the RX 6600 XT price has inflated quite a bit, but this is still the best card for 1080p gaming for Alder Lake CPUs.
Combine it with the Core i5-12600K and experience silky smooth, high-refresh-rate 1080p gaming with ultra details. The card’s also a capable 1440p contender with a caveat that, if you want to reach 60fps, you’ll have to drop some settings in the most demanding games such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Watch Dogs: Legion. If you plan on pairing this card with the 12600K maybe you should read out guide for the best coolers for i5-12600K.
Our pick, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 6600 XT, is one of the most affordable RX 6600 XT models. Its price is more than $100 lower than what you’d need to pay for an affordable RTX 3060 model while being about 10-12 percent faster than Nvidia’s competitor. The performance is what you’d expect for an RX 6600 XT.
Regarding thermals and noise levels, the card’s cool and quiet. Finally, since both DLSS and FSR aren’t great in 1080p and since this performance tier isn’t capable of delivering playable framerates with RT effects, the two most significant advantages for Nvidia’s cards (DLSS and RT performance advantage) disappear.
8. XFX Speedster SWFT 210 RX 6600: Best bang-for-buck 1080p graphics card for Intel Alder Lake CPUs
The RX 6600 is a pretty good choice for 1080p gaming. You’ll get around 60fps with ultra settings in the most demanding games and close to triple-digit (or above) frames, also with ultra settings, in most other titles. At the current prices, though, the XT version is a better buy.
For about 10 percent more cash, you get a slightly over 15 percent performance increase, which is a pretty nice deal nowadays. Compared to the RTX 3060, the RX 6600 is a much better deal. It’s a few frames slower while costing way less.
The XFX Speedster SWFT 210 version of RX 6600 is a lovely little card. It’s not the thermal champion, but it also doesn’t sweat too much under load. Its performance is in line with what you would expect from a non-OC RX 6600 variant, all that in a very compact package. Overall, a solid but not great choice for 1080p gaming.
9. ASUS RTX 3060 V2 OC: Best Nvidia 1080P GPU for Intel Alder Lake CPUs
if you want the best Nvidia GPU for Alder Lake CPUs for 1080p gaming get the RTX 3060. When it came out, 12GB of video memory combined with competitive pricing made the RTX 3060 one of the best choices for 1080p gaming. The street price quickly turned this proposal on its head.
Nowadays, the RTX 3060 is simply too damn expensive for what it offers, at least for gaming. It looks like miners love it though. With that said, if you’re gaming in 1080p and want DLSS, the RTX 3060 is your best bet.
Further, the card can offer playable performance in 1440p resolution, and this is where DLSS can help you achieve 60fps or more in demanding titles. So, if you’re gaming in 1080p, we think the RX 6600/RX 6600 XT duo is a better buy.
But if you have just spent all your cash on a brand-new Alder Lake CPU, Z690 board, and DDR5 memory and don’t have money for something like the RTX 3060 Ti, the RTX 3060 might be a solid buy.
The ASUS Dual RTX 3060 V2 OC Edition looks like a fair RTX 3060 model. It’s very compact, and despite its smaller size, the cooling system should have no issues with cooling the humble RTX 3060 GPU. The card has a slight factory overclock that should give you a few extra frames compared to reference clocks.
Finally, this is one of the cheapest RTX 3060 models on the market, and right now, that’s all that matters. Just don’t forget that dual-fan designs are more than enough for the RTX 3060 and that you shouldn’t spend extra just to get a card with a three-fan cooling solution.
Best GPUs for Intel Alder Lake CPUs
Do note that we’ve listed GPUs by their price-to-performance ratio. Yes, prices are still insane, but some GPUs are better buys than others, even in this ridiculous market. So, the ones featured on the top have the best price considering their performance, while the ones on the bottom don’t offer as good bang for the buck as our top picks.
Next, we took the prices we’re basing our recommendations on from Amazon. Further, we didn’t take an average price across different listings but the best price we found for specific models. These aren’t always the cheapest cards we could find. For instance, in the case of the RTX 3070 we’ve skipped dual-fan models since those can be pretty hot and loud, especially if you live in a hotter climate.
We started with the best GPUs for 4K gaming. All three GPUs listed in the 4K bracket can offer a [email protected] gaming experience. Some games are more demanding than others, and you won’t be able to run every single AAA game out there with max details and stable 60 frames per second, but even then, dropping some settings below ultra should take care of that. Don’t forget that these GPUs are also great for 1440p gaming, especially if you’re after the highest possible framerates.
We’ve placed GPUs suitable for 1440p gaming in the second tier. Again, all of the graphics cards listed for 1440p gaming can offer a [email protected] experience. In fact, since 1440p resolution is much less demanding than 4K, most of the 1440p choices can net you 100fps or more in most titles, even when playing on ultra settings. And of course, you can use those cards for 1080p gaming but, personally, we wouldn’t use anything more potent than the RX 6600 XT or RTX 3060 for 1080p resolution.
The 1080p choices are more than capable of running modern games in 1080p and 60fps. They should also offer a high-refresh-rate 1080p experience. In some cases (like when using the RTX 2060), you’ll have to lower some settings. Yes, if you can’t find a current-gen card, the RTX 2060 is still a pretty good option for 1080p gaming and more or less the only last-gen GPU that has a somewhat digestible price.
Finally, if you’re gaming on a 1440p ultrawide monitor, the RTX 3060 Ti is the lowest we would go with if you want a high/ultra 60fps experience.
Core i9-12900K vs. Core i7-12700K vs. Core i5-12600K for gaming
The short answer: if you’re using your PC for gaming and undemanding tasks, get the Core i5-12600K and don’t look back. This six-core CPU is a gaming beast. Also, the addition of four small cores will help people who like watching YouTube while keeping a ton of tabs open in their browser to keep maximum frames in games.
Remember, the six big cores focus on the game while the smaller cores work on the background tasks, allowing maximum gaming performance even when you have multiple apps open in the background.
Compared to the Ryzen 5 5600X, even the 5800X, the Intel 12600K is a much better buy. The best thing about the 12600K is that the CPU doesn’t get near the 241W power limit of its i9 cousin – maximum power consumption is below 115 watts at stock and about 170W when overclocked – allowing you to save lots of cash on the cooler.
Further, DDR5 has almost no advantage over DDR4 in most games, as long as you use Gear 1 RAM option on your motherboard in combination with a relatively fast (DDR4 3200 or faster) DDR4 memory. In other words, you don’t have to splurge a ton of cash on DDR5. Finally, while the CPU can be overclocked to 5.1GHz the extra power requirements aren’t worth it since performance increase in games is almost nonexistent.
If you use your PC for gaming and heavy multithreaded tasks then the Core i7-12700K or the Core i9-12900K are better choices. Maybe even the Ryzen 9 5900X, which is still a very capable CPU for both gaming and serious work. With that said, Core i7 and i9 CPUs also ask for much beefier cooling solutions. If you plan on getting the Core i7-12700K do check our guide for the best coolers for i7-12700K.
The situation with memory is similar to the 12600K in the way that DDR5 doesn’t increase performance in a meaningful way in most scenarios. Some use cases (code compilation, specific games, using 7Zip) can greatly benefit from DDR5. But even then, you’ll have to think twice before getting DDR5 memory because of the massive price difference over DDR4.
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