6 Best Graphics Cards For Graphic Design

Here, in this article of ours, we have compiled a list of the Best Graphics Cards For Graphic Design.

Discrete graphics cards allow PC users to drive games at 1080p, 1440p, or even 4K with super-realistic graphics. However, they aren’t necessarily used for only gaming purposes. Sometimes, people just want a capable graphics card in their computer to run professional creative applications that allow the creation of digital artworks, intricate 3D designs, high-fidelity models, high-resolution videos, etc.

There are generally two different classes of GPUs meant for consumers and professionals. Consumer-grade graphics cards often target gaming, ranging in price from entry-level options that cost less than $400 to a few top-of-the-line beasts that go beyond $1000. Then there are professional graphics cards aimed specifically toward creative and machine learning workloads, but they usually have eye-watering price tags.

Nowadays, you can pick up a consumer GPU for a fraction of the cost of a professional unit. Current-gen cards from both NVIDIA and AMD are powerful enough to handle graphic designing work without struggling, which is also why you may need one.

Whether you use Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Affinity Designer, or Houdini Apprentice for your work, the following guide rounds up the best graphics card for graphic design purposes. Read on to learn more.

The Best Graphics Cards for Graphic Design

Graphics Cards For Graphic Design

At the time of writing, NVIDIA and AMD are the only two leading players in the GPU market. We have listed the GPUs for graphics design from both manufacturers, but their price and availability vastly vary from time to time, especially during these times of supply crunch.

We have also provided summarized reviews of every graphics card model to give you an understanding of their performance and features.

1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

  • GPU: GA102 (Ampere)
  • GPU Cores (CUDA): 8704
  • VRAM: 10 GB GDDR6X
  • Boost Clock: 1710 MHz
  • TDP: 320 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (Reference)

The GeForce RTX 3080 is one of the best flagship GPUs in NVIDIA’s Ampere lineup. It not only brings a 30% performance boost over the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti but also has a significantly lower retail price. If you are serious about creative work, productivity, and some gaming, this is the graphics card to get.

The 8nm GPU packs 8,704 CUDA cores, 10 GB GDDR6X video memory, along with updated Tensor Cores for DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and 2nd-gen RT cores for hardware-accelerated ray-tracing. Unlike its Turing predecessor, the RTX 3080 can finally handle RT without sacrificing gaming performance.

It’s also a solid GPU for graphic design, with AI support and ray-tracing improving your workflow. Whether it’s creating complex three-dimensional models or rendering animations, the RTX 3080 should be able to handle almost every task. However, the 10 GB of VRAM can be a limitation depending on how heavy a workload is.

Of course, with all the power it packs, the RTX 3080 does need a beefy power supply, with NVIDIA suggesting at least an 850W unit. However, the major hurdle to getting hold of one of these cards is the supply shortage, which is an ongoing crisis at the time of writing.

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Pros Cons
Exceptional gaming and productivity 10 GB video memory
Significant gen-to-gen improvement Requires a beefy PSU
Makes ray-tracing finally relevant


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2. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

  • GPU: Navi 21 (RDNA 2)
  • GPU Cores (Stream Processors): 4608
  • VRAM: 16 GB GDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 2250 MHz
  • TDP: 300 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C (Reference)

AMD’s all-new RDNA 2 graphics microarchitecture has made its high-end graphics cards more competitive to NVIDIA’s offerings than ever before. The Radeon RX 6800 XT is a Team Red alternative to the RTX 3080, with nominal performance differences between the two. It’s also slightly cheaper than the Ampere GPU. If you are considering an enthusiast-grade card for your graphic designing work, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is an excellent choice.

This 7nm Navi 21 GPU packs 4,608 Stream Processors and is paired with a whopping 16 GB of fast GDDR6 video memory. The reference model has a base frequency of 1825 MHz, with boosts up to 2250 MHz. The effective memory bandwidth also gets a significant boost thanks to the 128 MB Infinity Cache. Even with all this, the RX 6800 XT has a 300W TDP rating, which is 20W lower than the RTX 3080.

For your regular graphic designing work, the Radeon RX 6800 XT will fly through almost every scenario. The ample amount of VRAM also means it can handle light rendering and video editing tasks with ease. Although the card supports ray-tracing via the all-new DXR and VulkanRT graphics APIs, it doesn’t have any specialized RT cores, unlike the RTX 3080. Thus, the Radeon card’s ray-tracing performance falls way short behind NVIDIA’s offering.

Additionally, AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) image upscaling technology is still inferior to NVIDIA’s DLSS solution, but it’s a welcoming inclusion nonetheless. Games and professional applications that support FSR improves the RX 6800 XT’s performance further.

Unfortunately, just like the Ampere cards, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is a difficult find in the current market, and it will likely continue until the supply shortage. If you do manage to get one close to its MSRP, make sure to pair it with a powerful CPU to get the best out of it.

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Pros Cons
Matches RTX 3080 in rasterization performance Weaker RT capabilities
Easily handles creative applications
Ample amount of VRAM for graphic design work


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3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 for graphic design

  • GPU: GA102 (Ampere)
  • GPU Cores (CUDA): 10496
  • VRAM: 24 GB GDDR6X
  • Boost Clock: 1695 MHz
  • TDP: 350 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (Reference)

If money is no object to you, NVIDIA’s colossal GeForce RTX 3090 is one of the fastest graphics cards you can buy for graphic design and other creative work. It’s also currently the most expensive GPU in the Ampere lineup.

Although the RTX 3090 performs only 10-15% better than the RTX 3080 in most workloads, it offers up to 30% more performance in professional applications. However, it comes at more than double the price of its sibling, replacing the previous-gen Titan RTX graphics card and leaving no room for an Ampere-based Titan GPU.

The GA102 graphics processing chip boasts 10,496 CUDA cores, 328 Tensor Cores (for DLSS and AI), and 82 RT cores (for ray-tracing). It’s paired with a staggering 24 GB of GDDR6X memory. The RTX 3090 is also the only card in the 30-series lineup to have NVLink support, which is very useful for adding in another 3090 to lower the processing times in various content creation applications. All of this heavily benefits day-to-day 3D graphic designing workloads.

Obviously, you will require a high-wattage power supply unit to drive the 350W card. It’s worth mentioning that the Founders Edition of the RTX 3090 uses an uncommon 12-pin power connector, but most AIB models require three standard 8-pin connectors.

If graphic designing is something you do daily, then the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 with its massive memory buffer will serve you well for years to come. Though we would strongly discourage you from buying one at current shortage-induced prices.

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Pros Cons
Performs beastly in professional apps Overpriced
24 GB VRAM helps creative workloads
Fastest GPU for 4K gaming


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4. AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

  • GPU: Navi 21 (RDNA 2)
  • GPU Cores (Stream Processors): 5120
  • VRAM: 16 GB GDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 2250 MHz
  • TDP: 300 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C (Reference)

If you are looking for near RTX 3090-level performance on the cheap, the Radeon RX 6900 XT is currently the only choice. From a technical standpoint, it’s about 5-8% faster than the RX 6800 XT, but it costs nearly 50% more. Still, it retails for $500 lower than the RTX 3090’s initial asking price.

Based on the 7nm RDNA 2 architecture, this Big Navi GPU packs 5120 Stream Processors, 80 Compute Units, and it achieves a boost frequency of up to 2250 MHz. Like the 6800 XT, it gets you 16 GB GDDR6 video memory and 128 MB Infinity Cache (L3), with an effective memory bandwidth of up to 512 GB/s.

In rasterized graphics, the RX 6900 XT goes toe-to-toe with the RTX 3090 and comes dangerously close to matching its performance in productivity benchmarks. You can expect to use your graphic design software smoothly without running into any hiccups.

However, when it comes to ray-tracing and AI workloads, it inevitably lags behind some of NVIDIA’s more affordable offerings due to weaker support. Fortunately, even though it has 8 GB less VRAM than the RTX 3090, the RX 6900 XT still offers a sufficient amount of memory buffer for creative applications.

The RX 6900 XT has a 300W TDP rating, and the reference model can be powered by two standard 8-pin connectors. Like every model in the Radeon RX 6000-series lineup, the 6900 XT supports AMD Smart Access Memory or Resizable BAR, which gives a compatible processor access to the entire GPU buffer over PCIe 4.0.

Depending on the application you use for graphic design work, the Radeon RX 6900 XT may offer better performance than its competition. Considering it’s significantly cheaper than an RTX 3090, the investment is well worth considering.

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Pros Cons
Performs close to RTX 3090 in content creation tasks Middling ray-tracing performance
Way cheaper than an RTX 3090 Limited availability
Plenty of VRAM and L3 cache


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5. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

  • GPU: GA104 (Ampere)
  • GPU Cores (CUDA): 5888
  • VRAM: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 1725 MHz
  • TDP: 220 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (Reference)

The GeForce RTX 3070 is a step down from the 3080, yet it delivers 2080 Ti-level performance for less than half the price of the top-tier Turing flagship. It also has superior ray-tracing and DLSS capabilities, making it more appealing for 1440p gaming.

With 5,888 CUDA cores, 184 Tensor cores (3rd-gen), and 46 RT cores (2nd-gen), the 8nm GA104 chip has plenty of rasterization, upscaling, and ray-tracing performance to offer. The 8 GB GDDR6 memory is less than the RTX 3080, and it also runs on a narrower 256-bit memory bus. The GPU has a base clock frequency of 1500 MHz and boosts up to 1725 MHz, at least on the Founders Edition.

The RTX 3070 is capable enough to carry out intensive creative workloads (e.g., graphics design, editing, rendering) right alongside gaming. However, 8 GB VRAM can be a limiting factor in professional applications that use a lot of GPU memory.

Despite being so powerful, the RTX 3070 has a relatively low 220W TDP rating. Once again, the Founders Edition card uses an uncommon 12-pin connector, but the AIB variants of the GPU use two 8-pin connectors for external power.

For graphic designers looking for exquisite productivity performance but at a slightly accessible price, the GeForce RTX 3070 from NVIDIA offers great value for money. That said, finding one close to retail price is near impossible in the current market unless you sign up for raffles and queue lists.

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Pros Cons
2080 Ti-level performance Severely limited availability
Draws less power than a 3080 8 GB VRAM can be limiting for certain professional apps
Excellent value


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6. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

RTX 3060 GPU for Graphic Design

  • GPU: GA106 (Ampere)
  • GPU Cores (CUDA): 3584
  • VRAM: 12 GB GDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 1777 MHz
  • TDP: 170 W
  • Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (Reference)

The GeForce RTX 3060 is the lowest-priced addition to NVIDIA’s Ampere graphics card lineup. Unlike its Ti-suffixed sibling, the RTX 3060 is in the same ballpark as the Turing mid-ranger, RTX 2070 Super, in terms of performance, which is still respectable given its “budget-oriented” sub-$350 retail price.

This GA106 card features 3584 CUDA cores and boosts up to 1777 MHz. It does also have 112 Tensor cores and 28 RT cores for serviceable DLSS and ray-tracing performance. While it offers an impressive 12 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, the memory interface is rather limited at 192-bit, intentionally lowering the memory bandwidth.

Despite the nerf, the RTX 3060 not only delivers consistent 1080p/1440p gaming performance but also manages to run intensive graphic designing applications without a hitch. The fact that the card has 12 GB of video memory gives it a slight advantage over the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070 in VRAM-intensive tasks. With a TDP rating of only 170W, it’s also certainly not the most power-hungry GPU out there.

If you are on a tight budget, the GeForce RTX 3060 is probably the best GPU for graphic design. Whether you can find one in stock or at close to MSRP remains a question for now.

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Pros Cons
Lowest-priced Ampere GPU Limited memory bus
Suitable for graphic design The retail price should have been lower
Offers more VRAM than its higher-end siblings


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Best GPU for Graphic Design F.A.Q

Q1. How do I pick the best graphics card for graphic design?

Before you make a final pick, there are some basic things to consider. Firstly, the higher the resolution and graphical fidelity you are working with, the more VRAM you will need. Nowadays, it’s common to find GPUs with more than 8 GB of video memory.

Also, the faster the graphics card is, the better filters and more complex graphics plugins you can use in your graphic designing software without major performance issues. The same also applies to games. It’s worth mentioning that the core count determines a GPU’s overall rendering power, but it’s only applicable to cards from the same family sharing the same microarchitecture.

Similar to the base and turbo clock frequencies seen on processors, graphics cards also switch between different clocks depending on the workload. The frequency is usually referred to as MHz or GHz, which we have highlighted for every GPU on the list above.

If you plan to upgrade your existing system, make sure to verify whether the PSU can feed the graphics card you’ve selected. TDP, also known as Thermal Design Power, refers to a GPU’s power consumption on maximum theoretical load, but it’s always a good idea to leave some wattage overhead.

Since you are into graphic design, chances are you have a multi-monitor setup. Thus, you must double-check the video output options on a graphics card before buying it. Fortunately, current-gen GPUs come with an ample number of HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports, and a few even support 4K video output over a Type-C USB port. Note that both HDMI and DisplayPort are backward-compatible, so you won’t need to worry about your new graphics card not working with your existing monitors.

Lastly, it’s crucial to compare the best NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards by not only their raw specs but also features and real-world performance. You can easily find such comparison charts on the web in text and video form. If you are looking for the best possible performance, only get the newest-gen cards.

Also, Check – Best Motherboard For Ryzen 3 2200G

Q2. How to get the best performance out of a GPU for graphic design?

The easiest way to get the most out of a consumer-grade GeForce GPU for graphic design is to install the specialized NVIDIA Studio Driver. Compared to the standard Game Ready Drivers, Studio Drivers provide artists and creators optimal performance and reliability when working with professional creative applications.

AMD also offers something similar in nature for content creators using Radeon cards. It’s the Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise drivers, designed to deliver better performance, quality, and security in creative workflows.

Other ways include tinkering with the GPU clock, memory speed, and power limit, which is known as overclocking.

Q3. What else do I need for a capable graphic design machine?

Aside from a powerful graphics card, it’s important to have a processor with high core and thread counts. We recommend the Intel Core i9-10900K (10C/20T) or the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12C/24T) for professional graphic designing applications.

It’s also necessary to have at least 64 GB of system memory for running professional graphics software, with 32 GB being the bare minimum requirement. Check out the best deals on high-capacity memory kits:

Final Words

And there you have it. In this guide, we have shown you the six best graphics cards for graphic design, discussing the capabilities and features of every model. You can also find answers to a few questions people frequently ask regarding GPUs for graphic design.

We chose to put the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 on top of the list simply because of its blazing performance in creative software suites, superb ray-tracing support, onboard Tensor cores for AI-accelerated workloads, and a reasonable retail price. Our alternative pick for graphic design would be the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, which offers 16 GB of video memory and comes at a cheaper price.

Unfortunately, prices on most of the GPUs are all over the place right now, with both budget and higher-end options going for double and triple the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Since we chose to include the following graphics cards on the list based on their original value, and we highly discourage buying them from scalpers at inflated prices.

Instead, make sure to keep an eye on the latest GPU stock refills and raffles from authorized online retailers. There are websites and live streams that do that for you as well.

6 Best Graphics Cards For Graphic Design

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