Whenever you’re building a new gaming PC, a considerable amount of the budget has to be separated for the graphics card. I doubt I need to tell you as to why that is, but to keep it simple, the graphics card handles all the details you see in your games. This is incredibly important when you’re gaming at higher resolutions, like 1440p or upwards.
Nvidia and AMD are waging war on each other with back to back releases, so it’s a bit hard for the average person to keep up with what’s worth the money and what’s not. With so many cards available right now, both old and new, it’s a bit hard to decide.
A lot of mid-range and even some budget cards can handle 1440p gaming, but the purchase depends on what refresh rate you’re playing and how much price/performance matters to you. So we’ll help you find the best graphics card for your needs, whether that be for 1440p at 60Hz or all the way up to 1440P 144Hz. Let’s have a look at the best 1440p graphics card you can get in 2021.
1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
- Exclusive features make it great for streaming
- Compelling price/performance ratio
- Ray Tracing Support
- Turing encoder is a bonus for content creators
- Performance takes a hit in ray-traced games
Base Core Clock: 1470 MHz | Boost Core Clock: 1650 MHz | CUDA Cores: 1920 | RT Cores: 34 | Tensor Cores: 272 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6
The Nvidia GeForce GTX RTX 2060 Super is a great ray-tracing performer. But that’s not why it’s leading the charge on our roundup. It’s not the fastest GPU out there, nor is it exactly the cheapest one, but it is such a great blend of features, performance, and value that it is quite hard to ignore and makes it the sweet spot for everyone.
This “Super” version of the RTX 2060 gets a lot of things right. First off, it quite effectively replaces the regular RTX 2070 in terms of estimated similar performance, and it does so at a lower price too. Not only that, but it can even go head to head with the RX 5700 XT in some titles (depending on the resolution and visual quality). With a base clock of 1470MHz, which can go all the way up to 1650MHz (Boost clock), this video card can handle 1440p gaming even at a high refresh rate of 144Hz with ease.
Nvidia has optimized the thermals inside this card quite well. The founder’s edition already had good thermal performance, so aftermarket cards are even better in that regard. It’s also a great option for streamers. OBS is optimized to run great with RTX cards, and thanks to the Turing NVENC encoder, streaming is much easier compared to AMD cards.
Of course, there’s also the popular Ray Tracing feature supported on this card. 1080p with DLSS turned on is a decent result, but for 1440p you’ll have to drop down the settings a bit. If you absolutely must have the best ray tracing support, this isn’t the card for it. However, it will give you a little taste of what’s capable in the future.
2. AMD Radeon RX 5700
A Close Second
- Incredible performance
- Exceptional price/performance ratio
- Less power-hungry than 5700 XT
- Great overclocking support
- No ray tracing
- Lacks distinguishing features
Base Core Clock: 1465 MHz | Boost Core Clock: 1725 MHz | Steam Processors: 2304 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6
I have never debated this much while comparing the first and second spots for a roundup. AMD’s RX 5700 is a beast when it comes to value, and it delivers performance that will be more than enough for a lot of people. There is a lot of hidden potential with this card as well when it comes to overclocking performance.
The RX 5700 is an already great performer out of the box. With a boost clock of 1725MHz and blazing fast 8 gigs of GDDR6 memory, it’s an absolute beast when it comes to 1440p. In fact, it so good that it outperforms the RTX 2060 in some titles. This isn’t a rare occurrence either, both of these cards go neck and neck in a lot of titles.
There’s a lot of tinkering open to the user as well. If you do your research and are willing to take the risk, you can flash the BIOS and unlock more potential performance out of this card. Another good thing to add is AMD’s drivers have gotten surprisingly better with these cards. There is still room for improvement, but at least frequent crashes are a thing of the past.
The reason this card is below the 2060 Super is that it doesn’t have a feature that sets it apart, well if we put aside performance that is. While Nvidia’s card has ray tracing, that incredible NVENC encoder, and exclusive features for streaming, AMD doesn’t have anything to counter all of those.
If raw performance is your jam, go with the RX 5700. If you want those extra features the RTX 2060 Super is the better purchase. Neither will leave you disappointed, that’s for sure.
3. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super
- Raw power makes it incredible for 144Hz gaming
- A better value than the 2080 Super
- Able to handle 4K at medium settings
- A tad overpriced for some folks
Base Core Clock: 1410 MHz | Boost Core Clock: 1620 MHz | CUDA Cores: 2304 | RT Cores: 36 | Tensor Cores: 288 | Memory: 8GB GDDR6
If you want the absolute best possible performance at 1440p, and you want to play games at 144Hz all the time, then the RTX 2070 Super might be the way to go for you. Of course, the price should be taken into account, as you would expect great performance from a card that costs this much. Still, let’s figure out if the price is justified for you.
The RTX 2070 Super has more tensor cores and RT cores than the RTX 2060 Super. It also has 8GB of GDDR6 memory, which works incredibly fast. 8GB of memory is more than enough for 1440p gaming and even 4K gaming in some cases. Ray tracing is one thing it does much better than its younger brother. Games still suffer a drop in performance, but the 2070 Super is powerful enough to make things still playable.
Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling or DLSS feature also works quite well here. It does give an increase in frame rates, but it also adds a “shimmering” effect to edges and corners. That’s up to you to decide if you want it on or off. Personally, I don’t mind it as much as one would think.
It’s also a good option for competitive gamers who are always on the edge of their sites. Pair the 2070 Super with a good processor, and you’ve got yourself a high-end number-crunching beast of a system. The main enemy of the 2070 Super is its own price tag.
Sure, it might be the best performer on this list, but it doesn’t hold the same value as the cards above it do. For a lot of people, it might not make sense to spend that amount on a card, when the can get a 5700 XT for a lower price. Granted, the performance decrease is noticeable, but so is the price. For the ones willing to splurge, the 2070 Super is still a great option.
The RX 5700 XT was slated to be AMD’s answer to the RTX lineup offered by Nvidia. While the 5700 XT is a great purchase for anyone looking for a powerful 1440p performer, it does have a few drawbacks which hold it back from getting a higher spot on this list.
First off, let’s talk about the architecture. Navi uses AMD’s latest RDNA architecture, the successor to which is going to be included in next-gen consoles as well. RDNA is very well optimized and efficient, a lot of the times it doesn’t even need to use its full potential in a lot of games. However, when it does kick in, it does so hard and fast.
1440p performance is phenomenal across the board. It wipes the floor with Nvidia’s RTX 2060 and 2060 Super. It also competes with the 2070 super because of the competitive pricing, which gives AMD a leg up in this race. 144Hz QHD gaming is an easy win for the 5700 XT.
AMD has been focusing on productivity-related tasks recently, especially with their Ryzen processors. The same remains true with their new GPU lineup. Depending on your workload, you might be seeing better performance in some rendering programs.
However, the 5700 XT does tend to overheat. This is due to how much power it draws, and also because of the blower-style design which is integrated with this card. There are a few dual fans and triple fan options, but these go out of stock quite quickly. It also lacks ray tracing, which should have been included in a mid to high-end card like this.
While Nvidia’s entire 1660 lineup was a decent enough value for most people, AMD has basically just killed that lineup off with the RX 5600 XT. This makes this the third AMD graphics card on this list and really goes to show how far they’ve come since the days of old. The 5600 XT is an excellent choice if you are on a tight budget.
The 5600XT really starts kicking in when you overclock it. It’s almost like it could have been factory overclocked but AMD might have decided to play it safe. There’s a lot of potential here, you can easily push the boost clock to 1700-1800MHz, and this really makes the card more capable than in its initial state.
Which isn’t to say the card is underpowered out of the box. In fact, it’s the best high-end 1080p card you can buy right now. However, for 1440p, while it can play older titles at medium to high settings, you’ll be stuck at low for a lot of next-gen titles. 144Hz is also near impossible at 1440p with this card. Still, if you’re can’t spend more than $300, this is a decent option.