5 Best Graphics Cards for Graphic Design

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A Graphics Card is a hardware component whose sole purpose is to render images and display them to the monitor. It includes a graphical processing unit (GPU) and a dedicated ram to process data efficiently. GPUs are specially built to enable the display of 3-D images, image rasterization, higher pixel density, display of a broader range of colors and more. Having a Graphics card also helps you free your CPU and RAM of workload.

Any changes you make to images in Photoshop or Illustrator are done by the Graphics card. So, here is the good news. These tasks are not graphics Card intensive. In this article, I’ll tell you exactly what graphics card you need.

Though I’m a fan of AMD, Nvidia Graphics cards are preferred for Graphic Design due to more performance and reliability. NVIDIA graphics cards are also optimized well to work with Adobe applications. So, in this article, I’ll be using Nvidia Cards only.

Here are our Top Five Best Graphics Cards for Graphic Design

Top PickEditor’s ChoiceBest ValueRunner-upBest Budget
Quadro RTX 5000Quadro RTX 4000GeForce RTX 3070RTX 3060 TiGTX 1660Ti
➕Future Proof➕Professional Card➕Best Price to Performance Ratio➕8GB Memory Size➕Affordable Graphic Card
➕4K Rendering Support➕Reliable➕ 8GB Memory Size➕Great for Higher Resolutions➕Best for 1080p Resolution
➕Professional Card➕Single slot card➕Ampere Architecture➕Affordable Price➕Best for Beginners
Check the Latest Price on Amazon Check the Latest Price on Amazon Check the Latest Price on Amazon Check the Latest Price on Amazon Check the Latest Price on Amazon

Here is our complete list of the Best Graphics Cards for Graphic Design:

PreviewNameMemoryBandwidthMemory BusPrice
Quadro RTX 500016GB GDDR6448 Gb/s256 bit Check the Latest Price on Amazon
Quadro RTX 40008GB GDDR6416 Gb/s256 bit Check the Latest Price on Amazon
GeForce RTX 30708GB GDDR6448Gb/s256 bit Check the Latest Price on Amazon
RTX 3060 Ti8GB GDDR6448Gb/s256 bit Check the Latest Price on Amazon
GTX 1660 Ti6GB GDDR6288 Gb/s192 bit Check the Latest Price on Amazon

Quadro RTX 5000 - Best GPU for Professional Graphic Design

Tech Specs:
Core Clock / Boost Clock: 1620 MHz / 1815 MHz
Cores: 3072
Memory : 16GB GDDR6
Bandwidth : 448 Gb/s
Memory Bus: 256 bit
Output : 1x USB Type-C, 4x DisplayPort

What’s Good

  • Best For Creatives
  • Huge 16GB VRAM
  • Excellent Performance

What’s Bad

  • Expensive

Our Verdict:
The Quadro RTX 5000 is an excellent choice for professional graphic designers working on high-end projects. It comes at an expensive price but it delivers excellent performance on par with industry standards. The Quadro RTX 5000 is not for everyone. If you are an individual working on huge projects that require more computing power, this is for you.

The Quadro RTX 5000 is based on Turing architecture. It contains 3072 Cores running at 1620MHz. They can be boosted up to 1815Mhz when needed. It has a huge 16GB GDDR6 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 448GB/s.

It is aimed at professionals. They are not gaming graphics cards like the RTX 3080 or 3070. The Quadro RTX 5000 performs work efficiently for those working at high resolutions. It is more reliable and stable than gaming-centric cards in professional environments.

It has a TDP rating of 230W. It is a dual-slot graphics card and PCIe 3.0 x16 interface to connect to the motherboard. Its cooling system is very effective and its fan did not produce too much noise. Its Display outputs include 4x DisplayPort, 1x USB Type-C. You can use it with multiple monitors without any issues.

The Quadro RTX 5000 is not for everyone. If you are someone who is working in professional environments and want a powerful graphics card, it is for you. Yes, it is expensive but is definitely worth it in the long run.

Quadro RTX 4000 - Editor's Choice for Graphic Design in 2021

Tech Specs:
Core Clock / Boost Clock: 1005 MHz / 1545 MHz
Cores: 2304
Memory : 8GB GDDR6
Bandwidth : 416 Gb/s
Memory Bus: 256 bit
Output : 1x USB Type-C, 3x DisplayPort

What’s Good

  • Value for Money
  • Affordbale price
  • Single slot card
  • Power efficient

What’s Bad

  • Still expensive when compared with RTX cards

Our Verdict:
The Quadro RTX 4000 is the perfect choice for most graphic designers. It is a professional graphics card that comes at an affordable price and offers an uncompromised performance. It is also power-efficient and also occupies less space. The Quadro RTX 4000 is the sweet spot for those who cannot afford high-end cards.

The Quadro RTX 4000 is based on Turing architecture. It 2304 CUDA cores running at a maximum clock speed of 1545MHz. It also has 288 Tensor cores and 36 RT cores. It has an 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 416GB/s.

It is a single-slot card. It occupies less space and can easily fit into small cases. Its TDP rating is only 160W hence it is also power efficient. It uses a single 8-pin power connector. Its fan doesn’t produce any noise and helps the card operate at optimal temperatures. Its Display outputs include 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB Type-C.

The Quadro RTX 4000 is a great choice for most professionals who cannot afford the Quadro RTX 5000. Its performance is excellent and you can use it to edit pictures and videos at higher resolutions flawlessly.

It offers the same reliance and efficiency of the high-end professional graphics card yet comes at an affordable price tag. I would definitely recommend you look into it.

RTX 3070 - Best Value Graphics Card for Graphic Design

Tech Specs:
Core Clock / Boost Clock: 1500 MHz / 1725 MHz
Cores: 5888
Memory : 8GB GDDR6
Bandwidth : 448Gb/s
Memory Bus: 256 bit
Output : 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort

What’s Good

  • 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Good Value for Money
  • Better performance than the RTX 2080 Ti
  • Best for 4K Resolution
  • Power efficient

What’s Bad

  • Nothing

Our Verdict:
The RTX 3070 is perfect for those looking for a powerful graphics card for working on higher resolutions. It is better than the RTX 2080 Ti in performance and comes at a lesser price than it. Its specs are similar to the Professional Graphics cards listed above. If you cannot afford them, The RTX 3070 offers you similar performance for a cheaper price. It is impressive in every way and I have no trouble recommending it.

The RTX 3070 is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture. It comes with the improved 2nd Gen RT cores and 3rd Gen Tensor Cores that enhance the ray tracing and DLSS abilities of this graphics card.

It has 5888 CUDA cores running 1500 MHz. They can be boosted up to 1725 MHz. It has an 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 448GB/s which is generous enough for graphic designers.

It has similar specs to the Quadro RTX 5000 in terms of Bandwidth and Memory Bus. It should come close to the professional graphics cards in terms of performance. You will have no problems using it for high resolutions with multiple monitors.

The RTX 3070 is a gaming-centric graphics card. You can also game on it at high resolutions without any FPS drops, unlike the professional graphics cards. It also comes with improved Ray tracing and DLSS features that enhance your gameplay.

It is a fairly power-efficient graphics card thanks to the Ampere architecture. It has a TDP rating of only 220W. It uses a single 12-pin power connector. It uses a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 interface to connect to the motherboard.

It also runs quietly without being too hot. You can work on multiple intensive tasks without worrying about overheating or noise.

The RTX 3070 is an excellent card for both graphic design and gaming. Its performance is miles ahead of the previous-gen RTX cards for a lesser price. You will be satisfied with its performance.  I suggest you give it a try.

RTX 3060 Ti - Runner-up Graphics Card for Graphic Design in 2021

Tech Specs:
Core Clock / Boost Clock: 1410 MHz / 1665 MHz
Cores: 4864
Memory : 8GB GDDR6
Bandwidth : 448Gb/s
Memory Bus: 256 bit
Output : 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort

What’s Good

  • 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Best Value for Money
  • Better performance than the RTX 2080
  • Affordable Price
  • Power efficient

What’s Bad

  • Nothing

Our Verdict:
The RTX 3060 Ti offers graphic designers excellent performance at an affordable price. It is better than the RTX 2080 Super in almost all aspects and has a lower price tag. It can easily handle multiple graphic design projects at the same time at high resolutions. If you are looking for an affordable yet powerful graphics card for graphics design, the RTX 3060 Ti is best suited to you.

The RTX 3060 Ti is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture. It uses 2nd Gen RT cores and 3rd Gen Tensor cores that perform 2x better than the previous generation.

It has 4864 CUDA cores. Its base clock speed is 1410 Mhz and it can be boosted up to 1665 MHz. It has a generous 256-bit 8GB GDDR6 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 448GB/s which should be plenty for most graphic designers.

The RTX 3060 Ti is great for graphic design at 1440p and 4K resolutions. It is a gaming-centric graphics card so you can enjoy the best of both worlds in terms of work and play.

It has an impressive TDP rating of only 200W. A 600W Power supply should be decent enough for it. It uses a single 12-pin power connector. It is a dual-slot card and uses a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 interface to connect to the motherboard.

It comes with a decent cooling system. The fans work efficiently without causing too much noise keeping the temperatures at safe limits. 

The RTX 3060 Ti is a great choice for those who want good performance but have budget restrictions. It outperforms the RTX 2080 for a lesser price. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

GTX 1660Ti – Best Budget Graphics Card for Graphic Design

Tech Specs:
Clock Speed : 1500 MHz
Memory : 6GB GDDR6
Shader Cores : 1536
Bandwidth : 288 Gb/s
Memory Bus : 192 bit

What’s Good

  • Best for 1080p
  • Price to Performance Ratio

What’s Bad

  • Nothing

The GTX 1660 Ti card is best for hobby beginners serious about graphic designing. This has the right balance of price and performance. This would be more than enough for 1080p editing.

It is powered by Turing architecture. It has no RT cores and hence cannot support real-time Ray tracing and other features present in RTX cards. It has 1536 CUDA cores that operate at 1500Mhz. They can be boosted up to 1770Mhz. It also uses a 6GB GDDR6 VRAM with a bandwidth of 288GB/s that operate at 1500Mhz.

The GTX 1660 Ti has a TDP of 120W which requires a power supply of only 450W. It uses an 8-pin power connector to connect to the power supply.

It also has a dual-fan cooling system. It is a dual-slot card and uses a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 interface to connect to a motherboard. Its display outputs include 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort.

The GTX 1660 Ti is a performance-segment card that was launched keeping in mind the budget and affordability. It is a great card for graphic designers working at 1080p and also offers acceptable performance for those working in 1440p resolution. If you’re not into the advanced features offered by the RTX cards, this card should be enough to perform most of the tasks for you.

Frequently asked questions :

1. Should you have multiple GPUs?
A. I suggest having a single strong GPU. Multiple GPUs are for gamers.

2. Do I need to overclock?
A. most of the performance you get out of the box is sufficient. There is no need to overclock.

3. Is the Graphics card brand important?
A. In most of the cases, NO. For better customer service and better driver support. I’ll stick with MSI, Asus, GIGABYTE and ZOTAC.

4. Why can I not use an Integrated graphics card?
A. Having a dedicated Graphics card goes a long way into improving the workspace. The integrated graphics card will put the workload on the CPU and RAM. Many features won’t work without a graphics card. Therefore, it is advised to have a dedicated GPU.

What should a Graphic Designer look for in a Graphics card:

  • Memory size: Memory size is an important consideration. This is because memory size affects anti-aliasing operations, quality of the texture, render time. Having higher memory also allows you to operate at higher resolutions. If you’re running multiple displays, you’ll want more VRAM.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of memory a GPU can access at a given time. Again, the higher the bandwidth, the higher the performance. You can edit and render at a faster rate.
  • Shader cores (Also Called CUDA cores by Nvidia and Stream Processors by AMD): Shader cores help improve render quality and decrease render time. They bring 3D objects to life by adding light and dark effects to them.
  • Clock speed: This is the frequency in which the GPU is running. Without going into much detail, Higher the clock speed higher the performance. This also varies due to the architecture of cards. Since we are only focusing on Nvidia cards, Architecture will not be a problem. See that the GPU you select has a higher clock speed.
  • Memory Bus Width: If your workload is memory intensive, make sure your card has a higher bus width. This is for advanced Graphic Designers. 256-bit GPUs are more than enough.  

When it comes to the Photo Editing programs the most important thing to check in the GPU is Memory bandwidth & Memory Bus. Also, All the cards I present below support a 10-bit display. See the official article by Nvidia here

Requirements of Photoshop :

Here are the Adobe Photoshop Minimum System Requirements as mentioned in the Official Website:

  • CPU: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • HDD: 3.1 GB of storage space
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or equivalent
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7 SP1
  • Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Network: Broadband Internet Connection

Adobe Photoshop Recommended System Requirements:

  • CPU: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 10 GB of storage space
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 / NVIDIA Quadro T1000
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10, October 2018 update, version 1809 or later
  • Screen Resolution: 720p
  • Network: Broadband Internet Connection

Here are features that won’t run without a graphics card as mentioned in the Official Website:

Features that won’t work without a GPU are:

  • Perspective Warp (more info)
  • 3D
  • Oil Paint
  • Render – Flame, Picture Frame, and Tree
  • Scrubby Zoom
  • Birds Eye View
  • Flick Panning
  • Smooth Brush Resizing

Features that require a GPU for acceleration are:

  • Lens Blur (more info)
  • Artboards
  • Camera Raw (more info)
  • Image Size – Preserve Details
  • Select Focus
  • Blur Gallery – Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt-Shift, Path Blur, Spin Blur (OpenCL accelerated)
  • Smart Sharpen (Noise Reduction – OpenCL accelerated)
  • Select and Mask (OpenCL accelerated)