Creating artwork or design is a unique activity – so you’ll need the best graphics card for graphic design to match.
A good graphics card in your computer will allow you to open, render, and edit high-resolution images and video clips, build 3D environments and models and create complex digital artwork.
Not only that, but powerful graphics cards help you get your artwork and other designs done faster, so you can speed up your workflow.
While there are perfectly good graphics card designs available, not all of them are specifically designed for graphic design. And it’s all about getting the right one for the job.
Ideally, you want a graphics card that caters specifically to designing graphics, and that also features color editing options that work with RGB, HSB, and CMYK.
Graphic designers are particularly concerned about their images and designs because they need to recreate them in large formats that need professional printing services.
For this reason, it’s important that the graphics card you pick to use with your computer for graphic design purposes can cope with the demands of all print and publishing process levels.
In this guide, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best graphics cards for graphic design so you can pick one that’s suitable for your computer and your design needs.
You’ll find a mix of consumer and pro options for different budgets, along with a buying guide that explains what you should consider when buying a graphics card for graphic design.
The Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 is a reasonably affordable and highly recommended graphics card that comes with excellent specs for creative design work.
The professional-grade graphics card has 8GB GDDR6 memory and memory bandwidth of 416GB/s, 2,304 GPU cores, a base clock of 1,0005 MHz, and a boost clock of 1,545 MHz. Plus, it’s excellent with Cuda and OpenCL software.
The RTX 4000 is affordable, boasts excellent performance in design apps, and has a single-slot design so you can fit it within small cases.
Unlike a bulkier GeForce graphics card, which needs lots of power to work well, this graphics card requires less power and makes a huge difference when you’re working with plugins, creative software, and filters.
On top of that, the graphics card drives excellent performance when you’re rendering video, images, and 3D.
If you want to edit mission-critical footage or design-heavy graphics and you need a graphics card that provides system stability, the RTX 4000 is worth considering.
The GeForce RTX 3070 is one of the best graphics cards for graphic design from MSI, a well-known and reputable electronics brand. The graphics card comes with 8GB memory, 14 Gbps memory clock, 5,888 cores, 2x PCIe 8-pin power connectors, an HDMI, and DisplayPort.
The high-end MSI graphics card has a performance that’s hard to beat of up to 8K and is more affordable than many pro-grade graphics cards. Plus, it can handle intensive creative workloads so you’re sure of getting the most out of the card for all your artwork and design needs.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 may be known as a capable graphics card for gaming, but it’s also just as capable of delivering excellent performance for creative and design work.
The card, which is powered by AMD RDNA 2 architecture features up to 16GB dedicated GDDR6 memory for ultra-high frame rates, 128 MB of the AMD Infinity Cache, 60 powerful enhanced Compute Units, and serious 4K resolution for design or gaming purposes.
The card can deliver increased performance for the ultimate graphic design advantage. It’s a good alternative to higher end graphics cards from Nvidia, which have dominated the space for years.
And, it can enable your computer’s AMD Ryzen processors to harness the full potential of the memory that the AMD Radeon RX graphics card has to offer.
The card can compete and/or outperform other cards while allowing you to enjoy ray tracing benefits.
You get great specs like Windforce 3X cooling system with alternate spinning fans, which provides high efficiency heat dissipation. You also get screen cooling, smooth airflow, RGB Fusion 2.0, Dual BIOS, protection plate, and boost or game clock os 2285 MHz and 2045 MHz respectively.
The card comes with a 3D Active fan for semi-passive cooling, which remains off once the card is in a low power game or low load. Also included is a unique blade fan, which splits the airflow and glides smoothly through the stripe curve on the fan’s surface.
Its extended heatsink design allows airflow to pass through thereby giving you better heat dissipation as you render or create heavy graphics.
If you’re a creative and gamer, you’ll find the AMD Radeon RX 6800 excels in both creative and gaming scenarios, including ray tracing, with a high performance for less.
This graphics card by MSI is incredibly powerful and boasts a stylish RGB. Its specs include 24GB GDDR6X memory, 19.5 Gbps memory clock, an HDMI and DisplayPort output, and 2,176 stream processors. You also get three 8-pin power connectors with the card.
While it’s a high-end graphics card for pro-level design work, the Gaming X Trio graphics card is powerful, raises the power limit and boost clock, and can handle this GPU at stock settings thanks to its cooling power.
If you want to switch to gaming after creating some epic artwork or designs, the graphics card can still work with your computer games at 4K.
On top of that, the card comes with the three standard 8-pin power connectors instead of the unusual 12-pin connector in other cards. This way, you can get even more performance from the graphics card.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card is a modern mainstream GPU that’s not only affordable but packs a solid 1080 and 1440 performance. The card comes with 1,536 GPU cores, a base clock, and a boost clock of 1,500 and 1,770 MHz respectively, 4,608 GFLOPS, 6GB GDDR6 memory, and 288GB/s memory bandwidth.
The card is also affordable compared to other Nvidia graphics cards and can be used for creative work at any level. It’s based on the newer 12nm Turning architecture that you’d find with other RTX cards, but you don’t get ray tracing hardware.
The card also has plenty of grunt for accelerating filters and plugins in creative software, making it one of the best budget-friendly graphics cards for graphic design.
Whether you want to create or edit your artwork and designs or render and convert them into high-resolution files, this GeForce GT 1030 graphics card by Nvidia allows you to do all that and finish your work faster.
The low-end, entry-level graphics card offers 1228 MHz GPU clock and 1502MHz memory clock, 384 stream processing units, 14nm process, PCI-Express, an HDMI and DVI-D output, and 2G 64-bit GDDR5.
You can use the card when working or gaming and enjoy your device without it overheating. That’s because the GT 1030 offers an all-aluminum heat dissipation shell with efficient dissipation, long life and durable fans, a 384-stream processor that work with iTX chassis, high-profile and safe electrical components, all-solid state capacitor, and 30W full-load power consumption for high performance.
The card supports Blu-ray HD and delivers 4K at 60Hz output. You can enjoy gaming or creating your designs with this card that offers fast speed and stable performance.
Also included is an advanced cooling system, more precise design, GPU Boost that lets you work with high-resolution files and play every bit of computing performance. The card also offers DirectX 12 support so you can apply powerful new visual effects and rendering technologies.
You can capture images, screenshots, live broadcasts and videos to share with others, in high speed for smooth designing or even gaming when you need to. The card also uses little power, and it’s durable with a stable performance.
Unlike most graphics cards for graphic design, the 1030 can be low-profile and use up only one slot for connectivity. Plus, it’s quieter than other cards because it only needs a single fan.
GeForce RTX graphics cards are designed with advanced technologies that offer unprecedented performance, next-gen gaming experiences, and power efficiency.
You can use this RTX 2080 Ti to do any level of design or creative work thanks to the specs that come in this powerful graphics card. These specs include next-gen performance, lowest latency, haptics, and others that let you enjoy every moment of your creative work.
The card features revolutionary new 360-degree image capture, and is built to meet next-gen display demands including ultra-high resolution, and multiple monitors. Plus, it gives superior performance and power efficiency, with the fastest, smoothest renderings for all your creative and designing experiences.
This graphics card is a brilliant GPU with future-proofing potential and that delivers amazing 3D capabilities.
The main specs include 1755 MHz memory speed, 14 Gbps, 11GB GDDR6 memory, supreme liquid cooling engine design for the best cooling performance, and an RGB mystic light so you can customize colors and LED effects.
The card’s nickel-plated base also increases wear resistance and prevents corrosion so your card can last for longer.
The ASUS dual AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics card is one of the best for graphic design and other creative work. It’s a low-budget card that delivers excellent performance and proves that AMD can also make incredibly powerful cards that offer excellent value for money.
The card’s specs include 2304 stream processors, 8GB GDDR6 memory, 14 Gbps memory clock, 1465 MHz core clock, 8-pin, and 6-pin power connectors, and an HDMI and DisplayPort output.
Also included is 0dB technology so you can play some light games when you want to unwind after a long day of design work. The axial-tech fan design comes with longer fan blades along with a unique barrier ring for added air pressure.
On top of that, there’s a protective backplate that secures the components during installation and transportation. The card’s auto-extreme technology also ensures and enhances reliability through automation, and the new and improved heat sink helps cool both the onboard memory and VRM using its contact points.
The AMD Radeon is a mid-range card, meaning you can get amazing graphics and rendering for your creative work, besides striking a good balance between performance and price.
Gigabyte is a brand that provides its users with a comprehensive lineup of products with an aim to upgrade their lives.
The company’s expertise spans business, cloud systems, consumer, and gaming products, and allows people to capture, analyze and transform their digital data to economic information that can grow their businesses.
Among its powerful technologies is the Aorus GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card that applies the company’s game-changing DualBIOS technology and is designed to last and outlast. Plus, it comes with the Windforce Stack 3x cooling system, which exceeds all expectations.
The card is built with NVIDIA Ampere streaming multiprocessors, second-gen RT Cores, third-gen Tensor Cores, and a 10GB GDDR6X 320-bit memory interface.
You also get superfast G6X memory and 8,704 stream processors for better rendering of your graphics as you work.
The card provides excellent 4K gaming performance at low temperatures and includes next-gen ray-tracing capabilities.
For creatives, this card’s AI support accelerates your workflow, whether it’s creating complex and realistic 3D models or rendering ultra-high-definition video.
While the card may be pricier than some cards on this list, it offers up to 80 percent performance increases, which you need while designing so you can work faster and more efficiently.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card delivers the ultimate performance for creatives and graphics designers. The card is powered by NVIDIA’s second-generation Ampere RTX architecture with Tensor Cores, new RT Cores, and streaming multiprocessors for cutting-edge AI features and ray-traced graphics.
You can experience great displays like never before, thanks to the visual fidelity of real-time ray tracing, and DLSS powered by artificial intelligence.
The groundbreaking AI rendering boosts frame rates using the AI processing Tensor Cores to deliver uncompromised image quality. This way, you get incredible performance to crank up resolutions and settings for an incredible visual experience.
Also included with this card is the NVIDIA Reflex, which delivers the ultimate competitive advantage – best responsiveness and lowest latency. You can take your creative projects to a new level with this graphics card, and get the ultimate performance to help you create your best.
You can create and design quality masterpieces, play some games, livestream with the best encoding and image quality, edit videos in 8K, or render complex 3D scenes.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is an immensely powerful graphics card with smooth frame rates and 4K capability. The card comes with extra features that help you edit videos, good future proofing, and blazing fast speeds for when you want to play high-resolution games.
As much as the card is high-end and costly, it still delivers decent export times than its predecessor – the cheaper RTX 3070 – but the difference will be clear when you apply multiple GPU-accelerated effects.
The extra power in the graphics card is also used more effectively by applications like Davinci Resolve, and its video memory can also help you edit 8K and high frame rate 4K recordings.
With the world’s fastest graphics memory and GDDR6X VRAM, the RTX 3080 can perform at 760GB/s. you also get new ray-tracing hardware, a new thermal-optimized design for better airflow, more efficiency, and up to 3x quieter performance during your designing or editing sessions.
The card has proven to be a considerable improvement from its predecessor and other previous generation graphics cards. It also gives you more access to 4K capability, better performance boosts of between 50-80 percent, and fast refresh rates.
The RTX 3080 is truly a compelling upgrade if you want to get the most out of the creative workflow and designing process. Plus, if you’re into gaming, you can get the best 4K performance for next-gen games, and other massive gains compared to older graphics cards.
If you’re ready to buy a graphics card for your graphic design work, and you’re shopping around for one, there are some basics you need to consider.
The higher the resolution you work at whether you’re creating graphics or videos, the higher the memory you need.
Plus, if you need to work with 4K resolution or larger textures, the graphics card you choose needs more memory. Look for GPUs with 8GB or more memory to begin with.
The faster the graphics card performs, the better detail and more advanced graphical effects you can work with.
The most common level for fluid performance is 60fps, but if your display doesn’t match that refresh rate, your graphics card will have to work harder to keep up with the demands.
The number of cores impacts on the overall power of the graphics card to deliver good rendering ability for your creative work.
Cores vary dramatically across performance tiers and various price points so check on the number that resonates with your needs.
The clock speed of the graphics card you want for your design work is usually quoted as a base figure.
Under heavy load, a graphics card can run at higher clock speeds, which means better performance. But that’s before the card hits a predetermined maximum, which is set to prevent issues like overheating that affect the card and your device.
The display you work with can also determine the kind of graphics card you need to get. All graphics cards – at least the modern ones – use digital video outputs only. So it’s either you get DisplayPort or HDMI.
Plus, for 4K or 5K displays, the graphics cards now support at least HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 standards with the necessary bandwidth for 60hZ refresh rates.
You probably noticed as you looked through our list of graphics cards that they come in different hardware generations – 2nd gen, 3rd gen and so on. This is known as the hardware generation of the series of cards, which is a codename for reference purposes.
For example, NVIDIA cards are named after scientists like Turing, Pascal, and others while AMD names its cards as Vega or Polaris and other obscure words.
Both AMD and NVIDIA produce new graphics card series about every two years. With each new generation that’s released, the card raises the bar in areas like memory, bandwidth, cores, and other features, which often get squeezed into the same thermal demands and power as their predecessors.
If you want the best performance during your creative art or design work, and for best future proofing, try to buy graphics cards that are as new as possible.
For creatives and gamers, graphics cards are an integral part of their work and entertainment. Today, whether you’re buying a purpose-built laptop for design or gaming, you don’t have to think much about the card because you may not get as many options.
However, if you choose to create your own PC from scratch, selecting the right card may make a lot of difference.
Our top picks for the best graphics cards for graphic design are sure to help you speed up your workflow and create your best work yet.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.