You’re not the only one struggling to choose your next graphics card. Since there are so many manufacturers out there, it can be difficult to choose one.
It’s only natural to want to purchase the best graphics card when you’re going to spend a lot of money on a piece of hardware that is supposed to last you for several years.
How can you find the one that best suits your budget and needs? What constitutes a good graphics card manufacturer, and how do graphics cards made by one manufacturer differ from those made by another?
We will answer all these questions in this guide, and we will also list some of the most notable graphics card manufacturers today.
Graphics Card Manufacturers – How Do They Differ?
In the first place, we should distinguish between a GPU and a graphics card.
As the name implies, “GPU” stands for graphics processing unit, a specialized chip designed for graphics-related tasks. Consequently, a graphics card is more than just the GPU – it includes the PCB, the memory configuration, the cooling system, the output ports, and the exterior design.
As a result, Nvidia and AMD manufacture and sell GPUs to companies that are then free to tweak any of these aspects of a graphics card as they see fit without altering the GPU itself in any way.
The GPU’s performance can still be influenced by the manufacturer, largely based on the type of cooling solution they implement. The difference in raw performance is usually quite small and borders on negligible most of the time.
Prices are fairly self-explanatory, but let’s clarify a few things.
Some manufacturers offer their graphics cards at a lower price than others. Even though cheap does not necessarily mean good, some budget graphics cards offer good value for your money, that is, they sell quality hardware at a relatively low price. In the same way, a more expensive graphics card might come with, say, a better cooler, but the performance increase might not justify the price increase.
The warranty is also self-explanatory – how long is the standard warranty period? Is there an extended warranty plan from the manufacturer? How quickly and efficiently does the manufacturer repair and/or replace faulty products?
You may also like: Best & Cheapest 4K Graphics Card
Most manufacturers offer a 3-year limited warranty for graphics cards, while some only provide a 2-year warranty. Also, some manufacturers offer an extended warranty that will cover you for a few more years if you register the product and pay a little extra.
Some people also like to keep in mind the reputation and reliability of the manufacturer, although this is hard to gauge accurately. What is the reason?
Because customers’ experiences can vary wildly. Others will have horror stories about a certain company’s customer support. Additionally, most of the companies listed here sell dozens of different graphics card models, and it is inevitable that there will be some faulty cards in every series.
With that out of the way, let’s start listing some of the best and most well-known graphics card manufacturers you’ll most likely encounter today!
Asus is without a doubt one of the biggest and most well-known hardware manufacturers on this list. This Taiwanese brand also makes laptops, monitors, motherboards, smartphones, as well as a variety of computer peripherals and accessories.
With graphics cards, Asus is perhaps best known for its Republic of Gamers brand. RoG Strix cards are known for their efficient cooling, aggressive design, and their prices as well, which can be a bit high compared to their competition.
The company also offers a variety of more affordable series, including the blower-equipped Turbo cards and the bland-looking Dual and TUF series.
Asus is a versatile manufacturer that can satisfy the needs of both performance-oriented gamers and average gamers, although their RoG Strix models may be a bit more expensive than competing products that offer a similar level of performance.
Like Asus, MSI is a popular hardware manufacturer based in Taiwan. It also sells laptops, motherboards, monitors, and peripherals. In terms of graphics cards, they offer everything from affordable solutions to high-end ones that are sure to appeal to any enthusiast.
The Gaming X series graphics cards from MSI are their most popular graphics card lineup, featuring a sleek and good-looking exterior design, as well as an efficient and quiet cooling system. Aside from that, they also have more affordable graphics cards that would appeal to those who don’t have a lot of money to spend on a graphics card.
Overall, even though MSI and Asus are on fairly equal footing, we’d recommend MSI over Asus at the moment. The main reason is that they tend to offer slightly better value overall. Furthermore, we’d say they look better, but that’s a matter of opinion.
Gigabyte is another popular Taiwanese company that offers a wide range of hardware and computer peripherals. They are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of graphics cards, along with Asus and MSI.
In general, Gigabyte tries to offer better value with their graphics cards, at least at the low-end and mid-range. The main reason is that while they don’t have spectacular cooling, they are usually cheaper, and gamers on a budget will always prefer them.
In contrast, Gigabyte’s Aorus brand really stands out when it comes to design. Gigabyte Aorus graphics cards usually come with bulky, angular shrouds and heavy RGB lighting that can compete with Asus’ RoG products. RGB enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy this type of exterior, but others may simply find it over the top.
EVGA is an American company that primarily manufactures Nvidia graphics cards, along with other hardware and accessories. In any case, EVGA graphics cards are known for their high quality. Even though some of the high-end models can be quite expensive, there is still something to suit every budget.
Like EVGA, ZOTAC manufactures Nvidia graphics cards exclusively, as well as Mini PCs and some accessories.
Their product selection isn’t quite as varied compared to some of the larger manufacturers listed so far, but ZOTAC still has something for everyone – from RGB-heavy high-end AMP models to some more compact and affordable variants of certain GPUs.
Those are our picks of what we consider to be the best graphics card manufacturers today. Even though they all differ from one another in many ways, as we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to generalize and choose “the best”.
We suggest reading our selection of the best gaming graphics cards in 2021, since graphics cards are best judged on a case-by-case basis. Check it out if you want a closer look at some of the most appealing graphics cards available today as well as answers to some of the questions you might have when choosing a graphics card.