Let’s be totally honest: 2021 was a nightmarish year for graphics cards. If the surge in demand wasn’t bad enough, the global semiconductor shortage made matters a whole lot worse. Combined with increased cryptocurrency mining demand and ludicrous prices capable of sending any bot into overdrive, we’ve ended up with something of a dreadful drought in 2021.
Though these are the PC Gamer Hardware Awards and that means we still want to crown one of this year’s few graphics card releases as the best of the year. That entails rooting through AMD and Nvidia’s latest releases for our 2021 nominees, which unsurprisingly doesn’t leave us with all too many to choose from.
As you’ll see, we’re focusing exclusively on gaming graphics cards for these awards, and that’s largely because this is PC Gamer we’re talking about, but also because no matter how much I would love to put AMD’s intriguing MI200 accelerator in the mix for the award, it has crucial research to be getting on with and numbers to crunch, rather than helping me hit a high frame rate in Forza Horizon 5.
Best graphics card 2021: the nominees
The winner of the Best Graphics Card 2021 PC Gamer Hardware Award will be announced on New Year’s Eve, so check back then to see which one of these GPUs is crowned the best (of a bad year).