Easily argued to be the best-valued mode of enjoying PC gaming applications, the 1080p 144 Hz monitor allows for a respectable HD definition, an almost uncanny smoothness of frame processions, and low input-to-display latencies – all being qualities which are optimal for gaming.
A small opposition would argue that a 1440p 144 Hz monitor would be better for gaming than the 1080p counterpart, though the amount of value that the increased resolution provides is hardly worth the increased cost of the monitor, and the necessary GPU necessary to run games at that resolution and frame rate. Take for example the popular battle royale Call of Duty: Warzone. According to benchmarks of ComputerBase, we can see that the only GPU reaching even slightly above the 120 FPS mark is the $1200 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Lowering the graphical settings to allow for less expensive GPUs to run the game at over 120 FPS will simply defeat the purpose of the increased resolution.
Now, of course, all games are not created equal. Some may prefer competitive gaming with popular “e-sports” titles, while others may prefer triple-A single player options. Choosing the right GPU, among other necessary hardware, must take into account the type of gaming applications that are to be ran on the machine. General guidelines for the accompanying hardware would include: 16 GB of RAM, preferably 3000-3200 MHz at CAS 14 to CAS 15, a four to six core processor for online multiplayers or eight core 16 thread processor for AAA titles, a motherboard with a respectable VRM and cooling solution to allow for proper, stable, overclocking, and, of course, a solid state ROM drive. Lest we forget, proper cooling for the setup, which is recommended to take the form of an airflow optimized case, with static pressure optimized fans for heatsinks, and airflow optimized case fans throughout. PSU recommendations will depend on the TDP of the GPU and overall build.
When all the above is decided upon, next comes perhaps the most important choice, the graphics card. To assist you in finding the most optimal GPU option for your setup to handle 1080p 144 Hz gaming, we’ve provided the best selections for the two different styles of gaming that were previously mentioned. We will also provide an additional option for those looking to futureproof their setup for the new generation of games that will accompany the imminent release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, coming later this year (2020).
Best GPUs for 1080p 144hz Competitive Gaming – My Recommendations
Due to the decreased hardware requirements of the most popular online competitive multiplayer games, certain less expensive options for GPUs that can handle 144 Hz refresh rates open up.
1. AMD Radeon RX 5700
The AMD option for such demands: The Radeon RX 5700. This RDNA powered GPU features a base frequency of 1465 MHz, and a boost frequency of up to 1725 MHz; with a 14000 MHz memory clock and 6,751 GFLOPS of FP32 computing power. It has 2304 CUDA cores, 1244 TMUs, and 64 ROPS, 8GB of GDDR6 V-RAM, and a 256-bit memory bud width that can handle 448 GB/s. The Radeon RX 5700 has a TDP of 175, so 650-700W PSUs are recommended, depending on the build. Feature-wise, this GPU includes AMD’s Radeon Image Sharpening: contrast-adaptive sharpening with GPU upscaling, Fidelity FX: high-quality post-process effects, and FreeSync: anti-stutter and screen tearing software for compatible monitors.
User benchmarks for the Radeon RX 5700 show us that it can reach well over 120 effective FPS for certain popular competitive gaming titles. For Counter Strike: Global Offensive it reaches 220 FPS, while for Fortnite and Overwatch 2 it reaches 143 and 133 EFPS respectively. That being said, it will struggle to maintain an FPS of above 100 for certain triple-A titles, though for its $349 price it is still a great deal for those that care more about reaching that 120+ FPS on competitive multiplayers, in order to match the 144 Hz refresh rate of the 1080p monitor.
2. Nvidia RTX 2060 Super
Nvidia’s counter to AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 is the GeForce RTX 2060 Super. This ray tracing GPU has a base clock frequency of 1470 MHz, and a boost clock of 1650 – depending on the aftermarket model. Its FP32 computing power is 6,397 GFLOPS, and its CUDA Cores, TMUs, and ROPs are 2176, 136, and 64. Like the AMD counterpart, the 2060 Super also has 8GB of GDDR6 V-RAM, a 256-bit memory bud width, and a 448 GB/s bandwidth. It has a slightly less demanding TDP of 175W, though the 650-700W recommendation will still stand for a build featuring this GPU. Some of its included features are G-Sync: Nvidia’s equivalent of the AMD FreeSync, DLSS 2.0: an AI powered frame rate boost, and GeForce Experience: software which keeps drivers up to date, optimizes game settings, and allows for video capturing and streaming.
Much like the AMD Radeon RX 5700, the RTX 2060 Super displays similar effective FPS rates for online multiplayers, reaching 138 FPS for Overwatch 2, 133 FPS for Fortnite, and an impressive 280 FPS for Counter Strike: GO. For the more hardware intensive Call of Duty: Warzone, this GPU manages 118.8 FPS, versus the slightly higher 119.4 FPS of the RX 5700. The reference RTX 2060S has a price of $399, being slightly more expensive than the equivalent AMD option – though it is by far the more popular choice among the two GPUs.
Best GPUs for 1080p 144Hz Triple-A Gaming
Current generation triple-A titles that offer a more cinematic experience with their remarkable visuals, are also significantly more hardware-demanding, and will require much more powerful GPUs to match their requirements. Reaching over 120 FPS on these titles is no easy undertaking. The two recommended GPUs below are what are deemed to be the minimum required for the task.
1. Nvidia RTX 2080 Super
The RTX 2080 Super features significant upgrades to its hypo-predecessor. It has a base clock of 1650 MHz and a boost clock of 1815 MHz, with 10,138 GFLOPS of computing power. It has 3072 CUDA Cores, 192 TMUs, and 64 ROPs; while also featuring 8GB of VRAM with 256-bit memory bus width and 495.62 GB/s bandwidth. It has an increased TDP of 250W, so it is not the most energy efficient GPU. These are, of course, the reference card specifications, as the boost clock can reach upwards of 1890 MHz depending on the aftermarket model. It features much of the same software previously mentioned with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super GPU.
The benchmarks for the RTX 2080 Super, measured by AnandTech, show us that even this upper-mid end GPU will struggle reaching above 120 FPS for certain triple A titles. A good example is Assassins Creed Odyssey, which, at the highest settings, the RTX 2080S can only reach an 89.7 framerate. That being said, for most current generation single-player games it does reach, and exceed, the 120 FPS mark at 1080p resolutions. The reference card for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super currently costs $699, which is a price that can be found for aftermarket models as well.
2. AMD RX 5700 XT
AMD’s RX 5700 XT is what would be appropriately called: the budget GPU for high FPS gaming, though not reliably so. This GPU has a base clock of 1605 MHz, a boost clock of 1755 MHz, 8,218 GFLOPs, 2560 CUDA cores, 160 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s. Aftermarket models feature boost clocks that reach up to 2000 MHz. It has a slightly better TDP, in comparison to the previously mentioned Nvidia GPU, of 225W.
For games like Call of Duty: Warzone, this GPU was able to reach 135.9 FPS (scoring even higher than AMD’s own double-priced Radeon VII), which makes it a respectable option, especially for its cost. Surprisingly enough, for Assassins Creed Odyssey it (ever so slightly) outperforms the RTX 2080 Super, scoring 90.8 FPS at 1080p on the highest quality settings. Of course, there are other games where it is outperformed by the RTX 2080 Super, like the recently Epic-Store-gifted Grand Theft Auto V, where the RTX 2080S reached 142.9 FPS versus the 115.2 of the RX 5700 XT. The main issue with the RX 5700 XT is its overheating under high loads. If this can be avoided via an excess of cooling, this GPU can reach 144 FPS for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, or 206 FPS for Rainbow Six Siege for only a $399 price tag.
Best Futureproof GPU for 1080p 144hz Gaming
If you are looking to futureproof your build for the next generation of single-player games set to release with the new generation of consoles coming later this year, then you are going to need a significantly more powerful GPU than the aforementioned bunch if you look to reach an excess of 120 frames per second. Though Nvidia is rumored to be announcing their new series of RTX 3000 GPUs in August 2020, it is difficult to tell whether these GPUs can live up to the task – and at what price. If rumors and leaks are to go by, then it is indeed near-certain that they have the necessary power, though the price is still in contention. If you dislike the wait, or the uncertainty, then there is one GPU that has the best chances to accomplish this feat. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
This flagship Nvidia GPU, the RTX 2080 Ti, has a base clock of 1350 MHz, a boost clock of 1545 MHz, 11,750 GFLOPS, 11265 MB of GDDR6 VRAM, a 352-bit memory bus width with 616 GB/s bandwidth, 4352 CUDA cores, 272 TMUs, 88 ROPs, and a 250W TDP. Though it is quite a pricy GPU ($999 reference card), it is the most powerful gaming GPU currently available in the market… by far.
TweakTown benchmarks show us that there is not a single game they tested in which this GPU fell below 140 FPS. Will it continue to do so when the newer generation games begin rolling out? It is difficult to tell, though it most likely will – at least for the next few years to come. It may be a costly GPU, but it is currently the only one that has a promising future for 144 Hz compatible graphical processing power.