Awesome gaming performance doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars with one of the best budget graphics cards under $500.
Whether you’re building a PC or looking to level up your gaming experience, you probably know how important it is to consider buying a graphics card, which is also referred to as a GPU (graphics processing unit), video card or VGA (video graphics adapter)/VGA card.
Many PC gamers would agree that finding the right graphics card proved a major challenge these past few years. GPU prices skyrocketed, and stock levels were low, so it was hard to get your hands on any GPU, let alone the one specific one you wanted. Currently, GPU prices are returning to normal, and stock levels are rising, so now may be a good time to consider purchasing a graphics card.
We’ve compiled a list of affordable graphics cards to consider buying to make your decision easier this year. We’ll also help you determine if a GPU is right for you.
Do You Need to Buy a Graphics Card?
Ultimately, if you’re looking to take your PC’s performance up a notch, you’ll likely have to be prepared to shell out a bit of cash. It’s possible you could spend somewhere between $500-$2,000 for one of the top graphics cards, but there are less expensive options, as well.
It may not be wise to overspend on a graphics card if it impacts other components of your PC. For example, your CPU or RAM might not be able to keep up with a high-powered GPU, leading to a bottleneck in your system. Always check compatibility before buying new parts for your gaming PC.
It is possible to build a great budget gaming PC without a GPU. Today’s iGPUs are getting better and better. For example, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G APU (a combined CPU and GPU) can keep up with a GTX 1650 or 1660 in terms of graphics performance. If your budget is below $1000, opting for a CPU with good integrated graphics might be the way to go.
There are cases where you probably should spend the extra money for a GPU, even on a budget. If you want to stream your games on Twitch, you will need the processor and performance boost of a GPU. Playing games in 4K or VR also requires a GPU beyond the basic integrated graphics of some CPUs.
5 Best Budget Graphics Cards to Buy in 2022
We’ve gathered some of the best budget graphics cards you may want to buy this year if you’re in the market for one. Plan to spend at least $200 on any starter graphics card.
1. MSI GTX 1660 Super 6GB
The GTX 1660 Super has been a popular graphics card for years and it still holds up well for budget gamers. When you’re trying to build a gaming PC on a tight budget, you want something that runs well, even if it doesn’t have fancy premium features.
The 1660 Super can still handle pretty much any game you throw at it, even if it is becoming somewhat dated. With 6GB of memory, this MSI GPU is a great choice for $1000 budget builds.
2. ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Super
ASUS’s take on the 1660 Super is a slight upgrade from the MSI 1660 Super. You’ll be able to take your performance up a notch and benefit from 1080p gaming.
The original GTX 1660 was a great graphics card, but Nvidia improved it, so the Super version is even better. It is around $10 more than the original GTX 1660, but the Super’s performance is worth that extra price hike.
3. MSI RTX 2060 6GB
The RTX 2060 is a fantastic mid-range graphics card. It is often priced around $300 to $400, but can be found below $300 during sales. If you have the budget for it, opt for the RTX 2060 over the 1660 Super. Both are great budget GPUs, but the 2060 has an edge in terms of power and performance. You can’t go wrong with MSI’s 6GB model that supports over-clocking and raytracing.
4. EVGA GeForce RTX 3050
The GeForce RTX 3050 is considered the first 50-class desktop GPU and can power raytraced games at over 60 fps. Raytracing is the new standard in the gaming industry and for this price, the GeForce RTX 3050 is well worth the money.
It comes equipped with 2nd-gen RT cores and 3rd-gen Tensor cores for AI-powered DLSS. This graphics card excels in gaming and productivity, so gamers and creators can get the best performance and efficiency.
5. XFX Speedster AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
Finally, at the upper end of the budget range is the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card. It has a modern style and uses AMD RDNA2 architecture and hardware raytracing.
The Radeon RX 6700 XT is specially designed for high-performance gaming so that you can experience smooth gameplay at 1440p and 4K. Additionally, this graphics card series comes with a limited three-year warranty, so if you experience any manufacturing defects, you’ll be covered.
Go for One of the Best Budget Graphics Cards
Whether you want to improve your gaming experience or upgrade your current PC setup, you should consider setting a budget for all the different parts you’ll need. Because these GPUs use the latest technology, they will cost a decent amount. However, you’ll have to determine what improvements you’re trying to make and how much you’re willing to spend on a GPU.
While using GPUs can make a difference, it’s important to avoid overspending. Consider purchasing a budget-friendly graphics card to improve game performance without breaking the bank.
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