A graphic card is an essential component used in modern computers that takes the load of processing graphical and visual entities off from the processor. Even with a budget graphics card, you can see significant performance improvement in your system as you will be adding a completely independent hardware in your system just to process the video on your system.
Budget graphics card can be a great tool for professional work as well as casual gaming if your system has all other components up to the mark. Here are some aspects of graphics cards that affect its virtue:
- VRAM: Even with the same GPU model, two graphics cards can vary a lot in terms of performance depending on its VRAM capacity. The VRAM capacity, similar to the RAM available in our system, is the memory profile of a graphic card where higher is always better.
- GPU Model: The GPU model of a graphics card represents its generation and series. Typically, the last two digits represent the series of the GPU, whereas the first two digits or one digit represents its generation. This way, you can easily get an idea about the release year and capacity of the graphics card.
- Speed: Similar to the RAM, graphics cards also have a VRAM module that has a dedicated clock speed. This speed is also available in MHz units where higher speed indicates faster-processing speed and better performance.
While knowing these features should be enough to buy a budget graphics card, there are a lot more things to know before you can make a perfect choice. Thus, we will be adding all of the crucial details with each of our picks for the best budget graphics card available in the market right now. After going through our picks and our “Buying Guide”, you can surely select the best budget graphics card under an affordable price range.
8 Best Budget Graphics Card in 2021
Best Budget Graphics Card in 2021: Reviews
AMD is a strong competitor in the CPU as well as GPU market right now. You will find an AMD variant for GPUs in every budget range, even in the affordable lineup of GPUs.
Coming in 1st place, we are going to place one of the most popular budget gaming graphics cards, which is the XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition. Available in a mid-range budget, the XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition is the only budget graphics card that features a high 8 GB VRAM capacity that is clocked at 1286 MHz speed. This graphics card also supports DirectX12 out of the box, and it is VR-ready for advanced gaming. The GPU model for this graphics card in AMD RX 570 concludes 2048 stream processors.
It is a dual BIOS card that is specifically designed to provide high-end performance for both gaming and cryptocurrency mining. You can simply change the profile you want to use and get the best results out of this GPU. Unlike most budget graphics cards, the XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition features a dual-fan design that provides efficient cooling to the chipset and keeps temperatures under control. The minimum required power supply for this budget graphics card is only 500 watts, meaning it can be installed in budget PC builds.
- Best budget offering from AMD
- Dual fan cooling design
- AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU Model
- 8 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Operates on 1286 MHz clock speed
- 7000 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- Great graphics card for gaming as well as cryptocurrency mining
- Dual BIOS for optimal performance
- It has a long warranty period
- Gaming performance slightly lower than other options
Asus has been making Nvidia-based GPUs for a very long time now. Also, Asus makes some of the most premium Nvidia GPUs in every generation Nvidia lineup.
Powered by Nvidia’s Turing technology, the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super offers a great performance for its price and is our 2nd pick for the best budget graphics card. While it is slightly more expensive than most other options available on our list, you will find the price to be justified by the 6 GB GDDR6 VRAM that operates at a high clock speed of 1400 MHz. It has 1408 CUDA cores to process the graphical load on the system that allows this GPU to power 3 monitors simultaneously.
This is a super overclocked model from Asus, which means the default clock speed on this card is already going to be higher than most cards which grant this card higher performance capabilities in comparison. There are HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and a DVI-D output port available on this GPU. To make sure your overclocked graphics card does not overheat, Asus has implemented a phoenix double ball-bearing fan on the GPU for great cooling performance. Even with the overclocking capabilities, this card only requires 450 watts of power to operate efficiently. There is a 3 year warranty period given by Asus on the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super.
- Super overclocked budget graphics card
- HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and DVI-D ports available
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660 SUPER
- 6 GB GDDR6 VRAM
- Operates on 1400 MHz clock speed
- 1400 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- There is a long warranty granted by Asus
- High number of CUDA cores
- Most powerful budget gaming graphics card
- The price tag is very high
MSI is yet another brand that is trusted by millions of users around the world. Whether it is a laptop, motherboard, or graphics card, MSI will deliver a high-quality product to you.
Present in the 3rd position, we have the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 budget graphics card. It is also powered by the same Nvidia GTX 1660 GPU model as seen in our previous pick. But, it is slightly premium in comparison due to the reliable MSI brand name and a couple of upgrades present under the hood. The most obvious upgrade is the high 1830 MHz clock speed available with the 6 GB GDDR5 video memory on this graphics card.
But surprisingly, the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 only requires 120 watts of power input to run despite the faster clock speed and 1408 operational CUDA cores. The MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 192-Bit graphics card supports 4 simultaneous display outputs while 3 being the DisplayPort connections and one HDMI connection. It is also a DirectX 12 card that has VR compatibility out of the box. So if you are into gaming, the MSI GTX 1660 VENTUS XS 6G OC will be the best graphics card you can buy around this budget.
- Most premium budget graphics card
- 1408 operational CUDA cores
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU Model
- 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Operates on 1830 MHz clock speed
- DirectX 12 & VR supported
- 2 years warranty
- Best gaming performance available at this budget
- Fastest clock speed in this class
- Dual fan cooling system to support OC
- Very expensive price range
Gigabyte cards are often designed for high gaming performance and productivity. But, the budget variant from Gigabyte is suitable for light applications under a cheap price tag.
The 1050 Ti GPU model from Nvidia is its most successful GPU lineup so far in the budget category as you could use these cards to play even the latest generation games released up to 2018-19 at a playable FPS. Also, because of the popularity in the cryptocurrency mining community, Gigabyte has produced and sold thousands of Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC graphics cards in the market. It is powered by Nvidia’s pascal architecture which is highly power efficient.
The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC has 4 GB GDDR5 video memory available with a clock speed of 1341 MHz that can render most classic 1080p games at 60 FPS, if not higher. Even though it is a slightly older generation card, it supports DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.6. Also, it is coupled with Gigabyte’s Windforce 2x cooling technology that includes dual 90 mm fans for profound cooling of the card when running under heavy load. Gigabyte is providing 3 years of warranty on this card which is great considering its price range.
- Most popular budget graphics card model
- DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.6 support
- GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU Model
- 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Operates on 1341 MHz clock speed
- 7008 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- The cooling system is great
- Overclock compatible graphics card
- Memory speed is very high
- Does not hold up against the current generation of AAA game titles
As the 1050 Ti GPU model is so popular in the gaming community, we are featuring yet another model from MSI. Similar to other MSI models, this card is also premium and designed for high performance.
Next up, we are presenting a premium budget graphics card choice from MSI. It is the GAMING X 4G 1050 Ti graphics card which also operates on the pascal architecture from Nvidia. It consists of 4 GB of GDDR5 video memory with a maximum clock speed of 1290 MHz. With such clock speed and 768 CUDA cores, MSI GAMING X 4G can deliver up to 2560 x 1600 resolution output for 3 display units simultaneously. The maximum resolution output available for this card is 7680 x 4320 pixels, more commonly known as 8K.
As for the gaming performance of the MSI GAMING X 4G, you can expect pretty much the same performance from this card as compared to other 1050 Ti GPU models. With a 7008 MHz memory clock and DirectX 12 support, it is capable of running all games released to date at a playable FPS. Although, you might have to invest some time to adjust the graphical parameters in the latest generation games to get the best results out of this budget graphics card. MSI is giving 2 years of warranty on this graphics card.
- Supports DirectX 12
- Nvidia Gamestream ready graphics card
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI GPU Model
- 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Operates on 1290 MHz clock speed
- 7108 MHz memory speed
- 2 years warranty
- Premium 1050 Ti graphics card model
- Multiple types of display ports available
- Rigid build quality
- The warranty period is shorter in comparison
Now that we have seen the premium and mid-range budget graphics card, let’s move to the cheapest options in the market. Out of which, Gigabyte is yet again one of the most affordable options.
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 is a much older graphics card compared to all other options mentioned in this list so far. Still, it is being produced and sold because it delivers great performance for its price range. It is powered by Nvidia’s GT 710 GPU model that features 2 GB GDDR3 VRAM running at 954 MHz clock speed. It allows display output over the traditional DVI port or the current standard HDMI output.
You can install the Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 budget graphics card on any PCIe express gen 2 motherboard, which is also a budget-focused choice for many PC builds. As it is an x8 card, it will be compatible with low-end motherboards without any hassle. Also, it features a low profile design aspect with a single cooling fan on top so that it can be installed in compact cabinets. Regarding the gaming performance of this card, you should be able to play the campaign video games released up to 2010 on this graphics card at an enjoyable FPS.
- Can be installed on a PCIe x8 motherboard
- PCIe express gen 2 card
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 GPU Model
- 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Operates on 954 MHz clock speed
- 5010 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- The warranty period is great for the price
- Great clock speed
- Low profile form factor
- Not an ideal choice for gaming
Similar to Nvidia, AMD also has a cheap lineup available for graphics cards. These series graphics cards were developed by many major brands like the Asus variant mentioned here.
The ASUS R7240-2GD3-L budget graphics card is the cheapest AMD card you can find in the market right now. It is a 2 GB graphics card designed with the AMD Radeon GPU model that was a success back in the days. The 2 GB VRAM on this car operates at a speed of 780 MHz. For the optimal cooling of the graphics card, Asus has introduced its super alloy power blends on the card that offer up to a 15% increase in performance and nearly 2.5 times longer lifespan. The working temperature of this graphics card is around 35°C which is beneficial for compact builds that do not allow optimum airflow.
Asus has designed a dustproof fan for this graphic card so that additional dust collection is impossible. This way, the fan operates at optimal efficiency and expands the graphics card’s lifespan by 25%. Even though it is a low-power graphics card, you will find a GPU tweak option in Asus software that will allow you to manage the clock speeds, card voltage, and fan speed according to your liking. You will be getting along 3 years warranty on this card which is very good for its working load.
- Reliable budget graphics card
- Most affordable AMD graphics card
- AMD Radeon GPU Model
- 2 GB GDDR3 VRAM
- Operates on 780 MHz clock speed
- 900 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- Long warranty period under a low price rage
- Low temperature operation
- VRAM capacity is good
- Does not support modern games at all
Zotac is bringing you the cheapest graphic card you can find in the budget graphic card market. The following card is based on Nvidia’s GPU design that you must check out.
Lastly, we are bringing the ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 to our list as it is the cheapest budget gaming card present in the market right now. Based on the Nvidia GT 710 GPU model, this ZOTAC card operated on 1 GB GDDR3 VRAM working at a maximum speed of 954 MHz. It is powered by 192 CUDA cores with a high memory clock speed of 1600 MHz to allow gaming at an appropriate performance level. This is a DirectX 12 graphics card that supports triple display output via VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports.
Considering you will mostly use this graphics card for high-quality display output, you should know that it is capable of delivering 2560×1600 resolution at 60 Hz and 2048×1536 at 60 Hz on DVI and VGA ports, respectively. Although, if you have a new generation monitor with HDMI support, you can use the HDMI port of this graphics card for 4K 30Hz video output. The ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 requires at least a 300-watt power supply to run. Although, its maximum power consumption is limited to 25 watts which is quite low.
- Great card for the given price
- Comparatively faster memory clock
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 GPU Model
- 1 GB GDDR3 VRAM
- Operates on 954 MHz clock speed
- 1800 MHz memory speed
- 3 years warranty
- Supports casual gaming
- Comes with HDMI compatibility
- Can be used in budget PC builds
- There is no fan on the card
Buying Guide For The Best Budget Graphics Card
As the name suggests, a budget graphics card is specifically targeted towards the users that are looking for a budget-friendly alternative for a graphics card so that they can increase the performance of their system without spending a fortune on a graphics card. Recently, we have seen a sudden rise in the popularity of graphics cards due to various reasons.
In any case, you can try out a budget graphics card and see whether it suffices your requirements or not so that you can choose to upgrade if you have to. Even the most affordable choices in our article today will grant you output compatibility and support basic functionality such as 4K video output and support for light games. Still, you need to check the following aspects before you buy a budget graphics card so that you can make sure you are buying the best option available for you.
Out of many different factors that you should consider before buying a budget graphics card, its GPU model is of the most importance. The performance and compatibility of the graphics card with the current generation of games and software are completely dependent upon its GPU model. The GPU model is generally mentioned along with the title of the graphics card. In the case of AMD cards, you will find RX cards, whereas Nvidia produces GT and GTX cards. From the GPU model, you can tell the generation of the GPU as well as the model series of cards in the generation. Ideally, you should choose the latest generation GPU in your budget for the best results.
Similar to the cores present in the processor of your computer, the CUDA cores are physical processing units present inside the graphics card that process the video data and deliver the results on your display. Similar to the processor, a higher CUDA core count results in faster processing of data which in turn makes the graphics card faster and more powerful. There is a big difference in cheap and premium budget cards when it comes to the CUDA core count. Hence, you need to carefully check the performance offered by your card and decide whether it is worth the investment or not.
VRAM stands for Video Random Access Memory which is basically RAM for your graphics card. The function of VRAM is similar to that of the RAM for your system. It stores the data on the dedicated VRAM capacity and transfers it to the GPU for further processing. If the VRAM capacity of the GPU is higher, it can store more data at once, resulting in much faster and reliable performance. Also, having higher VRAM results in a lag-free gaming experience. Therefore, all premium graphic cards have at least 10 GB of VRAM, if not higher. In the case of a budget graphics card, you can get up to 8 GB of VRAM with a high clock speed with a premium card.
Just like every other component in your system, the graphics card also requires a significant amount of power to run. In the case of budget graphic cards, you should not need to worry about the power consumption as much because most of these graphics cards have less than 100 watts power requirement. In case the power requirement is higher than 100 watts, you need to make sure that your PSU (Power Supply Unit) is capable of providing enough power to your GPU. If the GPU is underpowered, it will not be able to work at optimum level, and you will find glitches, crashes, and other abnormalities while using the computer.
There is a common misconception that graphics cards are only required for those who are going to play games on the computer. Let us assure you that this is not the case at all. Even a highly budget-friendly graphics card will grant you a lot of advantages such as high-quality video output, support for high screen refresh rate, multiple monitor arrangement, and basic graphic processing tasks. In case you are not able to find the perfect budget graphics card for yourself after going through our list of the best budget graphics cards, take a look at some of our ideal picks from our list today.
- If you are on an extremely tight budget and just want a basic graphic card, the ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 graphics card will work out perfectly for you. It is a 1 GB budget graphics card that consists of 192 CUDA cores and a 954 MHz clock speed. Its main advantage is its low profile design that fits in almost every other case present in the market.
- Although, if your primary concern is gaming, then you should go with the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card which is the most high-performance budget graphics card available today. It features 6 GB VRAM operating at a speed of 1830 MHz that makes even the heaviest AAA game titles playable after some graphic moderation on 1080p resolution.
- The 1050 Ti series has always been known as a budget powerhouse for gamers. Thus, we will recommend the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC edition graphics card as the most value-for-money option right now. Based on the Nvidia Pascal architecture, the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC is capable of rendering 60 FPS on a modern game at 1080p resolution.