If you’re looking to construct a gaming rig, one of the most important bits of hardware to look for is the best budget graphics card. While it’s not the only factor to pay attention to, the distinction among the best budget graphics card and a merely average one could have a dramatic impact at the graphical settings you may run your favored games on.
10 Best Budget Graphics Card For Gaming
1. ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 TI
Republic of Gamers doesn’t joke around when it comes to PC internals. And while this best budget graphics card is going to cost you well over a thousand dollars, you can expect some of the best performance the already powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti can produce. This graphics card comes with a boosted clock speed right out of the box, but it can be improved even more with OC mode. It’s rare to find that level of improvement over the already best in class Founders card.
And rather than go bigger with the cooling system, ROG has opted to go smarter. The fans are relatively compact for the size of this graphics card, but a uniquely tilted design to them allows for better cooling with a smaller amount of space. You can further adjust your cooling needs thanks to the BIOS switch that can alternate between power and speed modes.
- Some of the best performance
- RGB lighting via Aura Sync
- Aerospace grade alloy components
- IP5X dust resistance
- Incredibly high asking price
2. XFX AMD Radeon RX 5700
The AMD Radeon 5700 series is already one of the most impressive GPUs on the performance, but XFX manages to push as much juice as possible out of it. This overclocked graphics card can hit speeds of up to 1750 MHz, and a full 8 GB of RAM is built in for quicker and more responsive performance.
There’s no doubt that this is a powerful best budget graphics card, but XFX has done a decent job of making sure that overheating won’t be a serious problem. The dual 100 millimeter fans should keep everything running cool even when you’re running the latest AAA games.
- Significant boost to clock speeds
- Two fans built right in
- Very strong power efficiency
- Full 8 gigabytes of memory
- Fans can be a little loud
3. GIGABYTE NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
The RTX 2070 isn’t the best GPU on the market, but Gigabyte manages to squeeze a lot of value out of it with overclocking, turning it into an incredibly reasonable deal for less than $700. And the fan system is set up pretty impressively as well. The Windforce 3X system includes three fans that alternate direction to reduce the turbulence of that accelerated airflow and some pretty hefty heat pipes.
And since this is built off of the fundamentals of the NVIDIA Turing technology, you’ll get access to some of the best and latest graphical gaming technology as well. Your computer will be future proofed for the next generation of games thanks to the programmable shading, advanced artificial intelligence rendering, and support for ray tracing technology. For cosmetic purposes, you get access to 16.7 million RGB lighting options.
- Supports ray tracing in games
- Alternating triple fan system
- Millions of lighting configurations
- Effective composite heat pipes
- Coil whine can be rather loud
4. XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition
Are you looking for a best budget graphics card for gaming that can also suit a more practical purpose? This Radeon graphics card from XFX is available for a very affordable price of around $150, but it supports dual BIOS modes, making it just as well suited for cryptocurrency mining as it is for running the latest and greatest games. It’s not the best in terms of raw performance, but that versatility is not to be underestimated.
XFX has earned a reputation for designing some of the best cooling systems efficiently and affordably, and that’s certainly the case with this best budget graphics card. A combination of thermal compound, smartly designed fans, and steady airflow produces results that shouldn’t be a concern even in more cramped computer cases. It also supports FreeSync 2 technology for smoother graphics and less jagged edges.
- Suitable for gaming and mining
- XFX double dissipation cooling
- Designed with virtual reality in mind
- Backed by a full three year warranty
- Not compatible with Windows 8.1
5. XFX AMD Radeon VII
If there’s one thing that XFX always offers, it’s consistency. Their take on the AMD Radeon VII makes the most out of one of the best graphics cards for gaming on the market, and this take on the Radeon VII uses XFX’s trademark best in class cooling systems to produce reliable results without running too hot or too loud. Vulkan and DirectX 12 are both supported with this graphics card, and it can run smoothly at 1440p or even 4K resolution.
And there are some very cool gaming specific features packed in the Radeon VII as well. Day zero driver support ensures that you’re always ready to hit the ground running with new releases, and Radeon Chill adjusts the cooling system of the Radeon VII to match your processing demands in the moment. You can even establish custom profiles for different use cases, and the Radeon overlay lets you make changes without having to close your games.
- Very high bandwidth memory
- Radeon Chill offers adaptable cooling
- Preferences can be tailored in game
- Tailored for HD game streaming
- Can run hot at high settings
6. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan
Zotac’s graphics card doesn’t use the latest and best NVIDIA GeForce GTX chip, but it draws from the newest Turing architecture and is designed to fit a more budget priced gaming rig in terms of both price and dimensions. It’s small enough to fit in all but the tightest of gaming PC cases and wears a tantalizing prize tag of around $150. It excels at Full HD resolution and can even perform decently with 1440p gaming, making it one of the best choices for more casual gamers.
The cooling system consists of dual static resistant fans and heat sinks that cover the entire card for even dissipation. It may be simple, but it works. But perhaps the biggest selling point for this best budget graphics card for gaming is the Firestorm interface that makes it easy to fine tune your specs so you can more easily optimize your gaming computer.
- Simple but effective cooling system
- Intuitive and minimal interface
- Compatible with 99% of PCs
- Available for under $200
- Light in the way of VRAM
7. XFX RX-590P8DFD6 AMD Radeon Rx 590 Fatboy
If you want a graphic card that’s prepared for the latest revolution of virtual reality gaming but you aren’t trying to spend a fortune, your best bet may be the Radeon RX Fatboy from XFX. This card takes up less space and power than many of its contemporaries while still managing to squeeze a pretty high clock power out of the equation, and that makes it a top contender for PC builders with more limited case real estate.
Full HD and WQHD gaming are both well supported here, but you shouldn’t come to the table expecting to be streaming your favorite games in 4K. XFX TrueClock technology gives you a highly customizable amount of control over your overclocking, so you can tweak a setup that’s suited to your gaming demands, but it’s hardware controlled, so it should work perfectly well even without user input.
- Supports AMD wattman utility
- Built for use with virtual reality
- Advanced memory and VRAM cooling
- Support for high dynamic range
- Requires a lot of power
8. MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super
The NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super is appropriately named. It builds from the fundamentals of the GeForce GTX 1660 and boosts it slightly above what you’d expect from mid-range cards. The GTX 1660 isn’t going to provide you with the latest performance on the hottest titles, but it does offer all the cool new functions you could expect from NVIDIA’s Turing architecture along with a nice boost to the standard GTX 1660 performance.
And the new features here are absolutely worth it. NVIDIA’s trademark G-SYNC technology in this GTX 1660 is further bolstered by NVIDIA Ultra Low Latency (NULL) technology that decreases latency when running games at lower settings, while the ReShade filters help you make the most out of features that are largely exclusive to PC gamers: user created mods.
- An improvement on the GTX 1660
- Powerful TWIN FROZR 7 cooling tech
- Supports 1080p and 1440p gaming
- NVIDIA Ultra Low Latency technology
- Relatively low amount of VRAM
9. EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition
For less than a thousand dollars, this GTX graphics card from EVGA can handle just about anything you can throw at it. This is a card that can achieve the holy grail of 4K performance at a smooth frame rate of 60 frames per second. And while it requires a minimum power supply of 600 watts, you’d be hard pressed to find a best budget graphics card that can perform as well as this in game.
As you might expect from a card with such a substantive power draw, the cooling system here is truly top of the line. L-shaped fins provide a low tech method for providing better heat dissipation over the entire surface of the best budget graphics card, the GTX can even compete with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 in most games, just as long as you’re willing to sacrifice the latest features like real time ray tracing.
- Quick, peppy 4K performance
- Elegantly designed cooling system
- Fans with 4X the average lifespan
- Heavy and sturdy card design
- Doesn’t include real time ray tracing
10. PNY GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Best Budget Graphics Card
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the leader in modern best graphics card design, but if you want to squeeze every last inch of juice out of it, your best option is this impressive but expensive best budget graphics card from PNY. The overclocking potential is pretty much in step with what you’d find from the Founders Edition card, but in terms of benchmarks, GPUs simply can’t compete with the PNY. In practice, this variation of the RTX 2080 Ti offers a lot more than it can on paper.
A big part of that comes down to the fact that this RTX comes with some of the best and most impressive cooling we’ve found in a card. The heat sinks here are truly massive, and that allows this card to run two degrees cooler than the Founders Edition it’s based on. That may not sound like much, but at this level of performance, every little bit can help.
- Incredibly in depth cooling system
- Better performance than the Founders Edition
- Support for real time ray tracing
- In depth support for virtual reality
- High price for relatively slim improvements
Tracking down the right GPU for your computer can be a difficult process, but our guide can help you understand the difference between AMD and NVIDIA and the difference between an RTX and a GTX. And if yo need more help building your first gaming PC, check out our guides to the best CPUs for gaming and the best power sources.