Are you looking for a cheap gaming graphics card for the desktop?
Here I have listed down the best budget graphics cards which are meant for gaming at 1080p with a little bit of compromise and some cards which are meant for the 1080p ultra. These budget gaming video cards are best for a budget build and will provide you at least 40-60+ fps without breaking your bank. I have used every listed entry-level GPU in one build or another. So check them out to know what GPU will be best for what build.
A good budget GPU should be able to fulfill your needs for a couple of years if not on ultra settings but at least on medium-high settings in games which are fairly graphical intensive. Esports games are evergreen and don’t consume too much power too. So, if you are going to buy a graphics card for playing only esports games then you have come to the right place. These cards will definitely last you longer.
But before going forward here are the Top 10 Tips that you must keep in mind for buying a budget graphics card:-
Note: I update this list almost every month and sometimes more frequently than that to make sure you are aware of the current prices and performance of these cards.
#5. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560
It’s a 4gb version of the RX 560 which is almost equal to the GTX 1050 and is considered one of the best cheapest 1080p graphics cards. Although GTX 1050 beats it in some titles as most of the games use dx 11 but when it comes to the dx 12 gaming, it kills the GTX 1050 in games like Hitman and DOOM. But the most important thing is the 4gb VRAM which is essential for many games to max out at 1080p. Although it can not max out games but 4gb VRAM is good for future proofing. That’s how this AMD card has improved. This is gonna be the best graphics card for under $150 from AMD.
The card is very good for 1080p gaming on medium to high settings. Games like the Rise of tomb raider, Doom, Hitman are it’s favourite and coming soon games that will use Dx 12 will make the owners of this card happy. The 4gb version will cost around $130 which is right now stable than before. For budget gamers, this card is perfect for esports games like CSGO and Overwatch.
This card is very much power efficient and requires less than 80 watts to operate and therefore the one six pin power connector on it is enough for proper power supply. The card has a very good cooling heatsink that uses copper heat pipes with a black shroud that makes it look great aesthetically.
#4. Gigabyte GTX 1050 2GB GAMING
Gtx 1050 2gb is one of the best releases from Nvidia and is based on the Pascal architecture GP107. This is the most power efficient graphics card from Nvidia’s side and similar to the RX 460 it has a TDP of 75 watts and has no 6 pin or 8 pin power port. It means that there isn’t headroom for overclocking with this card. But as Gigabyte right now is the only brand which is the cheapest among all, it’s fairly a good deal.
With GPU boost you will still get a little performance boost which may not be very big but definitely, I agree with not providing these with extra power ports for overclocking as these are entry level cards and they won’t give you a boost from 40fps to 50 fps.
This card has 2gb of gddr5 memory, 640 Cuda cores which are equal to the GTX 750 ti maxwell family graphics card which is present in the same price. But when you compare the performance of GTX 1050 with that of GTX 750 ti, it not only beats it by up to 40% but also beats the more expensive one GTX 950 which shouldn’t be the priority of any gamer right now.
If you want a card that can play all the games on ultra settings at 1080p with 40-50 fps, then this is for you. And if you like 60 fps then you can put the settings to high instead of ultra and still enjoy good graphics with buttery smooth 60 fps.
Also, check $400 gaming build
|Core Clock||1518Mhz boost clock|
Choosing a Graphics card Guide
#3. Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 Gaming 4GB
The RX 570 4gb is one of the Rx series cards which falls in between the RX 560 and RX 580. This card features 4gb of VRAM as well as 8gb of VRAM but the cost of that with 8gb VRAM right now goes up as high as the 4gb version of RX 580. So, this one makes a perfect graphics card for the money under $200* and makes a strong position in this list.($200 is its regular price but right now it’s over $200)
This card is not just an entry level card but actually, a solid 1080p card which can play all the games on ultra settings. Some games will not get you 60+fps maxed out settings but if you lower some settings down, I am sure you will be close to 60 without any problem. This card unlike the RX 560 is not weak as it seems in between the RX 560 and RX 580. It’s pretty close to the RX 580. It easily beats the Gtx 1050 ti and is very close to the previous version of RX series card which is RX 470.
With this card and you will get the latest technology, 100% DirectX 12 compatibility and a much lower power consuming device. Its memory interface is 256 bit which is double than that of RX 560 and features 2048 stream processors that are more than double the amount present in RX 560.
You can also get the Gigabyte’s Aorus GTX 570 4gb if you want to save $20
Also see: – Best graphics cards for under $200
#2. Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB
This card is a beast if you can get this for $200-$230, then this is literally the best budget gaming video card till now. This is the fastest graphics card on this list without any doubt. It’s the mini edition and has 3gb of gddr5 memory and is similar to the 1060 6gb edition. While the Rx 580 matches the performance of GTX 970 which is an older generation card, this one is near to the GTX 980 but as the Cuda cores and memory are cut out, it will perform slightly better than the GTX 970 and a little slower than the 980. So definitely it’s faster than the RX 480 4gb.
3gb of memory is enough for maxing out most of the settings at 1080p like details and shadows but textures in some games like middle earth shadow of Mordor require 6gb. So you can’t max out that setting. The core clocks are also massive. It easily reaches over 1800Mhz in games and provides an extra boost. This card is for 1080p 60 fps maxed out without any compromise and there shouldn’t be any reason for not getting it.
This one is shorter and can fit into any case, be it a Mini-ITX case or a mid-tower case. The heatsink is very basic just like the older generation and has one 90mm fan on it. The card has 6 pin power port and requires less power as compared to the previous generation cards. As the usual price of this card is just $200-$230, I don’t think it will be a good choice to go for the RX 570 unless the RX 570 costs less than $200.
Check out the $600 gaming build.
#1. PowerColor AXRX 580 8GBD5
Due to the release of RX 590 from AMD, the prices of RX 580’s have come down significantly. RX 580 is the one which can beat GTX 1060 6GB in almost every game and if you compare it to the 3GB version of the GTX 1060, then clearly it is the winner in every game. Not only it features much more memory but it also comes cheaper.
Even if the cost of the 4GB edition of RX 580 goes equal to that of GTX 1060 3GB, I will still recommend the RX 580 4GB, but guess what? This PowerColor Radeon 580 is an 8GB edition which is even faster. This can play every game with 60+ fps on ultra settings at 1080p. You won’t be dissatisfied with it as you won’t have to compromise with any graphical setting in any game.
This is clearly a good choice even for VR gaming if you are just starting in the Virtual Reality world. With over 1380Mhz of core clock, this card comes with factory-overclocked settings which enhances the overall performance in Gaming and also comes with Dual-Bios to make troubleshooting easy. You can also overclock it further without any problem as it comes with a much better heatsink as compared to the single fan cards and dissipates the heat with the help of those big copper heat pipes. This is recommended over every GPU present on the list.
GPU LIST (Prices as on 14th March 2019)
|ASUS ROG Strix RX 560 4GB||$134.99|
|Gigabyte GTX 1050 2GB||$129.99|
| Gigabyte RX 570
| Zotac GTX 1060
|PowerColor AXRX 580 8GB||$234.95|
Important things to know before you buy a Graphics card
1. Price and Requirements
Make sure before you buy a graphics card, you know your budget. You can have $100 or even $500 for buying a GPU but if you are going to build a completely new PC then defining and distributing the expenditure between different components is a little difficult. If you are buying a new PC, then make sure you don’t buy an overkill graphics card for your CPU. A Pentium processor can’t handle RTX 2080 or GTX 1080 Ti. Similarly, a GT 1030 is too slow for an i7 9700K.
Another important thing is to define your requirements. Without knowing what you want, you can either overspend or underspend on your graphics card. If you are just starting out and want to enjoy some eSports or Casual games then a budget graphics card will be enough for the job. But in case you want to enjoy the games on ultra textures at 1080p or higher resolution then you will need to buy higher end graphics cards like GTX 1070 or RTX 2080 etc.
VRAM is the memory that is different from the main system RAM and is only dedicated towards providing the horsepower your graphics need. Every dedicated Graphics card has some dedicated VRAM which now in modern GPUs can vary from 1GB up to 16GB. To play games on higher settings at 1080p at least, you need to have around 3-4GB VRAM on your Graphics card. If you go lower than that, then you may have to lower down some of the settings in your games for getting good frames per second.
If you want to max out textures, anti-aliasing, foliage, shadows etc. in a AAA game, then you will need at least 6GB of VRAM that is present in GTX 1060 and higher-end Graphics cards. Right now, I don’t know of any game that utilizes more than that except in the case of higher resolution like 4K.
Low Profile graphics cards have smaller heatsinks and therefore aren’t efficient in maintaining good temperatures if you overclock them but graphics card with bigger aluminium heatsinks with copper heat pipes with 2 or more fans are extremely useful for maintaining good temperature even while overclocking to the full potential. If you are not doing any type of overclocking, you should still make sure that your PC chassis has enough ventilation for proper air intake and exhaust.
4. Power Supply
Different graphics cards have different TDP and their power consumption vary. So, you need to check the graphics card’s TDP before buying it. Make sure your power supply is having enough wattage capacity to run your whole system without any bottleneck.
A system that uses low end or budget components will have no problem in running on a 400 watts reliable power supply but when it comes to running a GTX 2080 Ti, i7 9700K, Multiple Fans, AIO coolers, and several storage devices, then you will need higher wattage power supply. Make sure you check the TDP of all of your components and see if your PSU still has enough wattage capacity to power your Graphics card.
Another important thing to note is the graphics card power ports. Make sure your Power supply has those power connectors that your graphics card requires. A GPU with 6-pin port will use a 6-pin power connector from the power supply. Generally, almost all the budget power supplies in modern day have a 6-pin power connector at the minimum. If your graphics card has 2x 8-pin power ports, your PSU must have those in order to run the graphics card with stability.
5. I/O Connectors
Sometimes a particular graphics card from a different manufacturer will not have the I/O ports for connectivity as your monitor requires to show the display. Check the I/O ports at the back of your monitor and also the I/O ports of the graphics card you are buying.
If your monitor is a 144Hz gaming monitor, then you must have a DVI port or a DP port on your monitor/GPU to get those 144Hz refresh rate smoothness. Make sure both your graphics card and monitor have these ports to avoid the mishappening.