Whether you are an average gaming enthusiast or looking to upgrade your old rig, a budget-friendly gaming graphics card comes in handy.
A while ago only high-end gaming graphic cards were available, but today, the market is sprawling with video cards for all kinds of budgets; high-end, mid-range and budgets as low as $100.
We have picked top 5 best budget graphics cards with top-notch performance, check them out below!
Table of Contents
- 1 Budget Graphics Card Reviews: Our Top 7 for 2017
- 2 How Do These Graphics Cards Compare?
- 3 What You Should Know Before Buying a Graphics Card
- 4 Conclusion
Budget Graphics Card Reviews: Our Top 7 for 2017
|1. Radeon RX 460||1212 MHz||4GB|
|2. Asus GTX 950 STRIX||1024 MHz+||2GB|
|3. EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC||1354 MHz||4GB|
|4. Zotac GTX 1060 mini||1506 MHz||3GB|
|5. Sapphire R7 240||730 MHz||4GB|
#1 Gigabyte Radeon RX 460
- WINDFORCE 2x with Blade fan design
- Support full UHD hevc Encode and decode
- Features DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort output
With a price range of less than $150, the RX 460 is so far the most affordable graphics card for gaming at 1080p. Featuring 100% DX12 support, it replaces previous cards from AMD and Nvidia. For hardcore games like the Doom and Hitman, the card gives an excellent boost in performance.
What’s more, Radeon RX 460 comes with a TDP of 75watts negating the need for high power supply. It also features a heat sink as well as a dual fan cooler (a wind force edition) that provide exceptional performance and come layered with spectacular orange accents. The RX 460 allows gaming of over 40fps on high settings and games with over 60fps running on ultra-settings making it rank first in the Top 7 best budget graphics cards.
#2 Asus GTX 950 with STRIX branding
- Factory-overclocked GPU boost lock at 1329MHz & 1355 MHz in OC mode provides better gaming experience
- Strix drives Direct CU II with 0dB Fan Design that lets you enjoy games like League of Legends in absolute silence! And during heavy loading, Strix performs 20% cooler and 3X quieter than reference
- Aerospace-grade Super Alloy Power II components for unsurpassed quality and reliability.
Featuring as one of the latest editions from the Pascal family, Asus GTX 950 has a cool customized design to provide efficiency and performance for modern gamers. The graphics card retails at under $200 and comes with a 2GB VRAM thus capable of providing decent playable frame-rates.
Note that cards with lesser VRAMs don’t compromise on performance; a 6GB GXT 980Ti, for example, performs better than an 8GB R9 390X gaming card. What’s more, the GTX 950 comes with exceptional power efficiency capabilities, so users don’t need an additional power supply.
#3 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (EVGA) SC 4GB
- New NVIDIA PascalTM architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
- Classic and modern games at 1080p @ 60 FPS
- Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences
If looking for a decent yet, budget-friendly gaming card the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (EVGA), SC is just the perfect solution. This card also comes in under $200 and you can now play high-definition games like the Witcher 3 and GTA V without compromising on the graphics quality. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (EVGA) makes a perfect card for ultra-settings of up to 1080p.
Being a GTX 1050 successor, GTX 1050 Ti is 20 times faster and is pretty affordable compared to the previous GTX 1050 and RX 470 gaming cards. The card features EVGA’s proprietary ACX 2.0 cooling solution that provides stability. Additionally, being an EVGA SC Edition, it is factory overclocked to deliver exceptional performance for all tasks.
Another option is the slightly cheaper Zotac version of this card.
#4 Zotac GTX 1060 (mini) graphics card
The Zotac Gtx 1060 graphics mini card comes loaded with new gaming capabilities; that redefine the PC as a platform for playing AAA games. The card presents Nvidia’s latest release that takes after Pascal’s architecture to provide an upgraded performance, power efficiency, and memory bandwidth. The card’s front panel features an array of outputs; a three-display port (1.4 outputs), a DVI-D dual link port and an HDMI 2.0b port.
At under $200 users can enjoy high-definition gaming and high-computation programs via the GPU’s 1152 cores. Zotac GTX 1060 (mini) graphics card also features a 90mm fan specially designed for cooling; not to mention the direct-GPU contact that allows uniform distribution of heat.
#5 Sapphire R7 (240) Graphics card with DDR3 Boost
The R7 is another of AMD’s low-end price range graphics card. The card features new capabilities that increase performance and the user’s experience. With just a few tweaks users can now play games with up to 60fps; however, the card does not allow users to play AAA games at a respectable frame-rate. Gamers can now watch HD content at 1080p display resolution and enjoy a richer experience with an enhanced Unified Video Decoder.
The R7 also features the AMD Stream technology feature that accelerates demanding applications and allows users to utilize the teraflops of computing locked in the graphics processor. Additionally, it comes with a new 28nm GCN architecture that improves the processing power and AMD’s HD3D technology that presents 2D images in a format which create the illusion of a 3D display.
How Do These Graphics Cards Compare?
Below you find the performance (frames per second) vs the cost for the cards listed above.
What You Should Know Before Buying a Graphics Card
The monitor resolution:
Most graphics cards produce 1080p, 1440p, and the now popular ultra-wide displays thus require high-resolution monitors to run. Nvidia graphics cards, for example, can’t utilize AMD’s FreeSync feature while AMD can’t use Nvidia’s G-Sync feature; users have to pair the monitor with the appropriate brand.
DirectX 12 support:
Most new generation cards have the DirectX 12 support feature that allows users to run new games. However, AMD video cards have an edge in most DirectX 12 enabled games. Thus, gamers playing a game that is DX12 optimized should consider AMD and Nvidia cards when buying.
The appropriate CPU:
The CPU used should match the GPU’s power level. Modern Core i5 processors, for example, match most GPU power levels while Core i3 processors are ideal for GTX 1050 video cards but not GTX 1080s. Old processors, on the other hand, may need to be replaced before grabbing a new graphics card.
Noise level, temperature and power draw:
Luckily most new generation cards run quietly and produce temperatures that are within an acceptable range. Nvidia graphics cards are however advantageous when it comes to the power draw.
Games rarely limit the CPU’s capability, but most new games require graphics cards with new and innovative features; hence the need to continually upgrade it. Gamers who are on a budget should not overlook the need to pick a card with the best price to performance ratio. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC 4GB, for example, outperforms its predecessors and the cost is pretty affordable. it begs the question what makes a good graphic card? A good graphics card should balance price and performance. It should run demanding games at high definition settings and shouldn’t be pricier than other cards with similar performance. Additionally, the card should fast enough to perform two years later.
If your current system isn’t keeping up the new games, the guide provides excellent options for budget-friendly and performing graphics cards. They are the best budget builds in the market, provide at least 30-50fps and allow users to enjoy 1080p gaming without breaking the bank. New games come with new features and levels of performance thus tuning to new settings should keep most video cards viable for the next few years.