The Best Budget Graphics Card in 2021

 I want to start this article with a personal anecdote. When I was building my first gaming PC, it took me around 3-4 months because the components I was rooting for weren’t able. It was quite tedious at first because I had no information whatsoever regarding GPUs. It was the only component that took me out of my comfort zone. Not to mention, graphics cards are a must if you are looking forward to gaming since every pixel is rendered by them only (not talking about the proprietary GPUs embedded with the processors).

Best Budget Graphics Card

Anyways, if your budget is marginally lower than the average numbers, then I would recommend reading through this article since I’ll be talking about the cheap graphics cards in detail. Basically, in the article, you’ll find both AMD and Nvidia GPUs, and those too from the cheap lineage, which means you don’t have to spend all of your savings on the GPU.

Apart from this, do remember that you will be playing most of the titles on mid-to-lower settings as the capacity of these GPUs is not up to the mark of high-end entries. For what it’s worth, we tested out these products on a multitude of gaming systems to ensure that our findings remain credible and authentic. You can take our words for it! Anyways, without any further ado, let’s begin our hunt to find the best affordable graphics cards.

SIDE NOTE: Due to the pandemic, the rates have been excessively restructured. In short, you’ll be buying these cards at 2 or 3 times the original price. It’s my recommendation to find used cards or a vendor that’s not capitalizing off from the pandemic situation.

Prime 7 best budget low budget graphics cards

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The best durable budget graphic card Check Price
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The best PowerColor budget graphic card Check Price
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The best versatile budget graphic card Check Price
The best AMD budget graphic card Check Price

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB

The best durable budget graphic card

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB

Overview

The Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB is a masterpiece if you properly handle it. There is some beating around the bush when it comes to overclocking, but it’s passable if you are well-versed in tweaking the GPU. Anyways, when we tested the GPU, it was able to sustain high temperatures. Not to mention, we used Arctic silver 5 on the chipset, so yeah, make sure you use the same if you need decent temperatures while playing the game.

Experience

Do you know what’s surprising about the GPU? First of all, it can easily compete with the GTX 1660 as the difference is minimal. On top of that, the card is super compact, which means if you have a Micro-ATX or even a Mini-ITX case, you can slot this card without any issues. I was kind of happy to behold extraordinary performances on games like Destiny 2 and Nier Replicant. The 60 FPS count didn’t drop below even for a screen. Although there were some lags at times due to the unsynchronized RAM modules (Be wary of that, though), it was still imperceptible.

Apart from this, the GPU is equipped with Sunflower Heatsink and pitches in an OC Scanner as well. This means you get to monitor all the memory hazards, if there are any, easily on your screen. Since the card uses Nvidia Turing architecture, expect it to last for years to come. Also, there’s one more thing that turned out to be ridiculous (in a positive way): the low power efficiency of the GPU. It’s a much-needed embedded feature when you don’t have extra wattages coming from the power supply. The card uses the minimum amount and still outperforms many hungry GPUs in the market. What else does one need?

Specifications

GPUGTX 1650
CUDA Cores896
Video Memory4GB GDDR5
Memory Bus128-bit
Engine ClockBoost: 1695 MHz
Memory Clock8 Gbps
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • It makes use of a wonderful overclocking algorithm
  • Ease of usage
  • Within the budget margin
  • Lasts longer

ASUS AMD Dual Radeon RX 5500 XT EVO OC Edition

The best functional budget graphic card

ASUS AMD Dual Radeon RX 5500 XT EVO OC Edition

Overview

AMD GPUs are love if you know how to put them to good use. At times, overclocking and temperatures can be a nuisance, and setting them back to their former states is cumbersome; hence it’s my advice to read the given manual in detail. Anyways, coming back to the topic. The ASUS AMD Dual Radeon RX 5500XT EVO OC edition is a magnificent card that brings in revolutionary gaming performance. Although it lies on the expensive spectrum due to the recent pandemic situation, the card is still the best choice for professional gamers and renderers alike.

Experience

To begin with, the ASUS AMD Dual Radeon RX 5500XT is equipped with a boost clock of 1865 MHz (on OC mode) and 1845 MHz for gaming mode. On top of that, the users get to make use of GPU’s Axial-tech fan design that aids in propelling heat out of the case. This way, there are no temperature anomalies, and your GPU stays cooler. Do you know what the surprising thing about this GPU is? There was no noise when I was using it on the OC mode with a fan curve of 100%. It was because of the 0dB technology implemented on the card. The fans are designed in such a way that they don’t produce noise while running on 100%. Hence, no jet sounds running while gaming (heaves a sigh of relief).

Apart from this, the GPU comes with an IP5X dust resistance module that offers protection from particle regurgitation. Last but not least, the GPU is already stressed-test on a 144-hour validation program to ensure that it runs flawlessly on high-end games.

 Specifications

GPUAMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
Stream processors1408
Video Memory8GB GDDR6
Memory Speed14000 MHz
Engine Clock1865 MHz (OC Mode) and 1845 MHz (Gaming mode)
Memory Interface128.bit
PCI Express4.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • Perfect for high-end gaming at a subsidized cost
  • It uses an Axial-tech fan design
  • Auto-Extreme technology put to good use
  • Affordable
  • Dual modes

MSI Computer V809-2277R Video Card (GTX 1050 TI 4GT OC)

The best MSI budget graphic card

MSI Computer V809-2277R Video Card (GTX 1050 TI 4GT OC)

Overview

 Have you ever tried MSI GPUs before? If not, now is the best chance to do so, as you will be getting a phenomenal GTX 1050 Ti at a subsidized cost. Not to mention, the 4GB video memory would be sufficient for you to run a plethora of games. The only downside of this card is its boost and base clocks. The former one maximum goes to 1455 MHz.

Experience

While testing this card, my experience was somewhat average. It was because of the low base clock of the GPU. For playing high-end games, you need a figure near 2000. Anyways, I was able to play GTA 5 at 60 FPS with zero input lag. Apart from this, with this GPU, you can use DisplayPort 1.4a and HDMI 2.0b. Not to mention, the card is Direct X 12 ready, which is good because many games like red dead redemption 2, and Star Wars require Direct X 12 or the latest version of Vulkan for running flawlessly. It’s worth mentioning that you can use the ultra-high resolution (UHD) module with this card, which ultimately skyrockets the overall gaming experience. On top of that, the dual fans thermal design ensures that the temperatures remain below the threshold (best for longevity).

Last but not least, you can use the MSI afterburner proprietary software for overclocking this GPU. It’s an easy-to-go-around software for setting up discrete fan curves and OC profiles.

Specifications

GPUGeForce GTX 1050 TI 4GT OC
Cores768
Video Memory4GB GDDR5
Memory Speed7008 MHz
OutputDisplayPort 1.4a, and HDMI 2.0b
Core clocks1455 MHz / 1341 MHz
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • Valuable for mid-tier gamers
  • The Ti series is the best when it comes to longevity
  • Extremely affordable
  • Easily overclockable
  • Makes use of MSI afterburner

PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB Red Dragon Graphics card

The best PowerColor budget graphic card

PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB Red Dragon Graphics card

Overview

The next product on the list is PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB which is quite an ancient card but still works like a charm when it comes to rendering and gaming. My personal experience with this card is extremely positive, and I would definitely recommend buying it if you are extremely low on budget. Not to mention, the card has an on-fleek design and reserves aesthetics at its finest.

Experience

To begin with, the AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB brings about features like Direct X 12, Vulkan, Freesync 2, and eSports ready module, which is a unique thing. People usually don’t expect such features to come along with older generation cards, but this one is different. For what it’s worth, the GCN 4 architecture makes the card a worth-a-while entry if you are into professional rendering and editing alike. Even with this GPU, you get hold of premium VR capabilities. Isn’t that amazing?

Moreover, I was able to crank up the settings and have a constant 60 FPS count on Apex legends and Valorant without any issues. Given that, I paired up the GPU with a 7th generation processor from the Core i5 series. Further down the line, the card offers the Xconnect ready module that you can put to use on different VR games. The same module is coupled up with AMD LiquidVR, which ensures that the temperatures don’t go out of bounds, and your GPU remains intact for years to come (no component meltdown due to heat). Last but not least, if you are really concerned with the escalating temperatures, all you have to do is turn on the Radeon Chill mode and watch the temperatures plummet down by a significant margin.

Specifications

GPUAMD Radeon RX 550 4GB
Stream processors640
Video Memory4GB GDDR5
Memory Speed6000 MHz
Memory interface128-bit
Core clock1500 MHz
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • Even cheaper than the previous entry
  • Larger price to value point
  • Can be used to play games on mid-to-low settings
  • Can be used to play VR games

Yeston AMD Radeon RX560D 4G D5 TA

The best small budget graphic card

Yeston AMD Radeon RX560D 4G D5 TA

Overview

It’s understandable to not pick up a GPU that’s quite new, but Yeston AMD Radeon RX 560D has been breaking records recently. Many of the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and I can assure you that. The card brings in all types of latest implementations for what it’s worth, making it a hybrid form of the traditional RX560 GPUs.

Experience

Do you know why I’m advertising this product? Well, my experience with this entry was excitingly positive. First things first, I was able to meddle with its core features, such as a memory clock to crank it up a notch, and you know what, I was successful. On top of that, the majority of the titles were able to reach perfection (that is to say 60 FPS) on mid-to-low settings. Yes, you would need to experiment with the settings to get that perfect FPS count; otherwise, the games would lag since it’s quite an ancient architecture.

Anyways, apart from this, there were no temperature anomalies, and for the most time, the GPU was able to sustain temps below 70 degrees, considering that I live in a tropical region. It’s worth mentioning that the card can easily support 4K compatibility, given that you pair it up with a wonderful CPU. Because CPUs and GPUs go hand in hand. If one is substantially lower in specifications, then you’ll face ultimate bottlenecks, and that’s the last thing you need for gaming.

Specifications

GPUYeston RX560D
Stream processors896
Video Memory4GB GDDR5
Memory Speed6000 MHz
Memory interface128-bit
Core clock1176 MHz
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • The card lies within the affordable spectrum
  • Relatively new implementations
  • It works like a charm on an array of systems

ASRock Phantom Gaming D Radeon RX 570

The best versatile budget graphic card

ASRock Phantom Gaming D Radeon RX 570

Overview

What are your thoughts regarding the RX 570 GPU? For me, it’s a groundbreaking entry because, to date, it’s competing against RX 580 and is only shy of a few score points. Not to mention, my gaming experience on this GPU was exhilarating as the card supports 8K compatibility. For what it’s worth, with the ASRock Phantom Gaming D, you can overclock its base memory and bring it a notch further to hit the 1293 MHz figure.

Experience

Well, I want to talk about aesthetics first. The card has an on-fleek design with a prominent marble black color on its body.  Apart from this, the two proprietary fans purge out the soaring temperatures and give your card a cool aura to it. For what it’s worth, I was able to play Grand Theft Auto 5 on medium settings without any issues. The same can be said about the spell break title, which is a little more aggressive in terms of video memory churning, but anyways, there were no whatsoever issues while playing 3-4 years old titles. Also, you don’t have to excel in overclocking to overclock this GPU. It’s quite an easy thing and just requires a couple of minutes. You can use the Phantom gaming tweak utility software to do so (Temperature control, temperature monitoring, and overclocking profiles).

Last but not least, the ASRock Phantom Gaming D Radeon is VR-ready, which means you can easily play VR games (if you have the headset) on this GPU.

Specifications

GPUAMD Radeon RX 570
Stream processors2048
Video Memory4GB GDDR5
Memory Speed7000 MHz
Memory interface128-bit
Core clock1293 MHz on OC mode
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • Best for playing 2-3 years old games (If you are out of budget)
  • It can be easily customized
  • Perfect for professional niches like rendering and editing
  • VR Ready

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

The best AMD budget graphic card

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

Overview

The last product on the list is XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX edition, which is a mesmerizing entry with 2304 stream processors available at your disposal. For what it’s worth, the card is top-notch and brings in a numerable high-end feature for VR and day-to-day gaming. For me, it’s one of the best AMD GPUs that didn’t disappoint me at all.

Experience

To begin with, the RX 580 GTS is equipped with AMD Xconnect Ready and CrossFire technology that aids in smoothing out your gaming experience. Not only this, if you want eye-catching details while playing games, then you can enable AMD Relive, and FreeSync 2 as the function of Freesync is to eliminate tears and lags on the screen. Not to mention, the frame rate target control feature allowed me to set a discrete number of frames on the screen, which is basically a wonderful feature. Do you want 60 FPS? Simply use the feature and bingo!

Apart from this, the GPU supports HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4. With these plug-in options, you can slot in high-end monitors that allow the gamers to have mesmerizing details on the screen. Last but not least, you can connect up to 6 displays. The only downside is that you would need MST hubs for slotting in an array of monitors.

Specifications

GPUAMD Radeon RX 580
Stream processors2304
Video Memory8GB GDDR5
Memory Speed8000 MHz
Memory interface256-bit
Core clock1386 MHz on OC mode
PCI Express3.0

Why should you buy this card?

  • Versatile GPU
  • Best for high-end gaming
  • huge amount of VRAM
  • Overclockable
  • VR-Ready

Buyer’s Guide

Price Factor

Currently, there’s huge inflation in the prices of the GPUs, so even the cheapest will cost you around $200. Anyways, whatever GPU you may select, make sure that it’s within your budget and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Compatibility

GPUs are quite important and have to be paired up with a functional CPU. Always make sure that your GPU doesn’t cause bottlenecks with the CPU or vice versa. At times, your CPU is powerful but not your GPU, so it can lead to a GPU bottleneck. Apart from this, make sure that you read through the GPUs manual for any required tweaking. Because if you try to overclock, and if it doesn’t work, your GPU might die.

Aesthetics

This is an entirely personal thing, and I won’t force anyone to go for aesthetics. But if you are getting a GPU with all the reserved aesthetics, and that too at a low price, then what’s the issue!

Overclocking capabilities

Each card is different when it comes to overclocking capabilities, so do make sure you choose a card that allows you to overclock the base clock to a good extent. If it’s only 4-5 MHz, then it’s useless. Anyhow, all of the above-mentioned products are overclockable, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Final thoughts

This brings us to a close. I hope the article was reachable to a large cohort. If you have any questions, do not forget to comment down below, as I will make sure your queries are answered as soon as possible. Apart from this, here are my recommendations.

  1. Are you looking forward to playing all the latest titles at a decent cost? Then ZOTAC GAMING GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB is a card that you should be going for.
  2. Want a card from AMD lineage and that too of top-notch? Well, AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT won’t disappoint you at all
  3. The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is a balanced card targeted at those who want value and functionality as the core features of the GPU.
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