Best Budget Graphics Cards For Gaming

Looking for wallet-friendly and powerful graphics cards? Luckily, you can have both! We've picked the best budget graphics cards for gaming in this guide.

When new graphics cards are released, the main talking point is always about the fastest models from the lineup, like the RTX 3090 Ti or the RX 6950 XT.

But, the reality is that most people aren’t looking to buy $1000+ GPUs; instead, they want something more wallet-friendly. As a result, people look for budget and mid-range GPUs, which are the ones that offer the best performance per dollar.

These budget-oriented cards are more than capable of handling the latest video games, especially with the help of upscaling technologies like FSR, DLSS, RSR, or NIS.

Here’s a guide listing the best budget graphics cards for gaming, from cheapest to most expensive, to help you get the best possible performance for your money.

Let’s take a look at them!

Table of ContentsShow

The Pros:

  • Runs on PCIe powerrnLow-profile GPUrnRuns most games at 60 FPS

The Cons:

  • Disappointing performance (compared to other GPUs)rnBad price pointrnBottlenecked with PCIe 3.0rn4GB VRAM

Even with the fluctuating GPU market prices, this RX 6400 Aero ITX from MSI is the cheapest budget graphics card you can find. However, with an MSRP of $160, the RX 6400 isn’t exactly the GPU that will bring you the best FPS per dollar.

Although, you may find this card for around $130.

The specifications aren’t impressive either. It lacks support for H.264 and H.265 video encoding, so if you are interested in recording or streaming videos, avoid the RX 6400. It also cannot be overclocked, which means you will be locked to its factory performance.

But wait, it’s not all bad.

The RX 6400 is the best low-profile, single-slot GPU that runs on PCIe slot power, delivering acceptable gaming performance.

Gaming Performance

We used some of Hardware Unboxed’s benchmarks to show you the type of performance you can expect in-game with an RX 6400.

Here’s the GPU running Resident Evil Village:

MSI AMD Radeon RX 6400 Aero ITX Gaming Performance

So 60 FPS is possible even at 1080p on the Balanced Quality preset. But what about some older and more demanding titles?

MSI AMD Radeon RX 6400 Aero ITX Gaming Performance Gaming Performance 2

Again, at 1080p and medium quality, the RX 6400 almost reaches 60 FPS in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, a more demanding game.

Please be aware that the RX 6400 shows significant improvement in performance when operating on PCIe 4.0. In case your system does not have PCIe 4.0 compatibility, the FPS (frames per second) will be noticeably reduced.

The Pros:

  • Reasonable price (new and second-hand)rnOkay performance

The Cons:

  • Older GPUrnOnly 4GB of VRAM

An older GPU, but it’s still a capable GPU and faster than the RX 6400.

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, you can probably grab the MSI Radeon RX 570 ARMOR 8G OC for around $150.

It has a higher power draw and only 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, but it is still capable of gaming.

Gaming Performance

Here’s a 12-game average chart from Hardware Unboxed (at timestamp):

The 4GB RX 570 is about 8% quicker than the RX 6400, despite being quite older.

The Pros:

  • Best performance at the $150 price rangernLow power draw

The Cons:

  • No DLSS or ray tracing supportrn4GB VRAM

The MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super Gaming X is where we can see some quality performance per dollar. It may have been released in 2019, but considering its performance and price, which dropped to around $155, it can easily convince you to go team NVIDIA.

It’s also a 4GB VRAM card with a TDP of 100W, and it still ends up in a completely different performance level compared to the two AMD GPUs listed above.

Gaming Performance

Looking at that same 12-game average from the video above, we can see that the GTX 1650 Super is almost 30% faster than the RX 6400 and around 20% faster than the RX 570.

MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super Gaming X Gaming Performance

It’s even faster than an RX 6500 XT, a 2022 GPU. Let’s talk about that one for a bit.

The Pros:

  • 8GB of VRAMrnSolid price

The Cons:

  • No significant disadvantages

Gaming Performance

Again, we’ll rely on Hardware Unboxed’s benchmarks to determine the value of this card.

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming Performance

At 1080p, the RX 5500 XT outperforms the RX 6400, RX 570, GTX 1650 Super, and even the RX 6500 XT, all while costing only a dime more.

Its 8GB of VRAM also gives us hope that this GPU will last much longer than the other 4GB alternatives on this list.

The Pros:

  • 6nm process nodernRDNA 2 architecturernRSR Support

The Cons:

  • Awful dollar-per-FPSrn4GB VRAM

The RX 6500 XT is the RX 5500 XT “successor,” but in reality, it’s a worse GPU overall. Both the GTX 1650 Super and RX 5500 are better than the Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse. Because this graphics card costs around $165. There’s also an 8GB variant, but that one is more expensive.

However, if you are limited in choices and you are in dire need of a budget GPU that can handle 60FPS+ gaming, the RX 6500 XT can be a good choice (for the right price.)

Gaming Performance

In a modern title like Doom Eternal, the RX 6500 XT struggles to keep up with other GPUs in the same price range.

Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse Gaming Performance

This chart shows that the 1650 Super easily outperforms the 6500 XT. Of course, we imagine that the 8GB RX 6500 XT might deliver better performance in games that require more VRAM, but the 1650 would still come out on top.

The Pros:

  • Best NVIDIA GPU under $200rn6GB VRAM

The Cons:

  • No ray tracingrnNo DLSS

At around $175, this is a direct upgrade from the GTX 1650 Super, and you get an extra 2GB of VRAM, which can be appreciated if you’re looking for a more future-proof card.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super Gaming X is slightly more expensive than the GTX 1650 Super and RX 5500 XT, coming closer to $200, but the extra FPS might be worth it.

Gaming Performance

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super Gaming X Gaming Performance

In Cyberpunk 2077, with settings on Medium, the 1660 Super delivers a smooth 60 FPS gaming experience.

Overall, this graphics card is about 15% faster than the RX 5500 XT, so definitely worth the extra ~$15.

The Pros:

  • Best price-per-performancernBest card under $200

The Cons:

  • Slightly higher power draw compared to alternatives

The Sapphire Radeon RX 5600 XT Pulse offers one of the best, if not the best, FPS per dollar you can get right now. Moreover, with a price tag of just under $200, it can be a very lucrative offer.

It’s considerably faster than every single GPU we’ve listed above. The only downside might be that it has only 6GB of VRAM. Of course, an extra 2GB of VRAM would go a long way, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Here are the performance numbers:

Gaming Performance

This time around, we used Gamers Nexus’ benchmark on Horizon Zero Dawn.

Sapphire Radeon RX 5600 XT Pulse Gaming Performance

The Sapphire RX 5600 XT is miles ahead of the RX 6500 XT (around 35% faster). It also outperforms the 1660 Super and the RTX 3050 (more on this GPU later) by about 15%.

For a price tag close to the GTX 1660 Super and less than $200, the RX 5600 XT is the King of Budget GPUs.

The Pros:

  • Best performance under $250rn8GB of VRAM

The Cons:

  • No significant cons

Because of its very competitive price point, the RX 6600, specifically this ASUS Dual, is currently one of the best budget GPUs available. It’s often priced around $230-240.

This is a big jump in price compared to the other GPUs on this list, but this GPU is worth its money once you check out its performance.

Gaming Performance

Looking at the 12-game average in Hardware Unboxed’s video (timestamped below), the RX 6600 outperforms old-generation high-end GPUs like the RTX 2070.

The RX 6600 is even on par with the RTX 3060, a $300+ GPU.

Even though the previously mentioned RX 5600 XT does have the best price-per-performance, the RX 6600 is still a good pick since it can deliver 60FPS at high quality.

Here is the RX 6600 in Cyberpunk 2077:

ASUS Dual Radeon RX 6600 Gaming Performance

The Pros:

  • No real advantages over the competition

The Cons:

  • ExpensivernDisappointing performancernConsiderably better alternatives

This card could be Nvidia’s largest letdown of the RTX 3000 collection. Its performance may not amaze you and will be even less impressive when you consider the cost. Its MSRP is approximately $250, which is already quite high. Approximately, the EVGA RTX 3050 XC Black is sold for about $290, making it an even poorer purchase.

Gaming Performance

The RTX 3050, a GPU from 2022, barely surpasses the 2019 GTX 1660 Super which is over $100 cheaper.

EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black Gaming Performance

Based on this chart, the RTX 2060, RX 5600 XT, and RX 6600 are all much better budget graphics cards.

The Pros:

  • Best performance under $300rnConsiderably faster than other GPUs at this price point

The Cons:

  • Higher power draw

The RX 6600 XT is the RX 6600’s big brother. It is also at 8GB of VRAM, but it has a higher TDP, and it’s clocked higher.

You can find this Sapphire RX 6600 XT Pulse OC for around $290. Similar to the RTX 3050, but the performance is where these two differentiate.

Gaming Performance

Sapphire RX 6600 XT Pulse OC Gaming Performance

The numbers on the chart above show that the RX 6600 XT can be up to 50% faster than the $290 RTX 3050.

It is evident that AMD’s card is superior in terms of performance, so if you’re looking for the most performance out of your $300, go for the RX 6600 XT.

Honorable Mentions

We went through some of the best GPUs you can buy with a budget price of under $300. Of course, anything above that isn’t really “budget.”

However, we have a few extra GPUs we thought we should mention from which you can choose from:

  • RTX 2060 – solid GPU, comparable performance to RTX 3050. Good option if cheaper than $250.
  • RTX 2060 Super– slight upgrade 2060, but usually about $50 more expensive.
  • RTX 2070– costs around $290 but can deliver some serious performance.
  • GTX 1660 Ti– similar performance to the 1660 Super. Worth considering.
  • RX 5700/XT– Both are great cards if you can find them under $250. Performance is comparable to the RTX 2070.

Final Words

Raw performance and benchmarks can give a good idea of what you can get from a graphics card. However, multiple factors have not been considered in these benchmarks/charts we posted above. And yes, it’s essential to consider those factors to get a clearer picture of the GPU’s capability.

For example, NVIDIA’s superior ray tracing performance compared to AMD. DLSS is also a huge part of all RTX graphics cards, which can bring significant performance uplifts.

AMD’s FSR 2.0 can also create a leap in FPS on both AMD and NVIDIA cards. AMD Smart Access Memory is another feature that can boost FPS.

Either way, we hope that this list of the ten best budget graphics cards on the market right now will help you choose the right one.

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Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.