Best Graphics Cards under $200

Best Graphics Cards

The graphics card is arguably the most important component in any gaming rig. Which is why it typically gets the largest portion of a PC Gamer’s budget when he or she is constructing a gaming rig. Now that being said, I know you might be worried; if the graphics card is the most important component, then are there any budget options that are any good?

The answer? Yes! There are some solid options for PC Gamers on a budget in the graphics card department. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that thanks to crypto miners, the Graphics Card market is a bit wonky. Prices have been driven up and some graphics cards are currently at price points that they were not at 1-2 years ago. As a result, some of these graphics cards may be considered overpriced. But that’s the way it is, and they’re still good options. Here are our picks for the best graphics cards for under $200.

Features

  • Core Clock (MHz): 1295 in OC Mode and 1280 in Gaming Mode
  • WINDFORCE 2X with Blade Fan Design with Advanced Copper Back Plate Cooling
  • RGB fusion – 16.8M customizable color lighting
  • Stylish Metal Back Plate
  • Intuitive AORUS Graphics Engine
  • Form Factor: ATX

Overall rating: 4.0 out of  5

If $200 is your limit, than you won’t do much better than Gigabyte’s RX 570 4GB graphics card. Sporting 4GB of memory configuration and a 256-bit memory interface, the RX 570 4GB perform very well with recent titles. It can run most recent Triple AAA titles in 1080p such as Grand Theft Auto 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Tomb Raider on Medium/High settings without issue. It has no problem running online multiplayer games like Overwatch, Fortnite, or Elder Scrolls Online either.

Gigabyte AORUS Radeon RX 570

The RX 570 4GB supports DirectX12 and can work in 1440p, but performance isn’t nearly as good as it is in 1080p. Expect significant performance drop off and possible alternations made to things like anti-aliasing in order to compensate.

The RX 570 4GB is also one of the coolest looking graphics cards out there, thanks to its RGB LED lighting options. This has no effect on overall performance, but if you want to make your gaming rig look a bit cooler, this will definitely help.

Gigabyte has some of the best cooling technology out there, thanks to their trademark WINDFORCE cooling technology, and the RX 570 4GB is no exception. It has dual fan functionality so overheating will never be an issue.

The RX 570 4GB falls off notably when it comes to power consumption. It requires an additional power connector, whereas many of its similarly priced competitors do not. That could be a deal breaker for some, as those dual fans might get a bit too noisy for your liking. It’s something of a tradeoff, as the RX 570 is arguably the best performer in this price range, but it comes at the cost of being a bigger power consumer.

Another thing a lot of people take issue with, is the price. The RX 570 4GB is overpriced. For maybe $30-50 dollars more, you can get a GPU setup that is significantly better. As stated earlier, crypto miners have significantly hiked up the prices of graphics cards. And keep in mind that this graphics card is $200 on sale. Is this the best graphics card under $200? Arguably, yes. Is it worth $200? That’s really up to you.

Pros

  • Can run most Triple AAA titles on Medium-High settings in 1080p without issue
  • Works reasonably well in 1440p
  • Gigabyte’s trademark WINDFORCE cooling technology works great
  • Supports DirectX 12
  • RGB color options

Cons

  • Can work in 1440p but there’s a noticeable performance drop off
  • Requires a single 8-pin PCle power connector; consumes too much power
  • Expensive

Features

  • New NVIDIA Pascal architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
  • Classic and modern games at 1080P @ 60 FPS
  • Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences. Support up to 8K display at 60Hz
  • Support for the latest DirectX 12 Features

Overall rating: 4.4 out of  5

Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB was often ranked lower than the MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti due to its’ higher price. Thanks to crypto miners however, Gigabyte’s 1050 Ti is now cheaper than MSI’s equivalent, making it far and away the better option.

4GB GDDR, 768 cuda cores, 128-bit memory, and base and boost clock speeds of 1316 MHz and 1430 MHz respectively, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, is a budget work horse great for those on the higher end of the budget spectrum. It can run nearly any Triple AAA title on Medium-High settings in 1080p without any issue although of course some graphics-heavy games may give it a bit of trouble.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

As far as 1440p goes, it holds up well with low-demand games like Counter-Strike or League of Legends, but expectedly performance for higher-end Triple AAA titles drops a fair bit. There is also no SLI support if you are interested in that kind of graphics card setup.

Overall performance is inferior to that of the RX 570, but it has superior power consummation. Unlike the RX 570, this can run of slot power alone, and needs no additional power connector. It consumes less power and is quieter, at the cost of slightly inferior performance.

Pros

  • Cheaper than some of the other options on this list
  • Runs pretty much every Triple AAA title on Medium-High settings in 1080p
  • 75W TDP: self-sustaining on just slot power
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • No SLI support
  • Some recent titles are a bit too much for this GPU on high settings

Features

  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 It
  • Video Memory: 4GB GDDR5
  • Memory Interface: 128-bit
  • Max. Resolution: 2560 x 1600, Support 3x Display Monitors
  • Form Factor: ATX

Overall rating: 4.6 out of  5

MSI’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB is neck and neck with Gigabyte’s graphics card equivalent in many ways. 768 CUDA cores, 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, and also doesn’t require an additional power connector which is always a plus.

Some recent low-demand Triple AAA titles like Overwatch can be played on Ultra with a consistently solid framerate, and higher-demand titles have no issues in 1080p on Medium-High settings. Some titles can drop absurdly low, to 10-15 FPS at times, but this isn’t common or frequent.

Whereas Gigabyte’s graphics card looks cool by RGB lighting, MSI’s looks cool by color scheme and design. It sports the always great looking red and black color scheme and is easily one of the nicest GPUs to look at. Not enough to keep it outside of your computer, but still.

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

This GPU uses Twin Frozr VI System cooling technology which is one of the best on the market. This GPU only sports 1 fan, so when pushed to the limit, you’ll be able to hear the fan slightly, but it isn’t a big deal at all.

The problem with MSI’s GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, is that it is too expensive. It’s very similar to Gigabyte’s equivalent, but when it comes to core performance, Gigabyte has this GPU beat. And it’s cheaper. Previously priced at $140, MSI’s GTX 1050 Ti 4GB now goes for $190, which it arguably isn’t worth. Not with better cheaper/similarly-priced GPUs out there.

And for gamers out there interested in VR content or Oculus Rift, definitely give this one a pass, as performance is terrible in that category.

Pros

  • Runs most Triple AAA games on Medium-High settings in 1080p
  • No additional power connector required
  • Great aesthetic look
  • Not the quietest when pushed to the limit, but quiet enough

Cons

  • Outclassed by graphics cards of a same price range
  • Too expensive
  • Can’t handle VR or Oculus Rift

Features

  • 2 x HDMI; 1 x DVI-D; 2 x DP
  • 256-bit Memory Bus
  • Cooling Technology: Dual Fan

 

Overall rating: 4.3 out of  5

Sapphire’s Radeon RX 570 Pulse 4GB is a decent option for gamers on a budget. Make sure you get the Pulse and not the standard Radeon RX 570, as the slight price hike is worth it.

This GPU performs reasonably well at 1080p on Medium-High settings for most Triple AAA games. Some games will need to be run in Medium rather than High for optimal performance, and you shouldn’t even think about 1440p with this GPU; it can’t handle it.

Sapphire Radeon

This sports a 256 bit memory bus which is good, but unfortunately it cannot make the most use of it due to its limitations. Gaming performance is solid, but it is noticeably slower than even past-released GPUs. It requires an additional power connector and power consumption here is quite high which for some people is a deal breaker. It is also a little bulky which again might not work for some consumers.

A decent option, but it is slower, consumes more power, and is more expensive than some GPUs that are better.

Pros

  • Runs most Triple AAA games in 1080p on Medium-High settings with no problems
  • 256 bit memory bus
  • Dual fan technology keeps it fairly quiet

Cons

  • A tad bit too high on power consumption
  • Memory overclocking is underwhelming
  • Forget about 1440p
  • A bit bulky

Features

  • New NVIDIA pascal architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
  • Classic and modern games at 1080P @ 60 FPS
  • Base Clock: 1455 MHz/ boost Clock: 1569 MHz; Memory Detail: 3072MB GDDR5
  • Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences
  • Compact design, ACX 2.0 cooling, 3GB

Overall rating: 4.7 out of  5

The EVGA GeForce 1050 3GB, is a bit between a rock and a hard space. For the most part, it is better than the previously released 1050 2GB, but in some categories, it is actually inferior.

EVGA GeForce 1050

It has a great boost rate of 1569MHz which is better than a lot of other similarly-priced GPUs. 768 CUDA cores and 3GB of GDDR5 RAM. Most recent Triple AAA titles can run in 1080p on Medium-High settings without too much trouble. However we are really starting to delve into the lower end of budget GPUs, so expect to run games in Medium settings more than you will High. High is mostly for low-demand esports games. For heavy hitters like Crysis 3 or Far Cry 5, you may need to drop to Low settings. I wouldn’t even bother with 1440p.

As stated above, the 1050 3GB is just a slight face lift when compared to the 2GB and it isn’t even a full face lift. Only 96-bit memory is a huge drag as is just 3GB RAM and for the price, this GPU is just way too expensive. If you can find it on sale for lower, than it would be a great deal, but for the current price, it is a bit of a hard sell. But if you are limited to $150 max, then this is a good option.

Pros

  • Runs most Triple AAA games in 1080p on Medium settings easily
  • Higher boost rate compared to competition
  • GDDR5 Ram

Cons

  • Only 3GB GDDR5 RAM
  • Limited by 96-bit memory
  • Better than the 1050 2GB, but still too expensive
  • For $209 you can get the significantly better GTX 1060 3GB

Features

  • New NVIDIA Pascal architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
  • Classic and modern games at 1080P @ 60 FPS. Recommend operating system is windows 10, windows 8 and windows 7
  • Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences

Overall rating: 4.4 out of  5

Now we are really getting into the budget aspect of budget territory. Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 1050 2B sports 2GB RAM, and 128 memory-bus. If you still want to play modern Triple AAA titles, this is probably the lowest you can go, and this GPU will likely be outdated in a year or two, so keep that in mind.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050

It can handle most recent Triple AAA titles on Medium settings in 1080p at put out 60 FPS. It is also easy to install making this a good choice for the most inept of gaming rig builders out there.

As stated earlier, the specs here are walking on borrowed time, as 2GB RAM just does not cut it anymore, and 640 CUDA cores is definitely yesteryear. The fan is also pretty loud which is annoying, since this graphics card is far from being a serious work horse.

Pros

  • Runs Triple AAA titles fairly well on Medium settings at 1080p
  • Esports titles can be played at High settings
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • 2GB limit hurts
  • Fan can get pretty loud
  • Only640 CUDA cores

Features

  • WINDFORCE 2x with Blade fan design
  • Support full UHD hevc Encode and decode
  • Features DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort output
  • Boost Clock: 1212 MHz

Overall rating: 3.5 out of  5

Coming in at sixth place, is the Gigabyte Radeon RX 460 4GB. 4GB of GDDD5 RAM and a 128-bit Memory Bus is nice. This bare-minimum GPU works decently well for the cost. Esports titles like Overwatch and Counter-Strike, can be run at high settings without issues. For recent Triple AAA titles however, you will be limited to playing on low settings at the most. This GPU is mostly for Esports gaming. Older titles like Skyrim can run in High settings easily though, so this is a good entry-level GPU for the more retro-gaming centric consumers out there who have a backlog of older games they’d like to play.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 460

Unfortunately the value of this GPU drops off a cliff once we get to power consumption. It’s terrible. And given this isn’t a powerhouse graphics card, this is both perplexing and disappointing. I wouldn’t expect a budget GPU to be so power-hungry. It requires an additional power connector, and given the specs or lack thereof, this is surprising.

This is the cheapest graphics card on our list, but still too expensive for the performance value. Crypto miners have really messed up the prices of the GPU market. I would wait for this one to go on sale, and pick it up for a steal.

Pros

  • Can run all Esports games on High settings in 1080p
  • Can run most Triple AAA games on Medium settings
  • Decent performance for the cost

Cons

  • Terribly high power consumption especially given the performance
  • Still too expensive

Features

  • best reliability.
  • Dust-proof fan resists dust and particles for 25% longer graphics card longevity
  • Super Alloy Power II uses premium alloy components to reinforce overall graphics card reliability.

Overall rating: 3.5 out of  5

ASUS’s AMD Radeon R7 250 1GB works well for retro gamers and Esports enthusiasts. Triple AAA titles from the 2013-2014 era work pretty well on Medium settings. Graphics hoggers like The Witcher 3 and Crysis 3 however will need to be run on Low settings unless you like low FPS.

ASUS AMD Radeon R7 250

The GDDR5 RAM is nice, but only 1GB is downright painful even to type. 1GB just isn’t good enough for PC gaming anymore, so don’t think about the latest gaming with this GPU.

As with pretty much every graphics card on this list, it can get a bit overpriced. It’s a great sub-100 graphics card, but $100 for this is still asking too much in my opinion. Pick it up for around $60 if you can.

Pros

  • Can run fairly recent Triple AAA titles on Medium settings
  • A great option if $100 is your absolute limit
  • Dust-proof Fan

Cons

  • 1GB is painful
  • May be overpriced

Features

  • The vendor SKU for this item is GV-R724OC-2GI
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • GIGABYTE custom-designed 10 cm cooler
  • Ultra Durable 2 Series

Overall rating: 3.9 out of  5

The Gigabyte AMD Radeon R7 240 2GB is a solid entry-level choice for Esports and retro gamers. It works well with games like League of Legends, Rocket League and Elder Scrolls Online. It works great on older Triple AAA titles, and can even run some more recent ones at on Low settings. FPS at High settings takes a steep nosedive however.

Gigabyte AMD Radeon R7 240

A forewarning about this graphics card: The tech is outdated. 2GB in 2018 is bad. 2GB GDDR3 is even worse. This graphics card is fine if you only even intend to play Esports and or older games, but Triple AAA will be almost entirely out of this card’s league in another year.

Another issue, is that even a graphics card as budget as this can be overpriced. It depends on the retailer. Aim to buy it around or below $60. There are some retailers selling it for $80, and that is a complete rip off for a last gen GPU.

Pros

  • Great for Esports games
  • Can play fairly recent Triple AAA titles on Low-Medium settings
  • Great for retro gamers

Cons

  • 2GB RAM
  • GDDR3 is outdated
  • FPS on High settings is awful for Triple AAA games

Features

  • Core Clock: 700 MHz
  • Powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT 420 GPU
  • Integrated with the first 2048MB DDR3 memory and 128-bit memory interface
  • The vendor SKU for this item is GV-N420-2GI

Overall rating: 4.2 out of  5

Rounding out the list, is the Gigabyte GT 420 2GB. Talk about budget-priced, this GPU can be bought for the same price as a dine-in dinner for two (Or one if you really like food). It comes equipped with a 128 bit memory bus and 2GB of GDDR3 RAM. Great for retro gamers, online gamers, or Esports gamers, this is as entry level as it gets. Past-gen titles from 2012-2014 can work on Low settings, and some even on Medium. Forget about High settings though.

As with every GPU using GDDR3, this is an outdated GPU and modern gaming is far out of your range, but if you don’t care about next-gen gaming on PC, then this is a pretty good way to spend $30.

Pros

  • Can’t beat this cost
  • Can run yesteryear Triple AAA titles on low settings

Cons

  • Sports outdated GDDR3
  • Forget about most modern titles

FAQ:


Q. What is a graphics card?

 

A. Graphics card is a video card or display card that is responsible for, among other things, the output of graphics on a screen. The best graphics card to get, are dedicated graphics cards, as they perform far better than integrated.

 

Q. Why is a dedicated graphics card better than a CPU with integrated graphics?

 

A.  A dedicated graphics card is better than a CPU with integrated graphics because having a dedicated graphics card means it can handle the various tasks related to graphics-rendering. Dedicated graphics cards come with dedicated VRAM specifically made to handle all things graphics. A CPU with integrated graphics has to do a lot more, can’t allocate as much RAM to graphics as a dedicated graphics card, and can’t do as much graphics wise as a dedicated graphics card.

Q. How does a dedicated graphics card benefit your CPU?

A. A dedicated graphics card takes on the handling of more tasks associated with graphics, such as handling the anti-aliasing and texture rendering. The graphics card is dedicated to graphics whereas a CPU with integrated graphics is not, and graphics is just one of many things it handles. A dedicated graphics card frees up the CPU to focus on other tasks and leads to much better performance overall.

 

Q. Why are graphics cards considered overpriced?

A. They just are. For many graphics cards, especially lower-end ones, their performance does not warrant their cost. Some graphics card which is a year or two old cost $30-$60 more than when they were first released. Graphic cards are not wine and do not age like wine. Prices should be going down, not going up. But we have crypto miners to thank for the price hikes. This has led to a shortage of supplies and an increase in demand.

 

Q. How have crypto miners increased the prices of graphics cards?

A. Cryptocurrency has been a very lucrative venture in the past few years, and a lot of people have been getting in on it. Crypto mining is a major component in the universe of cryptocurrency. Mining is what releases new currency, and what adds transactions to a blockchain. Add in SLI or Scalable Link Interface, and the problem increases two-fold. The more that cryptocurrency rises in popularity, the bigger the demand for GPUs and the more prices will continue to rise. There are even lists dedicated to the best graphics cards specifically for crypto mining.

 

Q. What is Scalable Link Interface?

A. Scalable Link Interface is technology that allows two or more video cards to share the same workload. For gaming, this is overkill to the nth degree, but for crypto mining, this is a huge asset. Most crypto miners utilize SCI to speed things up. Now, do you see why they hike up the prices so much?

 

Q. If graphics cards are overpriced, should I buy them when they are not on sale?

A.Honestly? No. Especially not if you are looking for a budget graphics card. Most budget graphics cards are overpriced by a significant margin. Whether your graphics card budget is $200 or $1000, you should never buy one unless you absolutely need it. Otherwise, wait for sales.

 

Buyer’s Tips:

 

Wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday: Don’t buy graphics cards for regular price:

Thanks to crypto miners, the market for graphics cards has never been in a worse place. Prices have spiked all across the board, and most graphics cards are a little or a lot overpriced. For that reason, you should stick it out and wait for sales, or particularly, Black Friday and or Cyber Monday. The best tech deals of the year always occur around this time. Until then, stick it out with what you have. Given the current state of the market, this is the only time of year where graphics cards will be appropriately priced.

If you are an Esports Gamer or Retro Gamer, you don’t need an expensive graphics card

League of Legends or Overwatch your game of choice? Are you passing on Fallout 76, and catching up on some old titles from the previous generation of gaming? Then stick to graphics cards below $150. Honestly, a $100 will work as well. A lot of graphics cards in this price range aren’t that cheap because they aren’t good, but because they are dedicated to Esports gaming; which is far less demanding than the usual modern Triple AAA gaming title.

Wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and you’ll be able to find some really good graphics cards for cheap.

 

Even if you don’t need it if you see a good deal on a graphics card, consider buying it

Cryptocurrency and crypto mining aren’t going anywhere, and there’s no telling when the graphics card market will stabilize. If it ever will. That being said, if you see a really good deal of a quality graphics card, you may want to consider buying it and storing it for a rainy day. Graphics cards aren’t something you’ll be replacing every year or anything like that, but given the market, it really wouldn’t hurt to have a spare GPU at home on standby.

If $200 is your limit, consider saving up more, and “buying up”

Given how overpriced graphics cards are at the moment, you can argue that every single graphics card on this list is overpriced. For as little as $30-$50 bucks more, you can get some graphics cards that are a lot better. For that reason, I would highly recommend not limiting yourself to $200. Wait, save up some more money, maybe $250-300, wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and you will find yourself with a lot of better options. Graphics cards last for a long time, so in the short-term increased cost, will be far offset by the longevity and superior functionality of slightly more expensive graphics cards.

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