When looking to buy a graphics card, it’s easy to get sucked into buying a $1000 model with the best features. However, that’s not really necessary, and it certainly isn’t something that everyone can afford to do.
The most expensive graphics cards tend to have more power than they actually need. This helps to future-proof them for several years, but nevertheless, they’re quite a hefty investment.
That’s why we’ve gathered up ten graphics cards that can play the vast majority of games, and they each cost less than two hundred dollars. These budget graphics cards aren’t going to allow you to play Crisis with 4K graphics mods and ultra-high graphics settings, but they will allow you to play most games with your graphics set to medium or high.
We’ve chosen these graphics cards based on their clock speed, graphics memory, ports, and GPU, each of which should be a key consideration in your search. All of the products we cover are viable options for your gaming rig, but we’ll also announce our top choice for the best graphics card under $200 in the conclusion to our buyer’s guide.
TD;LR - The Best Graphics Cards Under $200:
- XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660
- ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560
- Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce
- ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini
- Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050
- Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GT 1030
- MSI GeForce GTX 1650
- MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super
1. XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
The XFX Radeon RX 580 is more powerful than some of the other options on our list, and it has quite a few extra features packed into it. Besides having a powerful RX 580 GPU and 8GB of V-RAM, the RX 580 uses Radeon Chill technology, a Unibody Heatsink, enhanced cooling pipes, FreeSync 2, and Eyefinity technology. And those are just the main features. It's packed with several other goodies, but the list is too long to go into here.
Besides those features, the RX 580 uses True Clock technology to make the most out of the card's clock. Instead of using software to run the clock, the clock is hardware-based. This allows it to run reliably, and it can go faster than it would with software powering it.
This is a great option for anyone. It's cheap enough for everyone to be able to afford, and it packs plenty of punch. If you have $200 to spend, you can't go wrong buying this graphics card.
2. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660
The GeForce GTX 1660 isn't quite as powerful as the Radeon RX 580, but it's a little less expensive, and it has a few features that set the two apart. The majority of the features are similar. It has advanced cooling technology, the AORUS engine, and packs enough power to play the majority of games.
The cooling system is the most impressive part of this graphics card. It has a direct-touch cooling pipe and two fans that rotate in opposite directions. This increases the amount of heat that the cooling system can remove from the system. The AORUS engine is a nice touch, too. This gives you a lot more control over your graphics card and allows you to adjust it on the fly.
While it's not the best card on this list, it also doesn't take up the entirety of the $200 budget, and it has what you need to enjoy your favorite games without worrying about its capabilities.
3. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560
The ROG Strix isn't the most powerful card on this list, and gamers that play more demanding titles will probably want to go with one of the other cards on this list. However, it's a great budget graphics card that's powerful enough to play titles that don't require a lot of processing power.
It has a pair of Wing-Blade fans to provide enough cooling for most applications. Some users have complained that it overheats during very strenuous sessions, but ASUS includes the Tweak II interface to allow you to adjust it for more optimal performance.
The technical capabilities of the Strix aren't overly impressive. They're only just enough to allow casual gamers and enthusiasts to play the most popular titles. For that reason, while casual gamers can comfortably get by on the lower-priced Strix, we recommend that die-hard gamers try the RX 580, which we've also reviewed.
4. Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce
The GTX 1050 is very similar to the Strix 560, but it has a little more power, making it a better option for hardcore gamers. It only has 4GB of V-RAM, but it runs at 1468MHz, and it has a few features that help it to maximize its performance. Whereas the Strix 560 would struggle to play the most demanding games, the GTX 1050 can play practically any modern title at 60FPS in 1080p. The GTX 1050 Ti GPU won't allow you to play the most demanding games in 4K, but you can still play them in 1080p, and that's a great value in this price range.
To keep it cool, the GTX 1050 uses WINDFORCE 2X fans. The fans circulate air in opposite directions, which allows them to create a tunnel of air to remove heat more efficiently. You shouldn't have any issues with overheating.
If you need to tune the GTX 1050, comes with the Xtreme engine utility. With just a single click, you can fully optimize the GTX 1050 while you play.
5. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570
The ROG Strix Radeon RX 570 is a slightly upgraded version of the 560 that we reviewed earlier. The 560 is great for casual players, but it isn't an ideal option for hardcore gamers. The 570's upgrades make it a little more suitable for pickier gamers, while still being cost-effective for casual players.
The clock runs at a default rate of 1300MHz, but it can be overclocked to 1310MHz. That's a fairly large improvement over the 560. It has the same fans and cooling pipes as the 560, and most of the software is the same. It comes with Tweak II for changing your card's settings, and it has the same cool lighting effects with its Aura Sync RGB. On top of these features, it also has Far Connect II. This monitors the card's temperature in real-time, allowing you to manually adjust the cooling system to prevent burning the card up.
The 570 doesn't have a lot of major advantages over the 560, but it processes graphics a lot faster, and it doesn't cost all that much more. That makes it a great graphics card for newer gamers, and it bridges the gap between casual cards and hardcore gaming cards.
6. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini
The ZOTAC 1060 packs a lot of power into an excessively small package. The entire unit is only 6 inches long, so it can fit into most gaming rigs with ease. You do trade a little bit of power due to its small size, but it's still one of the most powerful cards on our list. As such, it will also set you back a full $200.
The small frame of the ZOTAC houses a GTX 1060 GPU, 3GB of V-RAM, 1152 CUDA cores, and a clock that can reach speeds of up to 1708MHz. It also has plenty of ports jammed into its small frame, so you can attach plenty of different cables to it.
The ZOTAC is a card that can satisfy the needs of hardcore gamers, and it has a price to match. It's one of the most impressive graphics cards on this list, and we highly suggest that you try it out. That being said, it is a bit more powerful than what most casual gamers need. If you don't need all of the power that it offers, you can save a little money by going with one of our cheaper suggestions.
7. Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050
The GeForce GTX 1050 is a card that squeezes the most performance out of the fewest resources. Despite only packing 2GB of V-RAM, it can handle 1080p resolutions, and it can continue running games in 1080p at 60FPS. It's also fully compatible with DirectX 12, so you won't have to worry about missing out on some of your favorite DirectX features like you might with other budget graphics cards.
The fan is a fairly standard design, and there aren't a lot of additional software options included. It does let you choose from several settings to maximize its performance, though.
The GeForce GTX 1050 isn't the fanciest graphics card, but it gives you the power of a high-end card at a low cost. It costs just a little over $100 and is just as powerful as a lot of cards that cost three times as much. This is the perfect graphics card for people who don't care about fancy features, but want a lot of power for a low price.
8. Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GT 1030
The GT 1030 is one of the best options for people that just want to stream videos in 4K. It doesn't have enough power to play a lot of video games on high settings, but it can handle 4K video exceptionally well. It's also rather cheap, costing less than $100.
The GT 1030 GPU is more than powerful enough to process 4K video files fairly rapidly, thanks to its 2GB of V-RAM. There aren't many other features to discuss with this graphics card. It's simply a solid card for streaming and web browsing. That being said, while it's unlikely that you'll need to overclock this card, you can do so with one click thanks to the AORUS engine which comes packed in.
We don't recommend this card to gamers, but if streaming high-quality videos is your favorite hobby, this card will do the trick.
9. MSI GeForce GTX 1650
The MSI GeForce GTX 1650 isn't a graphics card that you'll want to use for intense gaming, but it's a great budget choice for casual gamers. It has 4GB of V-RAM, and it runs at 1485MHz with a boost clock of 1620MHz. Combine that with the GTX 1650's processing power, this graphics card is more than capable of playing most games on moderate settings, and it can stream high-quality video files with ease.
In addition to the hardware specs, the GTX 1650 comes with NVIDIA's own GeForce Experience software suite, which will allow you to optimize your settings for gaming and precisely alter any key settings you want for your ideal setup.
This is a great option for casual gamers and average users. It won't play Ark on ultra-high settings, but it'll do just about everything else.
10. MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super
The MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super is a step up from the base GTX 1650. Like the base model, this graphics card won't offer the highest gaming performance with demanding titles and graphics, it's still a very good mid-level contender. Where it falls behind in raw power, it more than makes up for in how well it handles video streaming and even livestreaming, making it one of the best budget graphics cards for casual gamers.
It packs in a solid 4GB of GDDR6 V-RAM with a base clock of 1530 MHz and a boosted speed of up to 1755 MHz. What's more, it comes with NVIDIA's proprietary GeForce Experience software, so you can fine-tune your gaming experience to its best capacity and to your own personal preferences.
With the Twin Frozr 7 Thermal Design cooling system, you can be sure your card will be kept from overheating without the worry of sounding like a jet engine.
Best Graphics Cards Under $200 Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the right graphics card can be hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s where we come in. We’ve taken the time to lay out the most important features to look for in a graphics card, and we’ve made sure to present everything in an easy-to-understand manner.
Be Reasonable With Resolution
Very few cards will allow you to play many demanding titles in 4K. This tends to be a premium feature that you could easily end up paying upwards of $1000 for. However, you can find a lot of cards that allow you to play most games in 1080p and running at 60FPS. In fact, nearly all of the options on our list allow you to do that for less than $200.
If you want a card that renders your graphics in 4K, you’ll have to save a lot of money. Sometimes, it’s more beneficial to buy a cheaper card with less power.
Mind Your Monitor
It’s easy to look at a graphics card’s specs and buy whichever has the highest numbers. However, that can end up wasting a lot of your money. As a starting point, you’ll need to know what your monitor’s refresh rate is.
One of the biggest factors in a graphics card’s price is its clock speed. If your monitor can’t refresh faster than your card can, then you’re wasting every bit of extra speed that your card is capable of.
At the same time, you also don’t want to buy a card that is slower than your monitor, as you’ll end up with choppy visuals.
Don’t Double Down
Having twice as many graphics cards sounds like a good idea, but in practice it’s often a huge waste of money. The majority of games don’t require that much power, and it’s often more effective to just buy the best card that you can afford.
The cards on our list aren’t the best cards out there, but they can still provide enough power for most applications. Why would you want to spend twice as much on something that doesn’t help you?
Overclocking Isn’t a Cure-All
No card has the ability to double or triple its clock speed. Overclocking provisions can help you render more demanding graphics, but they won’t work miracles. If you need more graphical power, you’ll need to invest in a more expensive card. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around this fact.
You Only Have two GPU Options
While may not be ideal for the industry, there are only two companies that manufacture GPU units, whether they’re budget or top graphics cards, and those are AMD and NVidia. This does make it easier to narrow down your search, though.
AMD cards are great for people who are on a budget. They’re cheaper than NVidia-powered cards, and they can handle almost anything. However, they can’t compare to the high-end GPU offered by NVidia.
NVidia is also miles ahead of AMD when it comes to extra features outside of gaming performance. If you’re looking to start livestreaming, you’ll certainly want to take advantage of NVidia’s better-performing encoder. Their DLSS (Deep learning super sampling) is a great feature, too!
If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll want to buy a graphics card powered by NVidia. In most other cases, you can easily get away with a cheaper AMD card.
How to Tell a Budget Card from a Cheap Card
Every product that we have listed is a high-quality product. While not all of them are great for intense gaming, each of them is still great for casual users. However, the market is also saturated with garbage graphics cards. If you aren’t careful, you could easily end up with a dud.
The easiest solution is to buy one of the products we reviewed, but f you don’t necessarily want to do that, you’ll need to be able to tell the difference between gold and dirt.
A budget graphics card isn’t going to offer all of the goodies that a high-end card does. That’s just how it is. However, a budget card will be capable of performing admirably for most tasks, and it will be durable enough to deal with daily use.
A garbage graphics card is going to be extremely weak, and it probably won’t have protective features to keep it running for long. As a rule of thumb, look at the GPU, clock speed, V-RAM, and cooling features. The construction materials are important, too. However, they’re not as important as the other features we mentioned.
At this point, you’ve heard everything we have to say about the ten best budget graphics cards available. Hopefully, you read our buyer’s guide, too. Now, we want to lay out our choices of the best options from the list.
The GeForce GTX 1050 is the best card for new gamers. Veterans will want to go with a fancier card, but the GTX 1050 is strong enough to allow new gamers to get an idea of what PC gaming is.
The Zotac is the best card overall on our list. If you have the extra money, it’s worth the $200 price tag. It’s small enough to fit in nearly any desktop computer, and it packs a ton of different goodies into its small shell.
If you’re just looking to stream videos, you don’t need either of these. You can easily get hold of the GT 1030 for your computer. It’s cheap, and it is better at streaming than any other card we’ve reviewed.If you liked our article on graphic cards under $200, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.