Roughly 18-24 months ago, it was really hard to find a decent graphics card in a reasonable budget due to their overly-increased demand by the crypto-miners.
Since a graphics card is an essential part of any gaming / workstation PC, the expensive GPUs meant that building a PC on your own wasn't that feasible back then.
Now that the hype regarding the cryptomining is pretty much over (hopefully, for good), the graphics cards' prices are almost back to normal. And it also means that building a PC on your own is again a slightly cheaper option than getting a pre-built PC.
Best Budget Graphics Card 2020 Buying Guide
Compiling this list about budget graphics cards was not was easy task because of one simple thing: Different people have different criteria when they talk about budget graphics cards.
For some, a $300 graphics card is a budget option, while for others only a sub-$150 GPU falls in that category.
This is the reason why we have included cards of different price sections in list. So that you can shortlist an option suited to your budget.
Best Budget Graphics Cards 2020
With that said, let's start the actual roundup without any further ado.
ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 2GB: Check Price On Amazon
Best Graphics Card Under 100
For years, Nvidia's Pascal-based GTX 10-series graphics cards have been featured in any list related to graphics cards. Despite being old now, GPUs like GTX 1070 and 1080 are still a good among PC builders.
But right now, we have their little sibling: GeForce GT 1030.
Unlike other cards in its series, it's designed for entry-level builders with the price less than 100 bucks at the time of this roundup.
Thanks to its low profile, you can plug it into even the smallest of itx chassis. It also has active cooling but your build must have a good airflow in order to keep it at lower temperatures while running at higher speed.
At 30W, it's one of the least power consuming GPUs out there, and will work even with the low-powered 300W PSUs. Its has 384 shaders, and its 2 GB DDR5 VRAM is connected via a 64-bit memory interface. It can be overclocked as well, but we couldn't see any significant performance gain with that.
When it comes to performance, this card does good with respect to its price. Most of the games we played with it (like Battlefield 4, GTA 5, Rocket League and Watch Dogs 2) went smooth as long we played them at low and medium settings @1080p.
Most games actually performed well even in high settings but most (like Watch Dogs 2, Assassin's Cred Origins, and PUBG) of them suffered.
In particular, we noted that while older games like GTA 5 can be played at medium settings, newer games like Wolfenstein 2 should only be played on low settings.
In terms of connectivity, DVI-D and HDMI-2.0b ports are there but DisplayPort is missing.
Overall, we're pretty satisfied with Zotac GT 1030. It's a really good bang for buck in its range, and can serve you well if you're looking to build a cheap gaming PC (under 400 bucks, for example).
Sapphire Pulse RX 580: Check Price On Amazon
Best Graphics Card Under 200
Sapphire is quite a big name when it comes to AMD graphics cards, and since AMD has doing a decent job in entry-level cards for the past two years, we decided to include the Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 in our list.
Design wise, it's similar to other nitro-series cards by Sapphire as well as Pulse RX 570. You get Dual-X cooling solutions with a black-colored perforated back shroud. There's another silver/grey-colored aluminium backplate with pulse pattern in the middle.
Other features include black diamond chokes and precision fan control control. These allow the RX 580 to hit its intended RPM speeds and shut down the fans completely when not under stress.
Despite being cheaper, this card has almost all of its bases covered: It's factory overclocked, has 8 GB VRAM to play intensive AAA titles, and comes with Robust VRM cooling as well as AMD CrossFire and FreeSync technology.
For connectivity, it comes with 2 HDMI ports, 1 DVI port, and 2 DisplayPorts
Overall, this card performs very good. We managed to play 1080p/1440p games very efficiently with it. Thanks to its zero RPM mode, it's really quiet and looks pretty good too.
You can try to go beyond 1440p, but would have to lower other settings.
Not bad for an under-$200 graphics card, right?
As a side bonus, this card works really well with hackintosh-based systems. So, in case you have any interest in that, there is another incentive to have this card.
XFX RX 590 Fatboy: Check Price On Amazon
RX 590 Fatboy by XFX is based on the Polaris architecture by AMD.
Polaris architecture was first introduced by AMD with RX 480 in 2016. After this, they launched 500 series GPUs with an enhanced version of that Polaris chip. And in November 2018, they came up with an even further enhanced Polaris chip and gave us this RX 590 fatboy GPU.
The have somehow managed to take Polaris technology from 14nm to 12nm which allows higher clock speed when compared to its previous version and up-to 12% performance boost.
Like most other RX 590 models, this one features a dual-fan design. With 10.6 inches size, it's longer than GTX 1060 founders edition, and generally larger than most other GPUs in its specs range (probably this is why the name 'fatboy' came).
Its large size also makes it extend even further than the next PCIe slot. But still, its not as fat as its name makes it look like, and is compatible with most of the PC chassis/motherboards you can find today.
Fatboy comes with five connectors: three DisplayPorts, one HDMI port and one DVI-D port. It comes with a 3-year warranty and has a aluminium backplate which adds to the overall strength and heat dissipation.
Overall, its made from black plastic and has two 100mm fans (with a simple blade design) which stop when the card is idle or under little load.
It comes overclocked at 1580 MHz by default but has an OC+ rating which means there's still some room for limited overclocking up to 1600 MHz mark. That being said, we didn't found any significant difference between its overclocked and normal mode in our benchmarks.
In terms of performance, it managed to score better than GTX 1060/1070 founder edition cards but lower than Radeon Vega 64. In fact, it performed 15% better than GTX 1060 6 GB across all benchmarks as well as in actual games.
If I had to pick any one downside in this GPU, then it would be its 175W TDP. It means it would consume as much power as GTX 2060 super GPU, and also why you would need at least a 600W PSU to run this card.
At the time of its release, it was priced at more than 550 bucks, but now, more than a year after that, you can have it for $50 less than that.
All in all, it's a decent GPU for first-time owners but doesn't hold any significant boost over the RX 580.
That's why there's no point for you in upgrading to it if you already own an RX 580. Also, this card gets hotter as compared to many others under the same load, so you'll have to do proper cable management and make sure that your PC has proper ventilation.
Gigabyte GTX 1660 Ti Gaming OC: Check Price On Amazon
Best Graphics Card Under 300
2019 was all going to be the year of RTX graphics cards.
Nvidia as well as average PC users were pretty excited about them, and for all the right reasons. These graphics card promised features like Ray tracing and DLSS, that can bring whole new level of graphics improvement in the games we play
But when these graphics card actually came out, many people were slightly turned off by the their high prices (the cheapest one, RTX 2060, is priced at 350 bucks )as well as the fact that not many games can utilize those above-mentioned features as of now.
So, in order to fill the void left by those RTX 20-series GPUs, New GTX 16-series graphics cards were released. And here were reviewing the one of those cards: The GTX 1660 Ti Gaming OC by Gigabyte.
Design wise, it looks good without being not too elegant. Its shroud has a matte finish and covers most of the heatsink. There's also a tiny amount of customizable RGB lighting on the Gigabyte Logo at the bottom side.
The most important feature of this card is probably its triple-fan Windforce 3X cooler. Those three 80mm fans are probably an overkill in this card, but keep the temperatures really down (65 C while gaming) which helps the card to run at higher speeds.
On the right side of that Logo, you'll find an 8-pin GPU header. Since the chipset here is really power efficient, you won't have any power issue with this connector even if you're into overclocking.
At the backside of this card, you'll see its two-slot design, along with single HDMI output, and three DisplayPort outputs. At last, there's an integrated backplate. As I stated earlier, this card doesn't get too hot, but that backplate is a welcome addition nonetheless.
In terms of performance, this card went beyond 60 FPS mark on both 1080p as well as 1440p settings. We tried to play games in those resolutions at High (and even Ultra) settings and they went smooth.
If I were to nitpick any downside here, then that would be limited RGB and a similar design to other Gigabyte GPUs. But those aren't a big deal by any means. That is the reason why this is the best budget graphics card you can have right now.
Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming OC 6G is built well. Its big heat sink and Windforce 3X thermal solution work in relative slow motion to keep the TU116 processor operating at low temperatures.