Best Budget GPUs For Gaming & Work

Jonathan Sandoval

You don’t need a high-end & expensive GPU to play your favorite games anymore, because companies keep fighting with eachother to bring better value to the table. That’s why, today we reviewed the 5 best budget gpus in the market for this year. We ranked them based on many different factors. Let’s check them out!

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Things You Should Know Before Buying A Budget GPU

AMD vs Nvidia

When it comes to GPUs there are generally two safe choices, either AMD or Nvidia. The same counts for budget range GPUs as well. However, Intel is set to release the Xe Graphics series, which should be pretty good. The main thing you should know of is that you need to choose either Nvidia or AMD. This will depend on what you prefer and based on other parts of your gear. For example, if your monitor supports the Nvidia G-Sync for tear-free gaming, you should probably invest in an Nvidia card, but if it is an AMD FreeSync monitor an AMD GPU would be better for you.

Form Factor

This is extremely important as you need to make sure that the GPU you plan on buying will fit into your PC case. Check all the dimensions, length, height, and thickness. You will see slim models, single-slot, dual-slot, and even some huge triple-slot GPUs. Most gaming-focused GPUs will be at least single-slot in size and even dual-slot at times. Also, check if it has a fan or a large heatsink that may block something. The gist of this all is to know the dimensions of the graphics unit and the space you have available in your PC case.

Thermal Design Power

Thermal Design Power or TDP is a measurement of heat dissipation. This measurement will also give you a good idea about how many watts of power the card will need to run at stock settings. This will give you a good idea of what kind of PSU you need to have to make the whole PC run properly.  TO be honest 600watt PSU is enough for most graphics units out there, but then again just to be safe check the TDP of the device you are planning to buy.

Other Specs

There are millions of specifications when it comes to graphics cards, things such as clock speeds, CUDA cores, stream processors, TFLOPS and GFLOPS, and so much more. So you have to pay attention to those as well and choose the best ones that still fit within your budget.

Which Is The Best Budget GPU?

5. Radeon RX 570

 The Cheapest

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
70%
Value
70%

We will kick off this list with a GPU that is the cheapest you can buy while still delivering a proper performance, the Radeon RX 570. This is one of the best value-based graphics units out there. This graphics unit is way faster than its predecessor, delivers a solid 1080p performance, has a competitive price, great memory in it and it delivers some interesting features that some more expensive competitors can’t. Let’s take a closer look.

The Radeon RX 570 uses the same excellent Polaris GPU architecture that its predecessor the RX 470 used with the 12nm process. I found out that the company took the Polaris GPU structure and manufacturing from the 400 series and delivered a more functional and useful GPU. This means that the 500-series despite looking like the same delivers better performance due to using more and larger wafers to deliver a more efficient performance. Hence the higher reference clock of this GPU, compared to the RX 470.

The Radeon RX 570 is packed with 2048 4th generation Graphics Core Next cores, which comes with 128 texture units and 32 ROPs. This means that with a bit of overclocking you can reach the same performance as the more expensive GPUs out there. You can see this by checking out the higher clock speeds thanks to the Polaris 20, but the system requires a bit more power since it is also rated at 150watts of thermal design power.  I should mention that this GPU is armed with 8GB of VRAM making it a beast. The reference clock starts at 7GHz, and it improves the memory bandwidth score exceptionally as it runs at 224GB per second.

Considering everything that we talked about and its super affordable price you will see that this GPU is one of the most exceptional pieces of tech you can get at this price. It wrecks through most of the triple-A units at decent settings with good framerates. Ability to overclock and a lot of features that will help you. It also has two fans with this version and tons of connectivity options DVI and HDMI. Definitely one of the strongest ones out there, worth taking a look.

4. Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti

Best Value

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
80%
Value
85%

If you are anything like me you probably always want to get the most value out of your hard-earned money, and in this list, that product is the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti. This is maybe a budget based GPU now, but it still delivers superb performance for every Full HD game. It has low power consumption, great clock speeds, very quiet and has a large amount of VRAM, you will be pleased with this one.

The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti may have been released a long time ago now, but it is still a great value based pick, and besides no Nvidia or AMD GPU will ever let you even if they are ‘ancient’ by today’s technology standards. Today we are checking the Asus Phoenix fan edition of this card that has some nice additions that we will talk about later. However, most of the other options of this card as well have the same design and form factor. It isn’t very large and requires just one PCIe slot on your motherboard.

It is based on the same Nvidia Pascal GPU design that the company used so frequently. However, you should know that this one doesn’t support VR gaming at all. This GPU is packed with a whopping 768 CUDA cores that go alongside the base clock speed of 1290MHz. However, that is not all as it has a boost clock speed of 1392MHz and has a full 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. In addition to all this, it has a reference clock of 7GHz and a 128bit memory bus. I should mention that it utilizes the GP107 chip but with a more advanced configuration.

Like I said in the intro it is very power efficient as it has a thermal design power of just 75watts so you won’t need any extra cable because it draws power straight from the PCIe slot. The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti delivers a super performance enough to run the latest games in high framerates with great settings in terms of visuals. For connectivity, it has a DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI to wrap it up. The Phoenix design that I talked about comes into play in the cooling department as it increasing the lifespan of the device significantly. The best bang for your buck.

3. GeForce GTX 1060

Best Mid-Range Option

Our Ratings:

Durability
85%
Quality
85%
Value
95%

The next entry on our list is the GeForce GTX 1060, which is an exceptional option that will deliver you superb mid-range performance. It runs very coolly and quiet, it can be overclocked, has a low and efficient power consumption, tons of ports, powerful performance for both Full HD and 1440p gaming. It is a graphics unit that can make a lot of people happy. Let’s dive deeper into it.

I can comfortably say that with the GeForce GTX 1060 you won’t need to compromise anything to get a silky smooth performance. For example, I ran some games at 60 frames per second at 1440p quality which is amazing. On top of that, we are checking out the 6GB version of the device which delivers a quicker performance to the 3GB version that was initially released. Before moving on I should state that the GeForce GTX 1060 is based around the company’s then-new GP106 chip. It is a chip that is loosely based on the GP104, but with all the right upgrades.

It has the same Pascal architecture of its high-end brothers and sisters, which have an excellent 16nm manufacturing process. This allows the manufacturer to pack more transistors to the same piece of silicon. This manufacturing process also doesn’t raise the power consumption or the heat of the GPU, which is amazing. The GeForce GTX 1060 is packed with 1280 CUDA cores that are responsible for the majority of the graphical dirty work. This small beast also has a great boost clock speed that tops out at 1835MHz. The VRAM that I mentioned earlier is a GDDR5 memory that runs at 8Gbit per second.

The card is quiet at 120watts of power consumption which is pretty good compared to its competition. The GeForce GTX 1060 is also the cheapest VR ready graphics unit you can buy, and it is one of its biggest selling points. It is a dual-slot graphics unit, but it is a small one indeed, coming with the EVGA design and amazing fans to keep it running cool under heavier tasks. While we are at it the fans have the double ball bearing design that elongates their lifespan.

2. Radeon RX 580

Best Runner-Up

Our Ratings:

Durability
95%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

The runner up o this is a very close one, the Radeon RX 580 from Sapphire delivering amazing performance for all the power users that require tons of functionality and oomph from their cheap graphics units. This beast will provide you with a flawless 1080p performance and even some nice 1440p performance.

We talked about the predecessor of the Radeon RX 580 at the beginning of this list, and I should mention that this is a definite beast. It is packed with some amazing specifications. For example, it has a reference specification of 1366MHz of boost clock speed that is coupled with 8GB of GDDR5 memory to deliver some amazing speeds. I particularly liked the Sapphire Pulse version of the device which has some interesting features packed in such as its couple of fans that can be controlled easily, a good heatsink, and efficiency.

I am also pretty impressed with the high-polymer aluminum capacitors that deliver a lot of reliability. I tested this graphics unit with different titles at Full HD and 1440p at different settings to see where it had improvements over the RX 570 that we talked about earlier. It did deliver better performance at Full HD with higher framerates at Apex Legends and Fortnite, and at 1440p it was significantly better than its competitors, especially for the price that it comes at. Worth investing.

1. MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super

Best Overall

Our Ratings:

Durability
100%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

If you want the best GPU in the budget range, then I can suggest an excellent choice that delivers an amazing performance without burning a hole in your pocket the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super. It is branded as an entry-level model but it delivers so much more. It has great architecture, delivers amazing value for its price, and a proper performance to get you going with gaming or graphical work. Let’s check it out.

If you compare the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super directly to its predecessor you will see that it has some immense and significant upgrades, that are very useful for real-world performance. It is much faster than its predecessor, and it comes with an upgrade video memory in the form of GDDR6 which is amazing for the price.

This beast utilizes the company’s TU116 GPU construction that was also present on its predecessor. It has 1408 CUDA cores, the same number that was present on the original 1660. My favorite upgrade of this beast is that it rocks the GDDR6 VRAM that enhances the memory speeds up to 14Gbit per second. This is the speed that only super powerful and high-end graphics units deliver, such as the RTX 2080 Ti. Then again it can’t really compare to the performance of the 20 series graphics units, as those deliver real-time ray tracing and so much more.

In terms of connectivity, this GPU has some nice options available making it a solid choice. It has three DisplayPorts and an HDMI port that deliver a pleasant experience. It is more than enough for every user at this price range, and then again you won’t need more since it can’t handle 5 monitor setups. It has a dual-fan design coming in from MSI and the Twin Frozr 7 Thermal design that makes it an attractive device. It runs very coolly and silent at the same time.

In benchmark tests, I saw that it delivered a powerful performance and overall I think that it is one hell of a graphics unit that will help you get through any task.

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