If you are a videographer, graphic design enthusiast, or more importantly a serious gamer, then a graphic card is the single most important piece of graphics hardware that you need to own. This is especially true for you if you have a computer that does not have an integrated Graphics Processing Unit. But even if it does, most of the computer IGPUs are not build with handling intense gaming in mind, in which case, getting one of the best cheap graphics cards may be the best move for you.
A graphics card is a piece of graphic hardware equipment that renders out all images and sends them to the monitor. They work by turning binary data from your CPU and turning it into images. There are two types of graphic cards. First, the integrated graphics card is bound to the motherboard and shares RAM with the CPU. These are mainly undesirable as they are not that easy to install and they reduce the amount of RAM available for the computer. A dedicated graphics card, on the other hand, has its processor and RAM and does not share RAM with the CPU. It also gives a better performance than integrated graphics cards. With affordable graphics cards being produced, you can get all this functionality without buying the most expensive graphics cards.
Graphics cards accomplish their tasks using the motherboard connection, a processor, memory, and a monitor connection to display the final image. Another term that cannot fail but be mentioned when discussing graphics cards is capture cards for PC. Today these terms are mostly used interchangeably though there are some very small differences
What to consider before buying a graphics card
We highly recommend getting a graphics card with a minimum of 4GB and more- the larger the better- to give you optimum performance and fast data processing.
Our budget will determine the type and quality of graphics cards that you will get. The best quality graphics cards with high speed and power are at the higher end of the price range. If you donâ€™t have the money for this, you can always find a great compromise between price and performance and get some of the best budget graphics cards.
TDP (thermal design power is the maximum amount of power that the cooling system needs to dissipate. Graphics cards with lower TDPs generally consume less power and are more power-efficient.
Graphics cards typically produce a lot of heat and will need a strong cooling system to keep them working efficiently. If your TDP is higher, you will need a stronger cooling system.
The 8 best cheap graphics cards
1) XFX RX 5700 XT Triple Dissipation HDMI Graphics Card
The XFX triple dissipation 5700 XT is a graphics card that is built for high performance. You can now experience the gameplay at 1440p and 4k. It is also future-proofed for next-generation displays with support for 8k. The dual Bios on this card is a great additional feature as it allows you to choose between high-performance mode or lower fan mode noise.
The device also has a 3-Year warranty for any hardware manufacturing defects and 8GB RAM to enable fast data processing.
- 8k support
- Dual bios switch
- PCle 4.0 compatible
- Strong gaming performance
- 3-Year warranty
- High power consumption
- Long and chunky
2) XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition
The Radeon RX 570 RS XXX is a graphics card for those who want solid performance at an affordable price though itâ€™s not among the best graphics cards under $100. This graphics card features 8GB of GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit GPU memory interface for a powerful steady performance.
It has a -fan cooling system to help keep it functioning efficiently during intense gameplay and 150W of TDP making it power efficient and the minimum power supply requirement is 500 watts. Another great feature for this device is the True Clock which is a hardware-controlled clock speed performance optimization for optimized performance.
- Bios controlled overclocking
- Enhanced VRM
- 8GB RAM
- Solid performance
- No SLI support
- You may need to change some of the default settings
3) EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super Sc ultra gaming
The EVGA GTX 1660 Super Sc ultra gaming card that was released on October 29th, 2019 is the perfect blend of affordability and performance. This graphic card delivers amazing value for gaming at 1080p and is 20% faster than the original GTX 1660. Its 6GB of GDDR6 memory and other memory features optimize this card for improved performance.
It also comes with dual fans on this card will also give high-performance cooling when you are gaming intensively. You can also live-stream your gameplay to Twitch or YouTube to share your performance in high-resolution with your gaming buddies.
- Dual fans for high-performance cooling
- 6GB memory
- Good for 1080p gaming
- VR ready
- Live streaming
- No RT cores
- Has limited ports
4) Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB
The Pulse line from Sapphire is their attempt at providing us with amazing features at a much lower price point than others in their line and they manage it beautifully. The Radeon Pulse RX 580 has 8GB of RAM that enables fast data processing and faster performance in GDDR that gives higher transfer rates.
It has 185W of TDP (Thermal Design Power) and does not, therefore, consume much power. The Dual cooling fan also increases cooling performance for this card when it heats up.
- 8GB RAM
- Dual fan cooling technology
- VR ready
- 1440p gaming experience
- High effective memory speed
- Does not support ECC memory
- Has a single GPU
5) MSI GTX 1050 TI GAMING X 4G, 4GB
The GTX 1050i is an improvement of the GTX 1050 with some amazing features and is one of the best budget graphics cards. The Twin Frozr cooling system turns the fans off when the GPU is idling and keeps the card at least 40% cooler.
This card can also draw power from the PCle slot and has a TDP of 75W. The GTX 1050i also has a 4GB RAM which gives fast power processing and it manages base clock speeds of 1290MHz and a boost clock of 1392MHz.
- 1080p resolution
- Nice aesthetics
- Low power consumption
- Twin Frozr Cooling system keeps the card considerably cooler
- Not VR ready
- Needs a six-pin power cable
6) GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G 192-bit GDDR6
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is packed with a dual-fan cooler that has 3D molded curves for its fan blades and alternate spinning fans to provide excellent airflow. The 6GB, 192-bit GDDR6 memory gives this card a strong powerful performance.
You can also share your gameplay with your gaming buddies by capturing photos in super-resolution, HDR, and stereo and by live streaming high-resolution footage to Twitch or YouTube. The 1,845MHz boost clock is another great feature for this device.
- Easy to install
- VR ready
- 6GB RAM
- Live streaming
- Strong performance
- More costly than basic models
- Can get noisy
7) MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS 6GB GDDR6 Graphics Card
The MSI GTX 1660 Ventus is a great capture card for anyone who wants a high-resolution fun gaming experience. It comes with a TDP of 120W which makes it extremely power efficient as it consumes less power. It has an effective memory speed of 8004MHz calculated from its 6GB RAM and memory bus width of 192 bits to give it increased better performance.
This graphics card also has 1 HDMI port and 3 display ports as well as a boost clock speed of 1830MHz. At its price point, this graphics card is one of the best graphics cards for the money.
- 6GB RAM
- Good value for money
- 1080p gameplay
- Good performance
- Single GPU
- 1 HDMI port
8) ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER MINI 8GB
The ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2060 is a small graphics card that features the same Turing architecture from Nvidia but with more CUDA cores and a higher clock rate of 1470 MHz. It has a memory capacity of GDDR6, 8GB RAM, and a memory bus of 256-bit.
All these work together to give a strong and powerful performance. Real-time ray tracing which is available for this device will offer you a high level of realism making gaming that more fun. The Ice-Storm 2.0 cooler is also a great feature for this device giving it a quieter and better-sustained performance.
- Ray-tracing and VRS included
- 1080p gameplay
- 4k ready
- 8GB memory
- No overclock
- Runs hot on minimal usage
Even if you are not a dedicated gamer, getting a graphics card can dramatically improve some of your computerâ€™s functions-such as video editing and graphic design- so much that youâ€™ll wonder how you ever got along without one. These graphics cards will make any gaming experience that much more immersive and fun.