With the mining craze over and GPU prices coming back into the realm of reason, an affordable graphics card is easy to find and a great way to bring older or lower-end computers into the realm of a respectable gaming rig. However, finding the best graphics card for the money is no easy task.
We used our expertise to test and compare a variety of budget graphics cards and condensed our findings into this list of four. Below our review of the four best graphics cards for the money, we’ve included a guide to let you know what to look for in a new GPU and answered some common questions.
Best Graphics Card in 2019
|Model||Memory||Base Clock Speed||Boost Clock Speed||Price|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||4 GB||1354 MHz||1468 MHz||Check Price|
|XFX Radeon RX 580 GTX XXX Edition||8 GB||1366MHz||1386MHz||Check Price|
|ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570||4 GB||1310MHz||1300MHz||Check Price|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 1050||2 GB||1354MHz||1455MHz||Check Price|
Table of Contents:
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – Best Performance for the Price
The first one on our list is the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti from EVGA . Nvidia uses an extremely structured naming scheme that can tell you at a glance exactly what is it designed for.
Any Nvidia GPU ending in 70 or 80 is intended for high-end gaming rigs or even workstations. On the other hand, anything with a 60 or 50, usually released up to 6 months after the higher tier cards, are scaled back version of their bigger brothers made for budget-oriented gamers.
The “Ti” cards are usually released even later on in the life cycle of a product line, and offers an “in-between” option before the release of a whole new lineup. These Ti cards have beefed up specs and usually a great price for their specs.
This 1050 Ti from EVGA packs quite a punch for its price. It has 4Gb of memory, which is comparable to the last generation’s 970, a high-end card. This EVGA version also has a slight overclock on it out of the box. It runs at 1354MHz base clock and 1468MHz boost clock.
This is almost a 100MHz bump from what the Nvidia references run at. This extra speed is put to good use when paired with it’s 7000MHz memory clock speed. This allows them to render and store frames and models very quickly, easily getting up to 60FPS with high settings in competitive shooters like Fortnite and PUBG, or 30FPS in more demanding cinematic games like Assassin’s Creed or GTA.
If you’re looking for a great add-on to bring new life to an old computer without breaking the bank, then this is ideal. While not the absolute cheapest card on our list, it has amazing performance for its price.
- 4GB of memory running at 7000MHz
- EVGA factory overclocks almost 10% from Nvidia reference standards
- Will fit in practically any case
- Small form factor can lead to thermal issues if it can’t breath (small case or surrounded by other PCI-e cards
- Only has 3 outputs
- Only has 1 HDMI connector
Our Rating: 10/10
- Can reach 60 FPS on high settings in competitive games thanks to factory overclock
- Can run most modern games on high settings when paired with a decent CPU
- Amazing Performance for the price
XFX Radeon RX 580 – 8GB of Memory for the Highest Performance under $200
AMD is known for offering excellent performance relative to the price of their products. Unlike Nvidia, their research and product line extends far beyond just graphics cards as they also offer a full lineup of CPUs that easily rivals intel’s offerings.
Using this expansive knowledge of computing AMD produces some downright impressive products. If you’re looking for a GPU that is still in the budget price range but offers much higher performance, then this RX 580 is for you.
It easily goes toe to toe with Nvidia’s GTX 1060 in performance testing, which is the one that can cost almost twice as much. This card boasts a borderline excessive 8GB of onboard memory that runs at up to 8100MHz thanks to the tuned overclocking out of the box from XFX.
XFX Radeon RX 580 itself runs at a base clock speed of 1366 MHz and can boost clock up to 1386MHz. This also features an insane 2304 stream processors, allowing it to perform a multitude of simultaneous processes, further utilizing it’s already impressive clock speed with even greater efficiency.
As mentioned, this card can run at or above the performance of a GTX1060, which is with only 6GB of memory, and which costs over 100$ more. If you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks over the 1050 Ti and want the highest level of performance possible in the under $200 price range, then this is for you.
- 5 video outputs
- 8GB of super fast memory
- Dual fan cooling solution keeps temperatures under control
- Only 1 HDMI output
- Dual slot requires a decent amount of space to fit into a case
- Can be loud when under a heavy load
Our Rating: 9/10
- Highest performance card on our list
- 8GB of memory allow it to run any game on high settings and set it up to be able to play games for years to come
- Can run demanding games at up to 60FPS
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570 – Budget GPU for Gamers
For those who are true RGB lovers, the Republic of Gamers product line from ASUS likely needs no introduction. The ROG lineup of products is known for not only high performance but also aggressive aesthetics and customizable lighting.
Normally, however, these products normally bring with them astronomically high prices. However, for the budget gamer, ASUS offers this ROG Strix RX 570 GPU for around 175$. This is a great deal not only for the performance this card offers but also some of the included features.
While this has the lowest clock speed on our list of only 1300MHz, it makes good use of what it has. When paired with it’s 4GB of high-speed GDDR5 memory, it can handle modern games at 1080p with relative ease.
At medium or even high settings in some cases, you’ll be seeing frame rates of well over 30, at times even reaching 60fps in demanding games. We saw frame rates as high as 60 in Assassin’s Creed on high settings, but the average was closer to around 45.
On top of the high performance, ROG cards come with a number of gamer-oriented extra features built in. For one, it supports integration into ASUS’s Aura Sync lighting software. This allows you to control the color and pattern of the integrated RGB lights in this card. The lights can produce almost any color and have six different patterns, which includes a music sync mode.
This graphics card also boasts an impressive cooling solution that allows it to run at full power without any issue for extended periods of time. It also features a special fan header that can provide your case’s fans with more information regarding temperatures that will allow them to run more efficiently.
While this is one of the pricer options on our list, it easily justifies its cost. While still a budget card, it has good performance and also boasts a variety of gamer-oriented bonus features.
- 4GB of memory
- Integrated RGB lights with ASUS Aura Sync compatibility
- Excellent cooling
- Only has 1 HDMI connection
- Large Dual slot card might not fit in all cases
- Only has 1300MHz clock speed
Our Rating: 8/10
- Very balanced that can run many modern games on high settings in 1080p at up to 60fps
- Very good looking with RGB lighting included
- Powerful cooling solution makes it possible to overclock in the future
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 – Most Affordable
If you’re looking to save as much money as possible when upgrading an older rig, then the standard GTX 1050 is a good choice. A simple graphics card like this can breath new life into old computers, or be a huge upgrade to computers that didn’t have a graphics card, to begin with.
This is the most affordable GPU on our list and will allow you to play any new game. However, you might not be able to play all games at the best settings. More often than not, you’ll be better off with this turning the settings down to medium, where you’ll get some pretty good frame rates for the price.
In our testing, we found that this EVGA 1050 is capable of getting 60 FPS in competitive shooters like Fortnite and even Battlefield 1. At 60 FPS, even on medium settings, gameplay looks smooth and you’ll have more than enough time to react to enemies in front of you no matter how fast they’re moving when you spot them.
More demanding games, however, will most likely be running at just over 30FPS. We were able to get to about 30FPS in games like Assassin’s Creed.
The main restriction on EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 is actually its somewhat insignificant 2GB of memory. This forces to run lower settings since it struggles to render and remember higher resolution textures and higher poly-count models.
Aside from the limited memory, this card actually has some impressive clock speeds. It runs at a base clock of 1354MHz and can actually reach boost clocks as high as 1455MHz thanks to EVGA’s ACX 3.0 cooling solution. It is a small form factor, meaning it will fit in practically any case but will have limited outputs.
Overall, it makes a great and affordable addition to very old or low-end computers. It can handle 1080p gaming, even running at up to 60FPS in some games with the settings turned down a little. However, don’t expect to be running demanding games in the future at high frame rates or on the highest settings.
- Most affordable card on our list
- Impressive cooling for its size
- Boost clocks up to 1455MHz
- Only 3 outputs
- Limited to 1 HDMI output
- Only 2GB of memory
Our Rating: 7/10
- Impressive clock speeds allow it to run modern games, but the mere 2GB of memory limit its ability
- Will run 1080p games at 30+ frames per second, but expect to be turning some settings down
- Small form factor will fit in almost any case, but limits the output options
What to Look for When Choosing a Budget GPU
A huge plethora of factors can affect the performance of a GPU, but there are two main factors when looking for any graphics card. Clock speed, and the amount of memory. Let’s take an in-depth look at what these are and how they affect the performance of the GPU.
Clock speed is a measurement of how quickly the graphics card can actually make the calculations needed to render frames, apply post-processing effects, and everything else. A card with a lower clock speed will not be able to render as many frames per second and will struggle with things like anti-aliasing.
This is because additional processing effects such as volumetric lighting and anti-aliasing require the GPU to take thousands of samples every second, and run calculations on those sample data. All of these calculations end up making the image you ultimately see on your screen.
Cards with faster clock speeds will be able to render frames more quickly and will handle post-processing effects such as advanced lighting much more gracefully. The highest clock speed on our list comes from the GTX 1050 Ti, which can boost itself up to a clock speed of 1468MHz.
The second factor to take into careful consideration is the amount of memory that a graphics card has. Memory serves many purposes on a GPU and can have a massive effect on its performance.
Before your computer can render a single frame, it needs to pull up a significant amount of information regarding character models, textures, lighting, and a wide array of other things. It then uses this information to build the in-game world space and then uses a process called rasterization to convert that 3D world space into a 2D screen space, which is the image you see on your monitor.
The more memory your GPU has the more of these models and textures it can quickly access, and the higher the resolution these files can be. This means that without enough memory it won’t be able to pull up the high settings models, and you will be forced to run games at lower settings.
This can be seen in the EVGA GeForce 1050, which only has 2GB of memory. Even though it has a higher clock speed than the ASUS RX 570, it has inferior performance. This is mainly because it’s lack of memory forces it to use lower resolution textures and models.
The most memory of any card on our list is the XFX Radeon 580 which boasts 8GB of GDDR5 memory. This allows it to reach the performance level of almost twice its price. The RX 580 is the most powerful card on our list for sure, in no small part, thanks to its insane memory cache.
What is boost clock vs base clock?
Almost all graphics cards these days have two clock speeds listed. One is the base clock, and the other is usually called something along the lines of “boost clock”.
The base clock speed is the speed at which it’s processor can run at in pretty much all conditions and at all times. The boost clock is a speed that the card can run it in short bursts, for example when you go from indoors to outdoors in a game or when there is a large explosion with lots of particle effects.
The boost clock is more demanding on the card and if sustained could overheat it, but it is designed to reach those speeds in short bursts.
What is memory clock speed?
Memory clock speed is a measure of how quickly things stored in it’s onboard memory can be read. The faster this information can be given to the card’s processor the better, as it removes any bottlenecks there may be when the processor is just waiting to get the necessary information for the next frame from the memory.
Since finding the best graphics card for the money is no easy task, we did the research for you. Also, there really is no single best graphics card for the money, since there are so many variables to consider, so we gave you four choices.
Depending on the size of your case, your budget, and other factors, different options might be right for you. However, we know that no matter which of the four graphics card you choose off our list, it will be a big upgrade to any outdated computer that now struggles to play games at all.
We hope that the information included in our guide has given you a clear idea of what to look for. However, if you still feel confused or are unsure about your choice, feel free to leave a comment below. We love hearing from you guys and would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.
Lastly, if you have wanted a better case for your money making system, do check out: Best Gaming PC Case.