Of all the components you need to assemble for your gaming PC, the graphics card, also known as the video card, is the one that will have a more direct impact on your experience when playing. Therefore, by choosing among the best graphics cards (always within your possibilities), you can take the graphic quality of your games to higher limits.
This piece, which is also known as GPU is responsible for processing all data and operations related to graphics and visual effects. It functions as a CPU dedicated exclusively to graphics. So overall performance and speed of the computer will be greatly benefited.
After the CPU, the graphics card is the next component that you should choose for your configuration, reserving for your purchase around 30% of the total budget you have planned.
In the gaming graphics card market, you may have noticed two heated up discussions: AMD (Radeon) or Nvidia (GeForce GTX). It is a debate similar to the one that exists when talking about the best processors between AMD and Intel. But that does not make much sense since on both platforms you can find great models and a very similar price.
So if someone advises you to buy one or another simply “because the Radeons are better than the GTX”, or vice versa, without giving you consistent reasons, don’t simply believe it.
On the other hand, within each system, you can find the same cards manufactured by different brands, which can lead to confusion for many, since sometimes the price differences are important. What you should know here is that, in essence, all models offer virtually the same in terms of performance and power. The only difference is in the additions or customizations that each brand makes, as well as in the materials that accompany the chip.
Our advice in these cases is that, if the price difference is considerable, opt for the most economical model, as long as it is manufactured by some of the best graphics card assemblers (Gigabyte, Asus, Sapphire, EVGA, Zotac, MSI …).
Another thing is that you have special needs, for example, if you are going to do OC, in which case you should do a more selective search. The models we recommend in this guide should only serve as a guide, but what is really important is the chip itself.
Without more, we leave you with our selection of best graphics cards for the quality price for PC gamers, ordered by budget.
Best Cheap Graphics Cards Under $200
EVGA Geforce GTX 1050
The GTX 1050 is a good choice for those looking for a basic PC gamer, used mainly to play low-demanding titles such as eSports. It is also a good alternative to play in 720p.
Even so, with it, you can play most new games on a 1080p monitor with medium-high graphics options. Although if you are looking to reach a stable +60 Fps, you should certainly look for a more expensive model. We can say that with this graphics card you will be approximately at the level offered by the PS4 and the Xbox One (although obviously, this is a very subjective comparison, since it depends on the game, how well optimized it is for console and PC, etc.).
In addition, its low power consumption makes it compatible with modest power sources. Therefore, it is also an ideal card to update an old PC and continue enjoying the new generation games for a minimum investment, without having to buy a new source.
In short, it is a good graphic for basic equipment but only recommended for absolutely tight budgets, since its 2 GB memory is rather scarce nowadays.
Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti
For just $50 more you can go for the GTX 1050 Ti, launched in this 2017 and that, unlike the original version, comes with 4 GB of DRAM memory, something more in line with what modern games demand and that will undoubtedly give you more speed.
This graphics card from Nvidia defends itself better in the 1080p resolution. With the most demanding titles, it is required that you should lower the adjustments a little, but of course, it is one of the cheapest models, you can not ask for more.
It surpasses the RX 460 with considerable advantage, although if we compare it with the RX 470 or the new RX 570 it is certainly behind. However, since today it is impossible to find such cards (or at least at a reasonable price), there is no reason not to stay with it, since it is one of the graphics cards for quality-price.
Another of its great advantages is that it only needs a power of 300w to operate, so it is compatible with virtually any PC with PCI-E slot.
Sapphire Radeon RX 460
The RX 460 is another of the best cheap graphics cards on the market. Despite its low price, it offers good performance and above all good long-term prospects, since the drivers still have to develop a lot. Of course, in most scenarios, its performance is below the GTX 1050 Ti.
If you are a fan of the eSport and the MOBA, of course, you will have more than enough from this card. But you can also deal with more demanding titles on 1080p monitors with a medium or even high graphics configuration in many cases. This is especially true when it comes to the DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs, where even more expensive cards are shown superior.
Asus Radeon R7 250 – Best Graphics Card Under 100
Even cheaper than the RX 460 we find the AMD Radeon R7 250. It is a more than a decent model for old computers looking for a bit of upgrade and for gamers who are fond of old titles or simply graphically undemanding.
For more modern games, the R7 250 will allow you to play with satisfactory results in 720p with medium settings, which is not bad for a model less than 100 dollars.
It should be noted that the GTX 1050 exceed the RX 460 it in all aspects, so we only recommend your purchase in case the budget does not reach for these cards.
It is available in 1 GB and 2 GB versions, and these, in turn, can have DDR3 and DDR5 memories. Our recommendation is that you get the 2 GB DDR5, or failing that 1 GB DDR5, avoid DDR3.
Best mid-range graphics cards
EVGA Geforce GTX 1060
In the segment of mid-range graphics cards, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 is next to the RX 580 the most recommended today, and it really is difficult to opt for one or the other. The GTX 1060 is available in two versions: 3 GB and 6 GB.
The first version, the smallest one, the amount of memory is somewhat low. But to play in 1080p, it is more than enough, and with the RX 580 and RX 480 temporarily out of stock around the world, it is a more than a solid alternative to squeezing any game in that resolution.
In recent games shows a stable +60 Fps in Full HD resolution and high quality, also defending in 1440p, especially the 6 GB version. It is a VR Ready card and also serves as an entry point to the 4K, although it is not a model focused on these resolutions. It has a really low consumption, as usual in Nvidia cards, a power supply of 400w is enough to make it work.
Gigabyte RX 580
The AMD Radeon RX 580 is basically a new version of the RX 480 with a higher frequency speed, which brings it closer to the GTX 1060, to the point that it is difficult to choose one or the other.
This graphics card is mainly focused to play in 1080p, no matter how demanding, in high graphics quality or even ultra. It also performs well at 1440p, although to fully enjoy this resolution we will have to make a larger outlay.
Due to the increase in frequency, the RX 580 consumes more than its predecessor and also the GTX 1060, so it is a factor that must also be taken into account.
It is available in two versions: 4 GB and 8 GB. Our recommendation is that you get the smaller version if you are only going to play in 1080p. Otherwise, and if the price difference is not very large, the 8 GB version is an option.
Asus RX 570
The RX 570 is not a revolution with respect to the RX 470, but like the RX 580, it is a version with higher frequency speed. This small improvement makes it one of the best graphics cards for 1080p, especially for quality-price. In this resolution, even the most demanding games can be played at a good speed in high or very high graphics.
1440p is also possible, although you can not squeeze the maximum potential of the latest games. In addition, it is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
It can be purchased in the 4 GB or 8 GB version. But it is really the smallest of them that achieves its perfect balance between price and performance since a larger amount of VRAM is only really useful in higher-end cards.
Sapphire Radeon RX 480
The release of the RX 580 has not caused us to eliminate its predecessor from the list, as it is still a good option if it is at a good price.
To play in Full HD, this RX 480 is one of the best options available, since it offers great graphics quality without having to spend too much. And if you are lucky enough to find it at a good price, it is really difficult to find a better option.
Of course, the consumption is greater than that of the GTX 1060. It is recommended to have a source of at least 500w. Despite this, the RX 480 is a great graphics card, one of the best in the mid-range, and if you are a fan of Radeon or you want to bet on the future but the budget is not enough for the RX 580, you should not hesitate to buy this.
Sapphire Radeon RX 470
The most economical that we have selected within this segment is the AMD Radeon RX 470, which although it has been overtaken by the RX 570, it is still an excellent option for those seeking more power than the models offered in the basic range on a budget.
The 4GB RX 470 performs very well in the field of Full HD, although its performance is lower than the GTX 1060 3GB.
With the RX 470 and a good processor, you can squeeze even the most demanding game in 1080p at +60 Fps and in ultra quality. An authentic pass considering that we are talking about a card of just over 250 dollars. Of course, it is only worth it if it keeps its price at bay, otherwise, there is no reason not to go for the RX 570.
Best high-end graphics cards
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is the best graphics card on the market. And for 4K and VR you will not find anything better (at least without having to resort to the installation of multiple cards, of course). It is true that the GTX Titan X exceeds it, but it also costs a lot more, and we believe it is geared towards other activities and not gaming.
In 4K, the GTX 1080 Ti provides a smooth gaming experience (above 60-70 FPS) up to the highest graphics quality and is also capable of handling the 5K terrain, or in configurations with two monitors. And of course, it also meets the requirements for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Finally, a warning: buy this graphic only if you have a 4K resolution monitor and a good processor that does not lag behind. If you plan to play in 1080p or 1440p, it’s not worth paying the price.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080
The GTX 1080 is just behind the GTX 1080 Ti. There is no other graphics card capable of shading it. It is the most economical option to play 4K in a fluid way and without having to compromise the quality of the graphics, and also allows you to play in VR.
This graphics card, with 8 GB of GDDR5, is a real beast, which cannot resist any title, no matter how demanding, and its release was a revolution. In fact, it is about 30% faster than the GTX 980 Ti, which until then was our number one recommendation. But it is also 30% more efficient, and only 500w or 600w power supply is needed to use it.
Asus Geforce GTX 1070
If we take into account all the parameters that matter when choosing a graphics card (performance, power, energy consumption, price …), the GTX 1070 is possibly the best on the market in global terms. Of course, it is not a suitable purchase for all budgets, in fact, is very far from it. Not all users are going to need a graphics card of this caliber. But if you want to set up a 4K and VR ready gaming device without having to pay for a GTX 1080 or a GTX 1080 Ti, this GTX 1070 offers better value for money.
It is a purchase with which you will have graphics for long since it uses the latest technology, and unlike its older siblings, it can be an ideal choice for 1440p monitors. And of course, it is also possible to play in 4K and in VR, as we have already commented. It also has 8 GB of DDR5, and a frequency of 1594 MHz, which in some models can overclock to almost 1800 MHz.