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6 Best Graphics Cards Under $200: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

In today's era of modern computing, your graphics card plays a crucial role in your computer's performance. Your graphics card essentially controls everything that you can see on your screen, the better the graphics card, the better the quality of the image your computer can produce.

For those that want better graphical performance for a lower price, installing your own graphics card to a computer set-up can be a cost-effective way to do so.

Luckily, graphics cards have come a long way. You no longer have to spend a small fortune to get decent gaming or photo editing capabilities. In terms of budget, how much you are willing to spend will have a direct effect on the quality of your display.

It will also dictate to you the level of the game you can play, as well as the degree to which you can set your graphics settings for those games.

Image

Model

Base/Boost Clock

Memory

Bandwidth

GPU Cores

Fans

Check Price

Asus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super...

1500 MHz/ 1785MHz

4GB

192 GB/second

1280

Two

Sapphire Radeon 11265-05-20G Pulse RX 580 8GB...

1366 Boost Clock

8GB

192 GB/second

2304

Two

NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB GDDR5 Graphics card...

1366 Boost Clock

3GB

134 GB/second

768

Two

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+...

1366 Boost Clock

8GB

256 GB/second

2304

Two

XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6...

1717 Base/

1845 Boost Clock

8GB

256 GB/second

1717

Two

ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Super...

1530 Base/ 1830 Boost Clock

6GB

256 GB/second

1408

Two


Graphics Card Price Points Explained

Manufacturers of graphics cards know that their users will have different budgets. This has led to the adaptation of 4 categories. Most graphics cards will fall into these categories and will be aimed at different budget levels. These categories are as follows:

Budget ($50-$150)

If you do not want to game and simply want a graphics card that will allow you to surf the web, watch videos in decent quality and do work tasks, like work in Excel, this will be the level of card you should be looking for.

Entry Level ($150-$250)

Entry-level graphics cards are aimed at users who want to be able to game and work in 1080p without having to reduce quality levels. These cards will allow you to play most games at high graphics settings in 1080p. These are the cards that we will be focusing on in this article.

Mid-Range ($250-$500)

Mid-range cards are aimed at those that want to raise their quality to 1440p or entry-level 4K. These cards will allow for the highest settings in 1080p, high settings in 1440p and mediocre settings in 4K.

Top-Range ($500+)

For those that have intense graphical needs, like playing games in 4K at high settings and quick refresh rates, and high-end photo/video editing, you will likely be looking at buying a card in the Top-Range category. These are the best cards on the market and will give an unrivaled performance in gaming and photo editing.


Buying Guide: Choosing a Quality GPU Under $200

Intended Application

The first and most important thing to consider is your personal needs in terms of graphical performance. If you only do light-gaming and don’t use a 4K monitor, you are not going to need a card with 4K capabilities. Work out what you want from your graphics card, and it will help you decide which category of card you should be looking into.

CPU and GPU Balance

A strong GPU alone will not allow for high-end gaming, fast refresh rates, or speedy photo rendering/editing. Supporting your graphics card is your processor or CPU. Your CPU is your computer's brain; it makes the decisions necessary and then sends instructions to the other components in your computer.

A strong graphics card needs a CPU that is equal to it or better in terms of processing power. If your CPU cannot handle your GPU’s demanding processes, you will end up with a bottleneck. This is when your graphics card will only run at 50,60,70%, etc., in line with what your CPU can handle.

To avoid this, make sure that you research what level of CPU your potential graphics card requires.

Graphics Card Features

Modern-day graphics cards come with a range of features that you need to consider when deciding which is right for you. Let's break them down.

Brand (Nvidia vs. AMD)
  • Nvidia
    The OG graphics card makers, Nvidia is the go-to brand for gamers when it comes to their graphics cards. Nvidia graphics cards hold a monopoly on the medium-high end gaming market. Their cards are easy to install, incredibly powerful, and come from a brand that knows their stuff. They are, however, more expensive than their rivals, AMD.
  • AMD
    AMD has been on a roller coaster of a journey when it comes to their graphics cards. They have a mixed track record in terms of competing with Nvidia. Sometimes their cards perform better than their competition; sometimes, they perform worse. They are, however, almost always cheaper than their Nvidia counterparts and are more suited to those that know what they are doing in terms of computer building and installation.
GPU Cores

The number of cores that your GPU has, in simple terms, equates to how many virtual brains that your card has. Each core can undertake its own task, so the more cores, the better.

The type of core is important too. As well as your standard cores, you also have specialized cores like Nvidia’s tensor cores. These are A.I enabled cores that allow a graphics card to utilize A.I and machine learning in order to deliver a more reliable, smarter performance.

Clock Speed

The clock speed of your GPU is the number of processes that each core can perform per second. A dual-core processor with a rating of 2.0GHz, for example, can run at 4.0GHz thanks to its dual-core architecture. This means that pairing a large core-set with a high clock-speed is the best way to guarantee performance.

Memory & Bandwidth

Modern graphics cards are so powerful that they need to come with their own VRAM. For those of you who know what RAM is, this is the GPU equivalent. For those that don't, your RAM is essentially a place for your computer to store its cheat codes and shortcuts for processes. The larger the VRAM/RAM, the more efficient your machine is.

Thermal Design Power

The more computing power you use, the higher the output of heat. This is inevitable and is a problem that manufacturers of graphics cards have had to deal with for years. This has led to the massive innovation surrounding thermal design and cooling that we see today.

Make sure your card has strong thermal design properties, or it will run hot under load. This will inevitably lead to your card burning out quicker, shortening its life span.

Design

The design of your card is an important factor for several reasons. Practically, the size of your card, the number of connectors, and the location of ports are all things that will dictate what card you can fit in your machine.

The second thing is the design factor itself. For those that care about the aesthetics of their computer build, you want your card to look visually attractive, especially when installed in a machine with a glass case where the components are visible.

Warranty

Making sure you choose a card from a reputable brand will usually mean you get a card that is covered by a good warranty. Computer parts have a knack of breaking for no reason during shipping, especially with rough carriers. A good warranty will ensure that you can get a replacement in these cases, or when your card breaks through no fault of your own.

Graphics cards are notorious for breaking when installed incorrectly or overclocked badly. When this happens, you might not be able to claim off your warranty.


6 Best Graphics Cards Under $200 Reviewed

1. Asus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super

Asus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super...
  • Powered by NVIDIA Turing with 1800 MHz Boost...
  • Space-grade lubricant brings the durability...
  • Protective backplate secures components...
  • Tuf compatibility testing runs cards through...

Our Top Pick!

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1500 MHz/ 1785MHz

Memory

4GB

Memory Bandwidth

192 GB/second

GPU Cores

1280

Fans

Two

The graphics card that we have decided to award our top pick title to is this overclocked GTX 1650 from Asus’s TUF gaming range. Asus has really knocked it out of the park with this one. This overclocked beast performs way higher than the spec list suggests.

As it is a card from their “super” range, this GTX 1650 has been modified and overclocked by Asus to boost its performance. This upgrade includes the use of space-grade lubricant on the overhauled fans. This allows them to run faster and more efficiently, as well as reducing their noise levels.

This GTX 1650 comes loaded with 4GB onboard VRAM and copper heat pipes, as well as IP5X dust resistance, which helps the card stay clean and keeps the cooling capabilities high. This is important with a card that has been overclocked to this level.

It comes with a boost clock speed of 1725, which is pretty impressive for an entry-level graphics card. It also has a bandwidth of 192.1 Gbps/s and 1280 CUDA cores.

This is a card designed to take on the entry-level graphics card battle royale, and emerge as the bloodthirsty victor. It will allow you to play any 1080p games on close to full graphics settings. It will also hold its own when It comes to photo-editing in 1080p, although it may fall short if you try to edit videos.

This card has a 2.4 slot cooler too. Paired with the conductive metal backplate, this gives the GTX 1650 super a sleek look, while remaining sturdy and durable. It also has RGB capabilities, which is a nice addition at this price range.

Also Recommended: Best Graphics Cards for Photo Editing

Good
  • Overclocked By Asus
  • Amazing Thermals
  • Price to Performance Ratio Is Unreal
  • Asus “Super” Range Quality
Bad
  • Older Generation Card

2. Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580

On Sale Today
Sapphire Radeon 11265-05-20G Pulse RX 580 8GB...
  • 2 x HDMI; 1 x DVI-D; 2 x DP
  • 256-bit memory bus; Power consumption: <225...
  • Cooling technology: Dual fan. OS-windows 10,7
  • Boost clock: 1366 MHz

Best 8GB graphic card under $200

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1366 Boost Clock

Memory

8GB

Memory Bandwidth

192 GB/second

GPU Cores

2304

Fans

Two

If you are going to be leaning towards more photo/video editing, you are going to want to look for a card with larger onboard memory storage. Our top pick for a card with 8GB onboard VRAM under $200 is the Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580, which is built on the AMD architecture.

This card was designed for destroying 1080p quality tasks, and it does so in style. Even though it has a lower boost clock than our top pick, it comes with 2300 cores. Paired with the sizeable onboard VRAM capacity, this makes it equally as strong, albeit in different ways.

This RX 580 is a good looking card too. It comes in the “shroud” design that most new Sapphire cards have started to adopt and has two enormous fans. These fans detach instantly and make cleaning and maintaining your card an absolute dream.

The heat sink utilizes four anti-dust heat pipes to disperse the heat generated by the RX 580, allowing it to run cool and quiet under strain.

This is one of the best cards on the market if you look at the capabilities you get per dollar. So much so that I would place this card on par with our top pick, the 1650 super. The decision is ultimately going to rely on which side you prefer, AMD or Nvidia.

At 1080p, and even at 1440p, you are going to get great frame rates and ultrawide capabilities. You may have to lower the settings down from ultra on the latter, but that’s to be expected.

Finally, Radeon has added its innovative Chill, HDR Video support, and FreeSync2 technology to this card, which is incredible.

Simply put, if you want the best 1080p performance under $200, and prefer AMD to Nvidia, this is the card I would recommend the most.

Good
  • Quiet Fans
  • 8GB VRAM
  • 1080P Dominance
  • Great Price
Bad
  • Power Hungry

3. NVIDIA Quadro K4000

On Sale Today
NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB GDDR5 Graphics card...
  • Chipset: NVIDIA Quadro K4000
  • Bus: PCI-Express 2.0 x16
  • Video Memory: 3GB GDDR5
  • Memory Bandwidth: 134.0 GB/s

Best graphic card under $200 for photo editing

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1366 Boost Clock

Memory

3GB

Memory Bandwidth

134 GB/second

GPU Cores

768

Fans

Two

If you are looking for a graphics card for work or are going to primarily be using it for photo editing, you will want to look at a professional card as opposed to a dedicated gaming card.

Nvidia is the king when it comes to professional application graphics cards, and they have really outshone themselves with the Quadro K4000. It is simply incredible that they can offer such a strong card for under $200.

This card is the perfect sweet spot for those that want strong workstation capabilities from a single slot card that won't break the bank. The K400 comes with upgraded CUDA cores and 3GB of onboard VRAM.

This card is also incredibly efficient, so if you are looking for a card for multiple machines in your workplace, installing Quadra K4000's will lower your power consumption massively compared to dedicated gaming cards.

The Quadro K4000 excels because it can provide high-quality 4K displays. Although it lacks the gaming technology for quick refresh and high frame rates, it makes up for it with its ability to produce gorgeous displays. As most creative users tend to use one single high-quality screen, it makes it the perfect workhorse.

Noise and sound are a much more critical factor in a working environment too, which is another reason the Quadro K4000 excels, it is whisper quiet. It also gives users a buttery smooth experience when editing in creative suites.

If you are a photo editor, or you are looking for the perfect workhorse card under $200, this is the card we would most recommend.

Good
  • Strong Performance
  • Works in Macs
  • Nvidia Architecture
  • Whisper Quiet
Bad
  • Struggles During High-End Anti-Aliasing

4. XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+...
  • GPU AMD RX 580
  • Memory 8GB GDDR5
  • Equipped with XFX double dissipation cooling...
  • Factory overclocked up to 1386MHz

Popular Model

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1366 Boost Clock

Memory

8GB

Memory Bandwidth

256 GB/second

GPU Cores

2304

Fans

Two

Next, we have the most popular card on our list, the XFX version of the popular Radeon RX 580 series, the GTS XXX Edition. This is a card that comes with VR capabilities at a price tag that is hard to beat. In tests, this card is an example of when AMD does it right. Compared to its rival the GTX 1060, the RX 580 XXX scores better in almost every benchmark test.

You get 2304 cores under the hood and 256GB/ps. You also get 8GB of VRAM. The only thing that lets this card down is the utilization of AMD's old architecture, which lowers the card's potential somewhat.

For those that want the absolute best in terms of 1080p gaming at 60 FPS, this is the card for you. It can even cope with 45+ fps in 1440p.

This card is one of the most popular models on the market, and for good reason. It performs excellently at everything it should do. However, with clock speeds of around 1257, it isn’t the strongest card on this list. This is an example of why you should read our reviews instead of trusting the most popular models.

That's not to say this card isn't extremely capable, however, because it is. We would just recommend the other cards on this list before we recommend this one.

Good
  • Strong Performance
  • Great Overclock Potential
  • Nvidia Architecture
  • Full Settings @ 1080p
Bad
  • Slightly less powerful than our top picks

5. XFX AMD RX 5500 XT

XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6...
  • GPU: AMD RX 5500 XT
  • Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
  • Boost clock: Up to 1845MHz
  • Equipped with the XFX Thicc II pro cooling...

Value For Money

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1717 Base/ 1845 Boost Clock

Memory

8GB

Memory Bandwidth

256 GB/second

GPU Cores

1717

Fans

Two

Our best value for money card is the XFX AMD RX 5500 XT. Now this card won this slot for several reasons—the main reason being that this card retails for more than $200.

However, thanks to new releases and the current climate, it is really easy to find this card on sale for under the $200 mark. If you have a bit of time to be patient and keep your eyes on current prices, you might be able to pick this card up for a steal.

This is a card that scores highly in 1080p testing, has really low power consumption, and performs strongly in almost every category.

This card was created to rival Nvidia's 1660 card. It does this surprisingly well, beating the more expensive card in almost every benchmark test. It comes with 1408 cores, has a base and boost clock value of 1717 and 1845 and has 8GB onboard VRAM.

It is built on the same architecture as the Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT, this means that the card can hit up to 5.2 teraflops of performance. Paired with AMD's overhauled software, you get a card that not only performs excellently out of the box but also has unreal overclock potential. You get AMD image sharpening and the new AMD chill innovation too.

This means your card can identify the best times for it to cool down and will adjust power accordingly. This means that even when pushing the card, you won't see temperatures of over 75 degrees C.

If you are someone who likes to get the most out of every dollar and have the time to wait for the right deal, this card is the way to go. It runs games at 1080p at full 60FPS comfortably and doesn't run very hot or loudly. The high level of VRAM is also a great way to future proof yourself for newer next-gen games that will be arriving soon.

Good
  • Affordable (Especially if you get a deal)
  • Efficient Power Consumption
  • AMD Red Chill Software
  • Full Settings @ 1080p
Bad
  • Struggles in 1440p Tasks

6. ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660

ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Super...
  • Powered by NVIDIA Turing with 1408 CUDA Cores...
  • Supports up-to 4 Monitors with DisplayPort 1....
  • Full Cooling Control with DirectCU II with...
  • ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting features a nearly...

Top of the Range

Base Clock/Boost Clock

1530 Base/1830 Boost Clock

Memory

6GB

Memory Bandwidth

256 GB/second

GPU Cores

1408

Fans

Two

Our final pick doesn’t quite fit under than $200 mark; it's usually $230-$250 range. But for that little extra bit of cash, you get a card that is actually in the mid-range tier of cards for an entry-level card price.

This 1660 has been "super" upgraded at the factory, overclocking it perfectly and adding some features to support that overclock. With the "super" upgrade applied, this 1660 becomes the strongest card on this list. It has 6GB of VRAM, a base clock of 1530, and a whopping boost of 1830. It has 1408 cores and runs 1080p and 1440p gaming in a buttery smooth and seamless experience.

If you can extend your budget by $30 or so, this is the best top of the range card you are going to be able to find. It is definitely a bargain at the price when most mid-range cards start at the $300-350 mark. This makes it a steal for those that want to do some light 1440p gaming and maxed out 1080p gaming.

Good
  • Great Price (Especially if you use the rebate)
  • Mid-Range Card
  • Nvidia “Super” upgrade
  • Full Settings @ 1080p Good 1440p Performance too.
Bad
  • Slightly out of the $200 budget

Common Applications for Budget Graphics Cards

For most people, the decision to buy a dedicated graphics card arises when they try to do a task that their current spec-list won’t allow. The most common of these are gaming, photo editing, video editing, graphic design, and design work.

These are all tasks that are going to require a decent level of graphical performance. If you are planning on doing these tasks, you will need to consider a dedicated card like the ones on this list.


How to Boost Performance with GPU Overclocking

When manufacturers create their cards, they come programmed for longevity. Usually, this means that they will only really be running at 80% of their full potential. Just like you don’t rev your car as hard as you can every time you drive, you don’t want your card running hot if you don’t need it too.

Overclocking is when a user removes these factory-installed limiters and works on the cards BIOS in order to run it at its full potential. To do this, there is a range of programs on the market to install. For a useful guide, see below. 


Video Card Maintenance & Troubleshooting

Here is a great quick guide to fixing GPU problems.

  1. 1
    First, check to see you have the right drivers installed.
  2. 2
    If that doesn’t work, uninstall the drivers, taking note of their numbers.
  3. 3
    Re-Install drivers.
  4. 4
    If it isn’t a driver problem, disconnect your card.
  5. 5
    Dust the connector and port.
  6. 6
    Contact your cards brand customer support

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are the risks of buying used graphics cards under $200?

Graphics cards are like cars, the more mileage they have on them, the more likely their individual parts are to start failing. When you buy a used GPU, you don't know its history. It could have been used to mine cryptocurrency, for example, which often leads cards broken or any their way to being broken.

How many GB do I need for my GPU for intense gaming?

4GB is the minimum, 8GB is the sweet spot, and 16GB+ is for extremely intensive 4k gaming.

What are the differences between integrated vs. dedicated graphics?

Integrated graphics cards are the cards used in consumer computers and laptops. They allow for web browsing, video watching, and some very light gaming. They cannot hold their own, however, when it comes to video editing, gaming or photo editing. For these tasks, you need a dedicated card, as they all have way more power than integrated cards.

Where can I find a good gaming graphics card under 200?

We always recommend Amazon. They have great return policies and very competitive prices, as well as great delivery services. The GPU’s brand website can also be a good place to look.


Conclusion

If this is your first time learning about graphics cards and what they do, I hope this article has been informative and helpful to you. Hopefully, after reading this article, you should find it easy to find and select a graphics card that suits your needs.

If you are still a little bit lost, we recommend you go for our top pick. This is the card we believe is the best fit for the majority of people looking for the best graphics cards under $200.