Whether you want to enjoy gaming at ultra-high settings or to edit graphically-rich videos and images – getting the best graphics card under 500 for your system is an excellent idea as it augments image and video quality for an outstanding experience.
But deciding on what to buy is no less than a challenge as graphics cards under 500 dollars come in different shapes, sizes, and specifications. On top of that, you have to consider the type of monitor in use, the size of the system’s casing, and any other requirements.
For your ease, we took it upon ourselves to simplify the GPU buying process. We have highlighted everything you need to watch out for when in the market for top graphics cards.
Quick Guide to Graphics Card Pricing Points
For casual gaming, random surfing, document handling, and decent video quality — graphics cards under $50 to $150 are a safe bet. They are a leg up to a random integrated video card and require a maximum of 400-watts to operate.
See our guide: Best Graphics Cards Under $150
Entry Level $150-$250
If you want to videos to playback at 1080p, you’ll need to buy graphics card in this price range. You can depend on these for gaming at medium to high graphics and streaming videos on 4K, Blu-ray, or FHD. These’ll also require up to 400-watts power to operate.
These graphics cards can run the latest games at high settings; you can get max results of 1440p, and they also allow you to play at medium settings on 4K. These cards may require 400-450 watts to run. These graphics cards under $500 are the focus of this piece, so we’ll discuss these in detail a little later.
Video cards that cost more than $500 can handle the most demanding gamers or animators.
From handling highly graphic intensive tasks such as editing videos and images with quick and detailed renders to playing games in 4K at high settings with outstanding refresh rate, they can do it all and a lot more.
Many of the available variants on the market also support VR usage, and they require 500-watts to run.
Choosing A Quality GPU Under $500
If you want something for casual gaming and standard graphics work, go for a graphics card under $200.
However, for uninterrupted experiences, such as when gaming at high settings or using software like Maya, 3D, Solidworks, AutoCAD, etc., you will have to buy a graphic card under $500 or above.
In other words, a mid to high-range graphics card is best for intensive gaming and 3D modeling. In contrast, for standard usage, a budget to the entry-level unit would be just fine.
CPU and GPU Balance
The fact of the matter is that the more expensive a graphics card, the better its performance. Still, it’s essential to consider if your CPU can even accommodate a high-end graphics card.
If you get a graphics card that isn’t appropriate for your machine – you will experience a bottleneck in operations when FPS drops because of unprecedented change in text and graphics. That makes it necessary to strike a balance.
In other words, a bottleneck happens when there is a difference in what needs to be processed and how much of it is allowed to be processed.
Use this bottleneck calculator to help you get the right graphics card.
Graphics Card Features
Warranty plays an essential role in narrowing down to the best graphics card under 500 dollars for you!
It makes the investment more practical as you that incase assurance that if something goes wrong, the card will be repaired or replaced for no charge.
A warranty also signifies that you are buying a high-quality product and that the manufacturers have complete faith in what they are selling.
However, always remember to check the fine print, i.e., know when the warranty is applicable and when it may go void.
5 Best Graphics Cards Under $500 Reviewed
1. GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Our Top Pick!
Whether you are a seasoned gamer or a newbie — having a powerful graphics card is undoubtedly the best thing you can do to ensure that you excel. There is no better option than the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti; it has all the features needed to enhance your gaming experience.
That’s why it is our top pick as the best graphics card under 500!
The GTX 1660 TI processes graphics at a record speed of 1,830 MHz at the rate of 12 Gigabytes per second, and to add to that, it features a 6 Gigabyte DDR with a 192-bit bandwidth.
The unit has a single HDMI port and three display ports, which also allows you to connect it to other display devices such as laptops seamlessly. To ensure the temperature remains suitable, it has dual fans with curved blades that rotate simultaneously to drive away all accumulated heat.
Furthermore, the device allows for wireless control – download the app Google Play or Apple App Store to control the settings and even record your experience.
The gaming experience is lag-free as the HD resolution is set at a rate of 244 MHz; the featured processor is NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, and there is a PCI-E graphic card interface. Plus, the hardware interface has an 8x PCI express, and the memory clock speed is 800 MHz — a combination that leads to a brilliant visual experience.
2. EVGA GeForce RTX 2060
- Real Boost Clock: 1755 MHz; Memory Detail:...
- Real-time Ray tracing in games for...
- Single HDB fan offers higher performance...
- Built for EVGA Precision x1 - EVGA all-new...
Best Value For Money
If you want to get the most out of your dollar without breaking the bank, look no further than the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060. It offers the best value for money.
This graphics card under 500 is perfect for gamers who want an affordable card that allows for real-time ray tracing; imagine how vibrant the display will be!
The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 has an NVIDIA TU106 Turing graphics processing unit and has 30 RT cores, 240 tensor cores, and 1,920 CUDA cores. Also, it has 6 Gigabytes of the most-recent GDDR6 video memory.
The unit also comes with a base clock of 1,365 MHZ that can be boosted up to 1,755 MHZ, whereas a single HDB, i.e., hydrodynamic fan with a 2.75 slot GPU cooler helps control the temperature.
The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 is 7.5 inches long and requires up to three slots, so it may not fit mini-ITX cases that only accommodate up to two slots. Also, there is a single 8-pin power connector at the top of the card and six different power phases that are quite sufficient for decent overclocking.
3. Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme GeForce GTX 1060
- Core Clock (MHz): 1873 in OC Mode and 1847 in...
- WINDFORCE 3X with Blade Fan Design
- Integrated with 6GB GDDR5 192bit memory
- RGB fusion – 16.7M customizable color...
Best For Gamers
OC Mode 1,645 MHz
OC Mode 1,873 MHz
Next in our best graphics card under 500 dollars reviews is another powerful graphics card for gaming — the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme GeForce GTX 1060, and this unit is best for gamers.
This exceptional gaming experience is made possible by NVIDIA® Pascal™ GPU architecture that holds a 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM with a 192-bit memory and a 16.7M customizable color lighting RGB fusion.
Install this, and you’ll be able to play for hours without worrying about the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme GeForce GTX 1060 heating up thanks to the WINDGORCE 2X cooling system. This system has heat pipes made from pure copper, dual 100-millimeter fans, a significant-sized copper plate with direct touch technology, protection back plate, and semi-passive 3D fans.
They function together to lower temperatures by driving away accumulated heat from the cores to the heatsink.
Additionally, the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme GeForce GTX 1060 has three display ports and three native HDMI ports, which is uncommon for graphics cards. This allows you to connect up to four monitors at once, and you can also connect VR gears.
It is plug-and-play, so no need to install any additional drivers or software.
4. MSI Gaming Radeon RX 580 ARMOR MK2
- Brand MSI, Model RX580ARMORMK2 8GOC
- Interface PCI Express x16, Chipset...
- Effective Memory Clock 8000 MHz, Memory Size...
- HDMI 2 x HDMI, Multi-Monitor Support 4,...
Best AMD Graphics Card Under $500
If you are fond of AMD graphics cards and want a graphics card under $500, look no further than the MSI Gaming Radeon RX 580 ARMOR MK2, which the best AMD graphics card in this price range.
Whether you depend on multiple monitors for gaming or work, use your VR gear now and then, and love to play at ultra-high settings, this graphics card is right up your alley.
The MSI Gaming Radeon RX 580 ARMOR MK2 has up to 1,380 MHz boost clock in OC mode, up to 1,366 MHz boost clock in gaming mode, and up to 1,340 MHz boost clock in silent mode. All modes have a memory frequency of 8,000 MHz, and there is a 256-bit 8 GB GDDR5 video memory.
Regardless of the selected frame rate per second, the display will be clear, crisp, and lag-free with no glitches courtesy of the featured AMD FreeSync.
Furthermore, to ensure that temperatures remain at an acceptable level, the MSI Gaming Radeon RX 580 ARMOR MK2 has two MSI TORX fans for swift cooling. One fan that has dispersion fan blades brings in more air for adequate cooling – and one has a traditional fan blade purposed to optimize downward airflow.
Above all, overclocking this graphics card is easy as it comes with an Afterburner Overclocking Utility.
5. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini
- Turing architecture, ray tracing cores,...
- 8gb 256-bit gddr6, 14gbps
- Ice storm 2. 0, our strongest cooling, metal...
- 4k ready, 4 display ready, super compACt 8....
Best High-End Option Under $500
Last but not least, we sum up our best graphics card under 500 dollars reviews with the ever so popular ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini. It is unanimously agreed that this is the best high-end option under $500.
This card lets you use the power of AI and Real-time ray tracing thanks to the featured Turing architecture of the graphics card.
At the front of the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini has a few outputs, including an HDMI 2.0 output and three display ports. Apart from gaming, if you are running graphic intensive programs or juggle between a lot of work — this unit is for you as it has 2,560 CUDA cores and secure- API connectivity for a multitude of operations.
To ensure that the graphics card does not get heated up, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini features IceStorm 2.0 cooling technology with twin 90-millimeter fans to increase airflow, two eight-millimeter broad copper heat pipes, and an aluminum fin array. The heat pipes drive away heat from the core, and the aluminum fin array removes it from the system.
The graphics card has a 1,770 MHz boost clock and allows for streaming videos and playing games at 4K settings, and it is just 8.3-inches in length, making it compatible with 99% of systems.
Common Applications for Mid to High Range Graphics Cards
Get a graphics card under 500 dollars to avail the following benefits:
For cards meant for specific functionalities, check these detailed reviews
How To Boost Performance with GPU Overclocking
Your graphics card under 500 dollars has a set clock speed known as the base clock, but it’s possible to raise this. Here are the steps for overclocking your video card:
- 1Download MSI Afterburner, and a stress test tool such as Heaven Stress Testing, 3DMArk, or any tool of your choice
- 2The MSI burner will show the base clock speed, memory clock, and current temperature — remember these figures
- 3The core clock should be raised by 5%, and see if anything gets ill-effected
- 4Raise memory clock by a max of 100 MHz and notice if all is fine
- 5Boost the GPU clock by 10MHz and run a test.
- 6IF all seems fine, keep raising the clock by 10 MHz and keep testing it by either playing a game or by using stress tool software.
- 7A point may come when the PC may crash – this is the benchmark – so reduce the clock by 10 MHz
- 8Increase the temperature in MSI Afterburner, and notice if things are still stable
- 9Once the temperature has been raised, overclock the GPU core by another 10 MHZ, and now the system may not crash
Here is a detailed video on how to overclock your graphics card.
Video Card Maintenance & Troubleshooting
Your PC works hard to give you an uncompromised experience. To maintain this performance, you have to ensure that everything inside the casing is maintained very well.
This is especially important for a graphics card, as, over time, you may notice rising temperatures, slower fans, screen glitches, etc. If something like this happens, follow these steps to rectify the problem:
Here is how you take care of the card so it can function at its full potential for years to follow:
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How Can I Make My Graphics Cards Quieter?
If your video card heats up frequently, the fan will have to work harder and create more noise as a result. A quick fix would be to pull it apart and clean the fans and any other components that have accumulated dust.
How Can I Check The Temp Of My GPU? What Happens If Video Cards Overheat?
You can use dedicated software like MSI afterburner, or you can use the task manager to figure out if your GPU needs a break. Simply, press Shift + Ctrl + Esc to open the task manager.
Go to the Performance tab to see the GPU temperature. When the temperature goes over the acceptable level, you will notice a significant loss in performance.
Is It OK To Buy Refurbished Video Cards Under $500? What Are The Risks?
Yes, you can buy a refurbished graphic card under 500 RS, the price would be significantly low. But there is a catch — you get a reduced warranty or no warranty at all.
What Are The Differences Between Integrated Vs. Dedicated Graphics?
The video card that comes pre-attached with the motherboard is known as an integrated unit, whereas a dedicated card is added to the system. The former can run at low power and may not work with high graphics settings, whereas it’s vice versa for the latter.
Where Is The Best Place To Buy These Graphics Cards Under $500?
You may find the best graphics card under 500 at any local computer shop near you, or you can buy it online from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer’s website. Buying online will give you more freedom of choice as well as better pricing.
We tested, reviewed, and compared some of the best graphics cards in the market. If you ask us the best graphics card under 500 dollars is the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti; is the clear winner thanks to its many features and capabilities.
Holly Curell is a US-based freelance writer & editor extraordinaire. With over a decade of writing technical manuals, blog articles, & even company communications, Holly has a passion for providing value to readers on everything she knows about tech-related topics. When she’s not writing, Holly enjoys reading, hiking, wine, & wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Holly is currently based out of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ken & their three children.