Best Graphics Card Under $200: top overall, value, Nvidia picks
Finding the best graphics card under $200 can be a challenge, especially in a market where high-end GPUs often grab the spotlight with their premium pricing and advanced features. However, for budget-conscious gamers and creators, there is still a variety of options available that provide satisfactory performance without breaking the bank. This article aims to guide you through some of the top contenders in this budget-friendly bracket, ensuring you can still enjoy a good gaming or content creation experience.
Graphics cards in the sub-$200 category are typically designed for entry to mid-level gaming, capable of running many modern games at decent frame rates on medium settings. While you may not be pushing ultra-high resolutions or the max settings on the latest AAA titles, these affordable GPUs are more than sufficient for popular e-sports titles, video playback, and everyday creative work.
Products at a Glance
Shopping for the best GPU under $200 is a smart move, especially for budget gaming PC builds. Many GPUs in this price range can also be used to revive old office PCs and prebuilts to turn them into proper gaming PCs. You can also check out our guide to the best GPUs for under $100 right here, or the best GPUs for under $400. For those with a higher budget, take a look at the overall best graphics cards.
If you see any jargon or specs you’re unfamiliar with in the following article, don’t worry. We’ve included a buying guide at the bottom of the article that should help answer all of your questions. Leave a comment if you still have any after that. Enough pretense, though. Let’s find the best video card under $200.
How we picked the best graphics card under $200
In picking the best graphics card under $200, we meticulously scoured through publicly available benchmarks and user reviews to determine which cards deliver the best performance and value for their price
Furthermore, we considered the long-term viability of each card, taking into account factors such as the manufacturer’s reputation for durability and customer service. Although we didn’t conduct the benchmarks ourselves, we relied on the consensus from trusted industry experts and real-world user feedback.
Best Graphics Card Under $200: top overall, value, Nvidia picks
- Excellent 1080p performance
- Efficient cooling system
- Good value for RDNA 2 tech
- Limited to 1080p for newer titles
- Higher power consumption than some competitors
The MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6600 features the cutting-edge AMD RDNA 2 architecture, offering 8GB GDDR6 memory and support for PCIe 4.0. With its robust thermal design, this graphics card provides a balance of efficiency and performance, making it an ideal candidate for high-fidelity gaming at 1080p.
Users will benefit from the MSI Radeon RX 6600’s efficient power consumption and cooler temperatures, courtesy of the Twin Frozr 8 thermal system and TORX Fan 4.0 technology. This translates to longer play sessions with reduced noise and enhanced performance. The card also comes with AMD’s FidelityFX and FreeSync technologies, which together ensure a smooth and sharp gaming experience without compromising on frame rates.
This graphics card is suited for gamers who want a reliable and cost-effective upgrade to tap into the latest gaming titles at full HD. It’s also great for those looking to build a PC that will remain powerful enough for the demands of futur
- Compact and fits well in small cases
- Quiet performance
- Only 4GB of VRAM
- Not suited for 1440p or higher gaming
- Lacks RTX features
- No additional power connectors required
The ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 AMP comes with 4GB GDDR6 memory and is built on Nvidia’s Turing architecture, despite not having RTX features like real-time ray tracing. The card’s compact size and power efficiency make it a good option for smaller builds or systems with limited power supply.
This model is designed for gamers and general users who want a graphics performance boost without the additional cost associated with higher-end GPUs. It’s capable of running most games at medium to high settings in 1080p, ensuring a quality gaming experience. Furthermore, the card’s low power consumption means it can easily be integrated into pre-existing systems without needing to upgrade the power unit.
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 AMP is best for budget-conscious users, casual gamers, or for those looking to improve their home office PCs for better performance in graphics-related tasks. It’s particularly appealing for individuals who favor compact PCs, as the card’s size is conducive to smaller cases.
- Overclocked for enhanced performance
- Sturdy build quality with TUF standards
- Great for 1080p and entry-level 1440p gaming
- Slightly higher price point within its tier
- No real-time ray tracing
- Requires additional power connector
The ASUS TUF GeForce GTX 1660 Super Overclocked edition boasts 6GB of GDDR6 memory, leveraging the strength of the Turing architecture without the cost of the RT cores found in the RTX series. It’s a card that’s designed for gamers who want a solid 1080p performance with the headroom to push into 1440p in some titles. With overclocking out of the box, users get a performance boost for a smoother gaming experience.
ASUS’s TUF lineup is known for its durability and reliability, and this GTX 1660 Super is no exception. It’s built with DirectCU II cooling technology and a robust backplate that prevents PCB flex. The card ensures consistent performance even during long gaming sessions. Its Auto-Extreme manufacturing technology also improves reliability by reducing the thermal strain on components.
This graphics card is an excellent choice for mid-range gamers who prioritize longevity and stability in their hardware. It’s also well-suited for individuals who enjoy tweaking their system’s performance, as the card’s overclocking potential is substantial when coupled with ASUS’s GPU Tweak II software.
- Ideal for small form factor PCs
- Adequate 1080p gaming performance
- Supports latest AMD technologies
- Limited to 4GB VRAM
- Not suitable for high settings in newer games
- May struggle with future titles
PowerColor’s AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT ITX is a compact powerhouse, fitting the latest RDNA 2 architecture into a small form factor suitable for mini-ITX builds. With 4GB GDDR6 memory and support for PCIe 4.0, this card is engineered for gamers who want to experience 1080p gaming in a tiny package.
The RX 6500 XT ITX model, in particular, is tailored for systems where space is at a premium. Despite its size, it doesn’t skimp on performance, delivering adequate frame rates for most modern games at medium settings. It also benefits from AMD features like FidelityFX Super Resolution, which helps to boost performance in supported games without a noticeable loss in quality.
Ideal for those building a small gaming rig or upgrading a compact pre-built PC, this PowerColor card provides a balance between form and function. It’s perfect for casual gamers or for those who prefer a discrete gaming system without the bells and whistles of larger, more powerful GPUs.
Buying the best graphics card under $200
In case you didn’t understand the specs thrown around in the reviews above, or still don’t know which card to choose, we have you covered. In this buying guide section, we’ll answer common questions and explain the key compatibility concerns in this price range.
When shopping for the best graphics card under $200, several key features and considerations come into play to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. The first aspect to consider is the type of games or applications you plan to run. This budget range typically features cards that are solid performers on 1080p resolution with medium to high settings for less demanding games.
Apart from the hardware specifications, software support and compatibility are equally important. Features like driver stability, support for APIs like DirectX 12 or Vulkan, and compatibility with your system’s power supply and physical dimensions in your case should be considered.
What kind of performance can I expect in this price range?
When you’re buying a GPU for $200 or less, you’re primarily buying a graphics card for 1080p gaming. From $100 to $200, most cards are built to perform well at 1080p and high/max settings at 60 FPS in modern games. Compared to the lower-fidelity graphics on console (generally equivalent to mixed medium settings on PC) and common resolution/FPS compromises, you’re already getting a much better gaming experience.
AMD cards in this price range will perform better than Nvidia cards in most scenarios but at the cost of a larger size and increased power consumption.
A few of the higher-end cards in this section – those straining against that self-imposed $200 cap and more VRAM – are also well-suited for gaming at higher resolutions. We’ll dive into that below. Find all our recommended budget graphics cards right here.
Does VRAM matter?
Quite a bit under certain circumstances. More VRAM doesn’t generally contribute to raw performance, in the same way that more RAM in your PC doesn’t. VRAM is used for streaming textures, managing post-processing effects, and managing high resolutions.
In short, the more VRAM you have, the better your card will be able to handle higher resolutions like 1440p, 1800p, and 4K. The rest of the card still needs to keep up, though, and GPUs in this price range generally aren’t suited for playing modern games at a native 4K, regardless of VRAM. For this price range, though:
4GB of VRAM is ideal for 1080p gaming at max settings and 1440p games with reduced settings.
8GB of VRAM is ideal for 1080p gaming at max settings, VR games, and 1440p games with high-resolution textures. With higher-end GPUs, this amount of VRAM is also suitable for tackling 1800p and 4K gaming scenarios.
Length, width, power, and compatibility
Now, let’s talk about compatibility. This is especially important in this budget price range, so we’ve actually added a power spec to our reviews for this article.
This will generally be the greatest barrier to entry. Length is measured in millimeters and is the most likely reason a graphics card won’t fit inside your PC. For users of prebuilt PCs and refurbished office PCs, this is especially a concern.
Be sure to compare our measurements to the dimensions inside your chassis before making any buying decisions. You should be fine with most standard ATX and Micro ATX cases, but it’s still better safe than sorry.
Less important but still relevant for prebuilt users specifically is width. This is measured in PCI Express slots in your chassis with 2-slot being the standard for most graphics cards. This won’t be a concern for any user-built PC (except certain slimline HTPCs and SFF ITX builds), but it can be a problem for certain prebuilts.
As long as you have at least 2 slots open in your chassis, you should be fine.
This is the other big one for this price range.
While the RX 570 easily beats the GTX 1650 in raw performance, it consumes much more power and space than the GTX 1650. For many prebuilt PCs, the RX 570 is simply too large and power-hungry for their chassis and PSU to handle. Since you often can’t replace the power supply in a prebuilt office PC– or the PSU being used is nonstandard– this becomes even more problematic.
We’ve included both the required PSU wattage and the power connectors required in our GPU reviews above. Cards that don’t require a connector can be powered by the PCI Express lane, so long as the PSU requirement is still met.
Do I pick AMD or Nvidia?
Having difficulty choosing from our list above? This should help.
Pick AMD (aka, one of the RX cards) if:
- You want the most performance in this price range
- You have ample power and room to spare in your PC
- You want the best performance-per-dollar in this price range
Pick Nvidia (aka, one of the GTX cards) if:
- You need a smaller, more power-efficient GPU
- You don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of power to do it
- You’re playing mostly Nvidia-favored games (Fortnite and most modern emulators)
Which is cheaper RTX or GTX?
GTX cards are generally cheaper than RTX. This is because GTX cards are based on older architectures and do not include hardware dedicated to real-time ray tracing, which is one of the premium features of the RTX series.
In wrapping up our exploration of the best graphics cards under $200, it’s clear that each option caters to a specific type of user, balancing performance with price. Leading the pack as the Editor’s Choice is the MSI Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6600, with its impressive blend of power and efficiency, making it a top pick for those seeking the best possible gaming experience within the budget. Its commendable performance in both 1080p and entry-level 1440p gaming positions it as a standout choice for gamers looking to get the most bang for their buck.
The other contenders, like the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 AMP and the ASUS TUF GeForce GTX 1660 Super Overclocked, offer reliable performance and are excellent for users who want to game without breaking the bank or who appreciate the added stability of a TUF-grade card. The PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT ITX stands out for those with space constraints, providing a decent gaming experience in a compact form. Overall, whether you’re building a new rig or upgrading an existing one, these cards promise to elevate your gaming without draining your wallet