If you’re running an age-old gaming rig from the 2000s or simply building a brand new one in 2020, $200 can buy you a rather decent dedicated graphics card.
Sure, the $1000 GPUs will be more powerful and futureproof your gaming rig for years to come, but the best graphics card under $200 can smoothly run AAA titles from 2020 after a few tweaks and adjustments under the video settings of the game.
If you’re aiming at graphics-intensive titles such as the Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3, don’t raise your hopes beyond low settings at around 30 frames per second, which is easily playable.
On the subject of older games such as the GTA V or Prototype 2 or even new but less demanding titles along the lines of Fortnite and Valorant, you can expect to see over 60 frames per second at medium to low settings.
If you’re budgeting your graphics card under the $200 price tag, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Few Points To Consider When Getting a Graphics Card Under $200
1. Don’t Try to Future Proof
As much as it hurts to say this, it’s the complete and honest truth that a $200 GPU cannot future proof your gaming rig for even a couple of years down the road. The gaming industry is radically changing and each new title is more demanding than the previous one.
At the $200 price tag, the best thing you can do is play the current-gen games. We would recommend you to create a wish list of games that you want to play on your gaming PC with the best graphics card under $200.
Make sure to add a healthy variety of games that you usually play rather than just one type of game.
Then, check out the official requirements of the games in your wish list and choose a GPU that fulfills at least the minimum requirements.
Don’t worry about the future-proofing part, just enjoy the games that are out right now. That being said, even a $200 GPU will be able to support competitive shooters like Overwatch or Valorant and MMOs like League of Legends that come out in the next half a decade.
2. Keep a Look Out for Power Requirements
The simple and most obvious reason to opt for such an affordable GPU is the constrained budget. However, the savings will recede if you opt for a GPU that consumes a lot of power.
If you’re upgrading your system, you might be forced to upgrade the PSU as well to support the high power demands which will rack up the bills. The same factor remains relevant even if you’re building a new PC, a higher watt PSU costs more.
Even if you manage to get a PSU within your budget, don’t forget the fact that a GPU is the most power-hungry component of a PC.
So, as soon as the GPU kicks in, it will draw in power like a hungry hippo, racking up your electricity bills over the months.
3. New vs Used
If you’re working with a constrained budget, then a used GPU under $200 is likely to be more powerful than various new offerings for the same price.
However, there’s a small catch with opting for used GPU, determining it’s condition.
If you can find a verified dealer, then it’s a good idea to opt for refurbished models. We would advise you against buying a GPU off the used market on your own unless you’re an expert in the filed.
An important thing to keep in mind while opting for used GPUs is power consumption. As mentioned above, don’t be lured by a cheap but a power-hungry GPU.
It may sound like a good deal at first but eventually, it will empty your pockets.
So, in the end, the debate between new and used GPUs can vary from person to person. Scour your local markets and verified online resellers to find out if a used GPU is an appropriate option for you.
4. Know Your Monitor
Since you’re looking for a budget graphics card, chances are you’re using a budget monitor as well. A lot of the manufacturers will advertise features such as tear reduction and high framerate support to sell their graphics cards.
While they are definitely legit features that improve the overall quality and experience of gaming, they’re worthless if your monitor doesn’t support them.
If you’re buying a GPU that can support upwards of 140 FPS but your monitor is locked at a refresh rate of 30Hz, then the extra money for the high FPS is thrown down the drain.
The same thing applies to anti-tear technologies. The two most prevalent anti-tear softwares are AMD’s Freesync and Nvidia’s G Sync. Find out if your monitor supports either of the two technologies.
This can be found in the instruction manual, the box of the monitor, the stickers on the monitor, and even the settings menu of the monitor.
If your display doesn’t support either of anti-tear technologies, then refrain from spending extra on a GPU that features either of the two.
Now that you know how to choose the best graphics card under $200, we’ve shortlisted the 10 best GPUs for the price.
These GPUs have been shortlisted on the basis of sheer performance, that is their clock speed, graphics memory, memory speed, and ports.
All of them are excellent choices for a budget build or an upgrade under $200 that can the most popular and trending games in 2020 in respectable settings.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best graphics card under 200 dollars.
List Of The Best Graphics Card Under $200
1. XFX Radeon Rx 590 Fatboy Core Edition 8GB OC
Starting off, we’ve got XFX Radeon RX 590, the most powerful GPU of RX 500 line, AMD’s budget GPU series. It’s built on AMD’s 12 Nm graphics chip which is way more power-efficient than the prevalent 14 Nm chip.
In terms of specs, the RX 590 houses a massive 8 GB of GDDR5 video memory along with 8Gbps speed. XFX has factory overclocked the AMD GPU to 16000 Mhz.
In terms of performance, the RX 590 Fatboy can run AAA titles at 1440p with playable framerates.
If you bump the settings down to 1080p, the RX 590 can push out over 60 FPS. It’s sheer performance and the bargain of a price tag award it a place on the list of best graphics card under $200.
When it comes to the Nvidia end of the bargain, the GTX 1660 is the most popular and recommended option at the 200 dollars price point.
It’s based on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, supported by 6 GB of GDDR5 RAM. MSI has factory overclocked the card to 1860 Mhz, almost 2500 Mhz above its base clock.
You also have the option to further overclock the GPU with Nvidia’s built-in Afterburner app. In terms of performance, the GTX 1660 can handle AAA titles at 1440p and 1080p if you’re aiming for higher resolutions.
The only slight downside is that the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 costs about $10 over the budget of $200, a minor inconvenience that can be easily overlooked with regards to the excellent features and performance.
Although Nvidia discontinued the GTX 1000 line of GPU, the GTX 1050 is still widely available. The GTX 1050 Ti was previous generations bestselling budget GPU and the manufacturers still have it in-store, if they’re not producing more.
In terms of performance, the GTX 1050 Ti is slightly more powerful the AMD Radeon RX 560.
The Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti features 4 GB of GDDR5 V-RAM with a clock speed of 1468 Mhz, which is higher than RX 560.
The card is cooled by Gigabyte’s dual Windforce fans that circulate air in opposite direction, thus effectively removing heat.
The Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti is good enough to play modern titles at 1080p 60 FPS, although you’ll have to sacrifice the FPS for crank up the resolution.
The MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5500 XT is the most basic model of AMD Radeon’s premium line that can be purchased at the cusp of $200 price tag. Nonetheless, the RX 5500 XT is an extremely powerful card for the price.
9. Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Phoenix Fan Edition
If you’re building a compact gaming rig, then the Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with a single Phoenix fan is an excellent choice. The whole card measures just under 6” in length, as opposed to the prevalent 11” design.
The cost that you must bear for a smaller size is lower clock speed. This GPU has a boost clock of 1290 Mhz, about 200 Mhz less than the dual fan version. Apart from that, the rest of the specs are the same.
So, while the Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti packs less power than the Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti, the difference won’t be noticeable below peak clocks.
Asus has done a fantastic job at cooling the card with the Phoenix double ball. The actual body is built from a super alloy, that increases the overall lifespan of the card.
Furthermore, you also get access to Asus’s companion software that allows you to monitor and tweak the GPU.
Last but not the least, we’ve got Nvidia GTX 1070, the second most powerful GPU of Nvidia’s discontinued GTX 1000 series. Based on the Pascal architecture, the GTX 1070 features 1873 Mhz boost clock speed with 8 GB of V-RAM.
The performance is at the heels of the AMD RX 5700 XT, so you can play 4K titles, but 1440p at 60 FPS suits it better.
The GTX 1070 was a popular card so you can easily find one in the second-hand market. That being said, Nvidia’s GPUs are generally expensive than their AMD counterparts.
The s fact remains relevant in the used market as well, so you might need to shell out $20-$30 extra dollars to score a GTX 1070.
That’s a wrap for the best graphics card under 200 dollars. Our top pick for the AMD card at the price point goes to XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy and the pedestal for the best GPU with Nvidia’s chip is claimed by Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660. Both of the above-mentioned cards provide the best bang for your buck. If you can get your hands one of the used cards under $200, then we’d urge you to go for them. All things said, all the other cards have their own special place on this list. There are pros and cons of every GPU out there.