For the past few years, trying to build a budget gaming PC has been tough. Rising GPU prices and limited supply meant that you either settled for a subpar gaming experience or paid well above the MSRP for a decent card. Thankfully, things are starting to change. You can now get decent graphics power for a budget price, and that’s precisely what our list of the best graphics cards under $200 proves.
We’ll be focusing on budget graphics cards that are readily available from online retailers, just to make the purchasing decision easier. But it helps to get a little creative if you want to stretch your budget or plan for future upgrades, so be sure to check out our buying guide advice on maximizing your budget and getting the best bang for your buck.
- Best GPU Under $200 Overall: MSI Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH 2X 4G OC is an affordable GPU capable of running all modern titles with solid framerates.
- Best Graphics Card Under $200 Runner-Up: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 is a capable budget GPU with low power consumption in a compact size.
- Best Budget Graphics Card Under $200: Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB 2048SP holds stable framerates in modern games despite being a few generations old.
- Best Graphics Card Under $250: XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE offers incredible performance and value if you can stretch your budget a little further.
Our Favorite Graphics cards Under $200
|Boost Clock||2825 MHz|
|Memory||4 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 1 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||107 watts|
|Dimensions||6.77 x 4.41 x 1.65 inches|
The RX 6500 XT is one of the best budget GPUs available on the market today, thanks to its availability and affordable price tag. You’ll easily reach 60 FPS on modern titles with the settings turned down, and it breaks 144 FPS in esports games like Valorant and League of Legends without breaking a sweat.
Looking at benchmarks from Tom’s Hardware, we can see that the RX 6500 XT performs admirably at 1080p. It averages 77.4 FPS across their 7-game test suite on medium settings, which is more than acceptable for most gamers. You can even bump the settings to high or ultra on games like Forza Horizon 5 and Far Cry 6 while staying north of 30 FPS.
Since the card launched in early 2022, the Tom’s Hardware benchmark doesn’t showcase more recent games such as Elden Ring and A Plague Tale: Requiem. However, we’re happy to report that the RX 6500 XT can run these games fine, with particularly impressive results in Elden Ring. The card maintains a solid 60 FPS on medium settings at 1080p and even stays in the mid-50s at high settings.
The RX 6500 XT is similarly capable in A Plague Tale: Requiem. Despite the game’s more demanding graphics, YouTube benchmarks show the game averaging around 45 FPS on medium settings at 1080p. The framerate fluctuates between 30 to 60 FPS, but it’s certainly playable on a FreeSync monitor.
While the RX 6500 XT is comfortable at 1080p on medium settings, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of 1440p or 4K performance. The RX 6500 XT’s 4 GB of VRAM just doesn’t cut it at higher resolutions, so anything above 1080p is mostly off the cards.
Another issue with the card is that it only uses four PCIe 4.0 lanes. This is fine for PCIe 4.0 systems, but will limit performance on PCIe 3.0 motherboards. We won’t go into details here, but suffice it to say you’ll want a newer PCIe 4.0 system if you want your RX 6500 XT to perform at its best.
The MSI Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH 2X 4G OC sports a twin fan cooler to help dissipate heat, keeping temperatures at around 55 degrees Celsius. Despite having two fans, the card is only 6.77 inches long; this means it’ll fit comfortably in most computers and should also fit ITX cases.
The angled industrial design looks great for a budget card, too, although the MSI lacks niceties such as RGB. But given how affordable this graphics card is, RGB is something we’re happy to give up. The MSI Radeon MECH 2X 4G OC is one of the few RX 6500 XTs available for under $200. It will also perform slightly better than other RX 6500 XTs too, with its higher 2825 MHz boost clock.
Although it was underwhelming for its time, the RX 6500 XT has finally found a home in budget PC builds thanks to its current availability and price, making it the best gaming GPU in this price class. You can often find cards like the MSI Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH 2X 4G OC on sale, making them an easy choice for a budget graphics card provided you pair them with a PCIe 4.0-capable system.
|Boost Clock||1650 MHz|
|Memory||4 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
• 1 x HDMI 2.0b
• 1 x Dual Link DVI-D
|Power Consumption||75 watts|
|Dimensions||6.39 x 4.54 x 1.39 inches|
Nvidia’s GTX 1650 is the most popular GPU in the world with around 6.19% of all Steam users rocking one. And it’s not hard to see why: it offers great performance under $200 at incredibly low power consumption, making it a great GPU for budget builds.
As an older card, the GTX 1650 lacks modern features such as GDDR6X memory and support for PCIe 4.0. However, these features aren’t essential for the card’s target audience of budget gamers. At this price point, the most important factor is how many frames it can push, so let’s take a look at some benchmarks.
Despite launching in 2018, Shadow of the Tomb Raider still serves as a common benchmarking game due to its popularity and support for older versions of DirectX. On the Highest preset, we can see that the GTX 1650 reaches an average of 44.9 FPS. It doesn’t quite hit the 60 FPS sweet spot, but that should be achievable once you lower the settings.
That’s all well and good, but the GeForce GTX 1650 really shines in esports titles. In Apex Legends, it manages an average of 71 FPS at high settings. It can even maintain a solid 60 FPS in newer competitive shooters like Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0. So if you want to build a starter rig for getting into competitive games, the GTX 1650 is a GPU worth considering.
The main issue with the GeForce GTX 1650 is the AMD competition. It trails behind newer offerings such as the RX 6500 XT, with Horizon Zero Dawn recording a 28 FPS advantage for the AMD card. The gap is much smaller in a game like Resident Evil Village, but AMD still pulls ahead with a clear eight FPS lead.
While the GTX 1650 can’t compete with AMD on raw performance, it does have some advantages that may appeal to you more. For one, it consumes much less power, which makes it an option for upgrading an old office PC. It also has higher-quality hardware video encoding, courtesy of the Turing NVENC encoder.
The Zotac GTX 1650 Amp Core GDDR6 we’ve chosen is a small card at just 6.39 inches long, making it great for smaller cases. It’s a simple dual-slot card with two ZOTAC fans on the cooler, with no RGB lighting or gimmicks to drive the price up. Unlike many other cards, the Zotac sports a dual-link DVI-D port, which is great for budget gamers using an older monitor.
The GeForce GTX 1650 launched initially with GDDR5 memory, but this newer revision comes with GDDR6 memory instead. This means that the benchmark numbers above are on the lower side; you can expect a few more FPS in most titles thanks to the newer memory.
Another benefit of this ZOTAC card is the inclusion of the Turing NVENC video encoder. This offers around 15% better video recording and streaming efficiency compared to older GTX 1650 cards with the Volta NVENC encoder. So if you’re into game streaming, this is a great budget GPU to get you started.
The main issue with the Zotac, and any other Nvidia GPU, is the pricing. Nvidia cards simply can’t offer the same FPS per dollar as AMD in the budget sector, likely due to a combination of scalping and cards drifting too far from their MSRPs. So while it’s still a decent affordable graphics card, it’s just not as good a deal as AMD’s rival.
Overall, while the Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 isn’t the best performer in its price class, it’s still a valid choice for a budget graphics card, depending on your needs. The PCIe 3.0 connection and low power consumption make it a great fit for older systems, while the Turing NVENC encoder is a nice bonus for budding streamers on a budget.
|Boost Clock||1284 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR5|
|Ports||• 1 x DVI
• 1 x HDMI 2.0b
• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
|Power Consumption||150 watts|
|Dimensions||9.64 x 4.53 x 1.65 inches|
The AMD RX 580 may be old, but that means it’s readily available from retailers for well below its original MSRP. Maxsun’s AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB 2048SP is a perfect example: at just over $100 and offering similar performance to the other cards in this list, it’s one of the best budget graphics cards out there—as long as you’re okay buying from a relatively unknown manufacturer.
Usually, we’d start with some benchmarks, but we need to set something straight first. This is not the same RX 580 that was released in 2017. The big difference is the “2048SP” tacked onto the end of the card name. This refers to the number of shading units the card has. A regular RX 580 has 2304 shading units, while this only has 2048. It also has fewer texture mapping units (TMUs), compute units, and less memory bandwidth.
Despite the RX 580 name, the Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB 2048SP is essentially just an overclocked RX 570. This might initially seem like a scam, but these cards are popular in regions like China. This is thanks to their low cost and ability to play popular esports titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Valorant. This “RX 580” was originally destined for the Chinese market but likely made it over to Western shores due to the lack of budget GPU choices here.
Unfortunately, benchmarking this card is a little tricky. We can’t use RX 580 benchmarks because it’s not quite an RX 580, but the overclock means we can’t compare it to an RX 570 either. Thankfully, there are many helpful videos on YouTube that showcase the potential of this sub-$120 card.
Ineffable Benchmarks’s testing shows that the the RX 580 8GB 2048SP is capable of running modern triple-A titles, even at medium to high settings. Some highlights include a solid 70 to 90 FPS in Apex Legends, a solid 60-FPS experience in Eldeng Ring on high, Warzone 2 at 80 FPS, and Cyberpunk 2077 at 40 FPS on medium.
As far as the card itself goes, don’t expect anything special. You get a generic shroud with two fans and some branding stickers. On the plus side, you get a healthy selection of display outputs: three DisplayPort outputs, one HDMI, and one DVI. At 150 watts of power consumption, it’s a fairly demanding card compared to the others on this list. While it’s still not too bad, power-conscious gamers may want to consider a more power-efficient card. However, you’ll have to pay a lot more for similar (or even lower) framerates.
Overall, this Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB 2048SP is a steal. It trades blows with the newer sub-$200 cards on our list, all while only costing around $100. However, you’ll need to have faith in a mostly unproven graphics card manufacturer in Maxsun.
|Boost Clock||2491 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||132 watts|
|Dimensions||9.49 x 5.16 x 1.61 inches|
Sometimes, it’s worth spending just a little bit more money in order to get a lot more performance, and that’s what you get with the AMD Radeon RX 6600. For about $20 over the $200 limit, a card like the XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE will smash our top pick and even open up the possibility of 1440p gaming.
Looking at the benchmarks, the RX 6600 is in a completely different league from the other GPUs on this list. The RX 6600 hits a 112 FPS average in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p and highest settings, 73% up from the RX 6500 XT’s 65 FPS average. The RX 6600 is only around 18% more expensive, which makes it a great deal.
The difference is even bigger in other titles. In Resident Evil Village at 1080p on balanced settings, we see the RX 6600 ahead of the RX 6500 XT by 87 FPS, with a 162 FPS average vs. the RX 6500 XT’s 75 FPS average. That’s a massive increase of 116%. The RX 6600 also has a notable advantage in Cyberpunk 2077 at medium settings, where the higher-end card boasts a 76% advantage over the 6500 XT (83 vs. 47 FPS).
In fact, the RX 6600 is so ahead of the other cards on our list that it manages to compete with cards in the $300 price bracket. In Tom’s Hardware’s 13-game benchmark on ultra settings at 1080p, we see the RX 6600 only a few FPS behind the RTX 3060; a great turnout considering the RX 6600’s $100 cheaper price.
Another advantage of the RX 6600 over the cards on our list is the video memory allocation. The RX 6600 has 8 GB of GDDR6 video memory, which opens up the possibility of gaming at 1440p. While you will have to play at medium settings (or lower), the RX 6600 can do a decent job here. Tom’s Hardware recorded a 109.3 FPS average across its nine-game test suite, which is far better than anything the RX 6500 XT or GTX 1650 will muster at the same resolution.
You won’t have to worry about the extra graphics power requiring drastically higher power draw, either. TechSpot measured an average system load of 297 watts during Doom at 1440p, which is low enough for even a budget power supply unit..
One thing you will have to watch out for is the size. This XFX card is bulkier than the other cards on this list, measuring 9.49 inches long. If you’re trying to upgrade an older system without changing cases, you’d best measure your graphics card clearance first before buying.
No, the XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE doesn’t quite fit into sub-$200 budgets. But when you consider the incredible jump in performance over the average sub-$200 gaming GPU, we think it makes a lot of sense to save up for a little bit longer and get this card instead. The RX 6600 is easily the best GPU you can get for around $200.
Before You Buy
Unfortunately, your choices are fairly limited when buying a new sub-$200 graphics card. It’s not a market that AMD, Nvidia, or Intel are particularly concerned with. However, two alternatives worth considering are buying a second-hand GPU or using an integrated GPU.
One of the best ways to get great value for money in the sub-$200 bracket is to buy used or refurbished graphics cards. Ebay and local classifieds are great for used cards, while Amazon is a good option for refurbished cards with short-term limited warranties.
For example, you can currently get a used RX 6600 for anywhere between $150 to $200 on eBay, which is incredible value. If you’re lucky, you may even find a Radeon RX 6600 XT at around the $200 mark, which will blow any similarly-priced cards out of the water.
There’s a common misconception that GPUs degrade over time, making second-hand graphics cards less desirable. This is true to some extent, but only if it’s treated poorly and runs extremely hot for extended periods. However, this shouldn’t be a huge concern, primarily since modern GPUs will throttle performance to cool down well before they reach dangerous temperatures. Even long-term mining doesn’t degrade your GPU, provided the cards ran at normal temperatures.
If you’re interested in buying a used graphics card, we’d suggest looking at GPUs that are a tier or two above what you’re currently considering. For example, if you’re considering the Radeon RX 6500 XT, you should check listings for the RX 6600 or Nvidia RTX 3060. These are the cards you’re most likely to find used within your starting budget.
Using an Integrated GPU
Depending on the type of games you play, you might not need a dedicated graphics card. Modern integrated GPUs are surprisingly capable of gaming, especially if you stick to esports titles and older games.
An AMD APU like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a great example of an affordable CPU capable of gaming without a dedicated GPU. It has an integrated Vega 7 iGPU that can run games like Overwatch 2 at over 60 FPS and Valorant at over 120 FPS. Performance on some modern titles isn’t too bad either: Elden Ring will run at 30 FPS at 1080p on low settings, which is perfectly playable.
As long as you’re not trying to run massive triple-A titles at high settings or framerates, buying an AMD APU is a great way to save money on your build. And, since the Ryzen 5 5600G is a solid CPU in general, you can always add a dedicated GPU in the future once your budget allows.
A $200 budget is tight for a modern graphics card because there’s little choice in this price range. With that said, having little choice doesn’t mean poor performance. The Radeon RX 6500 XT MECH 2X 4G OC is easily the best graphic cards under $200 in 2023, thanks to its impressive 1080p performance. It easily offers acceptable performance in modern, demanding games and is fantastic for less demanding titles.
However, the real winner here is the XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE. You get an outstanding card with excellent 1080p and solid 1440p performance that rivals even pricier graphics cards, all for only about $20 over budget. If you can stretch your budget a little, then we’d highly recommend the RX 6600 instead.
If you want a bit more performance and can afford to spend more, check out our list of the best graphics cards under $300.