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Best budget graphics cards for gaming in 1080p

If there’s one PC component that always has gamers checking their six, it has to be the GPU. You want to enjoy playing games on high and ultra setting, but do you really have to break the bank to get these frames? I don’t think so. You don’t really have to fork out 400 bucks for a flagship Graphics card to max out games. If you are building a cheap gaming PC, you really want to get the best components around that budget, which is why we will be checking out the best budget graphics cards for 1080p gaming in 2017. Nothing out of your reach here, all the GPUs mentioned are in the $100 – $200 price range.

Some of the really affordable graphics cards here will let you play in 1080p with a little bit of compromise on the frames, but nothing too noticeable. For the higher priced ones, expect to get (~50) frames per second while gaming on them in 1080p. If you first bought or heard of these graphics cards when they hit the market a while ago, you’ll be amazed how their cost has gone down. Thanks to 4K, the cost of a 1080p gaming PC setup has really gone down. It also remains the most popular gaming resolution at the moment as people still find 4K too much for their blood.

best budget graphics cards for gaming in 1080p

Asus ROG strix Radeon RX 570 4GB

The ROG line of gaming hardware from ASUS is not really a budget gamer’s first choice, but some bits and pieces here and there are still quite bang on for an affordable build. The RX 570 is available in 4GB and 8GB, though for a budget build you want to go for the 4GB version which costs less than $200.

For gaming primarily in 1080p, the ROG strix rx 570 you will get over 60 fps on ultra setting in almost all games at the moment. This is therefore a powerful GPU and can be compared to the RX 580, though it comes short in some performance aspects. It shares similar performance levels with the RX 470 we mentioned above, but trumps it in memory interface.

This card does not support overclocking, but you get lower power consumption than most cards in the range. You really won’t need to overclock it anyway, considering you’re getting <50 in all current titles.

Specifications:

  • Memory: 4GB GDDR5 256-bit
  • Core Clock: 1310MHZ
  • Stream processors: 2048
  • Architecture: Polaris
  • AMD Crossfire: Yes
  • DirectX 12
  • Output ports: 1 HDMI, 2 DVI, 1 DisplayPort.

 

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Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 Winforce OC 2GB

This is the best entry level graphics card from AMD at the moment. It’s also among their latest products. Think of it as the modern faster replacement for your AMD RX460 GPU. The RX 560 is compatible with Vulkan and DirectX 12, making it a direct competitor for Nvidia’s GTX 1050. With an improved core clock and stream processors, get this card to improve the FPS you’re getting at the moment in 1080p.

Another way this GPU is suitable for a budget build is its power consumption. Unlike high end GPUs that require you to have a bigger power supply, you only need 80W for your RX 560. The card will just use power from the PCIeX16 slot. Now if you want to do some overclocking in this card, use the 1 x 6 pin power port to draw power from your PSU directly.

The RX 560′ cooling system is also great. It has Gigabyte dual fan cooler and a robust heat sink, which as a result makes it perform way cooler than most budget cards in this price range. In terms of gaming perfomance, the 2GB and 128 bit memory means you can comfortably play 1080p games on high setting without giving up too many frames. For games like Overwatch and Counter Strike, this card will return over 60fps no problems at all. Other power intensive games like GTA5 will return a lower but reasonable 30 – 40 fps, which is not bad for what you pay.

Specifications:

  • Memory 2GB GDDR5
  • 128 bit memory interface
  • 1275Mhz, can be boosted to 1300Mhz
  • Polaris Architecture
  • No crossfire
  • DirectX 12 compatible
  • Output ports: one HDMI, one DVI, one Displayport.

 

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Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 Windforce OC 4GB

This is basically a step up from the 2GB to the 4GB but this card is the best from AMD for $100 – $150. I have already written on how the radeon rx 560 4gb trumps Nvidia’s Gtx 1050 4gb in DX12, which was our best budget graphics card for DX11 since most games still use it. The 560 is, therefore, a bit more future proof, even though it’s at home maxing out games in 1080p.

Some of the games that use directX 12 include Hitman, rise of tomb raider, Doom and other upcoming titles will make this 560 an excellent choice for a budget graphics card for gaming in 1080p.

Just like the 2GB, it needs less than 80 watts which means you can get away with a normal PCIe connection to your board. As backup, you also get the 1 x 6 pin port incase you want to push it to the limits. For those of you who like their rigs running silent, this is also a good choice. The radeon rx 560 has a good heatsink and even with both fans running to cool this little beast, its really silent.

Specifications:

  • Memory – 4GB 128 bit
  • 1275Mhz, boosted to 1300Mhz
  • 1024 stream processor
  • Polaris architecture
  • No crossfire
  • DirectX12
  • Ports: 1 HDMI, 1 DVI-D, 1 Displayport

 

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GTX 1050 SSC 2GB DDR5 (EVGA)

I already mentioned the 1050 above, so you kind of expected it to make this list anyway. Based on the pascal architecture GP107, it is the latest card from Nvidia and consumes roughly the same power as the Radeon rx 560.

If you are planning on getting a GTX 750ti, just forget about it and go for this. The 1050 performs 40% better than the 750ti and even outpaces the 950, which bytheway costs higher. At ultra setting, this card will crunch games in 1080p returning ~50fps. If you want better frames, drop down to high setting and now you get around ~60fps.

Something not everyone will be happy about the 1050 has to be the lack of no 6 pin power port. This is another way to say you can’t overclock this graphics card. Fair enough it does come with GPU boost, but this little perfomance surge will not give you anything past 50 fps in demanding games.

If you are going for this card, I recommend you get one from EVGA as its the cheapest compared to other brands.

Specifications:

  • Memory: 2Gb GDDR5 128 bit
  • 1430Mhz core clock, boosted to 1544Mhz
  • Cuda cores 640
  • pascal Architecture
  • SLI support: No
  • DirectX12
  • Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 DVI, 1 DisplayPort.

 

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GTX 1050ti SC 4GB

As much as a lot of us would like to play Witcher 3 or GTA5 in ultra setting, its really difficult to achieve this in a cheap build. If you want better frames than the best your 1050 can give, this is the best step up card to go for. Benchmarks show about 20% better performance in this card compared to the older 1050 4GB, but most of the specifications are the same.

Compared to the RX 470, the 1050ti is much more affordable, but slower. Think of it as a bridge between the powerful 470 and its older sibling, the 1050. So, should you go for it? Well, if you don’t have <160 for the AMD RX470 or want a Nvidia GPU around that price range, its a good buy. The card is overclocked by default to boost performance, though the card should really come with a 1 x 6 pin connector to give it more juice for performance.

Specifications:

  • Memory: 4GB GDDR5 128 bit
  • 1354MHz core clock, can be boosted to 1468Mhz with factory overclocking.
  • Cuda cores 768
  • Pascal Architecture
  • No SLI
  • DirectX 12 compatible.
  • Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 DL-DVI, 1 DisplayPort

 

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GTX 1060 3GB Gddr5 (EVGA)

Beginning with the most powerful card in our list, the GTX 1060 3gb is also the latest from Nvidia’s 1000 series. It shares a number of similarities to the 1060 6GB but performance wise, you are getting closer to what the GTX 980 guys are enjoying. The 1060 performs better than the GTX 970 by a slight margin, and benchmarked with the RX 480 4GB, its faster.

The 3GB is really at home playing games in 1080p around 60fps, though you might want to change the setting to high in some demanding games like p3D V4 or middle earth shadow of mordor. Apart from that, you are pretty much okay playing any title on maximum settings with this card. Apart from a single fan and a simple heatsink the rest of the card is pretty basic stuff. It has a 6 pin connector to draw power directly from the PSU, though the card doesn’t really consume much. Being a mini edition also, it will fit in mid tower cases and mini ITX without problems. Beginning at 200 dollars (If you go for EVGA), this is one of the best graphic cards for gaming in 1080p 60fps.

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FAQs

Q: Do I need to buy a new power supply if I’m getting any of these graphics cards?

A: No. Unless you are converting a really basic computer[which usually comes with very shitty psu with no 6 pin connector] into a gaming pc, almost all the cards in this list can draw power from the motherboard without the need much more. For the few that support overclocking, your psu will still have more than enough power needed. If you have something left to spend, get yourself the corsair VS 450.

Q: Is 1200 – 1300Mhz enough or should I get a graphics card with 1400-1500Mhz?

A: The performance difference in that range is pretty minimal, so any speed over 1200Mhz will be okay for gaming in 1080p.

Q: All these graphics cards cost <$100, any suggestions for something cheaper?

A: Go for the AMD R7 360. It’s a very powerful card and can give you good frames in 1080p[Not all games].

Q: Any recommendations for a future proof budget graphics card?

A: Go for the GTX 970 or Radeon R9 380X.

Q: Can I use i3 processor on a Z97 chipset motherboard?

A: Not necessary. All intel core i3s are not unlocked, therefore why the need to spend all that money on a mobo that supports overclocking only to use it on a locked processor? Get the Asus M5A97 r2.0 or just a h81 chipset mobo. They are more affordable than that. You could use the balance to upgrade other components in your rig. A better graphics card, more RAM…

Q: Can I connect two cheap graphics cards in SLI or crossfire them?

A: Depending on the type[Nvidia or AMD], both low end cards don’t support gpu pairing so it’s not possible.