Best Under $300
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Best Under $350
- AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
Best Under $100
- Nvidia GeForce GT 1030
Every computer needs some sort of graphics processor. Some CPUs have an integrated graphics chip. This can be enough to connect a couple of displays but generally doesn’t offer excellent performance. You’ll need a dedicated GPU if you need a little more graphical power or if your CPU doesn’t feature an integrated graphics chip.
There are some budget-friendly options, as bad as this sounds for a budget computer, especially if you know anything about the GPU market in recent years. There are a couple of super low-budget options if you don’t have any particular plans to play games. If you are looking to play games, even at 1080p, you’ll probably want to spring for a little more graphical oomph.
Of course, this will cost a bit more, so you’ll have to determine how that fits your budget. Suppose you can afford to spend enough to get a GPU capable of Nvidia’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR. In that case, you can perform significantly better in the games that support them.
To help you find the best fit for your budget builds, we’ve drawn up our list of the best budget GPUs in 2022.
- Super low budget option
- Passively cooled options available
- 1x DVD-D and 1x HDMI ports
- Boost clock: 1506MHz
- VRAM: 2GB GDDR5
- PCIe connectivity: PCIe 3.0 x8
The Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 is Nvidia’s latest entry-level GPU. It s designed primarily to connect screens to computers without integrated graphics. However, it is capable of some 720p gaming and can even be stretched to 1080p in older titles. It has a tiny 30W power draw, meaning it doesn’t need any power cables as it can get all of its power from the PCIe slot. The low power draw also means that it doesn’t need much cooling. There is a range of low-profile coolers. But it’s also possible to find passively cooled models.
Passive cooling isn’t great in many scenarios. Still, suppose you’re building a budget computer and have decent airflow. In that case, you won’t see any reduction in performance over an actively cooled model. There are technically two models, one with DDR4 VRAM and one with GDDR5. We recommend you research the model before buying and avoid any DDR4 models as they will be weaker thanks to the lower memory bandwidth.
- Dual fans
- Sub $200
- Hardware Ray Tracing support
- Boost clock: 2825MHz
- VRAM: 4GB GDDR6
- PCIe connectivity: PCIe 4.0 4x
The AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT isn’t quite the entry-level AMD GPU. But for a small amount of extra money, it bumps up the performance enough to be worth it in our books. It features 4 GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a boost clock of 2825MHz. It connects over 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes, though it can also work over 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes in older computers.
Though it will likely significantly reduce performance, you’ll see hardware ray tracing acceleration. It offers a single display port and an HDMI port for connectivity. Priced a little under $200, this is a decent 1080p budget gaming GPU, though you might not be able to use high settings in everything. The power draw is high enough that it needs an extra 6-pin power cable.
- 3 connectors: HDMI, Display port, and DVI-D
- Strong at 1080p
- Capable at 1440p
- Boost clock: 1830MHz
- VRAM: 6GB GDDR6
- PCIe connectivity: PCIe 3.0 x16
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super is the best GPU under $300. It’s got a 1830MHz boost clock and 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM. The GDDR6 memory gives a strong performance boost to the 1660 Super compared to the original 1660. As a more powerful card at 125W, it also needs extra power. This can be provided by a single 8-pin power cable. It connects to the computer via a 16x PCIe 3.0 connector for broad compatibility.
There are three output ports, an HDMI, a display port, and a DVI-D port. The card is powerful at 1080p and can run at high or better in most games. It’s also capable at 1440p, though you’ll have to slightly turn some settings down. In some games, you can stretch it to 4K. Still, you should probably stick to lower resolutions unless you’re only playing older games or more minor GPU-intensive titles. The Nvidia graphics drives are generally excellent. However, as a 16-series model, you wouldn’t get the ray tracing or tensor cores for some of Nvidia’s strongest features.
- Compatible with PCIe 3.0 x16
- Four outputs: 3x display port and 1x HDMI
- Strong at 1080p and 1440p
- Boost clock: 2602MHz
- VRAM: 8GB GDDR6
- PCIe connectivity: PCIe 4.0 x8
The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is a strong GPU for gaming at 1080p or 1440p. It doesn’t even cost too much, under $350, since it connects via 8x PCIe 4.0 lanes and is also compatible with 16x PCIe 3.0 connectors. It offers four display outputs with 3 display port connectors and an HDMI port.
With a 160W power draw, it does need an 8-pin power connector. It does need a full two slots of space, so it may struggle to fit in some small form factor cases. AMD’s drivers aren’t generally as strong or stable as Nvidia drivers. The card does feature hardware acceleration for ray tracing. Also, it supports AMD’s upscaling tech for better performance at high resolutions.
That was our roundup of the best budget GPUs in 2022. Have you recently bought a Budget GPU? What sold you on it, and what has your experience been with it so far? Let us know down below.