8 Best Graphics Cards Under $500 in 2022 (Updated)

Ever wondered how, nowadays, more and more people can enjoy and have more immersive gaming experiences on their PCs? The reason is simple. Graphic cards have become more affordable.

In much as expensive graphic cards offer top-notch specs, graphic card manufacturing companies are competing to produce affordable GPUs similar to high-end ones. 

The average gamer can now afford to play their favorite video games without having to fork out insane amounts of cash. 

That said, there are still so many options of graphics cards to choose from, and the whole process can be daunting. So, to make it easier for you, we will review some of the best graphics cards under $500 and discuss some of the factors you need to consider when buying one. 

By the end of this article, you should be able to choose the graphics card that suits your needs easily. 

Top 8 Graphics Cards Under $500

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Best Cheap GPU: ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 3.0, 4GB GDDR6 Memory, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D, 1x 6-pin Power Connector, IP5X Dust Resistance, Space-Grade Lubricant)

The GeForce GTX 1650 performs relatively well in all categories and is also budget-friendly. It does a good job rendering, live-streaming, and running multiple processes on different monitors. 

This GeForce GTX 1650 is built with breakthrough graphics performance of the Nvidia Turing Architecture to supercharge your favorite game. It has Ultra-fast 4GB GDDR6 memory for high-speed gaming, a 12GB/S memory speed, and a dual fan cooler. So most of your favorite titles will run on this card without hassle. It can run most games at 1080p with medium to low settings with an average of 100fps. 

It’s also G-SYNC ready.  When used with a monitor with G-SYNC hardware, the monitor refresh rate will synchronize and lock with the card’s output frame rate. This syncing, in turn, removes tearing and stuttering, offering a much smoother experience with improved command response time.

Pros

  • It has excellent 1080p performance
  • It is affordable 
  • It is cooler, quiet, and power efficient
  • Fast GDDR6 vRAM
  • It’s small in size and fits in pretty much any computer case

Cons

  • 2.4 slot Strix design is slightly thick
  • Lacks RTX support for ray tracing
  • It has no backplate, meaning that some of the circuitry is left exposed

Best Compact GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, ZT-T16600K-10M

The GTX 1660, known unofficially as the GTX 1660 Twin Fan, is the baby brother of the GTX 1660Ti. It’s slightly toned down in size and specs, but it packs quite the punch. 

The GTX 1660 is based on the Turing architecture and features a variant found in the 1660Ti. It also features a 6GB DDR6 vRAM, a sweet deal for gamers. It also comes with a 1530MHz base clock and a 2001MHz memory clock.

The card can fit in 99 percent of computer chassis due to its small size. It’s no taller than a PCI bracket and hardly bigger than a mini-ITX motherboard.

But do not let this card’s relatively small size fool you.  It can run most modern games at 1080p and 60fps at high settings, which is impressive. Of course, you won’t be maxing out every game, but you’ll still get a very smooth and fast experience. 

You can even get decent performance at 1440p, but you would have to lower the settings. It also overclocks pretty nicely with good temperatures. It can support multiple projects.

Pros

  • It has a solid price-to-performance ratio
  • Good overclocking ceiling
  • Supports 4K and VR
  • It is G-SYNC ready

Cons

  • Lacks RTX support for ray tracing
  • It has no ‘fan off’ capability at idle

Best Budget GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Super

ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Super Overclocked 6GB Dual-Fan Evo Edition VR Ready HDMI DisplayPort DVI Graphics Card (DUAL-GTX1660S-O6G-EVO)

The GeForce GTX 1660 Super is the slightly older, more buffed-up brother of the GeForce 1660. It’s somewhere between the 1660 and the 1660Ti in terms of performance and price. This factory overclocked card brings performances close to the more expensive GTX 1660Ti for less money.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Super is also based on the Turing architecture and, like other GTX Turing-based video cards, it does not include RTX support.

It features a 6GB DDR6 VRAM with a memory bandwidth of 336GBps. Its core clock speed is between 1530-1845MHz

It’s fully capable at 1080p at most titles with the settings maxed out, but you can get up to 60fps at 1440p on some games. It also offers a decent 4k experience. You’ll have to dial down the settings to get the most frames out at 1440p and 4K. 

It is also tiny in size, so you can fit it in almost any space without worrying about clearance. 

Pros

  • Factory overclocks
  • Relatively quiet
  • Incredible 1080p performance 
  • A cheaper option to the 1660Ti

Cons

  • Lacks RTX support for ray tracing
  • Crowded price point
  • Only 3 display output

Best for 3D Rendering and Video Editing: ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti EVO OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 3.0, 6GB GDDR6, HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, Space-Grade Lubricant, Compact Design, GPU Tweak II)

The Asus TUF Gaming Nvidia GTX 1660Ti is the superior version of the GTX 1660 and 1660 super. It guarantees better performance than the other two, although it is only slightly better than the 1660 Super. 

The GeForce 1660Ti has more cores and a higher vRAM and clocks higher speeds too. It also has better memory and power efficiency and has a more reliable 3D horsepower. 

Based on the Turing architecture, it features an integrated GDDR6 VRAM with a memory bandwidth of 288GB/s. In addition, it has a base clock speed of 1815MHz and up to 2000MHz when in Overclock Mode. It’s also dual-fanned like its predecessors and supports 4K.

All these features make it perfect for serious 1080p and 1440p gaming. The biggest selling point, however, is its 3D rendering and video editing capability. Not only is it super quiet, but it’s also able to edit videos in Premiere and After Effects without lagging.

Its 4K support also makes it perfect for graphic designers looking to upgrade to 4K monitors. This card might not be everything gamers want, but it hits the mark on various performance benchmarks. 

Pros

  • It is factory overclocked 
  • It has 4K and VR support
  • Power efficient
  • It runs quietly

Cons

  • Lacks RTX support for ray tracing

Best Value: EVGA GeForce RTX 3050

EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Gaming, 08G-P5-3553-KR, 8GB GDDR6, Dual-Fan, Metal Backplate

Although slightly more expensive than the previously featured cards, the RTX 3050 justifies its price tag with more vRAM and better performance. 

The card features an impressive 8GB GDDR6 vRAM with a total memory bandwidth of 224GBps and a base clock speed of 1552MHz. When boosted, the base clock speed can go up to 1777MHz.

In addition, it has an Ampere GPU architecture stack and is also RTX enabled to support ray tracing, a feature prominently missing in the previous cards featured. It is also very ideal for gaming at 1440p.

But this is not a one-trick-only card. The impressively high vRAM is also excellent for those looking for a sound crypto mining card. It also renders well, taking advantage of its ray tracing capability to create beautiful 3D using blender.

It’s also aesthetically pleasing. The fan looks stunning, and they do a great job keeping the card cool. 

Pros

  • It is RTX enabled for ray tracing
  • It has plenty of vRAM
  • Good price-to-performance ratio
  • It has a high overclock ceiling

Cons

  • It consumes a relatively high amount of power for its class
  • It does not have a backplate

Best Powerful GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060

ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 Overclocked 6G GDDR6 Dual-Fan EVO Edition VR Ready HDMI DisplayPort DVI Graphics Card (DUAL-RTX2060-O6G-EVO)

The ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 combines performance and simplicity like no other card. Admittedly, its price is a bit on the higher side, but it packs a lot of power to make up for that. 

It features a 6GB GDDR6 vRAM based on a modified Turing architecture. It also boasts a base clock speed of 1680MHz, which can be boosted.  

This GPU supports ray tracing. It will give you a fantastic ray tracing performance maxed out at 1080p. It can even deliver a quality 1440p experience but with slightly lower settings.

If you don’t mind the slower pace of 30 frames per second, it can play some games at 4K. It does a great job at rendering and mining too, so it has something for everyone. It’s fair to say that this is the best powerful budget GPU you can get right now.

Pros

  • Good performance at 1440p
  • DLSS is a huge boost to gaming frames per second
  • Runs quietly and at low temperatures

Cons

  • Not great for 4K gaming at high settings

Best for 1440p Gaming: MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 Super

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP G-Sync Turing Architecture Overclocked Graphics Card (RTX 2060 Super VENTUS GP OC) (RTX 2060 Super Ventus GP OC)

This GPU is a beefed-up version of the GeForce RTX 2060. This card is based on the same board design as the RTX 2060 but has an additional power phase, more memory, and a better-endowed GPU. MSI tops it off with a factory tweak, custom design PCB, and a spectacular cooler. 

Like its predecessor, it’s based on the Turing Architecture, has a better 8GB GDDR6 vRAM, a base clock speed of 1695MHz, which can be boosted up to 2023MHz, and supports ray tracing.

Gaming at 1440p is spectacular on this card, and you can even max out the settings on some games. There’s also an improvement in 4K gaming, although the experience is not as good as in 1440 or 1080p. 

MSI leaves room for more overclocking, which extracts more performance from the card.

Pros

  • Strong results in high-refresh gaming and 1440p
  • It has beautiful card builds
  • RTX support for ray tracing 
  • DVI port for legacy monitors

Cons

  • Not powerful enough to handle all AAA games at higher resolutions
  • It is quite a power-hungry device

Best for Crypto Mining: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12GB GDDR6 192-bit 15 Gbps PCIE 4.0 Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, Active Fan Control, Freeze Fan Stop ZT-A30600H-10M

An upgrade to the RTX 2060, this card offers more performance and memory at a higher price. 

It has similar features to the GeForce 2060 Super but with an incredibly improved 12GB GDDR6 vRAM and advanced cooling.

It performs better than the RTX 2060 Super in some games. However, it is vastly superior in video editing and crypto mining. In addition, its massive vRAM makes it a perfect mining GPU. 

It also offers a decent 4K gaming experience with varying fps, but you must knock the settings down. 

It’s good enough to run most games at 1440p at high settings. In addition, its RTX support retained from the previous generation of cards ensures your games look sharp and beautiful. 

Its smaller size and incredible performance make it a rare gem at this price point.

Pros

  • 12GB GDDR6 memory
  • High compatibility due to size 
  • Great build quality
  • Good overall performance 
  • Decent 4K gaming experience

Cons

  • Extra wide cooler 
  • Little off the pace compared to other similarly priced GPUs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between GTX and RTX?

The GTX and RTX are both Nvidia GeForce series. GTX means Giga Texel Shader eXtreme, and RTX stands for Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme. The main difference between these two cards is that the GTX uses the Turing architecture to provide good performance. In contrast, the RTX uses ray tracing and Tensor cores to provide better and more realistic performance.

What graphics card can run 4K?

For a graphics card to run 4K, it needs to have a large vRAM to store and process large amounts of data. This means a card with no less than 6GB memory for medium detail 4K. If you want even more detail, aim for those cards with 8GB of memory or more. 

Which is the cheapest GTX graphics card?

The ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 is the cheapest GTX. It goes for less than $250. For such an affordable card, it has some impressive features. It has a 6GB memory and performs very well at 1080p. It can also achieve 1440p, albeit with lower settings. 

Which brand of graphics card is best?

Nvidia is the best manufacturer of high-quality and affordable graphics cards and has partnered with some of the best tech brands worldwide, such as ASUS, Zotac, and MSI. But their best partner brand is EVGA. They produce high-performance GPUs, from high-end ones to budget solutions. They also have excellent customer service and offer up to 10 years of extended warranties on their products.

Are the Zotac graphics cards good?

Yes, they are. Most of the graphic cards from Zotac have 5-star ratings from consumers across the globe. They are so popular, despite Zotac not being that big of a brand, because they are very affordable, reliable, and offer high performance.

Conclusion

As seen from the GPUs we have reviewed, there is no shortage of graphics cards under $500 in the market. And they also do not compromise on performance. We have given you the best buying guide, and it is up to you to access your needs and choose a GPU that works for you best.

That said, if you want the best value for your money, we recommend the EVGA GeForce RTX 3050.

It has a few impressive features such as Ampere GPU architecture,  supports ray tracing, and has a high memory. You can use it for gaming at 1440p at high settings, mining, and video editing. Not to mention that it is also aesthetically pleasing.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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