If you want to improve your gaming experience, then you need to upgrade your graphics card as soon as possible.
Most computers do not come with excellent graphics cards installed.
Buying a graphics card is cheaper than buying a gaming computer altogether.
You don’t have to spend that much on one either. The best budget graphic card I found, the Gigabyte GT 420, great performance for its price.
Here is a list of more budget graphics cards. All cards on this list are less than $50, so you can be sure you’re getting a bargain.
Top 4 Best Budget Graphics Cards – 2018
This is possibly the best budget graphic card money can buy in our opinion. The GT 420 is inexpensive but has a core clock capacity of 700 MHz.
This graphics card is powered by the venerable NVIDIA GeForce GT 420 GPU so you can rely on this to play hardcore games.
It has 2048MB DDR3 memory and 128-bit memory, which are both integrated for better performance.
As all Gigabyte GPUs, this one works wonderfully on windows machines. It can even run editing programs like Adobe Premier Pro without having to upgrade the PSU.
However, make sure the RAM is at least above 8GB for best performance. Don’t expect this card to play 4k games.
Keep in mind that this graphics card is best used for low to medium-level graphics intensive games. It would play games like World of Warcraft or Minecraft well, but not newer titles.
In any case, this graphics card would be a significant improvement over inbuilt 4600 GPUs. You can play better games and also run office programs more efficiently.
While it has its flaws, this graphics card offers excellent value for the price.
- Great value for money
- Improves performance of Office programs
- Can be used to run editing software
- Enhances performance without requiring a PSU upgrade
- Won’t play graphics-intensive games
- Not suitable for new gaming titles
- Not for Macs
This graphics card offers some awesome features at a surprisingly low cost.
This card comes with 8 CUDA cores, 520 MHz base clock, 1024MB DDR3 memory detail, 9.6 GB/s memory bandwidth, and a 1200 MHz memory clock.
It requires a 300W or great power supply. In addition to playing games, this card is great for playing Blu Ray or HD DVD movies.
This graphics card is well suited for entry-level gaming. For comparison purposes, we would say this is on par with Nvidia Geforce 8400 512MB.
This card is perfect for playing back legacy titles like Doom, Counter Strike, or Half Life. It has low hardware requirements and low power requirements.
It works with both Windows and Linux systems. The card is technically compatible with Mac computers, but users may run into problems.
This EVGA works with a PSU with 300W of power supply. This is a minimal amount so most users would not need to upgrade the PSU.
One major perk is that this works with dual display monitors as long as the PC has an OS Visa or up. No other software or hardware upgrade is necessary.
- Works with dual display
- No significant PSU upgrade necessary
- Compatible with both Windows and Linux machines
- Good number of CUDA cores
- Only good for playing legacy gaming titles
- Minimal Mac support
This is definitely one of the best budget graphic cards out there.
It has a Radeon HD6450 chipset with a 625 MHz engine clock and 1GB DDR3 video memory. The card dimensions are 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.7 inches.
This card can support resolution up to 2560×1600. The Fansink supports Windows 7 and up.
The card comes with HDMI, VGA, and DVI connections. The GPU unit will support two monitors at one time.
It also comes with high-bandwidth digital content protection support HDCP. This is specially designed for low profile PCs so that’s a big advantage.
Interestingly, the card supports Blu Ray and HD DVD graphics too. If you have an older PC that can’t play HD video, then this graphics card would be a significant improvement.
It supports necessary software like DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1, and ATI CrossFireX. Overall, this card is suitable for light to medium gaming, plus dual graphics mode.
Installation, however, is a bit of a hassle. The GPU comes with a CD but requires downloading drive from the web.
To work with modern games, the GPU unit has to be manually upgraded every time. The files available on the CD are worthless.
- Supports dual display on PCs and Linux computers
- Plays Blu Ray discs
- HDCP support
- Excellent resolution
- Supports up to medium graphics intensive games
- Designed for low profile computers
- Installation takes time
- Drive files must be downloaded online
- Won’t support newly released titles
This is a good upgrade over integrated video graphics cards. It only has 2GB of memory, so this card is not for intensive gaming.
It can play older titles and some MMORPGs. The card provides a boost to overall video performance.
For a budget graphics card, it works really well. The card can play titles like Skyrim on high settings without any lag issues.
On the other hand, a game like Fallout 4 can technically run. But requires tweaking graphics settings to the lowest.
The GeForce GT 710 can support flawless playback of 1080p video. While 1080p at 30 fps is excellent, at 60 fps, there was some lag.
This card can also accelerate video streams to full x264. It also adds HDMI support to PCs.
One major downside is that this card can get a bit hot because it has passive, fanless cooling.
Fanless cooling is quiet but not effective enough to keep GPU units sufficiently cool during gameplay.
It’s possible to use two outputs using this graphics card because it has a VGA port. Dual display is possible.
- Works fairly well for gaming
- Boosts video over factory settings
- Quiet gameplay
- Two video outputs available
- Supports dual display
- Low video memory
- Fanless cooling
Tips for Buying a Cheap Graphics Card
Ultimately, here’s what you should know about buying the best graphics card under $50:
Check your computer hardware before you purchase a graphics card. The other specs on your computer should be able to support the card you buy.
Unless you plan on upgrading your processor as well, buy a mid-range card.
Even if you are looking for a budget card, buy the best tier graphics card you can afford to ensure the best performance.
Don’t choose a graphics card with the highest memory. What matters is the bandwidth.
For lag-free gaming, you need high-capacity clock rate.
For example, if you are trying to decide between 1GB of GDDR5 and 4GB of DDR3, choose GDDR5 with higher bandwidth.
Make sure the graphics card you buy can support the screen resolution on your monitor or multiple monitors.
There’s no point in pairing up graphics cards, so buy only one. A second graphics card does not double the performance of your GPU.
Multi card drives can also make the gaming experience inconsistent.
Absolutely make sure the graphics card is compatible with your computer. Check the physical dimensions.
Also, check the power supply and the number of pins on PCIe power connectors. These should match with the card you buy.
The better the graphics card is, the more heat it will generate. If you don’t have a cooler, your GPU will be fried to bits.
You will need to buy a cooler when you buy a graphics card. Some cards come already outfitted with coolers. These may cost more, but they are worth it.