Best Graphics Cards Under $200 in 2021 (May Update)

Updated on April 23, 2022

Radeon Vs GeForce

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Radeon vs. GeForce

If you’re building a gaming PC on a budget, the best graphics cards for that build in terms of price/performance are often between $150 and $250.

Unfortunately, as of May 2021, we are experiencing a GPU shortage, which began in late 2020 and has only gotten worse since then. The pandemic has put a strain on supply lines, resulting in a surge in demand (including from crypto miners).

This makes it tough to find a current graphics card at a reasonable price (MSRP) – or even at all. As a result, you must decide whether to wait or pay more for what is currently accessible.

In any case, we’ll keep updating this page in the hopes of improving the supply situation. As a result, we’ll continue to rank the best graphics cards under $200 using MSRP for reference models (which are unfortunately not actual market prices at this time). In any case, our broad recommendations on what to look for in order to get the most bang for your buck should be helpful.

Contents:

AMD vs. Nvidia

Is it better to buy now or wait?

For around $200, the RX 5500 is the best AMD GPU (MSRP).

The Nvidia GTX 1650 Super is the finest GPU under $200. (MSRP).

$10-30 extra for GeForce GTX 1660/1660S

Still a Good Buy: Radeon RX 570, 580, and 590

The GeForce GTX 1650 does not have PCIe support.

Notes and an overview

AMD vs. Nvidia Below $200 (MSRP)

Last year, AMD once again caught up to Nvidia in all GPU price ranges thanks to its RDNA and RDNA 2 architectures. The recently launched high-end cards from AMD and Nvidia are practically impossible to find, but you may have some luck with the entry-level Radeon RX 5500 XT. Nvidia’s best graphics card under $200 (reference model MSRP) is the GeForce GTX 1650 Super, also known as the 1650S.

Product

Best AMD

PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB AXRX 5500XT 8GBD6-DH/OC

Best Nvidia

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super 128-Bit HDMI/DP/DVI 4GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Single Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 Super Aero ITX OC) (GeForce GTX 1650 Super AERO ITX OC)
Image
PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB AXRX 5500XT 8GBD6-DH/OC
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super 128-Bit HDMI/DP/DVI 4GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Single Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 Super Aero ITX OC) (GeForce GTX 1650 Super AERO ITX OC)
Stream Processors
1408
1280
Core/Boost Clock
1647 MHz / 1845 MHz
1530 MHz / 1740 MHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance
5,196 GFLOPS
4,454 GFLOPS
Memory Size/Type
8 GB/GDDR6
4 GB/GDDR6
Memory Bus
128-bit
128-bit
Memory Clock (Effective)
1750 MHz (14000 MHz)
1500 MHz (12 GHz)
Memory Bandwidth
224 GB/s
192 GB/s
TDP
130 W
100 W
Recommended Power Supply
350 W (1x 8-pin)
350 W (1x 6-pin)
Outputs
1x HDMI, 1x DVI, 1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI, 1x DP, 1x DVI

Last update on 2022-03-04 / Affiliate connections / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Based on raw FP32 performance, the Radeon RX 5500 XT appears to be a significantly more powerful GPU. However, in terms of real game play, it’s a toss-up. The RX 5500 XT outperforms the GTX 1650S in some titles, while the GTX 1650S outperforms the RX 5500 XT in others.

Overall, either will allow you to play any AAA game in 1080p and should offer outstanding FPS/$ value. The Radeon RX 5500 XT comes in 4 GB and 8 GB models, with the 8 GB units likely being the most future-proof because to the extra memory (VRAM). In normal circumstances, finding one of them for less than $200 is extremely rare.

Using Futuremark’s 3DMark Time Spy benchmark scores, here’s a quick glance at relative GPU performance. A few more GPUs have been added for reference, and we’ll go over a few of them below.

We’ve included a few more GPUs for reference, and we’ll go over a few of them below.

This isn’t an exact measure of relative gaming performance, but it’s a good indication of what to expect in games on the whole.

Bottom line: The “FPS/$” equation fluctuates everyday, as do GPU pricing, which have recently been unreliable for both the GeForce GTX 1650S and the Radeon RX 5500XT. Prior to the scarcity, the RX 5500XT with 8GB of VRAM was the best GPU under $200.

Find More  12 Best Graphics Cards for 3D Rendering & Modeling of 2020 – For Every Budget!

Buy Now or Wait? May 2021 Edition

It’s hard to remember a period when graphics cards were in such short supply in comparison to demand as they were in 2021. To discover more about the reasons behind the current supply problems, go to igor’sLAB and read industry expert Igor Wallossek’s study (there are several).

Nvidia and AMD will release their new high-end GPUs, the RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series, in late 2020. If they’re still available, all of these cards are presently selling for significantly more than their MSRP. Entry-level and mid-range gaming GPUs have also been seriously damaged. Despite the fact that a new generation of mid-range cards based on the Ampere and RDNA2 architectures will be available later in 2021, we may expect them to be rare for some time.

For the time being, finding a new graphics card from the current generation for a reasonable price is a bit of a lottery. Another option is to be willing to pay a greater price than normal or search the used market. Some older GPUs, such as the Radeon RX 570, 580, or 590 (which are all still capable but inefficient), may be available for less than $200.

Best AMD GPU Below $200 (MSRP): Radeon RX 5500 XT

AMD finally updated its entry-level and mid-range chips last year, replacing the previous Polaris-based RX 570, 580, and 590 with more efficient GPUs. While utilising less power, the RX 5500 XT performs similarly to the RX 580 (or even the RX 590). The RX 5500 XT only requires one 8-pin PCIe connector, and the suggested minimum power supply is only 350 W. (graphics card TDP is 130 W). Actual gaming performance is slightly better than the GTX 1650 Super but slightly worse than the GTX 1660.

msi rx5500 xt GPU

PowerColor RX 5500 XT 8GB PowerColor RX 5500 XT 4GB ASUS Dual RX 5500 XT EVO OC 4GB MSI RX 5500 XT Mech 4GB OC
Image PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB AXRX 5500XT 8GBD6-DH/OC PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB AXRX 5500XT 4GBD6-DH/OC ASUS AMD Dual Radeon RX 5500 XT EVO OC Edition Gaming Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 4GB GDDR6 Memory, HDMI, DisplayPort, Full HD Gaming, Axial-tech Fan Design, Auto-Extreme, Metal Backplate) MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5500 XT Boost Clock: 1845 MHz 128-bit 4GB GDDR6 DP/HDMI Dual Torx 3.0 Fans Freesync VR Ready Graphics Card (RX 5500 XT MECH 4G OC) (Radeon RX 5500 XT MECH 4G OC)
Stream Processors 1408 1408 1408 1408
Base Clock /
Boost Clock
1607 MHz /
1845 MHz
1647 MHz /
1845 MHz
1607 MHz /
1845 MHz
1257 MHz /
1366 MHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance 5,196 GFLOPS 5,196 GFLOPS 5,196 GFLOPS 5,196 GFLOPS
Max Memory Clock 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz
Memory Size 8 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6 4 GB GDDR6 4 GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 224 GB/s 224 GB/s 224 GB/s
Recommended Power Supply 350 Watt 350 Watt 350 Watt 350 Watt
Price from* N/A N/A N/A N/A
Product Link N/A N/A N/A N/A

 

It’s worth noting that the table above includes both 8 GB and 4 GB of video memory (VRAM). Frame rates will improve by single digit percentages on average with an 8 GB card. With more VRAM, more details and higher resolutions (e.g. 1440p) can be achieved with less performance decreases. If the price difference isn’t too great, we recommend the 8 GB version because it runs better and is ready for more demanding games.

Best Nvidia GPU Below $200 (MSRP): GTX 1650 Super

The 1650S is significantly quicker than the non-Super GTX 1650, and its performance is comparable to the GTX 1660. To put it another way, it’s a “Super” version of the card.

The Super version of the GTX 1650 uses only one 6-pin PCIe power connector, but consumes significantly less power than identical cards from the previous generation. GTX 1650 Super designs are typically small and compact because it’s a cheap card with a low TDP (100W). If your case allows it, a video card with two fans is usually a superior choice because these cards run cooler and generate less noise.

 

GeForce GTX 1650 Super

ZOTAC GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan ASUS GTX 1650 Super Phoenix OC EVGA GTX 1650 Super SC Ultra
Image ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan 4GB GDDR6 128-Bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16510F-10L ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 Super Overclocked 4GB Phoenix Fan Edition HDMI DP DVI Graphics Card (PH-GTX1650S-O4G) EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 Super SC Ultra Gaming, 4GB GDDR6, Dual Fan, Metal Backplate, 04G-P4-1357-KR
Memory Size 4 GB GDDR6 4 GB GDDR6 4 GB GDDR6
Stream Processors 1280 1280 1280
FP32 Theoretical Performance 4,416 GFLOPS 4,454 GFLOPS 4,493 GFLOPS
Max Memory Clock 12000 MHz 12000 MHz 12000 MHz
Memory Bandwidth 192 GB/s 192 GB/s 192 GB/s
Recommended
Power Supply
350 Watt 350 Watt 350 Watt
Core Clock / Boost Clock 1530 MHz /
1725 MHz
1530 MHz /
1740 MHz
1530 MHz /
1755 MHz
Display Outputs 1x DVI, 1x HDMI
1x DP
1x DVI, 1x HDMI
1x DP
1x DVI, 1x HDMI
1x DP
Price from* N/A N/A N/A
Product Link N/A N/A N/A

 

The MSI Gaming X is a full-size card with superb cooling performance and overclocking capabilities, but Gigabyte’s dual-fan WindForce variant is a good contender at a lower price. A 1650 Super with a single 90 mm fan is also available for tiny form factor designs.

~$10–30 More: GeForce GTX 1660/1660S

The original GTX 1660 was released a few years ago and is based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture. It’s designed to be a direct replacement for the GTX 1060, but it’s more quicker (15-20%) and more efficient.

In genuine games, the GTX 1660 outperforms the previous-gen RX 580 and even the RX 590 when compared to AMD competitors. In other words, you get excellent performance for 1080p and 1440p gaming, and this would be our favourite if it were a little less expensive.

The GTX 1660 has been replaced by the GeForce GTX 1660 Super, which is nearly as fast as the GTX 1660 Ti and is typically not much more expensive than the GTX 1660 as of mid-2021. The 1660 Super is based on the same processor as the non-Super, with the same amount of shaders and transistors, but it comes with faster GDDR6 VRAM.

GTX 1660 graphics card

EVGA GTX 1660 Super Sc Ultra PNY GTX 1660 Super 6GB XLR8 MSI GTX 1660 Super Ventus XS OC
Image MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 192-bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1660 Super VENTUS XS OC) PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Super 4GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition Single Fan ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, ZT-T16620F-10L
Stream Processors 1408 1408 1408
Base Clock /
Boost Clock
1530 MHz /
1815 MHz
1530 MHz /
1830 MHz
1530 MHz /
1785 MHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance 5,153 GFLOPS 5,153 GFLOPS 5,111 GFLOPS
Max Memory Clock 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz
Memory Size 6 GB GDDR6 6 GB GDDR6 6 GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s
Recommended Power Supply 350 Watt 350 Wat

 

Still Going Strong: AMD Radeon RX 570, 580 & 590

AMD Radeon RX 570, 580, and 590 rx570 strix are still going strong. If all you care about is getting the most frames per second for your money, AMD’s previous generation of mid-range GPUs is still worth considering. For years, the Radeon RX 570 GPU was the best value for money, but today you can get an RX 580 or RX 590 at a good price.

These cards are somewhat less efficient than the Navi generation, yet they perform admirably in terms of sheer performance. Most AAA titles can be played at 1080p/60fps on the RX 590, as well as 1440p with decreased quality settings.

rx570 strix

PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX EditionSapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580PowerColor
Red Dragon RX 590ImagePowerColor VGA - AXRX 570 4GBD5-3DHD/OCXFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)SAPPHIRE Radeon 11265-05-20G Pulse RX 580 8GB GDDR5 Dual HDMI/ DVI-D/ Dual DP OC with Backplate (UEFI) PCI-E Graphics Card Graphic CardsPowerColor Red Dragon RX 590 8GBStream Processors2048230423042304Boost Clock /
Max OC Clock1469 MHz /
1545 MHz1257 MHz /
1366 MHz1360 MHz /
1366 MHz1469 MHz /
1545 MHzFP32 Theoretical Performance5,120 GFLOPS6,295 GFLOPS6,295 GFLOPS7,119 GFLOPSEffective Memory Clock7 GHz8 GHz8 GHz8 GHzMemory Size4 GB8 GB8 GB8 GBMemory Bandwidth224 GB/s256 GB/s256 GB/s256 GB/sOutputs1x DVI, 2x HDMI
2x DP1x DVI, 1x HDMI
3x DP2x HDMI, 2x DP
1x DVI1x DVI, 1x HDMI
1x DPRecommended Power Supply500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt500 WattPrice from*N/AN/AN/AN/AProduct LinkN/AN/AN/AN/A

The majority of RX 590 cards (as well as 580/570) feature dual-fan cooling, which is a necessary on this power-hungry GPU. See our more in-depth RX 590 roundup for more information on other models.

Here’s a video from the web that compares the RX 590 and the GTX 1650 Super in terms of performance.

No PCIe Power: GeForce GTX 1650

The GeForce GTX 1650 is the one GPU under $200 that you should be looking at if you’re constrained by your power supply and can’t (or don’t want to) replace it – or simply want an Nvidia card that’s less expensive than the GTX 1650 Super or 1660. It takes the place of the 1050 Ti and provides higher performance for the same price. This card will look great with your G-Sync monitor and will deliver good frame rates in 1080p eSports games. It can’t match AMD cards in the same price bracket, but it’s a capable and energy-efficient chip for a low-power, entry-level gaming setup.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G is a solid buy among the 1650 cards, particularly since it comes with a significant factory overclock and employs a tried-and-true dual-fan design. It will enable you play all of the latest AAA games at acceptable frame rates, although more demanding games like Metro Exodus will require lower settings. Casual games, on the other hand, such as Fortnite, will easily run at 60FPS/1080p.

Let’s have a look at some of the GeForce GTX 1650 alternatives.

msi gaming-x 1650

Some GTX 1650 boards have been equipped with GDDR6 memory instead of GDDR5 memory since 2020. Although this improves memory bandwidth and overall performance, the clock speeds have been reduced to compensate for the disparity. However, some testing suggests that GDDR6 boards are 5–10 percent quicker, so keep an eye out for this information.

Summary

Under typical circumstances, these are the finest graphics cards for under $200. The finest cards from Nvidia and AMD are the GTX 1650 Super and Radeon RX 5500 XT, respectively, with the RX 5500 XT 8GB being the most future-proof option. Unfortunately, 2021 is not a typical year, and finding either of them for the suggested retail price is nearly impossible.

Depending on current costs, AMD’s Radeon RX 570/580/590 may still be a good buy. If you don’t mind the higher power usage, the RX 590 is a very appealing option. As a consolation, it’s the Polaris GPU’s most recent and efficient version. To power them, you may require a larger power supply unit (PSU) and, in certain cases, an additional PCIe cable. One 8-pin and one 6-pin auxiliary (PCIe) power connector are required for the RX 580 Nitro+, whereas no GTX 1650 Super utilises more than a single 6-pin connector.

If you have no option but to utilise a PCIe slot-powered card, the GTX 1650 (non-Super) is a better value than the old GTX 1050 Ti, but it’s not as powerful as the other cards we’ve listed — even with GDDR6 VRAM.

Factory overclocking is another aspect worth discussing. Most manufacturers improve the specifications of their premium cards by increasing the maximum GPU boost clock (and sometimes the VRAM speed), which is reflected in the pricing. The user’s ability to overclock the card is unaffected by these slightly higher clock speeds. Larger coolers on more expensive cards, on the other hand, are useful when overclocking.

Because each GPU chip is different in terms of quality, its overclocking capacity differs. Unfortunately, you never know how capable something is until you buy it (thus the term “silicon lottery”). The key distinction is that a factory-overclocked card is guaranteed to operate at the specified clock rates, but this is not the case otherwise. In some circumstances, more expensive and factory-overclocked graphics cards have better cooling solutions than less expensive graphics cards.

About System and PSU Requirements

To use mid-range graphics cards in the $200 price range, you don’t need a monstrous gaming system. The most crucial thing is to make sure your power supply unit (PSU) is capable of handling the workload.

The cards based on the Radeon RX 580 and RX 590 GPUs are the most demanding of the ones we’ve looked at so far. For the complete system, AMD recommends a 500 Watt power supply. Of course, this is dependent on how energy-efficient the rest of your system is. For the reference design RX 580, the typical board power is 185 Watts, although overclocked cards will need much more.

Newer cards, such as the RX 5500 XT and GeForce GTX 1660S, are less demanding, and a 350 Watt PSU is recommended in both cases. While earlier cards required an 8-pin PCIe (and occasionally a second 6-pin) power connector, newer cards only require a single 6-pin connector.

If your power supply lacks auxiliary PCIe power connectors and you can’t change it (for example, in a bespoke, tiny form-factor PC), the GeForce GTX 1650S is your best option from the list above. These cards are solely powered by the motherboard.

Aside from the power supply, the rest of your PC components should be relatively new. The processor (CPU) has some influence on the frame rates you’ll get, although the change will be minimal if you’re running an AMD Ryzen or Core i5 from the last few years. Older AMD CPUs, as well as some older Intel Core i3 CPUs, may have a greater detrimental impact on gaming frame rates.

If you already have a solid mid-range CPU and want to improve gaming performance, switching to a faster GPU will give you better results than upgrading the CPU. See our list of the fastest GPUs under $300.