If you want to play current games on your PC, you don’t necessarily have to reach for a graphics card that costs $1,000 or more. You can also play current titles with entry-level GPUs. We explain what you should pay attention to when it comes to “low-budget gaming” and what you can actually expect in this price range.
Graphics cards for less than $200
The following graphics cards are currently in the price range of $120 to $170:
- AMD Radeon RX 6400
- AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
Here, the choice should tend towards a Radeon RX 6000-series graphics card from AMD, as these are already a good deal better performing than Nvidia’s Turing generation.
Gamers who want to invest within this price range must be aware that they can play esports titles such as Fortnite, CS:GO, and PUBG here in particular. Above all, you cannot play AAA games either at all or only on low resolutions, for example in 720p.
If you have any of these graphics cards, you’ll have the most success sticking to the following settings in modern AAA games:
- low resolution with 1280×720 pixels (“720p”)
- low to very low graphics settings
- no ray tracing or path tracing
However, such a graphics card can always be a good choice if you are either only a casual gamer, an esports gamer, or mainly want to play older games from 2018 to 2021. For the latest AAA games, buying such a graphics card makes comparatively little sense and only ends in frustration.
Graphics cards for $200 to $300
In this price range, gamers can expect a lot more from the following graphics cards:
- Intel Arc A750
- AMD Radeon RX 6600
- AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT
- AMD Radeon RX 7600
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Should you wish to purchase a graphics card of this caliber, you can venture into current gamers, but still have to live with certain limitations.
Nevertheless, you can already play even current AAA games relatively well with an acceptable resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (“1080p”) in FullHD without having to minimize the details completely.
If you buy an Intel Arc A750, AMD Radeon RX 6600, Radeon RX 6650 XT, Radeon RX 7600, or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or 4060, you should mostly stick to to the following settings, depending on the game:
- medium resolution with 1920×1080 pixels (“1080p”)
- medium to high graphic details
- light ray tracing, if any
Especially with the Radeon RX 7600 and the GeForce RTX 4060, you can raise the graphics details and also add slight ray tracing, though they’re on the upper end of this price range.
Gamers who want to enjoy their AAA games in 1440p/4K and with massive ray tracing or even path tracing still can’t get around a high-end graphics card. This is where PCWorld’s roundup of the best graphics cards for PC gaming can help.
Games for low-priced graphics cards
If, on the other hand, you have decided on a graphics card that is as affordable as possible, you should take a closer look at the following games.
- StarCraft II
- Overwatch 2
- League Of Legends
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- EA Sports FC 2024 (“FIFA”)
- eFootball 2024
- Rocket League
- DOTA 2
In addition, all point-and-click adventures, jump’n’runs, and platformers can be played very well on an inexpensive graphics card. Successful classics like Diablo 3 and older first-person shooters also lend themselves well.
Indie games as a fall back
Indie games from smaller developer studios have also turned out to be a particularly safe bet for low-cost graphics cards. Time and again, you can find real gems on the well-known game distribution platforms such as Steam or GOG, which deliver excellent performance even on the cheapest GPUs.
Are you looking for a particularly inexpensive graphics card that is to be used especially for older games and low resolutions? Then you won’t go far wrong with an AMD Radeon RX 6400, 6500 XT, or 6650 XT. If you want a well-performing 1080p graphics card cable of running most modern games at decent settings without ray tracing, give the Radeon RX 7600 a long, hard look. If you also want to take a look at ray tracing, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 or 4060 are also worth a look, though the Radeon RX 7600 gives you higher overall framerates. Intel’s Arc A750 splits the gap, offering solid 1080p framerates and better ray tracing than AMD’s 6000-series GPUs, but worse ray tracing than Nvidia’s offerings.
If you have higher demands from a graphics card, you should have at least $400 to $600 dollars in your GPU budget and reach for a current midrange graphics card from the Radeon RX 7000 or GeForce RTX 4000 series.
This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.