Best cheap graphics cards 2022

AMD Radeon RX 5700
AMD Radeon RX 5700 (Image credit: Windows Central)

When it comes to putting together a gaming PC, the GPU, or graphics card, will arguably be the most important piece of hardware in the entire system. Since games are graphics-intensive, a good (and separate) GPU is incredibly important to have. While the very best graphics card options are pricey, you can also get strong performance out of more affordable options. Out of all of the budget-friendly GPUs on the market, our favorite is the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super because it performs very strongly for a GPU in its tier.

Best Overall: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super

Source: EVGA (Image credit: Source: EVGA)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super

The perfect balance

Perfect for ultra-quality HD gaming
Can comfortably handle medium 1440p
Excellent value
Struggles with ultra-level 1440p
Only 6GB of DDR6 VRAM

If you're looking for a card that has the perfect balance between price and performance, look no further than EVGA's variant of the GeForce GTX 1660 Super. It's got enough power to deliver an ultra-quality, high-FPS gaming experience at 1080p, and you can even enjoy 1440p gaming if you're willing to turn down a few settings. Pair that with 6GB of DDR6 VRAM, and you have a GPU that performs incredibly well for the price.

Best for 1440p: MSI Radeon RX 5700

MSI Radeon RX 5700

Source: MSI (Image credit: Source: MSI)

MSI Radeon RX 5700

High performance, good price

Excellent for ultra-quality 1440p gaming
Also great for 100+ FPS maxed out 1080p
Full 8GB of VRAM
Priciest of all the affordable GPUs

If your heart is set on enjoying 1440p gaming at maxed out quality but you don't want to break the bank, the MSI Radeon RX 5700 is your best option. It has plenty of horsepower to support the highest tiers of the 1440p gaming experience, and the 8GB of DDR6 VRAM will provide all the memory you need. It's on the pricier side of the affordable GPU spectrum, but the cost may be worth it if you want the best 1440p experience possible.

1440p Alternative: GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5600 XT

GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5600 XT

Source: GIGABYTE (Image credit: Source: GIGABYTE)

GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5600 XT

The other option for 1440p

Excellent for high-quality 1440p gaming
Also great for 100+ FPS maxed out 1080p
More affordable than the RX 5700
Still a bit pricey
Only 6GB of DDR6 VRAM

This GPU is a step down from the MSI Radeon RX 5700, but it still performs great at the 1440p level, with the difference being that it's better suited to high settings instead of maxed out ones. It's due to the slightly reduced horsepower and the fact it has 6GB of DDR6 VRAM instead of 8GB. The tradeoff is that it costs considerably less, which is good if your budget is very tight but you still want to enjoy 1440p at a high quality level. The GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5600 XT also performs excellently as a card for 100+ FPS 1080p gaming, too.

Best for 1080p: GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 Super

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 Super

Source: GIGABYTE (Image credit: Source: GIGABYTE)

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 Super

Quality HD gaming for cheap

Perfect for ultra-quality 1080p gaming
Also good for 60+ FPS with some lowered settings
Very affordable
Can't push into 1440p territory
Only 4GB of VRAM

If you're after a graphics card that can handle ultra-quality HD gaming at 60 FPS and you're not interested in pushing into 1440p territory, the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 Super will be right up your alley. It's got just enough "umph" to tackle the highest levels of 1080p for a price that's more affordable than the GeForce GTX 1660 Super, making it a superb choice for dedicated HD players. Just don't expect it to go above and beyond, as its limited by only having 4GB of DDR6 VRAM.

Best Sub-$100: ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

Source: ZOTAC (Image credit: Source: ZOTAC)

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

As low as you should go

Can handle 1080p with lowered settings
Good option for inexpensive mini-ITX systems
Most affordable option
Can't enjoy high settings
Only 2GB of VRAM

The ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 is ideal for folks who want to spend the absolute bare minimum while still being able to have a decent experience playing games. It can support 1080p gaming, although you'll need to lower a lot of settings due to the low power and the small 2GB of DDR5 VRAM. However, considering how inexpensive the GPU is, it may be worth it if you're looking to build a very cheap system. The small size of the GPU also makes it a good option for inexpensive mini-ITX rigs as well.

Bottom line

No matter what type of gaming system you're putting together, you'll need an appropriate graphics card in order to handle today's games reliably. While the best GPUs on the market are pretty pricey, it's very possible to get your hands on quality graphics cards for low, affordable prices.

All of the GPUs on this list are great, but if we had to pick a favorite, it would be the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super. With its high performance and relatively low cost, it's a graphics card that nearly all mainstream gamers will enjoy, especially if you're planning on enjoying ultra-quality 1080p settings. It also gives you the freedom to push into 1440p territory as well, giving the card even more value.

Make sure to check out our list of the best graphics cards if you're interested in more expensive options. Meanwhile, folks who want to pay even less for a GPU should check out the best graphics cards under $100.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.