If you’re like most people, you’re probably using a graphics card that’s several years old. And for PC gaming, video editing, animation, and other graphics-intensive activities, those few years are forever in terms of performance. A lot has changed in the last few years, so chances are you’re no longer using the best available graphics card for your needs, which can take advantage of modern technologies like intelligent resolution upscaling, ray tracing acceleration, and more. Meanwhile, games and software used for tasks like 3D design and video editing have become more demanding, sometimes even doing the same old things.
Even if you just need the basics for streaming video or browsing the web, a new graphics card can make your system feel snappier overall compared to an older equivalent model by improving video decode acceleration, redrawing your screens more fast or any of a myriad of processing tasks you don’t think about.
But this is still a bad time to buy a new video card. They are actually much easier to find than they were a year ago, but many are still in the LOL phase of trying to get one for a rational price. Prices for anything you can find are still out of control, and while not as high as they were six months ago, they’re still substantially higher than manufacturers’ fantasy launch target prices.
Still, if you’re ready to drop some cash for a new graphics card now, we hope this can give you some guidance on what to look for and which GPUs fit your budget and needs. While you can make some judgments based on specs like manufacturer, graphics chip, amount of video memory, gaming memory and clock speeds, power requirements, and other factors, they are imperfect predictors of how It will play any particular model in your games or creatives.
If you have an older desktop with integrated graphics that don’t support current versions of graphics programming interfaces, such as DirectX 12 or Vulkan, or if you have a game that won’t run unless it detects dedicated graphics memory (these are 2GB) or if you just want your Windows experience to feel a bit more snappy or fluid, a GT 1030-based card can help. It is designed with lower power requirements than most other discrete GPUs, so it can fit into systems with small power supplies and compact designs. Unlike most gaming graphics cards, 1030-based cards can be low-profile and take up only one slot for connectivity, and are quieter because they only require one fan. They are compatible with most esportbetting games.
Don’t expect to play the GeForce GT at 1080p, 720p at best, unless the game is very light. But Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends, and other popular multiplayer games generally fall under the “can play on a potato” umbrella, so don’t worry so much if they’re your favorites. In some cases, games can go from unplayable to slightly less unplayable. However, if you want to play games, look for versions with DDR5 memory, not DDR4; can make a noticeable difference. That’s why you’ll see some deals for less than $130. For simple acceleration, the cheapest decent I’ve seen is $115.
Since much of the basic photo editing still doesn’t require much of a GPU, a fast, high-core CPU still gives you much more performance value for the money than a higher-powered graphics card. The GPU is important for the experience and smooth rendering of the screen, but for small images and editing on a single screen you shouldn’t have any problems.
The RX 6500 XT guy wins here by default; it gets to the basics and is priced much lower than step-up cards, which seem to go up to $400. That’s partly because the markup over the $199 MSRP is the lowest of any card I looked at, putting it in the sub-$300 range. You’ll find it in two- and three-fan configurations (the latter is usually overclocked).
Did you find this post useful? We hope so!