Team Green and Team Red have been busy unveiling their wild cards one after the other to win the GPU war. And as serious it looks like, they are paying a lot of attention to cater to the need of gamers having a tight budget. It’s completely obvious to say whoever gains the upper-hand in the mid-range battle, that team would emerge victorious. So, you can probably imagine how difficult it could be for budget PC enthusiasts to get the perfect GPU. Hence, we made a list of affordable GPUs within $300 that will help them to pick the best budget GPU for 2016, according to their requirements.
Best Budget GPU
Note: We have chosen the best budget graphics cards in terms of quality as well as affordability that can handle 1080p gaming without any issues.
ASUS GTX 960 4GB DC2 OC Edition
The Maxwell-based card accommodating 1024 CUDA cores, has been a major success in the mid-range GPU market with most of the budget conscious gamers owning this card. You can readily refer the important specs from the above image which we don’t need to discuss once again. The GPU can cap an average of 40 FPS @1080p with 4X MFAA enabled in games like Watch Dogs.
From our point of view, it’s quite a decent card as long as you don’t want to set the Ambient Occlusion to MHBAO/HBAO and other settings to a considerably higher level. Judging from its TDP, you wouldn’t need a high-wattage PSU either. It has a single 6-pin connector and a 400W SMPS would do a decent job if you want to pimp this card to your rig. GTX 960 houses a Dual-Link DVI, HDMI 2.0 and 3 Display Ports. With the release of new cards by Nvidia and AMD, the price of this GPU is likely to be reduced.
Sapphire Radeon RX 480 8GB
Certainly, RX 480 has been the talk of the town lately and people are still amazed by its performance which is on par with GTX 970 and a pricing similar to that of GTX 960. It’s the cheapest VR ready card in the market and definitely, any mid-range gamer craving for flawless-ultra-level-gaming at max settings would definitely consider buying it. As of now, AMD fans have already claimed that RX 480 is the best budget gpu ever made.
The 14nm FinFET architecture is the actual spotlight of this card and to be frank, the Pascal cards are integrated with 16nm FinFET technology. AMD does claim that a 2-way CrossFireX RX 480 would be able to outsmart the GPU King- GTX 1080. When we lay our hands on it, definitely we’ll check whether it’s true or not. Well, the card has been able to cap an average of 40 FPS running Witcher 3 with ultra settings @1440p.
However, the card has been overpriced for countries other than the US which has led to many controversies. Recently, most of the RX 480 owners complained about the card draining a lot of power thus damaging their PCIe slots. To their relief, AMD has already promised a fix and you also don’t need to worry about it.
UPDATE : AMD released the Crimson update which resolves the issue.
US Price: $240
Indian Price: $344 (INR 22,990)
ASUS GTX 970 4 GB DC2 OC Edition
Released in 2015, this Maxwell card is the best budget VR ready card by Nvidia. It’s one among the most popular GPUs among Nvidia users. In terms of performance, it goes head to head with the new Polaris GPU- RX 480, and is quite a sensational competitor as well but due to its price tag, people would prefer the RX 480 instead.
However, there’s word that we might see a price drop for GTX 970. Well, it’s evident because Nvidia wouldn’t even want AMD to dominate the mid-range market. The GPU manages to cap around 40 FPS running Witcher 3 with ultra settings @1440p resolution. Just like GTX 960, the card houses a Dual-Link DVI, HDMI 2.0 and 3 Display Ports. Most of the mid-range gamers still consider this as the best budget gpu.
SAPPHIRE NITRO Radeon R7 370 4G D5
As the name suggests, the Nitro variation of the R7 370 offers better cooling and performance as compared to the mainstream version. The budget DX 12 card has a TDP of 150 W and has a single 6-pin connector. You can at best assemble a 2-Way CrossFireX with the R7 370 Nitro. The card houses a single HDMI, DVI-I, DVI-D and Display Port slot respectively. In terms of performance, we can put the R7 370 Nitro somewhere between the GTX 950 and GTX 960.
You can achieve up to an average 63 FPS on Battlefield 4 @1080p-ultra with this GPU. You must be wondering why GTX 950 is not in the list. To be frank, this card is cheaper compared to 950 and exhibits a better performance too. Hence, if you are opting to buy GTX 950, we recommend you to go through the details of this GPU as well. Hence, between GTX 950 and GTX 960, the R7 370 Nitro Edition could be the best budget gpu in that specific range.
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GTX 1060 6GB
According to Nvidia, 1060 is 15% faster than RX 480 and provides a performance almost equal to GTX 980. In fact, various reviewers have already proved that the statement made by the company is true. To tackle the new Polaris GPU, GTX 1060 has been priced at $250 and will be commercially released by July 19. In fact, many other sources like VideoCardz have already leaked the benchmarks showcasing that the new Pascal GPU outsmarts the RX 480.
We can’t say anything for now but when we try to get our hands on both the GPU’s, you’ll be hearing a lot from us related to their performance. There are even rumors speculating that the 3 GB variant of the card won’t be supporting the SLI feature. We don’t know if it’s true but it would give the RX 480 a clear vantage but who knows? This might become the best budget GPU for 2016.
After the release of GTX 1060, most of the people assumed that it’s game over for AMD. But no, Team Red had two wild cards in store, namely the RX 470 and RX 460. RX 470 has not only outperformed cards like GTX 960 with ease but also goes head-to-head with GTX 1060 and RX 480 (4GB variant). Note that we are discussing about the 4GB edition of this budget gpu. The card manages to cap an average of 60 FPS @1080p on games like Witcher 3 at ultra. RX 470 houses 3 Display Ports and a single HDMI port. With a TDP of 120W, the card is a boner and there’s simply no reason for ignoring this beast. Undoubtedly, this is one among the best budget gpu for 2016.
This is an all out war fellas between Team Green and Team Red. The battle is becoming intense and you may find yourself in a difficult position to vote for whose victory. We’ll definitely try our best to help you with that and perhaps you might consider the information below useful on the basis of choosing the best budget GPU. We’ve made a list of all the exclusive/unique technologies by Nvidia and AMD respectively.
Note: We haven’t included technologies like G-Sync, Freesync, etc. because they are pretty much similar. Hence, we’ve only included technologies unique to Team Green and Red respectively.
Nvidia Ansel only supported by GPU’s belonging to Team Green, is an essential tool for gamers interested in capturing game screenshots. The interactive application can be used to snap freecam shots, HDR/Super Resolution images and even apply filters to enrich your gaming photography experience. Even Ansel lets you capture 360º screenshots in all those settings. On VR too you can do the same. All the above-listed GPU’s by Nvidia support Ansel and you may check this list to know the entire lineup of GPU’s supporting this technology.
Ansel will be releasing soon for supported games like The Division, Witcher 3, Paragon, Unreal Tournament, No Man’s Sky, Obduction, Fortnite, The Witness, and Lawbreakers. However, you can use your VR headset to view some 360º Ansel screenshots. You may want to follow these instructions. If you want to witness the quality of 360º captured by Ansel, you may check this gallery.
AMD Radeon WattMan
AMD Radeon WattMan, a newly released easy-to-use overclocking and GPU maintenance tool, is perhaps the best overclocking application in terms of UI and features. Any novice can easily overclock his/her Radeon card on the push of a button. The application is a huge leap over the AMD Overdrive but it’s limited to only RX 400 series GPUs as of now.
According to AMD, “Radeon WattMan is based on Radeon Software features but offers multiple new ways of precise overclocking controls. With the new control over voltage and per state frequency curve for GPU clocks, comprehensive tuning control is now available. With these new controls in Radeon WattMan, the extra benefit lies within the new ability to finely tune the exact experience for your games.”
Finally, we hope that our list helped you in choosing the best budget graphics card according to your requirements. Did we miss one of your best budget GPU? Do let us know the best budget GPU according to your requirements.