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If you’re a PC enthusiast, you’d know that choosing a GPU that fits your needs is really hard, especially since there are so many options available. Luckily, this list helps clear up everything and also helps you make the best decision.
If you have an extra $100 to spare, also consider our guide to the best GPUs under $500.
The Top-Rated GPU Under $400
|Top Pick||MSI GTX 1660 TI Ventus XS 6G OC||91%|
|Runner Up||XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II PRO||88%|
|Budget Pick||XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro||85%|
|Luxury Pick||XFX RX 5700XT Thicc III Ultra||93%|
|Best Ray Tracing||EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming||93%|
|Also Great||XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition||85%|
Top Pick: MSI GTX 1660 TI Ventus XS 6G OC
The MSI GTX 1660 TI Ventus XS 6G OC is a solid option especially for 1080p and little bit of 1440p gaming as well. It is Nvidia’s budget oriented GPU and it is also a great starting point for people who are building their first ever gaming PC. It surpasses AMD’s RX 590 and comes very close to Nvidia’s GTX 1070, which is saying something since the two of them were high-end GPUs just a few years ago. It is a worthy upgrade from something like the fan favourite GTX 1060 as well.
It is based on the Turing architecture which the RTX 20 series is also based on. It has no problem reaching 60+ fps on most popular eSports titles like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant and the likes on high-ultra graphics. It comes with 6GB of GDDR6 memory which is big enough and thanks to DDR6 being used here, it’s much faster as well. The card remains cool and quiet even under heavy loads which is a great thing! If you are due for an upgrade or if you are building your first PC, this is the card to get as it’ll last for quite some time.
Runner-Up: XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II PRO
If you need a GPU that dominates 1080p gaming and in some cases, comes close to the RTX 2060 sans ray tracing, then the XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II PRO is certainly a brilliant card. It absolutely demolishes the GTX 1660Ti when it comes to handling games at 1440p ultra and it is a completely different beast when it comes to gaming at 1080p as well. It is cheaper than the RTX 2060 while delivering performance that is very similar and close to it but it comes at a cost – lack of ray tracing. While not a lot of games include ray tracing in it, most games, like Cyberpunk 2077 looks absolutely gorgeous and future games too would take advantage of it. This might hurt prospective buyers.
It is based on AMD’s 7nm Navi architecture which does reasonably well. This particular card has a lovely design which most people might like. It does a good job of keeping thermals within check and it is fairly silent as well. It comes equipped with 6GB of GDDR6 memory which is good and it should suffice for a few years into the future. A couple of extra bucks for 1440p gaming, this card is a great one.
Budget Pick: XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro
The XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro is a great little card that does the job in really great fashion. It is a great option if you plan on gaming at a solid 1080p high-ultra settings. Most games, especially eSports titles, would have no problems running on this GPU while AAA titles on the highest preset settings would pump out a high number of frames. The performance of this card puts it in the same ballpark as the 1660 and the RX 590, all providing very similar results.
The card is built well and very similar to the XFX RX 5600XT Thicc II Pro and it also remains cool and quiet as well. It is based on AMD’s Navi architecture and comes with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, which is more than what its elder brother, the XFX RX 5600 XT Thicc II Pro comes with. Nonetheless, the extra 2GB comes in handy as well. If you simply want to get into PC gaming or need a card as a stopgap solution until you purchase a much powerful card, you’ll definitely be pleasantly surprised with this.
Luxury Pick: XFX RX 5700XT Thicc III Ultra
The XFX RX 5700XT Thicc III Ultra is a lovely looking card that does an absolutely wonderful job when it comes to 1440p gaming. It is one of the best custom versions of the RX 5700XT out there as well, providing a huge boost to the base clock to other RX 5700XT cards while also coming up with a great cooling design and performance. It doesn’t have ray tracing cores which might hurt a little but in terms of performance, it spits out numbers that are very similar to Nvidia’s RTX 2070 in some cases, which is really impressive!
It is based on AMD’s Navi architecture and the cooling system on this is really efficient as well as the fans only tend to turn on under heavy loads and even then, it remains silent. This is a card that surpasses the RTX 2060 and comes close to the RTX 2070 without ray tracing. If you don’t really care about ray tracing and need a powerful card, this is certainly a great option.
Best Ray Tracing: EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming
The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming is Nvidia’s entry-level Ray Tracing capable card that is actually a very compelling choice for most gamers out there. It is one of the cheapest RTX cards as well. The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming features 6GB of GDDR6 memory which is great. It features ray tracing cores which help in real time ray tracing and makes games look so much gorgeous. The card easily manages to average 60fps on 1080p gaming and in some games, it reaches 60fps in 1440p.
The card is designed quite well and it is a dual slot card. For the price, there isn’t much to complain as cooling is alright but the fans do make a fair bit of noise. The backplate is a welcome inclusion as it does help a little when it comes to thermals and it does help in aesthetics as well. The card comes very close to AMD’s RX 5600XT which is a decent card but the RTX 2060 does have Ray Tracing which might lure some people. Get this if you need ray tracing.
Also Great: XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
Solid 1080p60fps or 1440p.
The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is a pretty old card which was launched back in 2017 and back then, it was one of the best bang for buck cards that delivered a great gaming experience at 1080p60fps or 1440p if you didn’t aim for 60fps. The card is powerful and still holds up even today considering how old this card is. It does come with 8GB of GDDR5 which might be a bit old for today’s standards but it still competes with the likes of the GTX 1650 Super and comes very close to the GTX 1660 as well. Besides, it has plenty of VRAM that should help in demanding games.
The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition is based on the Polaris architecture. The card requires 185W which is really high and not efficient, especially since more powerful Nvidia cards consume less than what the RX 580 does. This is definitely the go-to card if you simply want to get started with 1080p gaming on a shoestring budget.
What to Look for in a GPU
There are a lot of terms being thrown around when it comes to buying a GPU. Words like ‘Video Memory’ or ‘Ray Tracing’ are being used a lot but for an average consumer, these terms wouldn’t make sense. Luckily, this guide covers what one should look at before purchasing a GPU.
Ray Tracing is simply more than a marketing ploy that Nvidia uses. It traces the path of light and reflection in real time by simulating the physical behaviour of light. It makes the game look so much better than they actually were and this is most evident in Minecraft, where the light and the texture of the blocks are made to look as beautiful as it could and provides an amazing experience. At the time of writing, only Nvidia’s RTX cards provide ray tracing at respectable frame rates, so bear that in mind.
Like CPUs, even GPUs have their own clock speed which affects how fast a GPU processes textures and other graphical objects. It affects latency, input lag and frame rate, which are all important in gaming. Ensure that the base clock of the GPU is higher since it’d be easier if you do not plan on overclocking it in the future.
Multi Monitor Setups
Most people prefer using multi monitor setups since it greatly improves their productivity and most gamers who stream also prefer multi monitor setups as well. Always consider the number of ports and the power of the graphics card as well. Ensure that it has enough ports that can be used for your monitors.
Last Updated on October 26, 2020