Best GPU under $500 in 2022

Mehak Sohail | Last Updated On January 2nd, 2022

GPUs have gone crazy over the past year, the Silicone shortage, Covid and crypto mining all contributed to insane GPU prices. Nowadays, it’s very hard for entry level gamers to start building their own PCs because of these issues.

Although things have been predicted to die down, we won’t see much of a difference in these exorbitant prices until the end of 2023. Even then, nothing is certain as we have no control over the pandemic and the current state of crypto.

I know most gamers can’t wait to get a hold of a good GPU as they want to build their gaming rigs as soon as possible. Although in these circumstances, being patient and holding on might seem like a good option, as we never know what the future might entail. However, things could get much worse and therefore, it might be a better course of action to get a good GPU, while you can.

Most high-end GPUs are now very expensive, so because of this, entry-level gamers are willing to lower their standards so they could, at least, get started with their first build.

If that is the case, then you might benefit from this list where I’ve collected nine GPUs that have their MSRP under $500. Some may have their actual price less than $500 but some may not. The market is very unstable these days and from the time you’re reading this, the prices might have deviated even further.

And from these nine entries I’ve picked out the most suitable one that makes more sense in these current conditions, but any of these GPUs are good enough to keep you engaged during these trying times. Ignorance is bliss, and with a stable enough GPU, you could enjoy most games without ever having the urge to go outside and punch a bitcoin miner.

Without further ado, let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst, with our best GPU under $500.

The Best GPU under $500

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the 200 series was NVIDIA’s first line of GPUs that included Ray Tracing. So, if you want to survive these difficult times and don’t mind shelling out a bit more cash, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 might be right up your alley.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 550W
  • Dimensions
    • 9 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1410 MHz base clock
    • 1620 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 14.0 Gbps memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • GDDR6 memory interface
  • Speed Rank
    • 32nd/667

Review

The RTX 2070 used to be a game-changer back in the day, not because of it’s revolutionary Ray Tracing feature, but because of it’s lower price tag. The MSRP of this GPU is well under $500 and the performance is not that bad, especially considering these modern titles.

The vanilla 2070 has an adequate clock speed with about a 10% decrease in performance with respect to it’s “Super” counterpart. In this vanilla 2070 you could easily run AAA video games with mid-high graphic settings at 1080p (see here for the best GPUs for 1080p 144hz gaming) with no issue, along with some slight forays into 4K territory.

The power consumption on this bad boy isn’t half bad either. It’s not too power consuming as most of the other consecutive high-end entries. So you might have a chance to keep using your old PSU instead of opting for a new one.

It’s also going to be a good opportunity to get started with the Ray Tracing on some of the supported games, although I wouldn’t recommend this for a high-end build, it is a good mid-range alternative that’s cheap enough for a backup build.

Despite being considered an expensive GPU during the time of its release, it is now looking a lot more attractive than most newer GPUs.

What We Like
Performance - This GPU is somewhat efficient and it has a good performance rating. For most mid-range builds, this is a very suitable option. It can border on 4K and with the RTX and DLSS enabled games slowly starting to come out of the woodwork, this is a good option to get started on your “Post-Pandemic Post-Crypto PC”, or as I like to call it the “PPPCPC”.
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Price - In this list, the RTX 2070 is the most expensive GPU. Along with it’s high specs and Ray Tracing capabilities this makes it a less-than-ideal option for budget gamers. It also doesn’t support SLI. So for budget builders, I do not recommend this, it’s not worth it, my poor friend.
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Want to join team Red in defeating NVIDIA but, as a more cost-effective rebel? The AMD RX 5700-XT has got you covered. It looks fancy, feels fancy and runs fancy without ever burning a hole in your wallet. A good fit for mid-range gamers and a worthwhile investment for budget builders.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 600 W
  • Dimensions
    • 10.6 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1755 MHz base clock
    • 1905 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 14.0 Gbps memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • GDDR6 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 34th/667 (RTX 2070 is 32nd)

Review

Slightly slower than the RTX 2070 but more affordable, the RX 5700-XT is a viable option for most mid-range PC builders.

The specs are quite impressive: the clock speed is up to par with most mid-range GPUs, there’s bridgeless Crossfire 2-way support, VR support, a healthy dose of VRAM along with a moderate speed rating on the user benchmarks’ list. This makes it one of the top contenders for an affordable 1440p gaming experience.

For those competitive online multiplayer games that you’ve always played, it will help you transition into a much smoother 144Hz 1080p experience without any issue. It won’t get you into 4K territory but, it will help you rot in your budget setup, a little while longer (at least until things return back to normal).

What We Like
Price - For a mid-to-high-end gaming rig, this GPU is quite the looker. If you’re hoping to get into PC building, this is a good option. It will be a good choice to play most AAA video games at medium to high settings with a stable framerate.
Aesthetics - I don’t necessarily worry about aesthetics, but this design is something that truly stood out to me. The minimalist design with the slight dent makes it look like a perfectly engineered, aerodynamically elite GPU. Although this doesn’t make much of a difference, it is very pretty and deserves a little love. This new aesthetic would blend perfectly well within a blacked out color scheme. 
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Versatility - The lack of ray tracing is sometimes a no-go for most people. Personally, I do not care that much about RTX as I’m more concerned with classic performance. When compared with the RTX 2070, this GPU wouldn’t make the cut as it can’t appeal to a wider audience, despite having a multi-GPU configuration. 
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A reliable old-timer. We are moving down from the 200 series and into the 100 series. For most high-end builders; this GPU might not mean much, but for budget users; this entry is going to be a most welcome respite. Depending on your requirement, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 can get the job done, and it can get it done fast. Most of the general gamer-populace doesn’t need fancy reflections and artificially intelligent GPUs when they are going through a pandemic, so this one will be a good choice for them. 

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 500 W
  • Dimensions
    • 10.5 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1594MHz base clock
    • 1784MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 256.3 GB/s memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • GDDR5 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 34th/667 (RTX 2070 is 32nd)

Review

A clean, mean, lean machine; The EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 has the power to keep you going. Although released in the second quarter of 2016, this GPU is still a well received powerhouse. Due to the recent market demand, these GPUs are very highly sought after, just because of their raw performance.

Along with EVGA’s signature ACX 3.0 cooling capabilities, the GTX 1070 has the power to thrive under most common situations with ease, while still allowing some breathing room whenever it runs into a more intense demand.

The low power requirement is a staple of the GPUs during that time and this would help conserve some power in your new PSU. But if you want to push your PSU to it’s limits, then there’s the option for a multi-GPU setup as well. This GPU fully supports NVIDIA SLI with HB bridge support. So, if you happen to run across two of these, win-win-win. (The important difference is, we all win, me too)

What We Like
Price - Since this list is going to be under $500 MSRP, most of the entries are focused towards budget builders, and this GPU is no exception. The price is “okay”, for this particular niche. So if you are an entry-level gamer, then this is a good choice. 
Aesthetic - This GPU looks okay. It doesn’t have any fancy RGB integration, but the dual fan setup looks cool and the metallic wire-mesh setup gives it that premium finish. The sturdy and durable look only adds to the overall aesthetic instead of holding it back.
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Performance - From this point on, we are going to start moving on to more mid-range GPUs. The old architecture and lack of Ray Tracing in this GTX 1070 are one of the main reasons holding it back. Alongside that, you won’t be able to dabble with 4K. It’s VR, SLI and adequate performance are the only redeeming features in terms of performance. Therefore taking all these specs into consideration, it is by no means, a proper long-term “future-proof” investment. 
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Another intermediate entry, The GIGABYTE Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC is a contemporary high-end GPU released in the second quarter of 2017. During that time, it was considered the ‘weakest’ of all the Vega series GPUs; but it’s not the weakest link in this list. A good recommendation for the mid-range builders of today and the budget-range builders of tomorrow.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 650 W
  • Dimensions
    • 11 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1156 MHz base clock
    • 1471 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 1.6 Gbps memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • HBM2 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 54th/667 (GTX 1070 is 34th)

Review

Another good recommendation to the list, especially if you’re one of the rebels on team Red. The RX Vega 56 is a worthwhile contender to the GTX 1070. Released alongside it’s more powerful cousin the RX Vega 64, (which is ~15% more powerful) this GPU could be better, but it was more than enough for video games released in 2017 and 2018.

The card was built to compete against the GTX 1070, the specs to attempt this, was a 1471 MHz boost clock, VR support and AMD FreeSync Technology. This card could barely make it up to 4K and that’s about the limits on this GPU.

The HBM2 memory interface was a welcome change though. AMD introduced this new VRAM interface along with these Vega 56 and Vega 64 cards. Although it wasn’t able to take over GDDR6, it was a welcome addition and AMD touted this feature as something that would provide a significant difference. For the most part it did, but NVIDIA’s GTX 1070 was still stealing the show.

This GPU is a cheaper alternative to it’s RX Vega 64, with only a slight decrease in performance. However, the Vega 56 will easily get the job done on 1440p in a much affordable manner. For most gamers, it will be enough.

What We Like
Price - Compared to many of the other mid-range alternatives, out there and in this list, this is a more affordable option, especially if you’re hoping to build a decent mid-range PC. The raw performance on this bad boy is enough to get you through most games and for budget gamers this is a solid recommendation; if you manage to find one. The GTX 1070 used to be much cheaper but now, it has soared in price, so getting the RX 56 could make more sense and your bank account will thank you for it.
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Performance - The performance on this thing, although fairly respectable, is not ideal for this kind of build. You are better off with it’s high-performance cousin, the Vega 64. This GPU was made to go up against the GTX 1070 and it still failed, so you could either carry that failure alongside you or spend more money and get the GTX 1070 itself. (The GTX 1070 is only 9% faster than the RX 56 but the Vega 64 is 20% faster than both of these).
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The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is a powerful mid-range GPU that's capable of delivering a reasonable 1080p experience. It’s a pretty recent entry, and although it doesn’t have the high capability of keeping up with it’s competitor at the time, the RTX 3080-Ti, this GPU will get you through most of your gaming sessions in a much more power-efficient manner. 

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 500 W
  • Dimensions
    • 7.5 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 2359 MHz base clock
    • 2589 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 16 Gbps memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • HBM2 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 35th/667 (GTX 1070 is 34th)

Review

More fuel to the mid-range fire. The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT by MSI is a good mid-range option for most gamers. The new RDNA 2 architecture was one of it’s key selling points despite falling on deaf ears.

The design is very compact and it’s hard to believe that such a small housing consists of a powerful mid-range GPU that’s capable of going toe-to-toe against the RTX 3060.

Although the RTX 3060 managed to maintain a higher market share before and after the release of this GPU, it is slightly slower than the RX 6600XT. (by only 5%)

Because of it’s more recent release, the RX 6600XT had more graphical processing features than its competitor. It’s only been released three months ago and we have yet to see this GPU fully mature.

The performance so far has been amazing. This card was built for 1080p gaming and most online multiplayer games like: Rainbow six siege, Valorant and CS:GO could easily reach 144Hz at 1080p. (Even 244Hz, depending on the graphics) Therefore, this GPU could easily help you get that extra edge you’ve always needed.

What We Like
Performance - I wouldn’t necessarily call it “High Performance” as this GPU was made for 1080p after all. But it can advance into 4K and be able to provide some decent FPS. Crossfire support is out the window, and for this GPU, it is not recommended. 
Know Before Buying
Price - Despite it’s higher efficiency and excellent performance it is not a very cheap GPU, you could have better luck getting the RTX 3060 instead. The Ray Tracing is also not very ideal, especially when compared with the 3060. If you’re looking for a future-proof investment to play the latest AAA games with amazing graphics and ray tracing, I suggest you look elsewhere. On the other end of this spectrum: for consistent raw graphics, (present on most online competitive games, at 1080p) this is a very reliable GPU.
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An unlikely budget entry, the GTX 960 is what many gamers would consider to be a true budget GPU. It doesn’t have the most amazing specs but it does the best it can, especially in these times of great distress. A true budget option for a more desperate crowd of entry-level gamers.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 400 W
  • Dimensions
    • 5.7 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1127 MHz base clock
    • 1178 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 7 Gbps memory speed
    • 2 GB memory size
    • GDDR5 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 123th/667 (GTX 1660 Super is 66th)

Review

I’m very tempted to recommend this as the best GPU. It’s MSRP and the current prices are well below $500, making it the perfect fit for an entry level gamer that’s caught in the middle of this GPU shortage. I’d buy this GPU in a heartbeat, if I was in a similar situation.

Most gamers wouldn’t refer to this as a budget GPU, the bar is set so low for this GPU, that most won’t even consider it as a viable option as you won’t be able to game at resolutions higher than 1080p with high settings.

These cards are almost obsolete and there is no VR support, no 4K resolution and no multi-GPU configurations from this card. It’s overall performance is very low than the other GPUs on the 900 series line such as the GTX 970 and 980. However, this 960 has a really low price, which offers a substantial price to performance ratio. For a quick fix: I’d recommend it.

What We Like
Price - We are way past worrying about Ray Tracing and 4K support. This is the end of the line for hardcore budget gamers as you won’t have any future-proofing with this GPU. It might be able to run modern games at 30-60 FPS on 1080p low settings, but it doesn't mean that you should have to suffer ugly graphics and stuttering frame rates. (It runs an average of 40fps on Red Dead Redemption 2 on 1080p low settings) For the first-timers who absolutely have no patience and no proper bank, this might be a short-term solution until you can get back on your feet.
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Performance - The performance on this card is not good because it won’t be able to provide you with an enjoyable 1080p 60FPS experience on most modern AAA titles. You can lower your standards into 720p and enjoy the gameplay instead of the scenery, but compared to most of the other entries in this list: (it pains me to say this) the performance of the GTX 960 is appalling. 
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It’s the end of the line Carl, aw shucks! Here we go again. We are going back to 2013, where we played GTA V and Farcry 3. A peaceful time, before the world started descending into chaos, a time where people used to go outside to parties and restaurants without a mask and a time where Ubisoft and Rockstar games made art, instead of money grabbing programs. 

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 450 W
  • Dimensions
    • 8.8 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1046 MHz base clock
    • 1085 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 7 Gbps memory speed
    • 2 GB memory size
    • GDDR5 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 116th/667 (GTX 960 Super is 123rd)

Review 

An age-old classic, it is still very reliable and would get you through most video games at 1080p. (Cyberpunk 2077 runs 40+ FPS at 720p low and 30+ FPS at 1080p low) If you are truly desperate to start playing video games, then I guess there’s no harm done in getting a GTX 770, especially until things die down.

The specs are pretty low by today’s standards and you won’t get a lot of difference in clock speeds even after overclocking. The 2GB VRAM is such a meagre amount and you could hardly categorize this GPU as a “budget” option. If you already have one of these, I’d highly suggest upgrading to an RX 5500 XT or better, just like my friend did.

What We Like
Price - The price on these GPUs are very low compared to most of the others. You might have a hard time finding new GTX 770s, and at this point in time, I don’t recommend wasting your money on a brand-new one, no disrespect to the GTX 770, but it is now obsolete. 
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Versatility - No 4K, no VR support and no future-proofing upcoming video games, this GPU is on its last legs. If you are that desperate, stick to an old card and save your money for something bigger when this whole GPU crisis blows over. 
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A cool GPU for a not-so-cool circumstance. The GeForce GTX 1660 Super is a good low-mid range option that’s guaranteed to get your feet wet with PC building. It will keep you hooked long enough, until you get a more high-end option or until you retire from the land of the living. So, for budget gamers going through the hardships of the pandemic: I highly recommend this GPU.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 450 W
  • Dimensions
    • 5.7 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1530 MHz base clock
    • 1785 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 14 Gbps memory speed
    • 6 GB memory size
    • GDDR6 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 66th/667 (RTX 2070 is 32nd)

Review

The GeForce GTX 1660 Super by MSI is an option that makes sense, it just feels right and the math speaks for itself. This is a fairly recent GPU that’s been able to hold on to a significant chunk of the market. It provides a good value for money (which is a very rare trait to find, especially during these days) and this is a perfect fit for most budget gamers.

Performance specs aside, I want to take a second to talk about the overall aesthetic of the MSI GTX 1660 Super. It’s dual fan design is amazing and spurs along very silently. This MSI rendition is very silent and very cool. Cool as in both looks and thermal performance.

The 1660 Super is much faster than the vanilla version, (by almost 20%) and this super comes close to the 1660-Ti as well. The lower VRAM might not be very tempting to most workstation applications, but it is very reliable for raw gaming at 1080p, along with some brief skirmishes into 4K territory. Unfortunately, no Ray Tracing and mention of SLI. (most consumers of this card won’t worry about that anyway)

What We Like
Price - The price is reasonable enough, for an entry-level budget PC. The performance is not true mid-range but, it will suffice for most games. For those gamers who spend most of their time on online competitive games, this is a good option. It will provide consistent frame rates and give you that slight edge you need.
Aesthetics - The integrated RGB and the dual fan design is a neat little addition. MSI did a really great job of customizing this GPU to make it look cooler. This is one of the factors that helped the 1660 Super rise above the 1660-Ti and other GPUs in terms of providing a better value for your money.
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Versatility - Want to get a GPU that’s future-proof and lets you enjoy beautiful graphics in the latest AAA games? Well, this is not the GPU for that. It doesn’t have RT cores and the 4K support is not upto standard, so you won’t have a smoother experience in both VR and 4K. It’s strictly a budget option. As it is the case with all these budget options: there is no long-term investment value. If you aren't building your first PC and already have one; I recommend waiting a little while longer and getting a more powerful GPU with better features.
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Looking for a cheap GPU that’s under team Red? The Gigabyte Radeon RX 5500 XT is a great addition to your budget gaming build. The specs are decent enough to run most AAA games at 1080p, but the performance is 25% lower than the GTX 1660 Super. If you’ve exhausted your options or just want to showcase your dedication to AMD, this is a GPU that you should consider.

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  • Recommended PSU
    • 450 W
  • Dimensions
    • 8.8 inches long
    • 2 slots wide
  • Clock Speed
    • 1733 MHz base clock
    • 1845 MHz boost clock
  • VRAM
    • 14 Gbps memory speed
    • 8 GB memory size
    • GDDR6 memory interface
  •  Speed Rank
    • 81st/667 (GTX 1660 Super is 66th)

Review

The RX 5500 XT was released as a competitor for the GTX 1650 Super, making it another viable budget option for gamers of team red. For a smooth 1080p experience, this card will be more than enough.

The specs are not too bad: with a 1845 MHz boost clock and 4GB of VRAM, (with an option to get the 8GB version as well) you could play AAA games like Horizon Zero Dawn at 60+ FPS at 1080p low settings. One of my friends recently upgraded to this card from his old GTX 770 and he has “no ragrets”. So for budget gamers in that exact situation, this sort of an upgrade would make a lot of sense, especially if you are short on coins.

What We Like
Price - The price is reasonable enough and even though it’s not as powerful as the NVIDIA counterparts (GTX 1650S and 1660S) there has been some demand for this GPU because of it’s lower price tag. (The 1660 Super is only 20% faster than this card)
Know Before Buying
Versatility - I won’t recommend this GPU if you’re not from a third world country and you’re hoping for some high-end features such as 4K and VR support. The RX 5500 XT barely manages to hold on to 1080p on most AAA titles. So you won’t be getting a future-proof card with this GPU. It’s a great addition if you’re looking for a quick fix, or if you are looking to upgrade from a more obsolete card: like a GTX 770.
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Conclusion

Best High-End GPU Under $500
High-End Alternative 1 GPU Under $500
High-End Alternative 2 GPU Under $500

It’s been harder than ever to find a good GPU. The pandemic, silicone shortage and crypto mining situation has created a deficiency in the market causing GPU prices to skyrocket. We’ve gone through a wide range of GPUs, starting from the RTX 2070 to the GTX 770, and with no deviation from the status quo, it seems like most budget level gamers would have to resort to GPUs that are almost half a decade old in order to get started building their first PC. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

stock of video cards gpu for mining

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