With the current scenario buying a cheap graphics card, or at a reasonable price, it’s almost impossible, so much in fact that it is not a good idea to change this component right now. However, you may find yourself in a situation of force majeure, and you have no choice but to take the plunge because your graphics card is failing, or because it cannot move applications or games that you want to enjoy as soon as possible.
If you are determined and you have it clear, let me tell you that to find a cheap graphics card you are going to have to be willing to accept significant sacrifices, to the point that, frankly, in most cases it won’t be worth the money. This is because, as we have said on previous occasions, not only is it almost impossible to find a graphics card at a normal price, but also second-hand models have been the subject of strong speculation and high demand, which has ended up also inflating their prices significantly.
Given that things are going on for a long time, and that recently I had the case of a friend who has passed “canine” to be able to replace a graphics card that was beginning to fail, I have encouraged myself to give shape to this special article, where I will try to help to be clear about where the minimum acceptable is, in terms of performance, when buying a cheap graphics card, and I will give you a series of recommendations so you don’t feel lost when navigating the tremendous swell that has formed in the sector. As always, if you have any doubts, you can leave them in the comments and I will help you solve them.
What is a cheap graphics card? Basic notions
In this article, it is defined as one that has an economic sale price, less than 100 euros, and that therefore positions it as an affordable and attractive option for users with tight budgets, and also to carry out temporary updates or replacements that occur “urgently”, that is, out of necessity. For example, a GeForce GT 710 or a Radeon HD 6450 would fit this consideration without a problem.
Normally, a cheap graphics card offers limited performance, something totally normal considering the price range in which they are located. The problem is that, due to the current situation in the graphics card industry, even the least powerful and cheapest graphics cards have not escaped unscathed. In effect, this means that su price has also been inflated, and this has produced a major mess That can lead less knowledgeable users to make mistakes.
For example, the aforementioned GeForce GT 710 was around, a few months ago, an approximate price of 15 euros on the second hand market, and now it’s easy to see listings where it appears priced at between 30 and 50 euros. The same goes for AMD alternatives, and for models one or two steps above.
A user who has an urgent need to get a cheap graphics card, and who is not aware of what we have said, can see that GeForce GT 710 listed for 50 euros in the second-hand market and think not only that it is totally normal , but it is even a good offer and a successful purchase, but the reality is totally different, since said graph offers very low performance. Not worth that money.
So where is the minimum acceptable?
The truth is that it depends on the needs of each type of user, but it is possible to establish a series of general keys that will serve as a script to avoid a bad decision. However, bear in mind that with the instability of the graphics sector right now, we may, in the end, be forced to make sacrifices, especially in those cases in which our graphics card has “died”, or is about to to do so.
What do we understand as the minimum acceptable? Well, very simple, that cheap graphics card that is capable of offering a good experience while maintaining a «reasonable price«, Always taking into account the particularities of the moment in which we find ourselves.
Here are some examples of cheap graphics cards that they may seem tempting, but what actually we should dodge at all costs:
- GeForce GT 710: They are around 30-50 euros second-hand. It is a bad buy.
- GeForce GT 730: It has a crazy price, in fact, new models can cost more than a GT 1030.
- Radeon HD 6650: and all the lower versions, as they have inflated prices and offer a terrible performance.
- Radeon RX 550: they are new for more than 180 euros, and second-hand for about 100 euros, meaningless prices.
Other models, such as GTX 750-GTX 750 Ti, GTX 970, Radeon R9 270X and Radeon R9 290 They offered excellent value, but due to high demand they have been the subject of heavy speculation, which has triggered their prices and has made, with few exceptions, not worth it.
If you just want a cheap graphics card for browse and play multimedia content any low-end model will easily cover your needs, and you shouldn’t spend more than 10 euros. Make sure, yes, that it has the image connector you need. A GeForce GT 610 for 5 euros would be a good buy, but unfortunately they are asking for between 15 and 20 euros in the second-hand market.
In case you want to replace a graphics card for gaming, the acceptable minimum will be determined by the resolution at which you play, although I already anticipate that right now you will not find any cheap graphics card to play optimally in 1080p, not even on the second-hand market.
If you play in 720p, right now the minimum acceptable would be in a GT 1030 with 2GB GDDR5 memory. It is very important that you choose the model with GDDR5, as there is a version with DDR4 that offers poor performance. We can find it second hand from 45 euros, a reasonable figure considering what it offers, and the market situation.
In case you play in 1080p And you have no choice but to replace your current graphics card, the minimum acceptable would be a GTX 660 or a Radeon HD 7850, both with 2 GB of GDDR5. It is still possible to find them with an average price of 65 euros. With any of them we can move practically any current game in 1080p, although lowering graphic quality and accepting somewhat adjusted FPS rates, in some cases, as we saw in this article where we reviewed 30 games with good graphics and few requirements.