Best Graphics Cards Under $500 For Budget PC Builders in 2017

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This year's flagship in the graphics cards department, a fully-enabled nVidia Titan Xp, resulted in a much faster build than previous throne holders: GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X. It's hard to say whether this is good or bad for the market, but it sure is costly, reaching well over $1000, which is not what most gamers are looking for.

So how do you approach the similar level of performance without investing so much money? Fortunately, the manufacturers of GeForce and Radeon graphics cards offer several excellent solutions all under $500.

If that's what you're looking for, then check out this top 5 of the best budget graphics cards of 2017.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

Price: $489.99
Buy it on: Amazon

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1870 Ti is the perfect solution for any gamers looking for the best graphics card under $500. There are several other options with the same processing power on the market from Asus and MSI, but the innovative cooling solution from Gigabyte delivers the most effective heat dissipation capacity for highest possible performance currently on the market.

This graphics card is built for extreme overclocking, engineered with the same high-grade chokes and capacitors as those of Titan X graphics cards. This technology protects the card from overheating and provides stabler voltage output.

Lastly, the 3D Active Fan provides semi-passive cooling, allowing gamers to enjoy gameplay in complete silence. 

GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Specs: 

  • VRAM: 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit
  • Cooling system: Windforce 3X Blade Fan Design
  • Power supply requirement: 500W
  • Max resolution: 7680x4320@60Hz
  • Core Clock:
    • Boost: 1721 MHz / Base: 1632 MHz (OC Mode)
    • Boost: 1683 MHz / Base: 1607 MHz (Gaming Mode)

Gigabyte Radeon RX VEGA 56

Price: $499.00
Buy it on: Amazon

The Gigabyte Radeon RX VEGA 56 is an equally impressive alternative to the GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, but it puts a stronger focus on VR gaming due to its implemented Polaris technology. This new architecture combines low latency, smart software, and powerful computing that together provide a silky smooth virtual reality experience.

VR is also the reason why this graphics card is based specifically on the second generation of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2), which is especially useful for performance-sensitive consumer applications, such as virtual reality.

Additionally, the Polaris graphics architecture guarantees smooth performance for all those interested in streaming games through platforms like Twitch while maintaining a high-quality broadcast without sacrificing gameplay quality. 

Gigabyte Radeon RX VEGA 56 Specs: 

  • VRAM: 8 GB HBM2 2048-bit
  • Cooling system: Air cooling
  • Max resolution: 7680x4320
  • Power supply requirement: 650W
  • Core Clock:
    • Boost: 1471 MHz
    • Base: 1156 MHz

Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 XTR

Price: $459.99
Buy it on: Amazon

The RX 580 is another modern solution from Radeon that is based on a GDDR5 memory architecture -- unlike its sister model VEGA. It has practically the same characteristics as the 1070 Ti from GeForce, but is a bit cheaper ($459 vs $489).

The card is a Polaris-powered graphics card that utilizes the AORUS graphics engine, which is intended for fast overclocking and effective heat dissipation. With the help of the Xtreme Engine software, you can easily adjust the frequency, voltage, fan modes, RGB backlighting, performance parameters, and more.

All of these settings can be changed in real time, according to your preferences, so that's an added quality of life touch that sets this Radeon graphics card apart from others on this list. 

Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 XTR Specs: 

  • VRAM: 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit
  • Cooling system: Windforce 2X
  • Max resolution: 7680x4320
  • Power supply requirement: 500W
  • Core Clock:
    • OC mode: 1439 MHz
    • Gaming mode: 1425 MHz

ASUS GeForce GTX 1060

Price: $329.00
Buy it on: Amazon

If the previous three options look good but are still too expensive, then consider this slight downgrade from the 1070 model with a little less VRAM on the board.

The GeForce GTX 1060 graphics processor is one of the most powerful in the mid-level gaming class at the moment. The newest Pascal graphics architecture provides amazing speed, and the support of the latest technologies maximizes its functionality.

The DirectCU III cooling system is highly efficient due to a special fan design  with optimized impeller geometry and Auto-Extreme technology that guarantees its long-term durability.

ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Specs:

  • VRAM: 6 GB GDDR5 192-bit
  • Cooling system: DirectCU III
  • Max resolution: 7680 x 4320
  • Core Clock:
    • Boost: 1809 MHz / Base: 1594 MHz (OC Mode)
    • Boost: 1785 MHz / Base: 1569 MHz (Gaming Mode)

Sapphire Radeon NITRO+ RX 570

Price: $294.07
Buy it on: Amazon

Last but not least, this contender for the best graphics card under $500 in 2017 is the RX 570 model from Radeon. Sure, its core clock numbers are the lowest among the batch, but the price and the support of all modern technologies should give you enough reason to consider this bad boy.

It has everything from CoolTech to Nitro Free Flow technologies for noiseless cooling, the full support of AMD LiquidVR and Eyefinity for a smooth virtual reality experience, AMD XConnect and Nitro Quick Connect for adding or switching extra graphics cards, and many other cool features.

Sapphire Radeon NITRO+ RX 570 Specs:

  • VRAM: 8 GB GDDR5 256-bit
  • Cooling system: Dual-X
  • Max resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Power supply requirements: 500W
  • Core Clock:
    • NITRO Boost: 1340 MHz
    • Silent: 1244 MHz

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And there you have it: the best graphics cards under $500 in 2017. From NVIDIA to Radeon and more, these graphics cards will get you the biggest bang for the proverbial buck -- especially if you're building a PC on a budget. 

If you have other suggestions for graphics cards in this category, then be sure to leave your feedback in the comments section below. And be sure to check around during Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- a few of these cards are sure to be on sale, saving you even more money. 

Published Nov. 9th 2017

Correspondent

Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin. Sergey doesn't own consoles because a PC is all he needs.

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