Buying a video card in 2021: something for every budget


Buying a new video card is not that easy. Depending on your budget, there are many different models and if you have one in mind, the question is whether it is in stock. The shortages are invariably high. Nevertheless, we take a look at what is on the market in 2021. Which cards are the best value for money?

Based on our own tests, we made an overview of the best video cards for gamers for every budget. Would you like to know more about the specific differences between Nvidia and AMD, of which we discuss several cards here, first read the article Nvidia or AMD: What should you pay attention to?

Best video card under 150 euros – Consider second-hand

Thanks to the unprecedented demand for video cards and the fact that people want to spend more on them on average, the budget segment is no longer what it used to be. If we look at new video cards up to 150 euros, we mainly see AMD RX 550 cards or Nvidia GT 1030 cards. Those are two models that are really not made for gamers and are already tight even with simple games. Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti is an option, but that card is already more than four years old and was not a performance monster at the time.

The best advice we can give is to shop secondhand. Cards like the GTX 1060 from Nvidia or the RX 580 / RX 590 from AMD can be bought for these kinds of amounts, and they let you play new games on a 1080p monitor. Not at the highest settings, of course, but playable.

Best video card up to 200 euros – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super / AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT

The GeForce GTX 1650 Super and Radeon RX 5500 XT are not much more powerful than the aforementioned GeForce GTX 1060. But then you do have a newer-generation card, the accompanying benefits such as lower power consumption, and no risk of purchasing second-hand. The lower power consumption also has the additional advantage that even relatively simple versions of these chips do not become very hot or noisy, so you do not necessarily have to have the most extensive version.

Both cards are fairly competitive in terms of performance, and both the GeForce GTX 1650 Super and Radeon RX 5500 XT are capable of keeping most games smoothly playable on 1080p monitors. Even now not with the highest settings, but you can in any case assume that today’s games will work.

If you want to stream, Nvidia does have the advantage of the better encoder. If you really want to stream seriously, we advise you to spend a little more.

Best video card up to 250 euros – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super

The GeForce GTX 1660 Super is about 25 percent faster than the GeForce GTX 1650 Super and the Radeon RX 5500 XT. That extra performance comes in handy in most games. That makes the difference between an occasional hiccup and a completely smooth experience, or the difference between medium or high settings. In our opinion, the GTX 1660 Super is the ideal card to really step into the world of PC gaming, without having to worry too much about whether your system is powerful enough.

Specifically for e-sports fanatics, it is also a nice card, because lighter games such as CS: GO, Valorant, League of Legends and Rocket League can easily be played at 144 fps or higher, making this card also good for gamers with a fast monitor. comes out of the paint.

Best video card up to 400 euros – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

The (as yet) cheapest video card of the latest generation is the RTX 3060 Ti, which is sold for 400 euros. The RTX 3060 Ti is slightly faster than the previous generation RTX 2080 Super, a card that cost 800 euros until a few months ago. That puts both the performance and price-performance ratio of this RTX 3060 Ti into perspective.

This is the kind of card with which you can also game at higher resolutions such as 1440p and high graphics settings. He also uses the new Ray Tracing features in some games for better reflections and shadows. It’s a card without competition, at least for the moment. The only question you have to ask yourself is whether you will go for this one, or want to pay even more for the once again faster GeForce RTX 3070. At this price level, nothing matches this RTX 3060 Ti.

It is good to know that the RTX 3060 (without Ti) will be on the market in February. That card costs 320 euros and seems an attractive alternative in this price range, but we have not yet been able to test it at the time of writing.

Best video card up to 500 euros – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

The GeForce RTX 3070 from Nvidia has also conquered a comfortable part of the market, with the cheapest new card from the major competitor currently about 100 euros above it. But for anyone who thinks about 500 euros is enough, the RTX 3070 is the card of the moment.

It offers excellent performance at all resolutions up to approximately 1440p, including for the fast 144Hz +, 1440p monitors that are the standard for high-end PC gaming today. For real 4K gaming, you would be wise to spend a little more, but the RTX 3070 does not perform wrong there either.

The performance level is the same as that of the RTX 2080 Ti from two years ago, a card that until a few months ago cost at least around 1,200 euros.

Best video card up to 600 euros – AMD Radeon RX 6800

The cheapest video card from AMD’s latest generation is the Radeon RX 6800, a card that should cost around 599 euros. The RX 6800 is on average a few percent faster than the RX 3070 from Nvidia. That is not annoying at a 1440p resolution and is certainly very useful at 4K resolution.

However, keep in mind AMD’s two weaker spots. For example, a GeForce RTX 3000 series card is much better if you’re considering streaming, and AMD’s Ray Tracing implementation is not quite what it should be.

Best video card up to 1,000 euros – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

The best video card up to about 1,000 euros is undeniably the GeForce RTX 3080, which is available from 800 euros. It is about 30 percent faster than the RTX 3070, and faster than the RX 6800 and the RX 6800 XT from AMD. If you play on 1080p monitors, that extra performance does not always come into its own. For 1440p monitors, the performance certainly comes in handy, although a cheaper alternative will of course suffice.

But for serious 4K gaming, those 30 percent make the difference between tweaking settings or just playing practically every game comfortably at 4K. And not like on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, in other words often with limited graphic settings and at 30 dps, but with a lot of graphic violence and at a comfortable 60 fps. Cheap is different, but it is the video card of the moment that offers an excellent price-performance ratio regardless of the high price.

Best Video Card, Budget Unlimited – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090?

We deliberately put a question mark behind it, because the GeForce RTX 3090 is a special case. On the one hand, it is the fastest video card at the moment, normally about 10 percent faster than the GeForce RTX 3080. However, it is also a card with an extreme price tag of around 1,600 euros, with street prices of up to 2,000 euros.

The price for such a small performance improvement is therefore by no means justifiable in a purchase advice; You can recoup that 10 percent by slightly adjusting one graphics setting in a game. The GeForce RTX 3090 therefore seems mainly aimed at gamers who really don’t care about a euro or a thousand more for a video card, but who are awake if they don’t buy the absolute best on the market.

That’s a real target audience, but our real advice ends with the GeForce RTX 3080. After reading this article, do you have a particular card in mind? Find the best video cards for the cheapest prices here.

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