Casual gamers do not need to pack some of the hottest video cards on the market. Most such games are not very demanding on the hardware. Users can get a solid experience out of a budget system that will barely set them back by $500.
Entry-level graphics cards have become quite powerful in recent years. Most of the graphics cards listed here are capable of running some of the most demanding AAA titles available on the market while gaming at today's most popular resolution, 1080p.
This hardware can run some casual games at 1440p or higher resolution, depending on how graphically taxing they are. Being entry-level hardware, they cost $200. Thus, users will still have plenty of room to fit a CPU, case, motherboard, RAM, and PSU to build a budget system.
A casual gamer's guide to choosing video cards
5) Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti - $180
The GTX 1050 Ti is an aging card. It was introduced in 2017 as a successor to the GTX 950. The card is still in production considering its continued relevancy and price-to-performance ratio.
It is up for grabs starting at $179.99 today, which is higher than the price the card was introduced for back in 2017. However, users will have to consider inflation and supply issues, which are largely affecting Nvidia's products.
Overall, the GTX 1050 Ti is one of the most cost-effective solutions for casual gamers.
4) Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 - $200
The GTX 1650 was introduced in 2019 as a successor to the GTX 1050 Ti. The Turing-based entry-level graphics card is much faster than the latter in every workload. It can run every modern AAA title at 1080p resolutions. Casual games, thus, are a breeze for the GTX 1650.
This graphics card can also handle a 4K display without a hiccup. Thus, games like visual novels and 2D platformers can be enjoyed at UHD resolutions.
3) AMD Radeon RX 6400 - $150
The RX 6400 is the cheapest card in the RDNA 2-based RX 6000 series. This card is slightly faster than the GTX 1650 Super. It is also capable of ray tracing. However, gamers will get a better experience with the feature turned off.
The RX 6400, being marginally faster than the last entry on this list, is a great card for casual games. However, the card only has two video output ports. Gamers with multiple monitors in their build may be disappointed.
Also, the card is based on a PCIe Gen 4 x8 connector. Thus, users with a PCIe Gen 3 motherboard will be losing a ton of their potential.
2) Intel ARC A380 - $140
The newly launched Intel ARC A380 is in stock with some of the leading retailers. Most sellers are selling it at the MSRP of $140, which makes it a sweet deal for entry-level AAA and casual gaming.
The ARC A380 is undoubtedly one of the most powerful sub-$150 video cards available in the market. The graphics card is marginally faster than the GTX 1650. In most AAA titles, it defeats the Turing-based GPU by a solid 10% margin.
Thus, gamers who are not willing to spend a whole lot behind their build can opt for Intel's ARC Alchemist lineup. However, availability might be an issue as the video card has not been launched in all regions yet.
1) AMD Radeon RX 6600 - $260
The Radeon RX 6600 is a performance-segment graphics card from AMD Radeon. It was originally introduced to compete against RTX 3060, which is a much costlier video card. The Radeon card is currently up for grabs at just $260.
Gamers who are willing to spend a bit extra on a premium build to run casual games can opt for the Radeon RX 6600. This graphics card was built for 1080p gaming without any compromises. It can also handle ray-tracing workloads without turning the video game into a slideshow
However, the card is a bit overkill for casual games. Thus, users who solely pick it up to play some graphically simple games will not be utilizing its full potential.