How Much Should You Spend on a GPU? (Explained)

Are you building a new PC or planning an upgrade? Then you’re probably wondering how much you should spend on a GPU.

Well, the answer to that depends on a few variables, such as your accompanying hardware, your monitor, the games you play, and your budget.

In this article, we’ll be going over all these factors and provide a couple of guidelines you should follow when determining how much you should spend on a GPU.

How Much Should You Spend on a GPU?

Generally, your GPU should be the most expensive component of your gaming PC. We recommend spending around 25%-40% of your PC’s total cost on a GPU. This is roughly around $250-$600 for most people. But depending on the games you play and other factors unique to you, that price range might be too high or too low. Consider all of your needs and what you have available, and buy the best graphics card that you can afford.

What Percentage of Your Budget Should You Spend on a GPU?

So, you have a budget in mind, but you’re not sure how much of it should go towards the GPU.

Our recommendation is to keep your GPU price around 25-40% of your overall budget. But due to your individual needs, this could be lower or higher.

Let’s say you have a budget of $1,000 to spend. If you’re wanting to focus on a budget build, then you can get away with a GPU that costs around $200-$300, like Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 or the Radeon RX 6600 by AMD.

Both of these cards are VR-ready, support ray tracing, and are fantastic cards. And paired with a competent CPU, they would do great for any casual gamer.

On the other hand, if you’re a serious competitive gamer or a content creator who needs the best possible performance, you’ll probably want to spend upwards of $1,000 or more on a high-end GPU.

Which throws the $1,000 budget we mentioned earlier out the window. But at that point, budgeting probably isn’t much of a concern.

Graphics cards like the GeForce RTX 4080 are nearly $1,200 right now. They are top-of-the-line and provide the best performance of any graphics card to date.

But in this author’s opinion, they are overpriced and not to mention overkill for most people.

Regardless of the card you pick, you’ll want to make sure you get a good CPU that is able to keep up with your Graphics card.

Not to mention a decent gaming motherboard, plenty of high-speed RAM, and a PSU with enough wattage to run it all smoothly.

So, when planning your build, make sure everything is compatible; otherwise, you’ll end up with bottlenecks and performance issues.

ASUS Graphics Card

Should I Spend More on a CPU or a GPU?

Generally speaking, if you’re building a PC for gaming, then you’ll want to invest more into your GPU than your CPU.

While both the graphics card and the processor are critical components for gaming PCs, the GPU is usually the one doing most of the hard work.

The GPU is responsible for rendering the visuals you see on screen, whereas the CPU is the one calculating the logic and physics of the game.

If you’re on a budget, you don’t need anything super crazy. A mid-tier CPU like an older i7 or Ryzen 7 will do just fine. Plus, you’ll be able to get a more expensive GPU seeing as you’re not spending a fortune on a CPU.

However, if you also use your computer for other tasks like video editing, 3D modeling, or streaming, then you may want to consider investing more in a higher-end processor such as the newer i7 or even i9 or Ryzen 9. Seeing as these tasks are more reliant on the CPU.

It can be a little daunting to try and balance out your budget with what you need and want. But for most people, the GPU will be the most expensive part of their builds.

Which makes complete sense for a gaming PC, as most of us want the best graphics we can get.

3 Important Things to Consider Before Buying a GPU

Aside from the hardware in your PC, there are a few other factors to consider before clicking “Buy Now”, including the monitor you plan to game on, the games you play, and how a new GPU can fit into your budget.

Below, we go over these in detail to give you a better idea of what you should spend on a GPU.

Your monitor

You may not have even thought about it, but your monitor can limit the GPU you decide on buying.

This is because your monitor has a maximum resolution it can display. So a beefy GPU will not be fully utilized, and an underpowered monitor will limit its potential.

If your Monitor is only 720p, then an RTX 3080 Ti is going to be overkill. For gaming in 720p, you can use an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or the AMD Radeon RX 560. Both of these cards pack enough of a punch to deliver great 720p performance.

For 1080p and 1440p, you’d want something a little more powerful such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or the red team’s RX 6700 XT.

If you want to play in 4k, then you’ll be needing a high-end GPU. For 4k, your best bet would be to go all out on a GeForce RTX 4080 or the AMD RX 7900 XTX, as these cards were made specifically for smooth 4k gaming.

The games you play

When it comes to buying a GPU, you’ll also need to consider what games you’ll be playing.

If you’re a retro or indie gamer and you mainly play games like Stardew Valley or old-school console emulators, you definitely won’t be needing a high-end GPU.

Casual and competitive gamers who enjoy FPS games like CS: GO, Warzone 2.0, Valorant, etc., can go all out on a beefy GPU if they are serious gamers.

But casual gamers can absolutely be satisfied by a mid-range like an RTX 2000 series or even a GTX 1060 or 1070–or their AMD equivalent if they don’t care about ray tracing.

For those of you who are into cinematic games, the higher tier your GPU, the better the experience will be. For the most beautiful graphics in your cinematic games, you’ll want to get the best card you can afford while making sure your monitor and the rest of your build are up to par.

Your budget

Buying a new GPU isn’t as easy as just picking a “good one” and slapping it into your PC. It requires a little bit of planning. And planning a budget is a good starting point.

You should consider all of the factors we have gone over thus far and find what kind of GPU is best for you.

If you have decided you want the best but can’t afford it, either save up for a while or make a few concessions.

Many GPUs can work as a mid-point between 1440p and 4k. Meaning that they excel in 1440p but can work decently at 4k, but might run at a lower frame rate. The same is true at any resolution, really.

Just because your budget is lower than you might like doesn’t mean you can’t find something close to what you’re wanting. Just research the card you want, and find a cheaper alternative that works almost as well.

In the end, you probably won’t even notice a few percent decrease in performance over the more expensive GPU, unless you only care about benchmarks.

Saphire GPU

Final Thoughts

Usually, a gaming computer’s GPU is the most expensive component in the PC. We recommend that the cost of your GPU be around 25%-40% of your rig’s overall price.

Depending on your needs, you can get a decent GPU for around $100-$300 for lower-end builds. If you’re planning on a mid-tier card, you’ll be spending around $300-$600, and high-end GPUs can be over $1,000.

Ultimately, how much you spend on a GPU depends on your needs and the hardware you have available.

We hope that we were able to help you figure out how much you should spend on a GPU. If so, consider sharing this article with your friends and family on social media.

And as always, feel free to leave any questions, suggestions, or feedback in the comment section below.

We love hearing from you!

About Kasimir Wera 25 Articles
Kasimir has been fascinated by technology from a young age. It started when he got a Nintendo 64 for his 7th birthday and took it apart to see what was inside. Now, many years later, that fascination with gaming and technology has only grown with the technological boom he grew up in. Over the years, he has built, upgraded, and repaired many PCs for himself, his family, and his friends. These days, Kasimir lives his best life writing, tinkering with computers, and playing video games with his daughter and friends.

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