It's taken too long but here's an actually good graphics card under $200

AMD RX 6600 on blue background with Black Friday deals text
(Image credit: Future)
MSI Mech RX 6600 | 8GB | 1,762 shaders | 2,491MHz Boost | $279.99 (opens in new tab)

MSI Mech RX 6600 | 8GB | 1,762 shaders | 2,491MHz Boost | $279.99 $189.99 at Newegg (save $90 with rebate) (opens in new tab)
MODERN GRAPHICS CARD UNDER $200 ALERT! Yes, it's finally happened, a proper modern 1080p GPU dropping below the magic $200 mark and one that's not far off the performance of graphics cards that are twice the price. The RX 6600 is the current budget darling, and is only a shade off the performance of the RTX 3060 in standard rasterized gaming.

What a terrible time it's been for graphics cards these past few years. I'm trying to remember which bit was worst: Was it the time when people were smuggling graphics cards into countries like they were bricks of illegal substances? Or was it when retailers couldn't even keep up with demand despite prices going up by double, perhaps triple, the original MSRP?

It was all bad. But we're not dealing with that anymore—well, unless you're trying to buy an RTX 4080 (opens in new tab) or RTX 4090 (opens in new tab). No, today it's all about cheap graphics cards (opens in new tab). Like actually affordable ones, not that $2,000 malarky.

In fact, we're talking one especially notable Black Friday graphics card deal (opens in new tab). This MSI Mech RX 6600 going for, hold me before I faint, $190 (opens in new tab) at Newegg. That's around a $90 off the price listed on Amazon, which is already great, but factor in the RX 6600 actually launched for $329 and it's a really incredible saving.

That new price practically makes AMD's RX 6500 XT (opens in new tab) hardly worth considering, which is good because we didn't really care for that card, but it certainly also knocks Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3050 (opens in new tab) out of contention, too. The RX 6600 (opens in new tab) generally trades blows with the RTX 3060 12GB in our testing, sometimes lagging behind, but it's safely ahead of the RTX 3050. 

In fact, at this new price the RX 6600 makes a mockery of both the RTX 3050 and RX 6500 XT.

This stock won't last forever, though. AMD's RDNA 2 architecture is on the way out, to be replaced by the RDNA 3 cards arriving next month. That said, we're not expecting anything even close to a budget GPU out of RDNA 3 for quite a while yet, and it's only the high-end RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT that are coming shortly. They start life at $899, so hardly a consideration for cheap 1080p gaming.

And that's just what you'll get with the RX 6600. It's a great 1080p card that will deliver 60Hz, if not more, in the latest games. Pair it with AMD's upscaling technology, FidelityFX Super Resolution, in compatible games and you'll get a little more out of it, too. 

This exact model uses MSI's fairly by-the-book shroud with two chunky fans to keep it cool. You know, it's a trusted manufacturer with a competent cooler, you don't need a whole lot more for this price. You also get Dead Island 2 (opens in new tab) and The Callisto Protocol (opens in new tab) with this card to sweeten the deal—perfect for zombie game lovers.

At the very least it's heartening to see a GPU deal like this spring out from the Black Friday bonanza. It makes me sound like an old man, but it wasn't actually that long ago that we used to see AMD absolutely owning the entry-level market, with great cards such as the RX 580 and RX 570, and the similar 400-series cards. We've been missing those sorts of options these past few years, so I'm pleased as punch they're back with force. Let's hope these sorts of deals don't dry up too quick. 

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.