Unreal Engine 5 is the latest version of Epic Games’ popular game engine and it brings a wealth of new features and improvements for game developers and 3D artists. However, to take full advantage of Unreal Engine 5 and create high fidelity games and 3D content, you need a capable gaming PC and graphics card.
In this comprehensive guide, we will look at the best budget graphics cards you can get in 2023 for running Unreal Engine 5 smoothly. We have recommendations across various price ranges to suit different budgets and needs.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a GPU for Unreal Engine 5
Here are some key factors to keep in mind when choosing a graphics card for Unreal Engine 5:
- Video Memory (VRAM) – Unreal Engine can utilize large amounts of VRAM for loading high resolution textures and assets. At least 8GB of VRAM is recommended, with 6GB being the minimum.
- Ray Tracing Support – Unreal Engine 5 has extensive ray tracing integration so an RTX GPU is recommended for best results.
- Clock Speed – Higher GPU clock speeds result in better performance in Unreal Engine. Aim for 1500MHz+ boost clocks.
- Resolution and Settings – The resolution you plan to run UE5 at and graphical settings will impact GPU requirements. Higher resolutions and settings need a more powerful GPU.
- Budget – How much you can spend obviously impacts which GPU you can get. We have recommendations at various price points.
Best Budget GPUs for Unreal Engine 5
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Price: $399 | VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 1665MHz
The RTX 3060 Ti is currently our top pick for a budget friendly GPU for Unreal Engine 5. It offers great performance at 1440p resolution and can handle UE5’s graphical features like ray tracing global illumination, reflections, and nanite virtualized geometry smoothly.
With 8GB of video memory, it has enough VRAM for moderate to high resolution texture work in Unreal Engine. The 3060 Ti is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture so it supports advanced graphics features like ray tracing, DLSS, and Nvidia Reflex.
For most indie developers and 3D artists on a budget, the 3060 Ti hits the sweet spot of price versus performance for Unreal Engine 5 development and usage.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
Price: $479 | VRAM: 12GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 2424MHz
As an alternative to the RTX 3060 Ti, the Radeon RX 6700 XT is an excellent GPU choice for Unreal Engine 5 under $500. It matches and even exceeds the 3060 Ti in some areas while costing a bit more.
The big advantage here is the ample 12GB of video memory which provides lots of headroom for high resolution texture work. It also features fast 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory for great gaming performance.
AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture brings ray tracing support enabling enhanced visuals through UE5’s Lumen and Nanite. Overall an excellent 1080p/1440p GPU for Unreal Engine.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Price: $249 | VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 1740MHz
The most affordable current generation GPU that can run Unreal Engine 5 smoothly is the Geforce RTX 3050. It still packs 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and decent clock speeds around 1740MHz boost.
At just $249, the 3050 allows you to utilize ray tracing in Unreal Engine on a tight budget. It provides playable frame rates at 1080p resolution with some compromises to visual settings.
As an entry level option, the 3050 is great for new developers or hobbyists wanting to learn and build games and assets in Unreal Engine 5.
AMD Radeon RX 6600
Price: $329 | VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 2491MHz
The Radeon RX 6600 delivers strong 1080p performance in the latest games and is no slouch when it comes to Unreal Engine work either. It packs 8GB of GDDR6 memory running at 17.5Gbps.
At around $329, it’s one of the more affordable current generation GPUs with ray tracing capabilities. For indie developers on a tight budget, the RX 6600 is a cost effective choice.
It can run UE5 smoothly at full HD resolution and also handle some higher resolution texture work thanks to the ample VRAM.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
Price: $399 | VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 1650MHz
From the previous Turing generation, the RTX 2060 Super still offers decent 1080p performance in Unreal Engine 5 at an affordable price point. It has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM for good asset loading capabilities.
Being an RTX card, it supports ray tracing which can really improve the visuals. Many new features like Lumen, Nanite and Virtual Shadow Maps can be experienced at Full HD resolutions.
For around $399 pre-owned, the 2060 Super is a cost effective last generation card for smooth UE5 usage and development within a budget.
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
Price: $299 | VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 | Boost Clock: 1905MHz
From AMD’s previous RDNA generation, the Radeon RX 5700 XT still packs a punch with its 8GB of VRAM running at 14Gbps. It delivers smooth frame rates in Unreal Engine at 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Priced around $299 pre-owned now, it offers great value and performance. Being an older card, it lacks ray tracing support so you won’t be able to experience the new visual features powered by ray tracing.
But for indie developers on a tight budget, the RX 5700 XT is still a competent 1080p GPU for creating games and assets in Unreal Engine 5.
Used/Older Generation High-end GPU
Buying a used or older generation high-end GPU can offer great value if you’re on a tight budget. For example, a used Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti or RTX 2080 can often be found for around $300 and will outperform many new budget GPUs.
The key things to look for are 8GB+ of VRAM, high core and boost clock speeds, and ray tracing support if your budget allows. Just make sure to buy from a reputable seller.
With some deal hunting, previous flagship GPUs like the GTX 1080 Ti can offer Unreal Engine 5 capability at budget prices for savvy buyers.
Best GPUs for Unreal Engine 5 Under $200
If your budget is even tighter, here are some of the better performing options under $200 that can still run Unreal Engine 5 game development and asset creation:
- AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB
- AMD Radeon RX 570 8GB
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super
Many of these are previous generation cards so they lack ray tracing support. But they can still deliver playable performance at 1080p resolution in UE5. The key is opting for models with at least 8GB of VRAM.
You will have to compromise on graphical settings and features available compared to more powerful GPUs. But it’s still very much possible to use Unreal Engine 5 on a tight budget with some of these GPUs.
Integrated Graphics Options
For very lightweight development and asset creation, it is possible to run Unreal Engine 5 on a PC with integrated graphics from Intel or AMD instead of a dedicated gaming graphics card.
However, your performance will be quite limited – the engine will run but you won’t be able to utilize many graphical features or work with complex scenes.
Some of the better integrated graphics options include:
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- AMD Radeon Graphics (Ryzen 5/7/9 processors)
We only recommend going the integrated graphics route if budget is extremely tight. A dedicated gaming GPU is highly advised for smooth Unreal Engine usage and game development.
People Also Ask
Is a GPU mandatory for Unreal Engine 5?
A dedicated gaming GPU is not absolutely mandatory but is highly recommended. Integrated graphics from your CPU can technically run UE5 but with poor performance. A good GPU greatly enhances your development and usage of Unreal Engine.
How much VRAM do I need for Unreal Engine 5?
We recommend at least 6GB of VRAM with 8-12GB being ideal. Unreal Engine can utilize lots of VRAM for high resolution textures and assets. Having more VRAM gives you more headroom and flexibility.
What’s better for Unreal Engine 5 – Nvidia or AMD GPU?
Both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards run Unreal Engine 5 very well. At most price points, they offer comparable performance. Nvidia has more ray tracing capable cards currently while AMD offers great value.
Should I get a used/old GPU to save money?
Buying used can be a smart idea to save money. Previous generation cards like the GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 still offer great performance. Just be sure to buy from reputable sellers.
Can you use Unreal Engine 5 on a laptop?
Yes, Unreal Engine 5 can run on a gaming laptop as well. However, a desktop is preferred if possible for the ability to use more powerful components and upgrades.
If you want the best bang for your buck GPU that can handle Unreal Engine 5 well right now, go with the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT. Both offer great 1080p and 1440p gaming performance.
On a tighter budget, the Nvidia RTX 3050 and AMD RX 6600 are very solid. Or look at used/older generation cards like the GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2060 Super for excellent value.
Integrated graphics from your CPU should only be relied on in a pinch. Remember to factor in your target resolution, graphical settings, and VRAM requirements.
With some smart shopping, you can build or upgrade your PC with a capable Unreal Engine 5 ready graphics card even on a limited budget. The GPUs covered in this guide will have you developing and showcasing your creations smoothly.