What makes a "budget" graphics card? The card which costs less than $250. AMD and Nvidia both have updated their range of sub-$250 graphics cards in recent months, with their more efficient Polaris and Pascal architectures.
Both are promising better performance without the need for wasteful cooling and power requirements. The cheapest card of the lot is AMD's RX 460 which costs a mere $110.
At the present, the cheapest cards don't even require an external power connector to function, the target is good quality 1080p gaming above 30FPS or high frame rates for e-sports players at 720p. These are those unassuming goals that all the graphics cards on test hit.
But do the gamer gets the level of performance gamers wants? The RX 470, RX 460, GTX 1050 Ti, and GTX 1050 won't blow one's mind in the same way a GTX 1080 will but they are all outstanding, reasonably priced cards that fill a niche and price point.
According to arstechnica, AMD's budget offerings are the RX 470 and RX 460, which are based on its 14nm FinFET Polaris architecture that debuted in the excellent RX 480 but they use quite different GPUs. The RX 470 features the same Polaris 10 GPU as the RX 480 with a handful of CUs disabled, leaving 2,048 stream processors and 128 texture units. Core clocks and memory clocks are also down, too.
The RX 460 uses much smaller Polaris 11 GPU, as per WccFtech, which is also used in many of AMD's laptop graphics cards. It doesn't require 6-pin PCIe power, which makes it a good upgrade for off-the-shelf systems from the likes of Dell and HP. Smaller GPU are not the problem but the games with larger textures that need to be shuffled in and out of memory will suffer.
Meanwhile, Nvidia has the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 in the reasonable range. Both are based on the GP107 GPU and share the same number of CUDA cores and ROPs and also the same 128-bit memory bus. The difference only lies in clocks speeds and memory, with the 1050 Ti coming in around 100MHz faster on the core clock, and with 4GB of memory instead of 2GB.
Since neither AMD nor Nvidia offers a reference version of their budget cards, the features and outputs will vary depending on the manufacturer. At the very minimum a gamer can expect a single HDMI 2.0b output on every card, beside with DisplayPort 1.4. The latter it enables 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz, and while gamer certainly won't be gaming at that resolution, media types and content creators may find it useful.
Side-by-side, the Asus cards look more expensive as they're constructed with far more heft and style than MSI's. But that said, given these cards are likely to go into standard systems without case windows and that MSI boards have proved just as reliable as Asus in the past, it's not a deal breaker.