Graphics cards are the heartbeat of any gaming PC, as they're in charge of creating all those beautiful pixels on your screen. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, we're here to help you find the best for you.
Some want the quickest graphics card, while others want the best value, and still, others want the best card at a specific price. Because no other component has as much impact on your gaming experience as the graphics card, it's critical to strike a balance between Thermal Design Power (TDP) level, price, and features.
In terms of the continuous GPU rivalry, there are fantastic graphics cards available that can handle even the most demanding PC games and editing tasks, that is, if you don't expect 4K resolutions.
Whether you're looking at Nvidia, AMD, or just the best cheap graphics cards for gaming, there are plenty of reasonable options among the best graphics cards for gaming that could fit into your budget if you dig a bit further.
The following list would carefully answer the question: what are the best budget graphics cards you could get for your PC at the moment.
Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 features an improved and upgraded Ampere architecture. It's over 30% faster than the previous generation 2080 TI while also being $500 cheaper.
The new RTX 3080 TI was unable to displace the incumbent due to its substantially higher price. This is the card to acquire if you're serious about maxing out all graphics settings and playing at 4K or 1440p.
Although it's overkill for 1080p gaming, enabling all ray-tracing effects in games that offer the feature makes 1080p playable.
The RTX 30-series could be your ticket to ray tracing if you missed out on the first round of RTX GPUs.
The RTX 3080 is your best bet for enjoying ray traced games without breaking your budget, with potentially twice the ray-tracing speed of turning and titles like Cyberpunk 2077 utilizing even more ray-tracing effects.
Ampere also adds better tensor cores for DLSS, a technology we'll see more of in future games now that it doesn't require per-game supercomputer training.
We're seeing a lot more games use DLSS 2.0 these days, thanks to the fact that it's just a toggle and UI change in Unreal Engine to get it functioning.
NVidia’s RT and DLSS performance is also far better than AMD's new RX 6000 cards, which is good because NVidia can lag in traditional rasterization performance (which is what our raw numbers are based on).
The main issue with the RTX 3080 will almost certainly be getting one in stock at a reasonable price. The 3080 TI remains our top selection for a fast GPU right now and is one of the best graphics cards for gaming laptops that currently costs $699.
The GTX 1650 Super is more like a lower-spec GTX 1660 than a slightly upgraded GTX 1650, primarily because it uses TU116 GPU. Compared to the normal GTX 1650, this graphics processor has significantly more CUDA cores, faster clock rates, and more memory.
These enhancements result in a fantastic 1080p gaming experience, which is one of the best graphics cards for 1440p gaming.
If you're in the market for a GTX 1650, the Supermodel is well worth the extra money. The PNY GTX 1650 Super graphics card's modest size makes it ideal for small PC builds, allowing you to create a home theater PC that won't take up too much space next to your TV but is ready to go for gaming or movies.
It’s a very fantastic piece, to be honest, which costs $550.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, which replaces the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660, is unquestionably one of the best budget gaming graphics cards on the market right now.
On Middle Earth: Shadow of War with ultra graphics settings at 1080p, it can achieve around 80 frames per second and even 54 frames per second at 1440p. This is astounding given that it costs less than $700.
It is also said to be one of the best graphics cards for 1440p gaming, following the PNY GeForce GTX 1650 Super.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super does, however, have certain flaws. It still has a DVI port instead of a second HDMI port (or even a USB-C), and while it has a DisplayPort, you won't be able to connect multiple displays to it.
It also lacks ray-tracing cores, which is understandable given the graphics card's price. Even still, you'll be hard pushed to find any graphics card for the money that compares to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super.
And it properly answers the question: what are the best budget graphics cards in the market currently, because it undoubtedly stands out as one of the best.
The Radeon RX 5700 is about as good as it gets for the best budget gaming graphics cards. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better mid-range graphics card at this price point that can deliver 1440p gaming on Ultra or Max settings.
However, certain compromises had to be made in the name of price - and it's only just affordable because the Radeon RX 5700 lacks ray tracing.
Budget-conscious gamers will have to wait a little longer until that functionality gets into even the greatest low-cost graphics cards. Perhaps next year as the case may be. It currently costs $399
With so many low-cost 1080p graphics cards on the market, gamers will have difficulty finding the ideal card for their systems and budget.
In a market inundated with Nvidia products, the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT stands out as one of the best budget gaming graphics cards on the market and can even outperform some of the more costly mid-range cards in terms of raw performance.
But still, because it's an AMD card, it lacks ray tracing, and for a card that costs nearly $700, it's worth debating if it's worth paying a little more for the Nvidia GeForce 2060, which doesn’t lack in the aspect of ray tracing.
The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is said to be arguably the best budget gaming pc graphics card you'll find if you don't mind not having ray-tracing. It costs $699 on Amazon.
While Nvidia GeForce graphics cards excel at the top end, they don't always offer the same performance-to-price ratio as an excellent AMD product.
Fortunately, not every GeForce card is prohibitively expensive, and the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G provides the latest Nvidia Turing architecture to budget-conscious users.
The GeForce GTX 1660 OC is one of the best budget gaming pc graphics card alternatives for gamers looking for a little more from their graphics card without spending a lot of money.
It's probably one of the best budget graphics cards for gaming, with fantastic 1080p gaming performance and some respectable 1440p gaming with the appropriate settings.
It costs $219 at the moment and may cost higher due to price fluctuations and high demand. A few sometimes refer to it as the best graphics card for under $300.
If you want to play 1080p games without spending a fortune, the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT is the way to go. It doesn't go too far from its comfort zone, and it sticks to delivering excellent 1080p performance, edging out the GeForce GTX 1660 when the price is taken into account.
The AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT, while capable of 60 frames per second in most AAA games, will struggle to play Metro Exodus on high settings, let alone ultra. However, it is still overly considered the best budget gaming PC graphics card in respect to its affordable price. It currently costs $166.
AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT is Team Red's best GPU. Despite being 5-7 percent faster, the RX Radeon 6900 XT costs 54 percent more. That's not a great deal, especially since you don't receive any extra VRAM or other benefits.
The RX 6800 XT significantly outperforms the RX 5700 XT in terms of performance and functionality. It improves your test suite by 70-90 percent by adding ray tracing functionality (DirectX Ray tracing or VULKAN RT).
The enthusiast community dubbed the GPU 'Big NAVI’ before it was released, and we got precisely what we wanted. NAVI 21 is twice as large as NAVI 10, with twice as many shadier cores and RAM.
The massive 128MB Infinity Cache is responsible for a large portion of AMD's speed. The effective bandwidth has increased by 119 percent (according to AMD). We believe that few, if any, games will require more than 16GB in the coming years, putting the 6800 XT in a strong position.
What's not to appreciate about that? The ray-tracing performance, on the other hand, is a little disappointing.
Perhaps because contemporary games are more likely to be built for Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, the 6800 XT is only slightly faster than the RTX 3070 in terms of ray tracing performance, and there are numerous games where it lags by up to 25%.
That's without turning on DLSS, which can boost RTX card performance by 20-40% even in “Quality” mode (sometimes more). To compete with DLSS, AMD is working on Fidelity FX Super Resolution, but it isn't ready yet, and it's desperately needed.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT currently costs $649.
Nvidia's Ampere march continues with what may be the best of the bunch. The GeForce RTX 3060 TI, which starts at $399, shares the same features as the other GPUs in the 30-series.
Of course, this is only true in theory, as it sold out precisely like the rest of the new graphics cards. It would’ve just been the best graphics card for under $300 if it didn’t increase in price by 30% recently.
In every test we ran, the 3060 TI outperformed the 2080 Super from the previous generation. It's also only 9% slower and costs 20% less than the 3070.
The 3060 TI is up to twice as quick as a GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56, and in some games, even faster.
The shortage of VRAM is the only major worry. For the time being, 8GB is sufficient. However, several games are beginning to exceed this limit.
Of course, you can lower the texture quality a notch and not notice the change, but you'll regret it deep down inside.
There's nothing else that can compete with the 3060 TI at the $399 price range. For the same asking price, it's 35-45% faster than the 2060 Super and 25-30% quicker than the RX 5700 XT.
Right now, the most pressing worry is just locating one of these cards for sale. Mining performance is nearly identical to the 3070 (at least for non-LHR variants) and AMD's newest generation cards, resulting in prices frequently three times the official launch price.
Also, considering 1070 had that much RAM over four years ago, 8GB feels a little sparse. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best graphics cards for gaming laptops currently.
The Ampere onslaught and next-generation architectural march continue with the GeForce RTX 3070. With half the VRAM of AMD's RX 6800 series cards, it's a significant decrease from the 3080.
The 3070, on the other hand, is less expensive than AMD's new GPUs while still providing superior ray tracing performance and DLSS. It's a pity that all 3070 cards are projected to sell out quickly.
For $100 extra, the new RTX 3070 TI offers slightly higher performance, but it also consumes 30% more power, so we recommend sticking with the non-TI cards for now.
The $400 price tag on the 3060 TI makes the 3070 less appealing. It's around 10%-12% faster, but it's 25% more expensive. Of course, when you consider the rest of your gaming PC, that extra $100 isn't such a big deal.
Nothing should be purchased for new gaming PC builds. If you're looking for a new gaming PC, you shouldn't spend more than $300 unless it has an Ampere or Big NAVI GPU. Especially at the current scarcity-driven prices.
While 1440p and 4K gaming are both viable, 4K at its highest quality frequently falls below 60 frames per second. If a game supports it, DLSS can help, but even with DLSS, ray tracing at 4K frequently achieves 40-50 frames per second.
The 8GB of GDDR6 is also a source of concern. It not only has less memory and works at a slower clock speed than the 3080, but it also has less memory on a narrower bus.
We've already seen a few games where 8GB becomes a bit of a stumbling block at high resolution, and this is just going to worsen in the future.
The addition of 16GB to AMD's NAVI 21 GPUs makes Nvidia’s 8GB look even worse, and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 will feature 12GB.
If you're looking for a fast Nvidia GPU at a low price, the 3060 TI is the way to go. The 3070 is a fair improvement if you have an extra $100 to spare, which leads to another $100 for the 3070 TI, and then why not simply get the 3080?
After all, it's the 'greatest' overall card. That's where the law of diminishing returns comes into play when looking at higher-cost cards. For the time being, if you've always desired an RTX 2080 T, you'll have to wait.
Here at Strafe.com, the easiest way we determine pure graphics card performance is to remove all other obstacles – as much as feasible.
A Core i9-9900K CPU, MSI MEG Z390 Ace motherboard, 32GB Corsair DDR4-3600 CL16 memory, and an XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB SSD make up our current graphics card testbed.
We tested at medium and ultra settings in the three most prevalent gaming resolutions: 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. There are faster CPUs now, but we tested them and found that overall performance only improves by 1–3% at best, so we're sticking with the Core i9-9900K for now.
We use 'reference' cards for all of our tests, such as Nvidia's Founders Edition versions and AMD's reference designs, whenever possible.
However, most mid-range and lower-end GPUs lack reference versions, and in such circumstances, we can only evaluate factory overclocked cards. In such circumstances, we try to use cards as near the reference specs as possible.
Check the following sections to know what makes the best budget gaming graphics cards stand out.
Stream processors are incorporated into the graphics processing unit of most contemporary video cards. The GPU could alternatively be integrated into the motherboard or the CPU.
Stream processing is a programming approach that makes simultaneous hardware and software processing simpler. The GPU's stream processors handle most typical graphics rendering duties, which may also be designed for more general-purpose number crunching.
It is essential to consider the stream processors while selecting your best budget gaming PC graphics card.
Cooling systems are essential parts of any gaming graphics card. Their presence prevents overheating, which allows you to play your games for longer durations without heating up. This makes up 90% of all modern best cheap graphics cards for gaming.
Any random access memory (RAM) used to store picture data on a computer display is referred to as VRAM (video RAM). Be vigilant when selecting graphic cards to ensure that you select the one with low power consuming VRAMs to get more playtime with any of your desired games. Even the best graphics card for under $300 gives you a Gram with low power consumption.
The quality of any graphics card matters a lot, and it's of great importance to get a graphics card that suits your visual graphic level.
The adage goes, "buy cheap, buy twice," and graphic cards are no exception. On a serious note, your budget should always be considered while selecting your desired graphics card, even if it's the best graphics card for under $300.
The price of a graphics card plays a significant role in whether or not it would be suitable for your gaming desire. Lucky for you, the list of graphics cards above are a few of the most affordable ones you could find anywhere. Keep an eye for the best graphic cards for under $300 on the list.
A graphics card GPU quality is of high importance for your gaming experience. Luckily for you, even the best graphics card for under $300 on this list has an excellent GPU quality, but it's a fact that your intended purpose and budget will determine the series and model of GPU you choose.
More RAM is desirable, but more bandwidth is preferable. The memory bit rate on the graphics card represents the amount of data that the GPU can access on the memory bus. 64 bit and 128 bit are the standard bit rates. However, higher-end cards offer far higher bit rates.
The amount of memory on graphics cards matters, but so does the type (GDDR3 or GDDR5), the actual memory clock speed, and the memory bit rate (bandwidth - the higher, the better).
The GPU, like the CPU, generates heat as a result of all the processing it performs, as shown by its TDP number. These numbers indicate how much power is required to keep the GPU at a safe temperature. Hence the higher the number, the more heat the GPU generates.
Be on the lookout for graphic cards with low TDP numbers to reduce the need for cooling systems and fans; cooling is not only more expensive, but it also makes your computer noisier, which is why most graphic cards in this list possess low TDP numbers.
If you're looking forward to only playing non-demanding games like Rocket League, League of Legends, or Dota 2, you can save even more money by choosing highly lower classed graphics cards such as the RX 550 or GT 1030.
Even though they are not the absolute best cheap graphics cards for gaming, at least you are not sacrificing anything in terms of gaming performance.
So, whether you're searching for a good upgrade for your older desktop or want to create an economical gaming PC, there are very affordable graphics card options that will provide you with an excellent in-game experience.
AMD GPUs are typically less powerful than Nvidia GPUs, although they have always been less expensive. We recommend sticking with Nvidia video cards for the best gaming PC, even when looking at inexpensive GPUs.
Nvidia is superior. The features provided by Nvidia, such as G-sync, Reflex, NVENC, and DLSS, are significantly superior to those available on AMD cards. Nvidia cards will often provide more excellent frame rates but at a higher cost.
No. You'll need an integrated graphics card or another graphics processor at the very least. To run GTA 5, we recommend obtaining a budget GPU model at the very least. For excellent graphics settings on GTA, a powerful gaming GPU like 1660 should suffice.
For solitary play, ray tracing isn't worth it. However, if you want to use your GPU for streaming or filming, we recommend getting an Nvidia card over an AMD card because Nvidia offers a better video encoder.
As a result of the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese imports, GPU prices have risen by as much as 25% for the most recent high-end models. The graphics card market is expected to grow in value during 2021, and fresh releases are becoming more challenging to come by.