Last Update: Mar 28, 2019

6 Best Graphics Cards Under $300

Buying a graphics card doesn’t have to cost you a boatload of dollars.

Whether you are building a new gaming rig, updating an old one, or just looking to get a spare GPU, a budget of 300 dollars can get you a powerful mid-range Nvidia or AMD graphics card. Of course, you can go for a cheaper GPU, and decide to invest in some of the best gaming processors on the market, it’s all up to you when building your own gaming rig.

These graphics cards will comfortably run the latest high-end demanding games at very high/ultra settings at 1080p. You also don’t have to worry about upgrading your GPU with future title releases and their possible, demanding requirements.

Saving a few dollars on your GPU could mean an extra cooling unit, a better CPU, or some of the best SSDs for gaming. The best part – these graphics cards will offer you one of the best VR experiences without any lag.

If you must play 1080p gaming titles but don’t have the budget for high-end graphics cards such as the GTX Titan or GTX 780 Ti, you cannot go wrong with any of the GPUs mentioned below.

They offer fantastic performance, while only costing a fraction of the more expensive GPUs listed above.


Top 6 Graphic Cards Under 300 Dollars

The target resolution, power supply, and the onboard video memory were some of the things we considered when reviewing the numerous graphics cards under $300 in the market.

Target resolution was the most vital factor for us – resolution is the horizontal-by-vertical pixel count at which your video card will drive your display unit. If you want the best possible resolution, we suggest cashing out a bit more and getting one of the best graphics cards for gaming.

In PC gaming, the graphics card calculates lighting, positioning, and renders the onscreen image in real time. The higher the requirements for in-game detail level and resolution, the more graphics card power you require to run the game smoothly without lag.

1080p (1920 by 1080 pixels), 1440p (2560 by 1440 pixels) and 2160p or 4K (3840 by 2160 pixels) are the three most common resolutions in today’s gaming world. You’ll want to select a graphics card suited for your monitor’s native resolution. (The “native” resolution is the highest supported by the panel and the one at which the display comes out best.)

1

Best Choice: AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB

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Key Features

  • GCN 4 Architecture
  • Radeon Chill Technology

Specifications

  • 256 Bit / 8 Gbps / 256 GB/s
  • 8GB/ GDDR5
  • Power supply; 185W / 600W / 6-pin
  • HDMI (4K60) and DisplayPort 1.4 outputs

AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB Review

The AMD Radeon RX 580 is AMD’s latest mid-range graphics card. It’s a minor update on the RX 480 and was built to handle the latest AAA game titles at full HD and 1440p resolutions. It’s safe to say that this is one of the best AMD graphics cards for gaming.

The RX 580 comes with a small bump in clocking speed across the range, bringing it closer to its biggest rival, the Nvidia GTX 1060. The RX 580 8GB comes with a 1340MHz boost clock speed, which is a decent upgrade on the RX 480 which maxed out at around 1310MHz.

The RX 580’s specifications depend on which third-party manufacturer you choose. Although not overclocked, they come with AMD’s proprietary Radeon Chill technology and its 4th Gen GCN graphics cores.

Radeon RX 580 supports all AMD’s latest technologies which include AMD FreeSync, AMD LiquidVR Technology, AMD Eyefinity Technology. The RX 580 card has a maximum power consumption of 185W and needs a 600W power supply unit to work correctly.

The LiquidVR technology ensures a stutter and lag-free gaming experience during virtual reality gaming.

+Pros
  • Great for 1440 and 1080p gaming
  • Faster than the GTX 1060 6G
  • Compatible with cheaper Radeon Free-Syn
  • AMD’s Radeon Chill technology
  • Quiet
-Cons
  • High power consumption
2

Best Quality: MSI Gaming: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

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Key Features

  • DX12 OSD Support with EVGA Precision XOC
  • 3 Year Warranty & EVGA’s 24/7 Technical Support
  • Pascal Architecture

Specifications

  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, and Dual-Link DVI outputs
  • 6GB / GDDR5
  • 120W / 400W / 6-pin; Power supply
  • 192 Bit / 8 Gbps / 192 GB/s

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Review

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB is currently Nvidia’s best mid-range graphics card and the best graphics card under 300 dollars in the market. If you wanna chunk out a bit more cash, you could look at the newer models and pick some of the best 1080ti cards.

It is built using Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, which means it’s a much more power efficient GPU than the RX 580. The Nvidia GPU also comes with ten streaming multiprocessors and 1280 Cuda Cores.

The base clock frequency of 1506MHz enables it to deliver an almost similar performance to the RX 580 in most games, despite having less onboard video memory.

It features a base clock frequency of 1506 MHz and a Boost Clock of 1708 MHz, which allows it to deliver almost identical performance to the RX 580 in most games. The GTX 1060 is also more power efficient, and with 6GB, can still be considered a future proof graphics card.

Moreover, the GTX 1060 6GB is VR, G-Sync, and Game Stream-Ready. Therefore, if you are looking for the best GPU under $300, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB is your go-to-GPU.

+Pros
  • Great for 1440 and 1080p gaming
  • Great Power efficiency
  • Cooler operating temperature
  • Easy to overclock
  • Very quiet
-Cons
  • 2GB less VRAM than the RX 580
  • Nvidia G-Sync monitors are more expensive
3

Best Value: EVGA: GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

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Key Features

  • VR ready with Dual HDMI 2.0 Ports
  • GPU Tweak II

Specifications

  • 3GB / GDDR5
  • 120W / 400W / 6-pin; Power supply
  • 192 Bit / 8 Gbps / 192 GB/s
  • 1506 MHz /1708 MHz

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Review

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3Gb is a lower priced variant of the GTX 1060 6GB. They both are essentially the same card with slight dissimilarities.

Compared to the GTX 1060 6GB, the 1060 3GB has nine streaming multiprocessors and 1152 Cuda Cores. That and the 3GB difference in onboard video memory means you will experience a slight drop in performance with the GTX 1060 3GB GPU.

Despite the difference, the GTX 1060 3GB performs well when running demanding 1080p gaming titles on high to ultra-settings, is exceptionally efficient with power, and relatively quiet compared to its peers.

It will also run eSports games smoothly without any lag but tends to struggle with 1440p gaming titles. Choosing a great 1080p gaming monitor to go with this GPU is the best thing you could do.

The Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB model is a graphics card is worth every dollar, and you get most of the features found in the higher end GTX 1060 6GB variant at a fraction of the cost.

+Pros
  • Great for 1080p gaming
  • Great power efficiency
  • Cooler operating temperature
  • Better overclocking
  • Very quiet
-Cons
  • Only 3GB of VRAM
  • Not ideal for 1440p gaming
  • Nvidia G-Sync monitors are more expensive
4

Best Cooling: AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB

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Key Features

  • GCN Architecture
  • ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting
  • Aerospace-grade Super Alloy Power II components

Specifications

  • 4GB / GDDR5
  • Polaris 10 GPU
  • HDMI (4K60) and DisplayPort 1.4
  • 256 Bit / 7 Gbps / 224 GB/s

AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB Review

The AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB is an upgrade on their RX 470 GPU. It features AMD’s proprietary GCN 4 architecture and comes with a Polaris 10 GPU.

The RX 570 features 4GB of onboard video memory, which allows it to edge the GTX 1060 3GB slightly in the future proof category. Its VR capabilities mean the card can deliver on immersive gaming if needed.

Its boost clock of 1244MHz and memory clock speed of 7GBps enables the RX 570 to run 1080p gaming titles on high to ultra settings. However, it is slightly more power-hungry than the GTX 1060 3GB, but surprisingly quiet even when under load. If you encounter issues with your GPU fans not spinning, make sure to address them as soon as possible.

Additionally, the AMD Radeon Chill technology means improved power efficiency during gameplay.

These features enable the RX 570 4GB to play more demanding games at 1080p with ease, and eSport gamers will also find this graphics card will perform well without struggling or lag during their gaming sessions.

The RX 570 4GB also has the advantage of much cheaper Free-Sync monitors when compared to the much more expensive G-Sync monitors of Nvidia. The RX 570 4GB is one of the best graphics cards under 300 dollars AMD has to offer.

+Pros
  • Faster than GTX 1060 3GB
  • Great for 1080p gaming
  • Quiet
  • AMD Radeon Chill technology

-Cons
  • Not ideal for 1040p gaming
  • High power consumption
5

Fastest: Palit GTX 1050 Ti 4GB

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Key Features

  • Pascal™ architecture
  • TurboFan Blade

Specifications

  • 128Bit Memory Interface
  • HDMI 2.0 Port
  • 112 GB/Sec Memory bandwidth
  • 4GB

Palit GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Review

The Palit GTX 1050 Ti 4GB is a rare breed. Powered by Nvidia’s Pascal – one of the most advanced GPU architecture ever created – it comes without any fans while delivering a perfect noise-free gaming experience.

Palit’s GTX 1050 Ti is an excellent GPU because it is the only GTX 1050 Ti graphics card on the market that’s passively cooled (fanless). This feature makes it the fastest passively cooled card available, with the next-closest competition being the fanless XFX Radeon RX 460 models, which offer much lower performance, however.

Generally, power consumption is excellent, and the card can run and reach a boost frequency of roughly 2000 MHz, while the memory subsystem can do 8 Gbps.

+Pros
  • Passive cooling, zero noise
  • The fastest passive card on the market
  • No additional power input needed
-Cons
  • Could be too tall for some cases
  • GPU and memory are not overclocked
  • Requires good airflow in the case
6

Best Budget Option: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB

Key Features

  • Single HDB fan
  • GPU: Turing (TU116)

Specifications

  • 6GB GDDR6
  • Core Clock: 1,500 MHz

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB Review

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB graphics card was built on the new TU116 graphics processor, which has been explicitly designed to meet the demands of the budget conscious gamers.

Compared to Pascal, Turing architecture improves power efficiency significantly, and this is highly evident in the EVGA 1660 Ti. The EVGA 1660 Ti is a highly efficient GPU.

The EVGA 1660 Ti has the same core counts as any other GTX 1660 Ti. The key differences are the EVGA cooler and factory overclock. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 is good at overclocking and can hit 2.1GHz with minimal tweaking.

The EVGA GTX 1660 Ti is an ideal graphics card for 1080p gaming titles and will give a great and immersive gaming experience with full HD.

Powered by the all-new NVIDIA Turing architecture, the EVGA GTX 1660 Ti can give you incredible levels of performance, speed, power efficiency, and immersive gaming.

It is also covered under EVGA’s 3-year limited warranty which includes parts and labor. You can also extend your warranty upon registration within 90 days of purchase.

+Pros
  • High performance at 1920 x 1080
  • Acceptable frame rates at 2560 x 1440
  • Retains Turing’s video encode/decode acceleration features •
  • 120W board power compares favorably to AMD competition
  • Great value for the price
-Cons
  • No idle fan-stop, but extremely quiet in idle
  • Gaming noise is a bit high

GPU Buying Guide

Picking the wrong GPU can result in stuttering, lag-ridden gaming experience. When trying to decide, you need to answer two fundamental questions:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What are the minimum requirements for your favorite gaming titles?

We all dread shaky performance while gaming – at least, I do.

Before you decide on buying a graphics card for your gaming rig, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

Onboard Video Memory – For a Better Gaming Experience

Always look at the onboard video memory when comparing similar graphics cards. While 2GB of video memory can allow you to play many games, you’ll have a better experience with 4GB. If it comes down to a choice between a faster GPU or more memory, go with the quicker GPU if it has at least 3GB of video memory.

Size – To Avoid Unnecessary Returns

Nothing can be more exasperating than eagerly opening your case to install your new graphics card, only to realize it’s an inch longer. Before you make a final decision on which graphics card you are settling for, ensure you do your homework and find out how much physical space your case has for a graphics card.

Memory Bandwidth – For A Better Performance

The memory bandwidth of your GPU plays a significant role in its performance. Data ready to be processed by the GPU is stored on the card’s dedicated memory called GDDR3 and GDDR5. Note that GDDR5 memory provides twice the bandwidth of GDDR3 clocked at the same rate.nvidia titan xp gpu front

It would be best if you always chose GDDR5 for better performance. 1 GB of GDDR5 is superior to 4 GB of GDDR3, as far as performance is concerned.

VR Support – For An Immersive Gaming Experience

Virtual reality gaming is the future, so why not get a graphics card that’s powerful enough to run VR gaming?


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions you must consider when buying a graphics card under $300:

What brand of GPU is the best?

Nvidia and AMD are the two major manufacturers of graphics card processors or GPUs in the world. Various top brands are licensed to make graphics cards by Nvidia and AMD. We even have some of those on our list here.amd logo vs nvidia logo

Some of these brands are – ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, and Zotac. Each manufacturer has their board layout, memory capacity, components quality, and heatsink.

Which GPU is best for gaming?

When the price is not a barrier, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the GPU you should go for. Its 11GB GDDR5X onboard video memory guarantees you smooth performance even with 4k gaming.

The hefty EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 XC graphics card is the best graphics card for gaming in 2019. Keep in mind that getting such GPU will be useless if you don’t own one of the best gaming monitors that can support it.

It performs excellently at 1440p and 4k gaming, and combined with its tastefully designed RGB lighting, is a great graphics card to have.


Conclusion

Any of the GPUs reviewed in this article should get your gaming rig up and running with at least 1080p gaming in no time.

It’s important to note that your system dictates the sort of graphics card you should buy. Installing a high-end graphics card on an older dual-core Pentium CPU only sets you up for frustration, while wasting your hard-earned dollars. Knowing the limitations of your system can save you a lot of money and frustration.

Once you are clear about the limitations of your system, and the minimum requirements you need to run your favorite gaming titles smoothly, it is all smooth sailing, or as my colleague says – “it’s game time.”

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