March 28

The 5 Best Graphics Card Under $300

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Table Of Contents

Whether you are building a new gaming rig, updating an old one, or just looking to get a spare GPU, $300 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.

While you won’t be able to boast about having a GTX 2080 that costs a thousand bucks, these GPUs will let you run all the latest and greatest titles at ultra settings. Additionally, saving a few dollars on your GPU could mean an extra cooling unit, a better CPU, or some of the best SSDs for gaming.

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.

Best Choice: Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB

Pros & Cons

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

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

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB Review

The Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 is undoubtedly one of the best choices for GPUs under $300. It’s a minor update on the RX 480 and was built to game at highest settings utilizing FHD and QHD 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 increase in clocking speed across the range, making it a decent alternative to GTX 1060. Compared to RX480, the clock speeds are also upgraded, with a boost clock of 1750 MHz.

Whichever manufacturer you choose, the RX 580 comes with AMD’s exclusive Radeon Chill technology and  4th Gen GCN graphics cores.

All of AMD’s latest technologies such as FreeSync, Eyefinity, and LiquidVR are available. Keep in mind that if you decide for this extraordinary RX 580 card you will need a 600W PSU.

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

Premium Pick: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming 6GB

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Pros & Cons

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

Key Features

  • DX12
  • EVGA 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.

It features a base clock frequency of 1759 MHz, which allows it to deliver almost identical, if not better, 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-choice.

Best Value: EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

Pros & Cons

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

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.

Best Cooling: AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB

Pros & Cons

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

  • Not ideal for 1040p gaming
  • High power consumption

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 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 is one of the best graphics cards under 300 dollars AMD has to offer.

Best Budget Option: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB

Pros & Cons

  • High-quality performance 1920 x 1080
  • Supports 1440p
  • Great bang for buck
  • No idle fan-stop, but extremely quiet in idle
  • Gaming noise is a bit high

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.

 

GPUs Under $300: Buying Guide

Hold you gaming horses there, young buck. Before deciding upon any type of purchase, let alone one as important as buying a new GPU, there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration. Fail to follow these rules, and you might end up with a subpar setup, laggy gameplay, and a LED gaming keyboard soaked in tears of regret. Don’t ask how I know.

Budget

If the CPU can be compared to the brains of the PC, then the graphics card should fall into the looks department, and let’s just say that neglecting either one won’t give your machine any luck with the ladies. Horrible analogy, but you get the point. This is not the department to be stingy on, and a couple of bucks more might add a few more years to your component’s lifetime.

EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti Graphics Card For Gaming

As long as we’re being frank here, all of the cards listed above will last at least two or three years before becoming obsolete, which is what you might expect from the 300$ price range. Should you inherit a decent sum of money from a distant relative, you might think about investing in a high-range or premium GPU such as RTX 2080 Ti, or Titan V, which will surely be competitive for years to come.

VRAM and Memory Bandwidth

This is arguably the most important spec that you should take into account. A card with 3-4 GB will give you great 1080p performance, while 8 gigs and above will yield fantastic results when gaming in 4k resolutions. There’s your reference point.

GPU Clock Speed

Also muy importante. Greater clock speed such as 3 GHz will grant you slightly better framerates, though it also depends on the GPU architecture. Some might be overclocked by the manufacturer, or even leave you room to tinker with it yourself. Just to be safe, stay out of the overclocking business and leave to the experienced lot.

Ports

It all comes down to HDMI or DisplayPort, depending on your monitor. The difference is minute to the uninitiated, so just make sure that your graphics card will be able to connect to your display without needing to buy an adapter.

GPU Size

Imagine coming home with a brand new high-end graphics card, unpacking it and trying to put it in, only to find out that it’s simply too big. There’s an inappropriate joke hiding there somewhere, but I digress. Most cards come in 4 different variants: slim (half-height), single-slot, dual-slot, and even triple-slot. Gaming GPUs usually come in dual-slot format, that combined with a big heatsink can take up a huge chunk of space in your case… ooh, it rhymes!

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lighting Z Graphics Card

There might be no reason more banal to ask for your money back, so make sure that your case is roomy enough before going any further with your purchase. Moving on.

TDP – Thermal Design Power

TDP shows you how much power your GPU is capable of working with. More watts equals better performance, but more heat as well. Though most graphics cards come with their own separate coolers, sometimes buying an extra cooler just to be safe is a smart idea. Always think 2 steps ahead.


Frequently Asked Questions: Graphics Cards Under $300

Nvidia or AMD?

The eternal clash of these 2 powerhouses will never have a definite winner. Both brands are constantly trying to outmatch one another by regularly putting out more and more powerful GPUs, much to our delight. The fiercer the rivalry, the faster the cards will be. Choosing from either one of these titans will not leave you disappointed.

What is the Most Powerful GPU?

This flattering title has to go to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, a true undisputed champion. With an impeccable GPU architecture, blistering Tensor cores and whapping 11GB of VRAM, it’s sure to give you the best performance on the market as of today.

GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO gpu

If you’re willing to sell one of your vital organs for it, that is.

Are Integrated Graphics Capable of Matching the Dedicated Ones?

The amount of no’s that I would type in right now would crumple my poor laptop’s memory. The performance gap is simply too staggering to even fathom running the latest titles with decent framerates.

Dedicated cards have become a necessity if you wish to run the latest games at all, let alone max out your video settings. Still, in terms of convenience, it’s comforting to know that there’s a backup GPU ready for casual use in case the real deal fails.


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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