Minecraft may be an old game, but it can still benefit from a good GPU. Sure, the game will run even on low-end PC hardware, but having the best graphics card for Minecraft lets you enable features and mods such as shaders, high-resolution texture packs, and even ray tracing with Minecraft RTX.
We’ve limited our selection to mid-range and budget-friendly cards, as anything higher is mostly overkill for Minecraft. So, if you’re trying to build a reasonably-priced Minecraft gaming PC, this list is for you.
- Best Graphics Card for Minecraft Overall: PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6600 is one of the best bang-for-the-buck graphics cards for gaming today.
- Best Value Graphics Card for Minecraft: Asus Phoenix NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 offers strong performance and powerful content creation features for streamers and creators.
- Best Budget Graphics Card for Minecraft: Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 8 GB lets you enable shaders and high-resolution texture packs for under $120.
- Best Mid-Range Graphics Card for Minecraft: Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 provides enough power to crank up shader details and run the game at high resolutions.
- Best High-End Graphics Card for Minecraft: Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 Ti gives you plenty of juice to run the most demanding shaders and texture packs, and even lets you enable ray tracing at 4K.
Our Favorite Graphics Cards for Minecraft in 2023
|Boost Clock||2491 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||132 watts|
|Dimensions||7.87 x 4.37 x 1.54 inches|
The PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6600 is one of the most well-rounded graphics cards for improving your Minecraft experience. It offers solid performance with shaders enabled and plenty of video RAM (VRAM) for large texture packs, all at an affordable price under $230.
The RX 6600 has no trouble running vanilla Minecraft even at 4K resolution, albeit with no shaders or texture packs. Once you enable shaders, the framerate floats around the 120 to 160-FPS range, depending on your settings. At 1080p, the popular BSL shader runs at around 150 FPS and Complementary averages around 140 FPS.
While render distance usually doesn’t impact the GPU much, it starts to hurt performance with shaders enabled. The video above shows framerates with the render distance set to 10 chunks. If you double this, you can expect a 40% to 50% performance hit, halving your framerate. The performance will also vary greatly depending on your CPU and how much RAM you have, so take this estimation with a grain of salt.
The RX 6600’s 8 GB of VRAM means there’s enough leeway to prevent texture pop-in or loading failures, even if you install high-resolution 1024 x 1024 or 2048 x 2048 textures. Enable shaders and high-res textures, and you’ll get a beautiful and immersive experience that looks far better than vanilla and maintains a consistent 100+ FPS.
Overall, the PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6600 is a powerful little card in a small package perfect for upgrading your Minecraft experience. Whether it’s fancy shaders or high-resolution texture packs, the RX 6600 will handle it easily without breaking the bank.
|Boost Clock||1750 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 1 x HDMI 2.0b
• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
|Power Consumption||130 watts|
|Dimensions||6.97 x 5.04 x 2.01 inches|
With the recent price drops to RTX 3000 series GPUs, entry-level cards like the ASUS Phoenix Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 have become excellent value-for-money options. For around $250, the RTX 3050 offers excellent Minecraft performance, letting you play with shaders and high-resolution texture packs while providing smooth gameplay.
The RTX 3050 handles Minecraft without shaders with no trouble at all, capable of maintaining over 500 FPS even at 4K resolution. As with many budget cards, however, the FPS drops significantly with shaders enabled, making 1080p the ideal resolution for this card. At this resolution, BSL and Complementary shaders will run at around a 130-FPS average, while SEUS Renewed lags behind slightly with a 100-FPS average.
As an RTX card, the RTX 3050 also lets you run the ray-traced Minecraft RTX. Performance is surprisingly good, easily hitting above 50 FPS in most situations. It’s good enough for a smooth experience, although you’ll want a variable refresh rate (VRR) display for best results.
The RTX 3050 comes with 8 GB of VRAM, which is plenty for Minecraft. It can easily handle high-resolution texture packs at 1080p, preventing stuttering and texture pop-in when chunks load.
In terms of raw performance, the RTX 3050 isn’t as powerful as competing cards in the same price range, such as the AMD Radeon RX 6600. TechSpot’s benchmarks show that the RX 6600 is around 29% faster than the RTX 3050 at 1080p. However, Nvidia’s cards have handy content-creation features that make them more desirable for certain gamers.
Firstly, you’re getting Nvidia’s NVENC H.264 hardware video encoder. Hardware encoding is essential to maintain great framerates when recording and streaming, and Nvidia’s solution is generally better than AMD’s equivalent. There’s also Nvidia Broadcast, which offers features like AI-powered noise and echo removal and a virtual green screen.
So if you’re a content creator or want to stream your gameplay, the RTX 3050 is a compelling alternative to AMD’s offerings. It may not be as fast, but bonus features make it a valid choice.
|Boost Clock||1284 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR5|
|Ports||• 1 x DVI
• 1 x HDMI 2.0b
• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
|Power Consumption||150 watts|
|Dimensions||9.64 x 4.53 x 1.65 inches|
You don’t have to spend much to improve your Minecraft experience, and the Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 is proof of this. It offers plenty of VRAM for textures, pushes respectable framerates with shaders on, and costs less than $120. This is one of the best budget cards available—if you’re okay buying from a relatively unknown brand.
It’s important to note that while this is an RX 580, it’s technically a slightly downgraded version made for the Chinese market. In terms of performance, it sits somewhere between the original RX 580 and the RX 570, so finding Minecraft benchmarks for this specific card is a little tricky.
As such, we’ve used the RX 570 as a comparison instead. You can expect a bit more performance out of the Maxsun than these numbers.
Without shaders, the Maxsun RX 580 should Minecraft flawlessly, pushing over 200 FPS on average even at 4K resolution. However, installing shaders is a different matter, with significant FPS drops even at 1080p. However, these performance issues are version-dependent: version 1.17.1, for example, sees the RX 570 (and presumably Maxsun RX 580) drop down to the 30 FPS region. Admittedly, Minecraft’s slow-paced gameplay means that may not be an issue.
However, those of you who want higher framerates will have a much better experience with version 1.16.5. This older version performs much better and can even hit 80 FPS with BSL shaders in some situations. If you’re on this tight of a budget, you may have to accept playing on an older version if you want shaders. Thankfully, that’s pretty easy to do with Java Minecraft, as this help post shows.
The Maxsun AMD Radeon RX 580 is a decent card for a great price. It’s a huge upgrade over most integrated GPUs, and you can even play with shaders and high-resolution texture packs. Sure, 30 FPS isn’t ideal, but we can’t expect too much from a card that costs less than $120.
|Boost Clock||1777 MHz|
|Memory||12 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||170 watts|
|Dimensions||8.82 x 4.58 x 1.54 inches|
The Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12 GB is a strong choice for Minecraft, with a hefty amount of VRAM and excellent performance for the price. It’ll run shaders with maxed-out settings with no trouble, and you can squeeze out some great ray-tracing performance from it too.
The RTX 3060 will easily handle unmodded Minecraft at any resolution, with enough grunt to run it at 8K without issue. Enabling shaders will bring the FPS down, but you can still expect up to 200 FPS at 1080p. This will drop to around 160-FPS average when there are many objects and light sources in the scene or if you decide to crank up the shader settings.
Minecraft RTX is also a smooth experience with the RTX 3060. With ray tracing enabled, you can expect up to 90 FPS at 1080p and even a stable 60 FPS at 1440p. High-resolution texture packs shouldn’t be an issue either, thanks to the RTX 3060’s 12 GB of video memory.
In addition to the impressive framerates with shaders and ray tracing, the RTX 3060 also comes with useful content creation features. The NVENC video encoder minimizes the performance impact while broadcasting or recording video, making it an excellent choice for streaming or content creation.
You also get access to Nvidia Broadcast for AI-powered features like background noise removal and a virtual green screen. These will help you improve audio and video quality significantly without needing a dedicated streaming environment.
Overall, the RTX 3060 is one of the best mid-range GPUs you can buy today. It performs excellently in Minecraft, even with shaders and high-resolution texture packs. On top of that, extra features like NVENC and Nvidia Broadcast make it an excellent value GPU for content creation.
|Boost Clock||2565 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||160 watts|
|Dimensions||8.94 x 4.84 x 1.97 inches|
The Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 Ti boasts excellent performance in Minecraft, capable of high framerates at 1440p and 4K even with high-end shaders running. Its graphics power also lets you turn up the render distance while maintaining stable playable framerates. If you’re building a mid-range gaming PC for Minecraft, this is the card to get.
The RTX 4060 Ti is a relatively new GPU, so raw performance data is thin on the ground. However, the RTX 4060 Ti is neck and neck with the RTX 3070 at 1080p and 1440p, so we should expect similar results in Minecraft as well.
At 1080p on high settings, Minecraft runs at around 750 FPS on average with no shaders installed. With BSL, SEUS Renewed, and Complementary, framerates float around 240 FPS with the settings turned up. Performance is still great at 1440p, averaging 150 FPS with shaders enabled.
With so much extra performance, running Minecraft at 4K also becomes an option. On average, you can expect around 100 FPS with BSL shaders, while SEUS Renewed will run at around 70 FPS. Complementary sits between the two, hovering around 85 FPS on average.
Unfortunately, the RTX 4060 Ti only has 8 GB of VRAM. While that won’t be an issue for stock Minecraft, you may run into some stuttering at 4K with high-resolution textures and a lot of chunks. It may also become an issue for AAA games in the future.
While it’s a shame that the 4060 Ti only comes with 8 GB of VRAM, it’s still enough memory and performance to run Minecraft at great framerates with excellent visuals. If you want the best visual experience Minecraft has to offer, a card like the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is one of the best graphics cards for Minecraft.
Before You Buy
Minecraft isn’t a very heavy game, and any decent mid-range PC should be able to play Minecraft even with max settings and high-quality shaders. However, those of you building or buying a Minecraft-focused PC on a limited budget may not have the luxury of even mid-range components. So let’s discuss a couple of factors you should be aware of when shopping on a tight budget.
Do You Need a Dedicated GPU for Minecraft?
Minecraft is perfectly capable of running on low-end PC hardware. If you want to play unmodded Minecraft at modest settings, you can do so without a dedicated graphics card.
The Minecraft experience is surprisingly smooth with an integrated graphics card (or iGPU). The video below shows the game running at a stable 60 FPS with the Intel HD 4000, an iGPU from 2012. Modern CPUs have far more powerful iGPUs now, so you can expect better performance and even the ability to turn on some shaders while maintaining playable framerates.
Most Intel Core CPUs today have iGPUs, except those with KF or F in the name (such as the Intel Core i5-13400F). The AMD situation is a bit more complex. Only current-generation Zen 4 Ryzen processors (such as the Ryzen 5 7600) and AMD APUs (such as the Ryzen 5 5600G) have iGPUs; beyond that, AMD CPUs won’t have integrated graphics and will need dedicated graphics cards.
It can get confusing, especially if you’re new to computers. Thankfully, a quick Google search should help you determine whether your CPU includes integrated graphics.
CPU vs. GPU for Minecraft
Most modern graphics cards and CPUs will run Minecraft with shaders and texture packs without a problem. But if you’re building or buying a computer for Minecraft on a budget, then you may have to prioritize one or the other.
Generally, you’ll want to spend more on a CPU if you’re mainly interested in heavily-modded Minecraft packs such as Create, Valhelsia, All the Mods, or SkyFactory. These packs rely primarily on CPU power, especially if you plan to host a Minecraft server on your computer for friends to join.
If you’re more interested in graphics and making your game look pretty, you’ll want to allocate most of your money toward a dedicated GPU. A more powerful graphics card lets you enable Java shaders and increase the resolution, making for a prettier game.
A dedicated graphics processing unit also means better performance in AAA games, many of which rely much more on GPU than CPU power. So you should also prioritize the GPU if you’re interested in more than just playing Minecraft.
Basic Minecraft isn’t super demanding on your graphics card; it’ll run on almost anything. But mods like shaders and features like ray tracing can make even Minecraft look like a modern triple-A game, complete with heavy GPU demands.
So if you want to crank the settings up, you’ll need a card like the PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6600. It performs excellently in Minecraft with shaders enabled, has plenty of VRAM for high-resolution texture packs, and is reasonably priced. Alternatively, the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 is another excellent choice. It handles shaders well and boasts useful features like Nvidia Broadcast to improve your streaming experience.
Want to level up your Minecraft game? Check out our list of the best mice for Minecraft for some great PvP and PvE options.