Running games at 4K resolution used to be impractical and expensive, reserved only for the most expensive GPUs on the market. But these days, it’s entirely possible to get respectable framerates at 4K with a relatively inexpensive GPU. This is thanks to a huge boost in GPU power over the past couple of years and the introduction of high-quality upscaling technologies. Let’s look at some of the cheapest 4K graphics cards you should consider for your gaming PC build.
- Best Value Graphics Card for 4K Overall: PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT offers incredible raw performance and 12 GB of VRAM, making it the perfect budget card for 4K.
- Best Value Graphics Card for 4K Alternative: Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 Ti combines excellent performance with performance-enhancing AI features like DLSS upscaling and frame generation.
- Best Cheap AMD Graphics Card for 4K: XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE is one of the best budget cards available on the market, and it performs great at 4K with a bit of upscaling help.
- Best Cheap Nvidia Graphics Card for 4K: Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 is a budget last-gen card that is perfectly capable of gaming at native 4K, and access to DLSS upscaling makes it even more enticing.
- Best Cheap Intel Graphics Card for 4K: Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition 8GB is Intel’s budget GPU that gets better over time thanks to driver updates, offering fantastic 4K performance for the price.
Our Top Cheapest Graphics Cards for 4K
|Boost Clock||2581 MHz|
|Memory||12 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||250 watts|
|Dimensions||8.98 x 4.29 x 1.54 inches|
The PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT offers an incredible price-to-performance ratio for 4K gaming at its sub-$350 price. With 12 GB of video memory (or VRAM), it handles native 4K relatively easily, albeit at lower framerates. But as you’ll see with all the mini-reviews on this list, a little help from upscaling goes a long way to getting smooth framerates out of this budget 4K card.
The RX 6700 XT offers strong gaming performance at native 4K, especially considering its current price. Big-ticket titles such as God of War and Elden Ring sit at a decent 40 and 45 FPS average at maxed-out settings, respectively. Lower the settings, and you can easily reach a smooth 4K 60 FPS experience in newer titles. Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example, averaging over 100 FPS on the low preset.
If your main interest is esports titles, then the RX 6700 XT can run them perfectly fine at native 4K with the settings cranked up. Apex Legends easily passes the 100 FPS average mark at high settings, and Warzone 2.0 runs at 55 FPS average with everything maxed out.
But the RX 6700 XT shines when you enable upscaling. With AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) enabled, you can expect a big boost in framerates with minimal impact on quality.
For example, Warzone 2.0 on maxed settings jumps from 55 FPS at native 4K to 75 FPS average with FSR enabled on the Quality preset. With the Performance preset, you can increase this to an impressive 86 FPS. More demanding games like God of War jump from 40 FPS to a stable 60 FPS with FSR on the Quality preset without needing to reduce settings.
Unfortunately, not all games support upscaling. Elden Ring, for example, has no upscaling options in the settings, which limits your options here. Thankfully, third-party modifications can add these in, although that’s contingent on a game being popular enough to receive mod support. Here’s hoping FSR 3’s frame generation element will encourage more developers to integrate it into their games.
With outstanding performance and 12 GB of VRAM, the RX 6700 XT offers some of the best gaming performance at 4K within the sub-$400 price bracket. It’s equally at home providing a high-fidelity 30 FPS experience as it is with smooth, FSR-aided 60 FPS. And you can possibly get an even smoother experience once AMD’s FSR 3 frame generation gains broader adoption. All in all, this makes the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT an excellent cheap 4K graphics card.
|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 offers a plethora of features that make it a fantastic pick at under $400. You’re getting decent raw performance, access to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) upscaling and frame generation, high-quality hardware video encoders, and Nvidia Broadcast. All these features combined make it a great all-rounder choice for budget 4K gaming.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti offers fairly good performance at native 4K resolution. In Diablo 4, you can expect a smooth 68 FPS average with the settings maxed out. The more demanding Cyberpunk 2077 can hit an average of 30 FPS on high settings, enough for a console-style experience.
If esports games are your thing, then the RTX 4060 Ti is a great choice for high-framerate 4K gaming. Apex Legends averages around 100 FPS with the settings maxed and can easily hit 120 FPS if you lower the settings. Warzone 2.0 is much more demanding but still reaches an average of 74 FPS at native 4K with the Basic preset.
As an RTX card, you can use Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) upscaling technology, which improves frame rates at minimal visual cost. And since it’s a 40-series card, the RTX 4060 Ti also supports Nvidia’s DLSS 3 frame generation (FG) technology, which improves framerates using AI-generated frames. However, the performance benefits of frame generation will vary with the RTX 4060 Ti, at least at 4K resolution.
For example, Diablo 4 runs at a 68 FPS average at native 4K on High settings. With DLSS upscaling enabled, it jumps to 102 FPS average, which is a huge boost. However, enabling FG drops the average framerate by 4 FPS at native 4K and 15 FPS with DLSS enabled. It’s unclear why this happens, although the combination of Diablo 4’s VRAM-hungry ultra textures and DLSS 3 FG’s VRAM requirements at 4K may have something to do with this.
Thankfully, that’s not the case for Cyberpunk 2077. At native 4K on high settings, you can expect around 30 FPS on average. With DLSS enabled on the Quality preset, this jumps up to 50 FPS. Turn on FG, and you’ll get a boost to 57 FPS at the cost of increased latency. But if you’re fine lowering the quality a bit more, then the DLSS Balanced preset can reach a smooth 62 FPS average with no extra tweaking required.
Overall, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is a great GPU for budget 4K PC gaming. While the 8 GB of VRAM is a bit low, you’re still getting excellent performance thanks to DLSS and frame generation. You’re also getting other added benefits, such as the NVENC and AV1 encoders for streaming and recording gameplay, and Nvidia Broadcast’s AI-powered noise reduction and camera processing features.
|Boost Clock||2491 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||132 watts|
|Dimensions||9.49 x 5.16 x 1.61 inches|
At around $200, the XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6600 CORE is perhaps the cheapest way to experience 4K gaming. Despite costing less than the average 4K gaming monitor, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 is perfectly capable of 4K gaming if you’re willing to compromise on settings and use upscaling.
Tom’s Hardware’s tests show the RX 6600 delivering an average of 56.6 FPS on medium settings at native 4K across nine different games. However, it’s worth mentioning that these benchmarks are from 2021, so the lineup of games (such as The Division 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Far Cry 5) isn’t very demanding. More modern games will likely hover around the 30 to 40 FPS mark before upscaling.
If you mainly play esports titles, then the RX 6600 can maintain comfortable framerates at native 4K if you lower the graphics. This includes a 60 FPS average on Apex Legends, a 158 FPS average on Fortnite, and 140 FPS in Valorant, all of which are impressive numbers for a card costing around $200.
In more recent titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, the RX 6600 can reach 42 FPS average at native 4K with the settings on low. In Resident Evil Village, you get an impressive 70 FPS average on medium settings.
With upscaling, the results are even better. Cyberpunk 2077 averages 55 FPS at 4K on low settings with the FSR Quality preset, and it’s likely possible to tweak the settings a little more to reach that 60 FPS sweet spot. That should allow you to raise framerates even further once CD Projekt RED add support for AMD’s FSR 3 frame generation, which requires a 60 FPS minimum for best results.
Overall, the AMD Radeon RX 6600’s 4K performance is pleasantly surprising for a budget graphics card. While it relies on upscaling to make newer titles more playable, we think that’s perfectly acceptable given its pricing.
|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|
Nvidia dropped the prices on their GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs this year, making cards like the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 a lot more attractive to budget gamers. For around $300, you get good performance and a solid 12 GB of video memory, enough for 4K gaming. Add to that advanced features like DLSS upscaling, the high-quality NVENC video encoder, and Nvidia Broadcast, and you’ve got a versatile package for budget 4K gaming.
The RTX 3060 performs surprisingly well at native 4K resolution. You can get an average of 36 FPS in God of War and a 31 FPS average in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, both at the highest settings. If you’re aiming for a console-like 30 FPS experience, then the RTX 3060 should have you covered even in triple-A games. In esports titles like Rainbow Six: Siege, you can expect an average of 107 FPS, while Fortnite blazes past at a similar 112 FPS average.
But much like the other cards on this list, the RTX 3060 relies on upscaling to really get smooth framerates at 4K. As an RTX card, you get access to Nvidia’s DLSS, which offers better gaming performance than native resolution while creating a cleaner image than the current iterations of AMD’s FSR and Intel’s XeSS.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example of what DLSS brings to the table. The game can only hit around 25 FPS at native 4K on medium settings. Turn on DLSS with the Balanced preset, and the game jumps to a 48-FPS average. DLSS Performance increases it even further to 55 FPS. Tweak a few more settings, and you could probably hit 60 FPS on this $300 GPU.
DLSS also offers better image stability and quality than XeSS and FSR. It handles fine detail reconstruction incredibly well and has fewer shimmering and flickering artifacts on foliage and text. Results will vary depending on the games, but most titles will look significantly better with DLSS upscaling than they will with FSR or XeSS.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is a fantastic option for budget 4K gaming. It has excellent performance, 12 GB of VRAM (even more than the 4060 Ti), access to DLSS, and content creation features like the NVENC encoder and Nvidia Broadcast. If you only have $300 to spend, this is likely the most complete cheap 4K GPU you’ll get.
|Boost Clock||2400 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 2.0
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||225 watts|
|Dimensions||11.01 x 3.87 x 1.65 inches|
The Intel Arc A750 has seen consistent performance increases thanks to new driver updates from Intel, making it a formidable competitor in the budget GPU space. With the recent price drop down to under $210 and the release of their XeSS 1.2 upscaling technology, the A750 is now one of the best budget graphics cards for 4K gaming.
At native 4K, the A750 performs quite well for the price. Medium settings see the A750 reaching averages of 34 FPS in Hogwarts Legacy and 46 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077. For esports titles like Apex Legends, you can expect a 93 FPS average with medium settings, enough for a smooth and fast-paced competitive experience.
But the A750 didn’t pull those numbers in the past. For example, Cyberpunk 2077 averaged around 37 FPS before the April 2023 driver update. It’s the same story with Apex Legends, which used to only run at approximately 69 FPS on average. This shows that Intel is putting in the effort to continue improving its drivers, which is an excellent sign for the A750’s longevity.
While native 4K performance is great for the price, we can also get huge gains with upscaling. AMD’s FSR and Intel’s own XeSS work with the A750, but XeSS performs better as it takes advantage of Intel Arc GPUs’ dedicated machine-learning hardware.
XeSS has matured a lot since its inception and is starting to overtake FSR in terms of image quality, but there are some games where FSR can offer a slight FPS increase when using the Performance preset. Switching between the two is just a menu setting, so it’s worth flicking through the presets to see which offers the best balance of frames and quality in your game.
Hogwarts Legacy is an excellent example of what XeSS can do. At native 4K on medium settings, you can expect an average of 34 FPS. Enabling XeSS’s Balanced preset almost doubles the average framerate up to 67 FPS. If you want better quality, you can pick the XeSS Ultra Quality preset for improved image fidelity while staying at 52 average FPS. You can even go up to High settings with XeSS Balanced and still maintain a 53 FPS average.
Intel Arc’s A750 is an interesting alternative to Nvidia and AMD cards around the same price point. With surprisingly decent 4K gaming performance and a growing library of XeSS-capable games, the A750 is a strong choice for anyone looking to build a budget 4K gaming system. If you’re after the cheapest 4K graphics card you can buy, this is the product for you.
Before You Buy
These affordable cards showcase what’s possible when you leverage technologies like frame generation and upscaling, but at the end of the day, they’re still budget cards. It’s important to manage your expectations and understand what these technologies are capable of before you buy cheaper hardware.
It’s essential to target a specific framerate when building a system for cheap 4K gaming. This will help you choose a suitable GPU for your budget. A budget 4K gaming rig should usually aim for 30 FPS at 4K. This ensures a consistent experience and eliminates screen tearing at native 4K with vertical sync (VSync) enabled.
But thanks to high-quality upscaling technologies such as Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD FSR, you can likely play games at higher framerates than that, provided you’re also willing to reduce graphics settings.
You can gain a considerable FPS boost by switching to a lower preset or tweaking specific graphics settings. In most games, you can safely turn down graphics settings like shadows, draw distances, and post-processing without losing too much in the way of eye candy. Hence, it’s worth playing around with different settings to achieve higher framerates.
If you’re looking for a good middle ground between responsive gameplay and fidelity, you could also aim for a 40 FPS target. Targeting 40 FPS means you have more room to turn up the settings (vs. 60 FPS) while still getting more responsive gameplay than at 30 FPS.
Forty FPS may not seem like a significant increase over 30 FPS, but the FPS numbers don’t tell the whole story. A game running at 40 FPS updates every 25 ms, a 25% reduction in frame times compared to 30 FPS’s 33.3 ms update. This means the game will respond faster to your inputs, making it feel much smoother and snappier.
However, you’ll need a monitor with adaptive sync or a 120 Hz refresh rate to avoid screen tearing at 40 FPS. Adaptive sync (G-Sync or FreeSync) is a common feature on modern gaming monitors, and most 4K gaming monitors should have some sort of adaptive sync support built-in.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a ton to get adaptive sync on your 4K monitor. Even an inexpensive $300 monitor like the Asus Tuf Gaming VG289Q supports the feature. Simply enable adaptive sync in your GPU software and your monitor, and you’re good to go.
Upscaling: DLSS vs. FSR vs. XeSS
Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) are high-quality upscaling technologies from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel respectively. Upscaling boosts performance by rendering the game at a lower internal resolution for more FPS before upsampling the image to your monitor’s native resolution.
But simply increasing the size of the final image would make it blurry. So, to overcome this, these technologies use temporal upscaling to improve image quality. This takes data from current and previous frames to produce a higher-quality upscaled image. Nvidia and Intel take things a step further, using machine learning hardware to improve fidelity and reduce artifacts.
DLSS is a proprietary upscaling technology that uses machine learning cores present on Nvidia RTX cards, so it only works on modern Nvidia GPUs. FSR and XeSS work on all graphics cards, but XeSS usually performs better on Intel Arc GPUs thanks to dedicated machine-learning hardware.
In terms of performance and fidelity, DLSS tends to squeeze ahead of the others in terms of framerate improvements and image quality. FSR is the most compatible but usually falls behind in image quality. XeSS is still maturing but currently sits between the two rival upscalers, boasting FSR’s cross-hardware compatibility and DLSS-like visuals in some games.
High-quality upscalers are essential to achieve decent framerates on a budget 4K graphics card. If you have an Nvidia graphics card, we recommend sticking to DLSS when available and falling back on FSR or XeSS when needed. If you own an Intel or AMD card, then it’s worth trying both FSR and XeSS when available to find the one that works and performs the best in your game(s).
In addition to upscaling, we also have frame generation (often abbreviated FG). This separate technology can improve framerates in supported titles by analyzing two sequential in-game frames and generating an additional frame that slots between the two. The result is higher framerates at the cost of increased latency.
Both Nvidia and AMD have their own frame generation solutions. Nvidia’s DLSS 3 frame generation is exclusive to Nvidia’s RTX 40-series cards, ostensibly because it requires the new Optical Flow Accelerator hardware. AMD’s FSR 3 frame generation update doesn’t use dedicated hardware and will run on all modern GPUs. However, the company recommends AMD RX 6000-series and Nvidia RTX 30-series cards (or newer) for best performance.
Frame generation can greatly improve FPS in the right circumstances. DLSS 3 frame generation can take Cyberpunk 2077 framerates at 4K ultra from a barely-playable 33 FPS up to 128 FPS when combined with upscaling on an Nvidia RTX 4090. That’s a massive 287% increase without sacrificing too much in terms of visual quality.
However, less-powerful GPUs won’t benefit as much from DLSS 3 frame generation. For example, the RTX 4060 Ti only gains a handful of frames in Cyberpunk 2077, going from 52 FPS to 57 FPS with frame generation enabled. Diablo 4 is even more problematic, with your FPS actually dropping from an average of 103 FPS to 90 FPS with the DLSS Quality preset and frame generation enabled at 4K and maxed settings.
As exciting as it is, frame generation doesn’t offer “free” performance. Your GPU must still do all the necessary calculations to generate the extra frames. So it’s not a magic technology that will fix all your 4K-related performance problems. Furthermore, frame generation still requires a decent base framerate to look its best, with AMD recommending a baseline of 60 FPS before frame generation. So you’ll still need to reduce settings and use upscaling no matter what at 4K.
DLSS 3 frame generation is currently the more widely-supported frame generation technology, with FSR 3 frame generation only available in Forspoken and Immortals of Aveum. Initial impressions of the latter are promising, but FSR 3 currently has issues that will likely take some time for AMD and developers to iron out. Problems such as frame pacing and lack of VRR support are problematic, and it’ll likely be a few months before we should pass judgment on this particular Nvidia vs. AMD head-to-head.
Gaming at 4K resolution is no longer the expensive investment it used to be. While these cheap 4K cards may not offer the most amazing gaming experience at 4K, they’re still capable of providing 30 to 60 FPS experiences, even in modern AAA games. This is thanks to improvements in overall GPU power and framerate-boosting technologies such as upscaling and frame generation, giving these GPUs a fighting chance even at 4K.
The PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is our top choice for budget 4K gaming thanks to its incredible price-to-performance ratio. It runs games surprisingly well at native 4K and will get frame generation with AMD’s FSR 3 update. The Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is a strong competitor that’s a little more expensive but comes with extra features such as DLSS 3 and Nvidia’s suite of content creation features like NVENC and AV1 hardware encoding encoder and Nvidia Broadcast.
Don’t want to deal with all the compromises these GPUs require for 4K gaming? Check out our list of the best graphics cards for 4K. Just make sure your wallet can handle it!