With recent high-end graphics cards soaring into the four-digit price range, it’s easy to forget about the value on offer at the lower end. A sub-$300 graphics card is really all you need to play the latest triple-A titles at 1080p with respectable framerates and graphics settings. So if you’re on a tighter budget, let’s explore some of the best graphics cards under $300 worth considering for your PC build.
We’ll be focusing on cards that are available from popular retailers such as Amazon and Newegg, but that’s not your only option. Be sure to check out our buying guide section for some used graphics card buying tips that will help you squeeze more value out of your $300 budget.
- Best Graphics Card Under $300 Overall: MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT MECH 2X 8G OC is a powerful graphics card that easily handles modern games at both 1080p and 1440p.
- Best Graphics Card Under $300 Runner-Up: Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle 8G offers solid framerates at 1080p on high settings for just $220.
- Best Nvidia Graphics Card Under $300: MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC offers strong gaming performance with handy features for streamers like NVENC and Nvidia Broadcast.
- Best Intel Graphics Card Under $300: Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition 8GB is Intel’s entry into the sub-$300 GPU space that competes surprisingly well against both AMD and Nvidia.
Our Favorite Graphics cards Under $300
|Boost Clock||2669 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort v1.4a
• 1 x HDMI
|Power Consumption||175 watts|
|Dimensions||9.25 x 4.92 x 1.85 inches|
The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT dominates the sub-$300 GPU space with its outstanding performance, low power consumption, and great pricing. At a regular price of around $280, RX 6650 XTs like the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT MECH 2X 8G OC offer impressive value for 1080p and even 1440p gaming.
The RX 6650 XT is a refresh of the popular RX 6600 XT, a GPU that offers incredible 1080p performance with low power consumption. While they launched well above our $300 cut-off, recent price cuts have pushed RX 6650 XT-based graphics cards into the sub-$300 price range. This makes them excellent options and offers much better bang-for-buck than anything Nvidia can offer.
In terms of performance, we can see that the RX 6650 XT handles modern games easily, maintaining an average of 86.2 FPS at 1080p on ultra settings across Tom’s Hardware’s 8-game test suite. It outperforms Nvidia’s similarly-priced RTX 3050 here, which only manages 55 FPS across the same games.
But with this much performance, why limit yourself to just 60 FPS? When turned down to medium settings, the RX 6650 XT averages 149.5 FPS in the same set of games. This makes it perfect for pairing with a high refresh rate 1080p monitor. If you’re big on competitive gaming, the RX 6650 XT is perfect. It’ll allow you to push 120 FPS or more even in slightly more demanding esports titles like Apex Legends.
There’s enough power here to run games at 1440p, too. Across the same set of games, it manages an average of 61.3 FPS at ultra settings. However, you may need to tone the settings down to reach a smooth 60 FPS in more demanding modern titles.
At 9.25 inches in length, the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT MECH 2X 8G OC is fairly small for the power it packs. The shroud has some nice silver accents around the fans, and the overall design is fairly minimalistic. For I/O you get three DisplayPort outputs and a single HDMI port for all your multi-monitor needs.
The card uses a single 8-pin connector with a TDP of 173 watts. That’s not too bad considering how powerful the card is, and it should satisfy those trying to keep their power consumption under control. MSI’s twin-fan cooler design is also more than enough to keep temperatures in check.
Overall, the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT MECH 2X 8G OC is an excellent mid-range graphics card option. It offers fantastic framerates at 1080p and 1440p, all at a great sub-$300 price. The RX 6650 XT shows that AMD has a strong hold over the budget end of the GPU market and is the best card you can buy in the sub-$300 price bracket.
|Boost Clock||2491 MHz|
|Memory||8 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 2 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 2 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||132 watts|
|Dimensions||11.10 x 4.45 x 1.61 inches|
At around $220, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle 8G handles every modern title on high to ultra settings without breaking a sweat. It offers solid framerates at 1080p and can even game at 1440p with the settings turned down. Throw in excellent power efficiency and you’ve got a fantastic budget graphics card.
Much like the RX 6650 XT, the RX 6600 received a significant price drop in late 2022, going from $329 to under $250. This card originally competed with the Nvidia RTX 3060 in terms of cost and performance, but these price cuts shifted it down a pricing tier. This has turned the RX 6600 AMD GPU into a budget monster that easily beats similarly-priced Nvidia cards in value.
The benchmarks show that the RX 6600 falls below its rival in Cyberpunk 2077 on High settings, posting a 60 FPS average compared to the RTX 3060’s 67 FPS. Sure, the Nvidia card has an advantage, but seven FPS worth the $120 increase card in our books. If we look at a game that favors AMD, such as Death Stranding, the RX 6600 beats the RTX 3060 by a 3 FPS average. So while it’s not always as fast as Nvidia’s rival, you get much more bang for your buck here.
The RX 6600 is a fantastic card at 1080p, but it’s also perfectly capable of gaming at 1440p as well. In Death Stranding, the RX 6600 maintains 95 FPS at 1440p on Very High Quality settings with TAA (temporal anti-aliasing) enabled. In Horizon Zero Dawn, it manages an average of 64 FPS at 1440p on Ultimate quality.
Power consumption is another pleasant surprise with this card. The RX 6600 performed the best out of all its competitors, with an average system load of 297 watts in Doom (2016) at 1440p on Ultra Nightmare settings.
Due to the triple fan cooler design, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle 8G we’ve chosen is a little larger than most RX 6600s. This large cooler design puts the card’s length at 11.10 inches, so you may need to check for clearance if you’re installing this into a smaller case.
With the AMD Radeon RX 6600 and RX 6650 XT, AMD offers two great options for gamers on a budget. Committed 1080p gamers can opt for the RX 6600 and save around $30 without compromising graphical fidelity to run games at a solid 60 FPS. At just a shade over $200, a card like Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle 8G is easily among the best graphics cards under $300 for those on tighter budgets.
|Boost Clock||1807 MHz|
|Memory||12 GB GDDR6|
|Ports||• 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
• 1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power Consumption||170 watts|
|Dimensions||9.25 x 4.88 x 1.65 inches|
On raw performance alone, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 falls a bit behind AMD’s rival sub-$300 GPUs. But there’s more to the RTX 3060 than raw framerates. With its high-quality NVENC encoder, Nvidia Broadcast, and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), this Nvidia GPU is a compelling alternative for budget-minded gamers and content creators.
At 1080p, the RTX 3060 performs admirably on ultra settings, averaging 74.9 FPS across Tom’s Hardware’s 8-game test suite. It trails behind the RX 6650 XT by an average of 11.3 FPS, but it performs better in certain titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Total War: Warhammer 3.
The RTX 3060’s 12 GB of VRAM means it shouldn’t run out of VRAM at 1440p, either. It averages 61.3 FPS on ultra settings, and you can easily reach higher refresh rates by dropping down to lower settings.
The benchmarks don’t seem too impressive when compared to the RX 6650 XT, especially considering the $20 to $30 you’d save by going AMD. However, the true value of the RTX 3060 is in its features.
As an RTX card, you get a plethora of extra features that you don’t get with an AMD or Intel card. These features include DLSS, Nvidia’s supersampling technology that renders a game at a lower resolution then upscales it using AI. It can give a significant FPS boost while maintaining great graphical quality.
While AMD has its own FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), DLSS is generally superior to AMD’s FSR technology in terms of both quality and framerate. The video below shows DLSS’ advantage quite clearly:
In addition, modern Nvidia cards come with the NVENC hardware video encoder. While it’s not quite as good as CPU-based encoding, it offers comparable quality with much lower performance impact. If you’re a streamer or have considered broadcasting your gameplay, then an Nvidia card is usually the go-to choice thanks to NVENC.
You also get access to Nvidia Broadcast, a program that offers a full suite of features for streamers and gamers. It allows you to easily remove background noise from your microphone with AI-powered sound processing tools, and you can remove the background from your camera feed without using a greenscreen.
The RTX 3060’s recent price drop makes it a great competitor in the sub-$300 market. While it might not have the same level of raw performance as AMD’s cards, it makes up for it with extra features. If you’re a streamer or content creator, then the NVENC hardware video encoder and Nvidia Broadcast can make up for the lower framerates. This is especially true when streaming, as you’ll be limiting framerates and resolution anyway.
In short, the RTX 3060 offers solid performance at 1080p and 1440p, and stands out with extra features like DLSS, Nvidia Broadcast, and the NVENC encoder. While it’s still not quite as fast as a similarly-priced AMD GPU, the extras make it worth considering depending on your priorities.
|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|
Intel’s Arc A750 is the perfect example of a company turning things around given enough time. With performance that rivals the RTX 3060 and a recent price drop, it’s gone from a buggy GPU with poor drivers to one of the best budget graphics cards under $300.
At 1080p, the A750 outperforms the Nvidia RTX 3060 with an average of 75.8 FPS across Tom’s Hardware’s 8-game benchmark. While the averages are lower than the RX 6650 XT, it does have notable advantages in certain games such as Total War: Warhammer 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Performance is even more impressive at 1440p. The A750 once again beats the RTX 3060, but it’s now neck-and-neck with the RX 6650 XT at the higher resolution.
In newer and more demanding titles like Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077, the A750 still performs admirably at both 1080p and 1440p. In Elden Ring, the A750 easily maintains 60 FPS at Maximum settings at 1080p. At 1440p, you can hit the same framerate by lowering the quality to High.
Intel’s XeSS scaling technology also gives Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR a run for their money. In Cyberpunk 2077, the A750 averages 67 FPS at 1080p on ultra settings with ray tracing set to medium and XeSS upsampling enabled. It’s a welcome improvement and highly recommended in games that support it. Unfortunately, not many games feature XeSS at the time of writing, and Intel has a long way to go to catch up to DLSS and FSR.
These benchmarks speak volumes about the A750’s power, but there is one major caveat to Intel Arc GPUs. The A750 relies on your PC supporting Resizable BAR (ReBar) or Smart Access Memory (SAM); if it doesn’t, you could lose up to 24% performance.
These features are only available on Intel 10th generation and AMD Zen 3 CPUs or newer and also require a motherboard chipset that supports either feature. This makes the A750 a poor choice if you’re upgrading an older PC. If that’s the case, you’ll want an AMD Radeon RX or Nvidia RTX graphics card instead.
In terms of power draw, 225 watts is a little high for a card around this level of performance. For context, the RX 6650 XT has a 176-watt TDP and pushes higher average framerates. So the A750 isn’t as efficient as we’d like it to be.
Despite that minor issue, the Intel Arc A750 is still a great cheap graphics card. Things didn’t start great for Intel, but numerous driver iterations and price cuts have turned the Arc A750 into a great value option.
Before You Buy
Buying a sub-$300 graphics card for your gaming PC means you’ll have to make some sacrifices. You simply can’t get a card that does it all, so you’ll have to know which manufacturer’s products best suits your needs. So let’s compare all three manufacturers, as well as quickly discuss a great way to get even more bang for your buck.
AMD vs. Intel vs. Nvidia
The sub-$300 GPU market is full of powerful cards thanks to AMD and Intel cutting the MSRPs of their products. Nvidia struggles a bit due to scalping and retailers bumping prices up, but that doesn’t rule them out completely.
AMD dominates the budget GPU space when it comes to performance per dollar. It’s all thanks to the 6000-series price cuts that dropped the cards down a price tier. You’re essentially getting $300-400-tier performance at under $300 with the RX 6600 and 6650 XT, which is excellent value.
Intel used to be a hard recommendation due to driver issues. Thankfully, they’ve released several updates to boost performance in modern and older games. You might run into some incompatible games or display bugs, but things are much better than they used to be. You’ll still have to diagnose occasional issues if you buy an Intel card, though.
As for Nvidia, their sub-$300 cards are relatively weak in terms of raw performance when compared to both AMD and Intel. However, they compensate for the FPS difference with DLSS support and streamer-friendly features like Nvidia Broadcast and NVENC. So an Nvidia card might make more sense if you’re into content creation.
There’s a surprising amount of flexibility when picking a sub-$300 graphics card. AMD offers excellent raw performance per dollar, but Nvidia has better upscaling technology and features for content creators. Intel’s cards have a few driver quirks but offer great performance if you’re willing to do a little troubleshooting.
Buying Used Graphics Cards
Buying used is a great way to jump up a GPU tier in terms of performance. On eBay, you can pick up a used Nvidia RTX 3070 for under $300, a GPU that would easily top this list in terms of performance and features. So it’s a great way to stretch your budget and get more performance than you would otherwise. However, buying used does come with some risks.
A used GPU should perform the same regardless of how old it is. However, you may have to do some minor maintenance and clean up dusty fans and heatsinks. Some cards can even be dusty enough to end up overheating and throttling, although that’s quite rare in our experience.
Generally, we recommend sticking to reputable sellers who post actual photos of the cards they’re selling. While it’s not foolproof, both help stack the odds in your favor, ensuring you don’t end up with a dead graphics card.
You should also check Facebook Marketplace and other local sales platforms if you’re hunting for a used graphics card. You should be able to test cards before buying, eliminating most of the risks associated with buying used cards.
The sub-$300 GPU market is full of life. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia all have offerings in this category, and they all have their merits. Choose AMD or Intel if you want the best possible performance per dollar or Nvidia if you value features like DLSS upscaling and Nvidia Broadcast.
If you’re not buying based on brand loyalty, then MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT MECH 2X 8G OC would be our top choice. It performs amazingly for the price at 1080p and 1440p, and you’ll get solid framerates in modern titles with a few tweaked settings. If you’re a content creator or streamer, consider the MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC. The NVENC codec offers great quality video encoding, while Nvidia Broadcast will help elevate your stream with its AI noise reduction and virtual green screen.
On an even tighter budget? Check out our list of the best graphics cards under $200 for some real bargain options.