October 4, 2023
United Kingdom
Buyers Guides Graphics Cards

Best Graphics Cards to Buy Under $300 in 2023

Best GPUs Under $300 2023 Feature Image

Introduction

The graphics card market has been in a somewhat strange state over the past couple of years. We had the silicon shortage during the global pandemic, which resulted in ridiculously high GPU prices due to stocking problems. Then following this, we started to see normality with the RTX 3000 series during the mid-point of last year, but now we’ve gone back to a state of rising prices thanks to NVIDIA‘s poorly marketed RTX 4000 series, and AMD somewhat following the competition.

But despite this doomsday-like narrative, there are still a multitude of available cards sitting at affordable prices. $300 is a great price point for those looking to pick up a budget or entry level mid-range card, and sits on the cusp of affordable for most consumers.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at a range of graphics cards at this exact price point, covering off some cheaper budget cards, along with some newer offerings that will provide some stronger performance metrics.

Suggested Article: Best AMD GPUs to Buy in 2023

Our Recommendations

1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

👑 The best budget NVIDIA card under $300.

MSI Ventus 3X OC RTX 3060 - CK560 & 3060 Build

Introduction

First off in our roundup is the RTX 3060 from NVIDIA. This card is one of Team Green’s true budget options and was the proverbial ‘talk of the town’ back when RTX 3000 graphics cards launched. And despite NVIDIA’s more recent efforts to revitalised the ’60’ class GPUs with an RTX 4000 version, the RTX 3060 is still the superior option. This card comes with 12GB of VRAM, which is ideal for the increasing requirements for modern games, along with a wide range of technologies at it’s back that make it a compelling option.

Looking at performance, the RTX 3060 is definitely more of a 1080p beast. You can expect this GPU to absolutely soar in older more Esports-style titles, with games like Fortnite, Apex Legends or Valorant surpassing that 144Hz sweet spot. In modern titles, framerates will suffer to a degree based on the age of this card, but the increased VRAM capacity makes it an excellent contender versus the majority of other budget class cards on the market right now. As a small note, this GPU can handle 1440p when DLSS is enabled, but you will lose out on framerates with some visual fidelity loss too.

Key Specs

SpecNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
Base Clock (GHz):1.32
Boost Clock (GHz):2.78
Memory Size:12GB
Memory Type:GDDR6
NVIDIA Architecture:Ampere
NVIDIA DLSS:2
NVIDIA Frame Gen:No
NVIDIA Reflex:Yes
PCI Express Gen 4:Yes
Graphics Card Power (W)170
Required/Recommended System Power (W)550

Things We Like

12GB of VRAM: Graphics cards utilising a lower amount of VRAM is a huge point of contention at the moment. With many new GPUs only releasing with 8GB of VRAM, the RTX 3060 seems like a tantalising choice based on the more competitive price point and stronger capacity.

One of NVIDIA’s only budget options: Unfortunately, NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 graphics cards haven’t quite hit the mark when it comes to pricing and performance. This makes the RTX 3000 cards still some of the strongest budget options on the market right now, which is pretty impressive despite their age.

Things We Don’t Like

Stocks won’t last forever: Despite RTX 3000 cards being a rather competitive option in the market, they are part of the previous generation of NVIDIA GPUs. This means that stocks aren’t likely to last, and as soon as they’re gone, they won’t be replenished.

No access to DLSS 3 or Frame Gen: This biggest disadvantage of using older components is that you miss out on the newer technologies available on the market. New NVIDIA cards can utilise DLSS 3 and Frame Generation, improving performance when under load and at higher resolutions.

Summary

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 is a solid budget graphics card sitting well under the $300 mark. NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture provides a solid baseline for those playing games at 1080p, with some wiggle room up to 1440p at points when DLSS is turned on. However, it is worth picking up an RTX 3060 sooner rather than later, as stocks are not likely to last.

Features: 3.9/5
Design: 4.2/5
Performance: 4.3/5
Value for Money: 4.2/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Excellent 1080p gaming performance.
  • Utilises 12GB VRAM which is better than the competition.
  • Can play games at 1440p with DLSS turned on.

Cons

  • Stocks aren’t likely to last.
  • No access to modern technologies.

Where to Buy

Buy the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 on:

2. AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

👑 The best Radeon 6000 GPU under $300.

Gigabyte 6600XT Eagle (versus article)

Introduction

Next up is one of our favourites from the Radeon 6000 range of graphics cards. AMD has been on the ‘up and up’ recently, with many of their older generation cards significantly dropping in price. Due to a number of driver optimisations and improvements that we saw towards the end of last year with the Radeon 6000 refresh, many of these older cards (minus the 6500 XT) are extremely competitive options. You’ve got the benefit of massively improved performance, at a price point that the majority of consumers would deep acceptable.

Looking at performance, much like the RTX 3060, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a beast when it comes to 1080p gaming. Consumers can expect high framerates in the majority of games, allowing you to enjoy a buttery smooth visual experience. This card also has some decent legs in 1440p as well, but there will definitely be a loss of frames here. Its also worth noting that whilst this GPU will cope with some modern titles, it is let down by the lower VRAM capacity which will result in reduce performance in the newest of titles.

Key Specs

SpecAMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
Base Clock (GHz):1.96
Boost Clock (GHz):2.58
Memory Size:8GB
Memory Type:GDDR6
AMD Architecture:RDNA 2
AMD FSR:Yes
AMD Super Resolution:Yes
AMD Radeon Software:Yes
PCI Express Gen 4:Yes
Graphics Card Power (W)160
Required/Recommended System Power (W)500

Things We Like

Can handle 1440p gaming: The biggest advantage of picking up a 6600 XT, is that this card can handle 1440p gaming relatively well. You are likely to see a reduced framerate, but this will be better in comparison to other graphics card at this price point.

Doesn’t require a high wattage PSU: The 6600 XT is one of the more efficient options that you can pick up, sitting at a TGP of around 160W. This allows you to save some money on your power supply, making it ideal for budget systems.

Things We Don’t Like

Let down by 8GB of VRAM: Whilst I do think that the 6600 XT shouldn’t have any major issues with the majority of modern titles, it is likely that newer games that release within the next couple years may cause this card to struggle to a degree.

FSR is weaker than DLSS: If you plan on pushing your graphics card with a higher resolution, we would advise turning on FSR. But keep in mind that FSR is generally weaker than DLSS and you could face latency issues or a lower visual fidelity.

Summary

AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 XT is an incredibly compelling option on the market right now, providing strong 1080p gaming performance, alongside pretty decent metrics at a 1440p resolution too. The only let-down of this GPU is the weaker VRAM capacity, which may hinder it’s performance if you’re the kind of consumer that likes to play modern triple A games.

Features: 4.1/5
Design: 4.2/5
Performance: 4.4/5
Value for Money: 4.3/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Excellent 1080p gaming performance.
  • Can handle 1440p in certain games.
  • Doesn’t require an insanely high wattage power supply.

Cons

  • 8GB of VRAM isn’t great.
  • FSR is generally weaker in comparison to DLSS.

Where to Buy

Buy the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT on:

3. AMD Radeon RX 7600

👑 The best modern graphics card under $300.

Gigabyte Gaming OC RX 7600 Wide

Introduction

For our third selection, we’ve picked out a more modern entrant from AMD that released rather recently, the Radeon RX 7600. This graphics card was greeted with a somewhat lukewarm reception, but in the face of rising prices, the RX 7600 seems like an absolute dream. This card is one of AMD’s third options with the newest Radeon 7000 range. After our initial review, we were quite impressed with the 7600, especially when comparing this new AMD card to NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 options.

Moving onto performance, as you can probably expect, this graphics card is a 1080p beast, offering solid metrics in the vast majority of titles. We also found that even without FSR, the Radeon RX 7600 was able to handle 1440p pretty well too. Obviously this was at a reduced framerate in comparison to 1080p, but we were still happy with the performance. Much like the Radeon 6600 XT, this card is equally let down by it’s lack of VRAM in comparison to the RTX 3060. Whilst the 7600 is very capable in the games currently out on the market, it may suffer in the newest of titles over the coming years.

Key Specs

SpecAMD Radeon RX 7600
Base Clock (GHz):1.72
Boost Clock (GHz):2.65
Memory Size:8GB
Memory Type:GDDR6
AMD Architecture:RDNA 3
AMD FSR:Yes
AMD Super Resolution:Yes
AMD Radeon Software:Yes
PCI Express Gen 4:Yes
Graphics Card Power (W)165
Required/Recommended System Power (W)550

Things We Like

Strong 1080p and 1440p gaming performance: The Radeon RX 7600 is a solid performer in 1080p and 1440p games. If you’re looking to play Esports titles, this GPU will be a great bet.

Utilises modern technology: The Radeon RX 7600 is one of AMD‘s newest cards on the market, so all of the new technologies that come out within the next year or so should be available for this GPU.

Things We Don’t Like

8GB of VRAM will suffer in modern games: Newer triple A titles require more VRAM to ensure stronger framerates. Unfortunately 8GB of VRAM isn’t likely to cut it in the newest games.

Weaker framerates at 1440p: Although this card can handle some games, especially Esports titles at 1440p, consumers should expect diminished performance in the newest titles, so those with high refresh rate displays may want to consider another option.

Summary

AMD’s Radeon RX 7600 is an awesome budget graphics card, geared towards entry-level builds. Consumers can expect solid 1080p performance, with pretty decent framerates at a 1440p resolution too. This modern GPU is yet again let down by a weaker VRAM capacity, but for those playing Esports games will find this card is perfect at its lower price point.

Features: 4.5/5
Design: 4.2/5
Performance: 4.4/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Strong performance in 1080p and 1440p games.
  • Utilises modern hardware and software.
  • Ideal for Esports games.

Cons

  • 8GB of VRAM will cause performance to suffer in modern games.
  • Diminished frames at a 1440p resolution.

Where to Buy

Buy the AMD Radeon RX 7600 on:

4. AMD Radeon RX 6700

👑 The best 10GB VRAM GPU under $300.

AMD Radeon RX 6700

Introduction

For our final pick in this roundup, we’ve chosen the Radeon RX 6700. This is one of the few cards available for under $300 that offers a decent VRAM capacity, and isn’t a card that’s over four years old. Despite the Radeon RX 6700 being slightly older in comparison to an RTX 4000 or Radeon 7000 option, it is still an extremely solid choice for those looking to pick up a card that’s going to last in the coming years as performance demands for games start to increase.

Performance wise, the Radeon RX 6700 is a strong competitor in the 1440p market. This GPU can easily handle 1080p gaming, which tends to be more CPU intensive as a general rule of thumb. But this graphics card is better built for 1440p due to the stronger hardware, and higher VRAM capacity. This card isn’t quite powerful enough to deal with Ray-Tracing, but turning on FSR might improve framerates here and there. The 6700 XT also isn’t quite far away from the price of this GPU, making it a rather strong option if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra.

Key Specs

SpecAMD Radeon RX 7600
Base Clock (GHz):1.94
Boost Clock (GHz):2.45
Memory Size:10GB
Memory Type:GDDR6
AMD Architecture:RDNA 2
AMD FSR:Yes
AMD Super Resolution:Yes
AMD Radeon Software:Yes
PCI Express Gen 4:Yes
Graphics Card Power (W)175
Required/Recommended System Power (W)600

Things We Like

Strong 1440p gaming performance: The Radeon RX 6700 is designed to handle 1440p gaming. The higher VRAM capacity and strong hardware, makes it an excellent mid-range card ideal for gaming at a higher resolution.

VRAM capacity increases lifespan: Alongside the strong 1440p performance, this card has 10GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which will provide some longevity when it comes to more modern triple A games.

Things We Don’t Like

XT version is only slightly more money: The XT variant AMD‘s cards will always be the better version due to the increased speed, and the 6700 XT isn’t that much more expensive versus the 6700, but it does surpass the $300 mark.

Not good for 4K: This card is definitely geared towards 1440p, but a 4K resolution will make this GPU chug. We would recommend looking at more powerful options if you plan on playing your favourite games at 4K.

Summary

AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 is an incredibly strong card when it comes to 1440p gaming, and is designed to handle and last the performance demand increase to come as modern titles release. It is the priciest option within this roundup, but well worth a consideration if you plan on playing games at a higher resolution, and need something to last a few years.

Features: 4.4/5
Design: 4.4/5
Performance: 4.7/5
Value for Money: 4.8/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Perfect for 1440p gaming.
  • VRAM capacity provides a longer lifespan for modern games.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Not ideal for 4K gaming.
  • XT version may be worth grabbing as it isn’t much more expensive.

Where to Buy

Buy the AMD Radeon RX 6700 on:

Why Are AMD Cards So Good Right Now?

As you’ve probably noticed from this roundup, and some of our other articles, the GPU market is quite heavily dominated by AMD cards. Due to the unfortunate failure of the RTX 4000 range of GPUs, and the subsequent lack of stock within the RTX 3000 series because of their popularity, AMD is the best option right now. We could recommend Intel’s ARC cards (and we have in a couple of roundups), but picking up an Intel card will make you lose out on framerates in DX10 and 11 titles, which happens to be a plethora of games.

Gigabyte Eagle OC 3060 Ti

So why is AMD the best? As we’ve alluded to, there have been a number of price drops in recent months covering a variety of different AMD SKUs, with the vast majority of them being Radeon 6000 cards. The Radeon 6000 range has also seen some major leaps in performance due to driver optimisations, with some of the lower-end cards like the Radeon 6600 XT and 6650 XT now providing strong performance in 1440p games. This is pretty impressive considering the prices of both of these cards, and the fact that they’re geared towards the budget-end of the market.

Pretty much all of the Radeon 6000 cards have also seen price drops too, with the top-end cards sitting at half price in some situations. For example, the Radeon RX 6950 XT was a $1100 card, but consumers can now pick up this GPU for $600 or less from certain vendors, making it one of the cheapest and strongest 4K capable options on the market. Needless to say, AMD is the king of performance and pricing right now, covering all side of the market at very reasonable prices. Until NVIDIA is able to make their RTX 4000 series more tantalising with some price drops, it is quite unlikely that we’ll be recommending them anytime soon.

Is $300 Enough for a Graphics Card?

A few years ago, the $300 price point was, if anything, quite expensive for graphics cards. If you were spending $300 you were looking at a card that could easily compete within the mid-range market, making it ideal to play your favourite games at higher framerates. However times have changed, and as we’ve seen with the RTX 4000 range of graphics cards, $300 essentially can net you garbage. A GPU like the RTX 4060 is not worth the attached price tag, in any way, shape, or form. So does this spell out doom and gloom for those looking to avoid spending a fortune on a graphics card?

Gigabyte Windforce OC RTX 4060 Angled Right

Although it may seem like it, $300 is still a fair amount of money to spend on a graphics card. You will be limited in your options, and you’ll want to be a bit more spend savvy with the vendors that you choose, but this is a reasonable amount to secure a solid budget or a mid-range card. As you can see from our recommendations above, the RTX 3000 series and Radeon 6000 series are your go-to options, providing solid framerates at 1080p and 1440p in your favourite games. You can obviously go further back and pick up even older cards, but you may see further diminished performance.

It is worth noting, that although all of these cards are excellent, they will be restrictive in certain instances. 4K is unfortunately a no-go, and Ray-Traced games are also likely to be too much for graphics cards at $300. Longevity is also a pretty big concern too, because most of these cards will only have 8GB of VRAM, so playing all of the new modern games that release soon, will become an issue as performance demands increase. To very quickly summarise, $300 is enough for a budget or mid-range graphics card, but you’ll want to keep in mind that these GPUs will have limitations and may not last for a long time.

Why You Can Trust Us

Before jumping into our recommendations, we wanted to briefly discuss why you can trust all of the components that we’ve picked out today. We have a dedicated team of PC building enthusiasts that work very hard to make sure that all of the components we get into our offices are tested and evaluated thoroughly for general usage. They spend hours with each product evaluating their strengths and weaknesses which we can then relay to you through various different forms of content. For those interested in learning more about our editorial team, head over to the About Us section.

How We Tested the Best Graphics Cards Under $300

In order to test and evaluate the best GPUs under $300, there are a number of factors that we take into account, these are:

  • Performance
  • Thermals
  • Aesthetic
  • Value for Money

Conclusion

AMD Radeon RX 6700

Best Graphics Card Under $300: AMD Radeon RX 6700

Finishing up our roundup, we’ve picked out the Radeon RX 6700 from AMD as the best graphics card sitting under $300. This GPU is an older choice, and will be weaker in comparison to newer AMD and NVIDIA options, but despite this, it is still an excellent card. The higher VRAM capacity, coupled with the solid hardware makes this GPU an excellent mid-range card designed to handle a 1440p resolution. Hopefully AMD release a modern Radeon 7000 SKU of this particular card in the future, but until then, the RX 6700 is a really solid and worthwhile consideration.

GeekaWhat Rating:

Read our full read our AMD Radeon 6000 coverage, or Buy the AMD Radeon RX 6700 on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

RR-Question-Mark New

Is DLSS or FSR Better?

DLSS is generally better as the latency and visual quality reduction is much less in comparison to FSR. Although AMD’s FSR has come a long way, DLSS still have better support and is stronger for the most part.

RR-Question-Mark New

Is Ampere Better than RDNA 2?

I would say yes for the most part, but due to the driver optimisations that we’ve seen over the past year, RDNA 2 is a very solid architecture and is a strong competitor to RTX 3000 options.

RR-Question-Mark New

Can I Play Ray-Traced Games with these Cards?

You can technically, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The hardware on all of these GPUs isn’t realistically strong enough to handle Ray-Traced gaming.

RR-Question-Mark New

Can I Play at a 4K Resolution with these GPUs?

Much like Ray-Tracing, this is also going to be a no. We’d recommend picking stronger hardware if you’re wanting to play games at 4K.

editor
Jay Harris is an expert in everything PC hardware! With a degree in Cybersecurity, and a PC hardware background Jay has all of the technical knowledge required to make informed recommendations. Jay is an avid keyboard builder and gamer, with a major passion for tech. In fact, Jay's personal rig boasts a white RX 7900 XTX graphics card, inside of the Lian O11D Mini - a true enthusiast's dream!