It’s not secret that the best graphics cards are expensive. If you follow GPU prices, you’ll see the cost for a graphics card has continued to climb over the past couple of years. You don’t need to empty your wallet for a solid gaming experience, though, and our roundup of the best budget GPUs proves that.
We have six GPUs here that are a perfect option for your budget PC build. For the purposes of this guide, we’re defining “budget” as a GPU that’s less than $300. We’re also limiting the list to GPUs that you can actually buy. That limits our options to current and last-gen cards, but there’s still plenty of value to find in the last two generations of GPUs from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel.
AMD RX 7600
The best budget GPU
- Solid 1080p gaming performance
- Aggressive pricing
- Only a single 8-pin power connector
- Compact design
- Memory interface limits higher resolutions
- Ray tracing performance is lacking
The AMD RX 7600 was destined for failure, but a quick pricing adjustment days before releasing has transformed it into the go-to budget graphics card this year. You can find it between $250 and $280, and there isn’t another current-gen GPU targeting that price. And compared to last-gen options, the RX 7600 is much faster.
It’s most comfortable at 1080p, where you’ll soar past 60 frames per second (fps) in demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 with maxed-out settings. It can crack 100 fps in a lot of titles, too, such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla without lowering any of the graphics settings.
Compared to the competition, the RX 7600 manages to match Intel’s Arc A770 overall, and that GPU still costs $300 to $350. It also ends up around 13% faster than last-gen’s RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060, both of which sell for around the same price. Most importantly, the RX 7600 beats Nvidia’s $300 RTX 4060 outside of ray tracing, which is its most direct competition.
Nvidia RTX 4060
The best budget GPU from Nvidia
- DLSS 3
- Excellent efficiency
- Price reduction compared to last-gen
- Strong ray tracing performance
- Beaten by cards that are only $30 more
- Limited memory interface
- Weak at higher resolutions
We recommend the RX 7600 over the RTX 4060 for gamers on a budget, but the RTX 4060 is still no slouch. It falls slightly behind in raw power, but the $300 price still unlocks Nvidia’s next-gen features, including stellar ray tracing performance and the coveted DLSS 3.5.
Those features are where the RTX 4060 truly shines. In Cyberpunk 2077 with the Ultra RT preset, the card just barely makes it past 30 fps. Turn on DLSS 3, however, and you’ll get well over 90 fps, all with the ray tracing sliders tuned to the max. That’s unheard of for a $300 graphics card, and it’s all enabled by Nvidia’s next-gen feature set.
Raw performance isn’t bad, either, though there are better options around the same price if you aren’t concerned about ray tracing and DLSS 3. Overall, the card falls just short of last-gen’s RTX 3060 Ti, though it manages to outpace the Arc A770. And, if you factor in ray tracing performance, it’s actually faster than the AMD RX 7600.
Intel Arc A750
The best value GPU
- Great 1080p and 1440p gaming performance
- Competitive ray tracing performance
- Relatively inexpensive
- Resizable BAR is necessary
- XeSS needs some work
Intel’s Arc GPUs had a rough start, but they’re a surprisingly good value a year after launching, assuming you don’t mind dealing with a few quirks. The Arc A750 wasn’t much of a GPU when it released, but it has quickly become a go-to budget graphics card after Intel cut the price. Now, you can find it between $220 and $240, and that’s a price range that AMD and Nvidia don’t have a current-gen offering in.
You’re getting performance about on-par with an RTX 3060, just for slightly cheaper. It’s a 1080p graphics card that can hit 60 fps in the most demanding games with all of the settings cranked up, but you should expect lower performance in titles with ray tracing. This is a card that’s just hitting 60 fps at 1080p Ultra, while cards like the RTX 4060 and RX 7600 can comfortably shoot past that mark.
It’s a great value, especially if you can pick up a card for around $220. You should keep in mind some of the issues with Intel GPUs, though. The drivers continue to improve with each new release, but there are still games that occasionally pop up that inexplicably won’t work on the cards. Intel is usually fast to issue a patch, but it’s something to keep in mind.
AMD RX 6700 XT
The best last-gen budget GPU
- Very inexpensive right now
- 12GB of VRAM
- Powerful enough for 1440p
- Poor ray tracing performance
- No DLSS
AMD’s last-gen RX 6700 XT isn’t a budget graphics card. It’s sure priced like one, though. The previously midrange card is now available for around $310 to $330. That’s above what we set as a “budget” graphics card, but the RX 6700 XT is well worth stretching your budget for.
The RX 6700 XT is priced like a budget graphics card, but it doesn’t perform like one. It gets close to the performance of the $400 RTX 4060 Ti, and it sometimes even beats that card. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Forza Horizon 5, the RX 6700 XT is faster, hitting 120 fps and 150 fps at 1080p, respectively.
As is the case with all AMD cards, the main trade-off is ray tracing performance. The RX 6700 XT is often slower than even the Arc A750 when ray tracing is brought into the mix, and it doesn’t have access to Nvidia features like DLSS 3.5. However, for PC gamers look for the best bang for their buck, there’s no deal like the RX 6700 XT right now.
Nvidia RTX 3060
The best last-gen budget GPU from Nvidia
- Available for around $270
- Solid ray tracing performance
- Beaten by some cheaper cards
- Occasionally runs into VRAM issues
The RTX 3060 hasn’t aged gracefully. Despite being one of the most popular GPUs for gaming PCs, the card has quickly been beaten by next-gen cards for a lower price. In response, the price of the card has dropped, and you can commonly find it for around $270.
For most gamers, we still recommend the Arc A750, as it offers slightly better performance overall and it’s cheaper. However, the RTX 3060 still has its place as a workhorse GPU for a reasonable price. You won’t have to worry about driver support, as Nvidia’s drivers are consistent, and you have access to features like DLSS – though not Frame Generation through the newer DLSS 3.5.
Even without those extras, you’re getting about 60 fps in most games at 1080p Ultra, and that’s without the assistance of upscaling through DLSS 2. It’s a solid GPU if you can pick one up for $270, and a downright deal if you can find it for $250. When shopping, make sure to grab the 12GB version – Nvidia also has an 8GB version of the RTX 3060 around the same price that’s weaker.
Intel Arc A580
The best GPU under $200
- Decent 1080p performance
- Less than $200
- Solid ray tracing performance for the price
- Occasional driver issues
If you’re on a strict budget, you don’t have a lot of options for GPUs in 2023. The main GPUs are Nvidia’s RTX 3050 and AMD’s last-gen RX 6500 XT, both of which have major issues. Thankfully, Intel has the Arc A580 at $180. It’s not a showstopping GPU, but it’s faster than both the RTX 3050 and RX 6500 XT, nearing the performance of AMD’s RX 6600.
While the most of the GPUs on this are 1080p Ultra picks, this is more of a 1080p High pick. You’ll get above 60 fps in games like Forza Horizon 5, but you’ll need to bump down some settings in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart to get smooth performance. That’s a reasonable trade-off considering how inexpensive this GPU is, though.
Once again, the only caveat is Intel’s driver support. Some titles, such as Starfield, don’t play nicely with Arc GPUs at launch, and the A580 is no exception. It’s a solid card at a great price, but you may need to deal with some strange performance occasionally.