If you're feeling the cost of living crunch, then the best budget graphics cards are going to be the ones to consider. And fear not because the word 'budget' doesn't necessarily translate as 'poor' or 'basic' – luckily you don't have to sacrifice heavily on performance when looking at the budget end of the spectrum anymore.
Our writers and editors know this and what makes a good graphics card generally - for gaming, productivity, creativity, or professional work. We've scoured the budget ends of the major graphics card lineups from the main players – combine this with our extensive experience in the graphics, creative, and gaming fields, and rest assured you can trust our picks. We think some of these are so good for the price tag, you'll even find them among our overall best graphics cards picks and our selection of the best graphic cards for gaming.
Now, budget means a bit more than just 'cheap as anything' nowadays too, so while we will be spending most of our time here swimming in low price tag territory, we will flex the definition of 'budget' just a little bit to make sure you're well covered. As a result of that, you aren't likely to see professional- or creative-grade graphics cards at this end of the price spectrum either, but our picks from the consumer and gaming-focused market will still deliver great performance for their price, whatever you need them for. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the best budget graphics cards, starting with a quickfire trio of options.
The AMD Radeon RX 7600 is a fantastic budget graphics card that offers plenty of punch for its price. It bring the latest AMD features and tech to the budget market and is an absolute killer 1080p card that'll also give a solid go at 1440p too.
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The RTX 4060 has arrived and neatly takes up the mantle as the best budget GPU option from Team Green. It's got all the latest Nvidia bells and whistles, excellent performance, and is incredibly power efficient too. A very solid budget pick.
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Intel's foray into the graphics card market has seemingly been concentrated on budget to mid-range cards – and it's provided great results. The Arc A750 is a superb budget GPU and offers excellent performance for a very wallet-friendly price.
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The best budget graphics cards
Our top pick for a budget card in the complete graphics card conversation remains our favourite when looking only at the best budget graphics card. The AMD Radeon RX 7600 is widely considered by many experts to be the best in the low-price-tag waters – and for good reason. It may only have 8GB of VRAM, but it deploys it brilliantly, offering superb 1080p performance while also having a fair crack at 1440p too. It's compact so is perfect for smaller PCs, and it runs nice and quietly too. At around the $250-$275 mark, it's terrific value too, and also great for first-time builds or lean rigs more broadly.
Caveats are slim on the whole with it being a little power thirsty and not offering so much in the way of high-performance ray-tracing action – but at this price point, ray-tracing is unlikely to be a high priority. As for the competition, it will give the brilliant RTX 3060 Ti a good fight, too, so that tells you where it stands and what it can offer in the wider field. If you're after the best budget graphics card from Team Red (AMD), then we think you can't do much better than this card and its great balance of price and performance.
Best Nvidia graphics card
Now it's out in the wild 'properly', Nvidia's RTX 4060 GPU is the best budget graphics card you can get from Team Green – basically by default, as the cheapest of the current range, essentially (though if you want to shave some more off the price for something Nvidia-shaped then read on below for our pick from last generation).
The RTX 4060 is the baby of the Ada Lovelace lineup but offers a bunch more than just baseline, entry-level performance. At less than $300 / £300, it can offer you exceptional performance at 1080p resolutions and even have a fair go at 1440p if you're willing to make some sacrifices. Its 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and 3,072 CUDA cores give it a fair bunch but also represent the double-edged sword that is the 4060. The 8GB is the bare minimum in 2023, and while it means it can offer a great value card, it does rather limit it when you go up in resolutions – but in this price range, that's likely to be less of a concern. The reality is that if you're looking for the best budget card from Team Green (Nvidia) that can offer best-in-class performance at 1080p and that gets you all the latest bells and whistles, then this is it. A superb card that offers great value for money.
Best Intel graphics card
While tradition had it that AMD offered the best value cards when it was a market of two, Intel's venture into the market has shaken that end of the spectrum up a bit. With all of the brand's Arc GPUs seemingly targeting the low to mid-range sections of the GPU range, one of them, in particular, has come out as a rather compelling choice for the best budget graphics card.
The Arc A750 is our pick from said range, and it really does offer a terrific 1080p, value-for-money package. That being said, it doesn't just scrape you by in 1080p; the ray-tracing performance is also decent, and it will have a fair crack at 1440p resolutions too if you want to stretch it a bit. Having fallen in price a bit since it launched, you can pick up the Arc A750 for as low as $250 / £230 now, which makes for smashing value, let alone just a stand-alone cheap price for a GPU. And for that, remember you're getting a modern card with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and 3,584 shading cores to crunch and chew through tasks and games.
It's worth noting, as we've done elsewhere when mentioning this card, however, that you'll almost certainly need the Resize BAR software to get the most out of the Arc A750 - as our friends at sister site PC Gamer found and recommended. It's a little power thirsty too. But, overall, it's a fine budget GPU and one that, in the right PC, will do a very solid job indeed.
Best AMD graphics card
Now, we could have – and some fellow experts have indeed done this – picked the slightly cheaper Radeon RX 6600 card to give you the 'most' budget graphics card from AMD (and arguably the whole market), but we think the 6600 XT offers a slightly better proposition for not much more money.
While it is from the last generation of cards, it's still an absolute 1080p powerhouse and has very efficient power consumption to boot. Throw in its 2,048 stream processors, and 8GB of GDDR6 RAM and it's got the solid offerings of a plucky budget GPU in the year 2023. 1080p is definitely where it's happiest and fastest, but it will give 1440p resolution and work a good go too, though don't expect gangbuster framerates if you're keeping the quality settings high.
It being from the last gen, and thus time playing a factor also negates one of its caveats when it was first released. When it was released it was a little bit too expensive for its mid-range place (taking on the RTX 3060), but now the prices have fallen, the value for money here is, as we said, greater than that of its sibling, the RX 6600 with the gap between the two now negligible. If you've already got a budget graphics card from the AMD generation before the 6600 XT then you might not see an enormous leap, but this is still a fine budget card from Team Red, and can still hold its own in the market.
Best premium graphics card
We always feel that we have to add a premium option to our lists as some folks will have more flexible budgets than others. And while it seems odd to use the word 'premium' in a budget-focused guide, we feel the RTX 4070 warrants its place here even if it's a bit more expensive than others.
Let's hit that price tag difference first: yup, the RTX 4070 is about double the cost of the 4060 and that's a big ol' price gap, we know. And while you won't be getting literally double the performance, the jump up to the 4070 is quite sizeable in terms of sheer performance – at all resolutions. And the key thing here is that the 4070 is a 4K-capable card – this immediately makes the 4070 more future-proof and versatile, as well as just objectively better.
In terms of what's under the hood, the 4070 has 12GB of GDDR6X VRAM (a jump up from the 8GB offerings elsewhere on this list) and 5,888 CUDA cores. Throw in, naturally, Nvidia features like DLSS 3, Frame Generation, and advanced ray tracing capability too, and you've got a great mid-range GPU package.
So, while it really is pushing the word budget a fair bit, it's worth a mention at the very top of the budget spectrum – and if you can ever pick the 4070 up for a reduced price in your search for the best budget graphics card, then you'll be laughing.
Best older graphics card
You may be tempted to keep your search for the best budget graphics cards to the latest generations only, but that might not be where you find your perfect match. If you cast your net a bit wider (or back in time, sort of) – and aren't too fussed about having all the shiny features from the very latest cards – you could find that the RTX 3006 Ti is still a perfect GPU for you and a belting budget graphics card.
The first thing it has on its side is, of course, the fact that it's now been usurped by this generation's 4060 and thus should see its price tag (while it remains available) slide. Performance-wise, its 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, and 4,864 CUDA cores offer a lean-but-still-mean spec sheet, and you'll get absolutely no trouble from high-quality gaming or programs at 1080p as it will happily crunch through tasks at that resolution. It'll even give you decent 1440p performance too; though 4K is a bit of a stretch.
Yes, it might be tempting to go for the latest, but if you're open to something older, or are just keeping your options open then, while it's still available, the RTX 3060 Ti is a very viable option in these budget waters.
Best budget graphics cards - FAQs
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What is the best GPU on a budget?
We know that any of the cards we've picked out for our best budget graphics card lists here will serve you well, no matter where you sit on the budget spectrum, although our top pick is the AMD Radeon RX 7600. If you've got a bit more to spend, or are keeping things very tight, there's something for you here – and we've got options from across all of the major brands too.
Is RTX cheaper than GTX?
This is an easy question: no. Broadly speaking, finding RTX cards for cheaper than GTX cards – in regular retailers – would be unbelievably rare. The only exception might be finding a card from the first RTX generation (the 20-series) knocking around for a super low price that might have just gone beyond the prices of those GTX still retailing (the 1660 or 1650 cards). Still, we think that's pretty unlikely – RTX is the newer, and better, tech so it tracks that it'll remain more expensive.