The Best Mid-Range Graphics Cards Below $300 in February 2022

Updated on March 29, 2022

geforce rtx 2060 fe

As a result, the Great GPU Shortage has continued into the year 2022. Despite recent improvements in availability, prices remain significantly higher than they were previously (or MSRPs).

To put it another way, as of early 2022, the top graphics cards under $300 are actually slower than what you would buy in the same price range last year.

Arc is expected to put pressure on the market later this year by Intel. Although AMD and Nvidia are still offering pricey budget models at this formerly mid-range price bracket, it’s not going to change anytime soon.

graphics card

On this page:
NVIDIA Vs. AMD
Buy Now or Wait? Navigating the Shortage
Best GPU below $300: GeForce RTX 3050
Best AMD alternative: Radeon RX 6500 XT
Previous-gen/used GPUs
Summary
CPU Pairing and PSU Requirements

NVIDIA Vs. AMD Below $300

In spite of the scarcity, AMD and Nvidia have maintained their delivery schedules. The GeForce RTX 3060 and AMD Radeon RX 6600XT were our top picks for GPUs in the $300-$350 price range.

AMD’s RX 6500 and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 are your only options if you want to spend less than $300 on a graphics card. Even though it was just launched a short time ago, finding it for a reasonable price is practically impossible at the time of this writing.

Product

Best AMD

XFX Speedster QICK210 Radeon RX 6500XT Black Gaming Graphics Card with 4GB GDDR6 HDMI , AMD RDNA 2 RX-65XT4DBDQ

Best NVIDIA

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX™ 3050 Twin Edge 8GB GDDR6 128-bit 14 Gbps PCIE 4.0 Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0 Advanced Cooling, Freeze Fan Stop, Active Fan Control, ZT-A30500E-10M
Image
XFX Speedster QICK210 Radeon RX 6500XT Black Gaming Graphics Card with 4GB GDDR6 HDMI , AMD RDNA 2 RX-65XT4DBDQ
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX™ 3050 Twin Edge 8GB GDDR6 128-bit 14 Gbps PCIE 4.0 Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0 Advanced Cooling, Freeze Fan Stop, Active Fan Control, ZT-A30500E-10M
Stream Processors
1024
2560
Core/Boost Clock
2420 MHz / 2825 MHz
1552 MHz / 1777 MHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance
5,786 GFLOPS
9,098 GFLOPS
Memory Size/Type
4 GB GDDR6
8 GB GDDR6
Memory Bus
64-bit
128-bit
Memory Clock (Effective)
18 Gbps
14 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth
143.9 GB/s
224 GB/s
TDP
107 W
120 W
Recommended Power Supply
300 W
300 W
Power Connector(s)
1x 6-pin
1x 8-pin
Outputs
1x HDMI, 1x DP
1x HDMI, 3x DP
Average Rating
User Reviews
19 Reviews
2 Reviews

Last update on 2022-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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If you want the best graphics card, you’ll have to pay more than twice as much for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050.

It appears that the RX 6500 XT has been made in bigger quantities and is now available for less than $300 on the Internet (the initial launch price was $199). In PCIe Gen3 systems, it will perform significantly worse than it should because this is an entry-level GPU limited to PCIe 4.0 x4 bandwidth.

That is to say, this is an uninteresting GPU, but if you need a new GPU for under $300 in early 2022, it may be your best option.

With no ray tracing enabled, the current entry-level and mid-range graphics cards perform as follows:

Radeon 6500 xt

In terms of performance, the GeForce RTX 3050 is comparable to a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, but it includes ray tracing and DirectX 12 capabilities. The Radeon RX 6500 XT isn’t inherently faster than the RX 5500 XT 4 GB or the previous Radeon RX 570/580/590, even if it has access to the entire PCIe Gen 4 bandwidth. In older Gen 3 systems, the card is sluggish and needs to be replaced.

A year ago, the fastest GPU under $300 was the significantly superior Radeon RX 5600 XT, which is a sad state of affairs.

Buy Now or Wait? Navigating the GPU Shortage

GA102 Die

The most efficient (and least expensive) way to give your gaming PC a fresh lease on life is to upgrade your GPU. Even early adopters, on the other hand, rarely upgrade more than once every 1–2 full generations (as opposed to the annual’refresh,’ which is usually only a minor modification of the current architecture), i.e. every 2–4 years on average. However, the most popular reason for an upgrade is to alleviate the annoyance of stuttering in the most recent AAA title.

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The most popular reason for delaying a purchase of a new graphics card is to wait for one of the main generational updates. An even more compelling reason to hold off until early 2022 is that the scarcity of GPUs has driven their prices through the ceiling.

Arc Intel

There is virtually little chance of finding a card at MSRP unless you are lucky enough to get your hands on one on launch day. Nvidia’s RTX 30-series and AMD’s RDNA 2/Radeon RX 6000-series cards are both similarly scarce in terms of availability. Availability

If you can wait a few more months before purchasing a graphics card, you may want to do so. Even though Intel’s new Arc Alchemist GPU family is expected to be released in Q1 2022, there has been no word on pricing for these new cards.

Look into the second-hand market as another option. Some older mid-range GPUs, like AMD’s RX 5600 XT or Nvidia’s GT 1660 series, may be available for less than $300. Prices for used GPUs have also increased as a result of the scarcity.

Intel Arc

Best GPU Under $300 (Theoretically): GeForce RTX 3050

Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3050 would have been a great value for the money if it had been sold at its theoretical MSRP of $249. Unfortunately, as of early February 2022, it is extremely difficult to locate in stores, let alone at MSRP.

The RTX 3050 would have been a popular entry-level model in the GeForce RTX series if it had been widely available. In terms of RTX features, it is the first of Nvidia’s low-cost XX50 cards to get hardware support. Nvidia’s DLSS super-sampling technique makes it more attractive, even if it can’t run AAA titles with ray tracing at resolutions higher than 1080p.

The RX 5600 XT and GTX 1660 Ti/Super compare favourably in terms of performance, however it is about 10% slower than the RTX 2060 on average.

The Newegg RTX 3050 and the Amazon RTX 3050

GeForce RTX 3050

Best AMD GPU Under $300 (Unfortunately): Radeon RX 6500 XT

The RDNA 2 Navi 24 GPU powers the Radeon RX 6500 XT, which will be available in January 2022. The RX 6000 XT succeeds the RX 5500 XT as the entry-level model in the series.

Despite the RX 6500 XT’s superiority in some areas, the RX 5500 XT is still better overall. The GDDR6 VRAM and 64-bit memory bus on the RX 5500 XT deliver 143.9 GB/s of bandwidth (128-bit).

To make matters worse, the card’s performance is restricted when it is put in a PCIe 3.0-based machine since PCI-Express 4.0 x4 rather than PCIe 4.0 x8 interface bandwidth is being used.

AMD may have chosen not to provide an 8 GB VRAM option at launch in order to make the graphics card less appealing to cryptocurrency miners (4 GB being insufficient for Ethereum mining).

In terms of raw performance, the Radeon RX 6500 XT is on par with the previous Radeon RX 580 when connected over a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. It’s possible that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super’s PCIe 3.0 x16 interface will enhance performance just a little.

radeon 5600 xt

Specs: RX 6500 XT Vs. RX 5500 XT Vs. GTX 1650S

AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super
Image XFX Speedster QICK210 Radeon RX 6500XT Black Gaming Graphics Card with 4GB GDDR6 HDMI , AMD RDNA 2 RX-65XT4DBDQ VisionTek Radeon RX 5500 XT Graphic Card - 4GB GDDR6-1.61 GHz Core, 128 bit Bus Width, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI (901315) ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan 4GB GDDR6 128-Bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16510F-10L
Clock: Core /
Gaming / Boost
2310 MHz /
2610 MHz /
2815 MHz
1607 MHz /
1717 MHz /
1845 MHz
1530 MHz /
1725 MHz /
Memory Speed 18 Gbps 14 Gbps 12 Gbps
FP32 Theoretical Performance 5.765 TFLOPS 5.196 TFLOPS 4.416 TFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 143.9 GB/s 224 GB/s 192 GB/s
Recommended
PSU
300 W 300 W 300 W
Power Connectors 1x 6-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 6-pin
Display Outputs 1x HDMI
1x DP
1x HDMI
3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DP
1x DVI

Unlike many other graphics cards, RX 6500 XT-based cards have been available in somewhat greater numbers and often sell for less than $300.

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Previous-Gen/Used Graphics Cards

It’s hard to change the current state of the market, but we can’t. Take a look at earlier models or the used market to find the most value for your GPU dollar. In comparison to the RTX 3050, these cards are on par, if not somewhat superior, in terms of performance.

Alternative #1: Radeon RX 5600 XT (Used)

RX 5600 XT is built on the first-generation Navi (RDNA) architecture, which replaces the less efficient Vega and Polaris designs. The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti was originally designed to be a direct competitor to this GPU. Nvidia, on the other hand, slashed the price of its GeForce RTX 2060 to compete directly with the RX 5600 XT’s performance and ray tracing capabilities.

To keep the 5600 XT competitive, AMD had to increase its specifications. Its performance is now almost on par with that of the RX 5700 and far faster than the GTX 1660 Ti with which it was designed to compete.

Since it can now compete with the GeForce RTX 2060 in terms of performance, the RX 5600 XT is one of the more intriguing graphics cards from the previous generation. A card with the best specs is what you’ll want to look for before you buy, especially faster memory (VRAM) running at an effective 14 Gbps rather than 12 Gbps, like these:

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 5600 XT XFX RX 5600 XT
THICC II PRO
PowerColor Radeon
RX 5600 XT
Image SAPPHIRE 11296-01-20G Radeon Pulse RX 5600 XT 14GBPS 6GB GDDR6 HDMI / Triple DP OC w/ Backplate (UEFI) PCIe 4.0 Graphics Card XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II PRO -14GBPS 6GB GDDR6 BOOST UP TO 1620MHz 3xDP HDMI Graphics Card RX-56XT6DF46 PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB AXRX 5600XT 6GBD6-3DHV2/OC
Clock: Core /
Gaming / Boost
1400 MHz /
1615 MHz /
1750 MHz
1465 MHz /
1560 MHz /
1620 MHz
1355 MHz /
1560 MHz /
1620 MHz
Memory Speed 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 14 Gbps
FP32 Theoretical Performance 8,064 GFLOPS 7,465 GFLOPS 7,465 GFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 288 GB/s
Recommended
PSU
350 W 350 W 350 W
Power Connectors 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin
Display Outputs 1x HDMI
3x DP
1x HDMI
3x DP
1x HDMI
3x DP

 

Alternative #2: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Used)

Because it was designed to take on Nvidia’s former mid-range monarch, AMD’s RX 5600 XT was originally supposed to compete with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. That didn’t happen, but the 1660 Ti is still approximately as fast as the current-generation RTX 3050 in terms of performance.

Although it lacks the ray-tracing features of the RTX series’ portfolio, this cad can easily run any recent AAA game at 1080p. The RTX 2060 and RX 5600 XT are around 15% quicker in terms of relative performance.

Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Super, which is only slightly slower than the GTX 1660 Ti, is also a serious competitor when it comes to price/performance.

GeForce GTX 1650 Super

GIGABYTE GTX 1660 Ti OC EVGA GTX 1660 Ti XC MSI GTX 1660 Ti Gaming
Image GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G 192-bit GDDR6 DisplayPort 1.4 HDMI 2.0B with Windforce 2X Cooling System Graphic Cards- Gv-N166TOC-6GD EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC, Overclocked, 2.75 Slot Extreme Cool, 65C Gaming, 6GB GDDR6, 06G-P4-1263-KR MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 192-bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1660 Ti Gaming 6G)
Clock: Core /
Boost
1500 MHz /
1800 MHz
1500 MHz /
1845 MHz
1500 MHz /
1800 MHz
Memory Clock
(Effective)
12 GHz 12 GHz 12 GHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance 5,530 GFLOPS 5,668 GFLOPS 5,530 GFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 288 GB/s 288 GB/s
Recommended Power Supply 450 Watt 450 Watt 450 Watt
Power Connectors 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin
Display Outputs 1x HDMI
3x DisplayPort
1x DVI
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
3x DisplayPort

Every possible size of the 1660 Ti was available, and many of them were factory overclocked. This rarely leads to a large increase in price.

Alternative #3: GeForce RTX 2060 (Used)

The RTX 3060 is the follow-up to the RTX 2060, which was first introduced in 2019. Because of the challenges with supply, Nvidia has decided to bring the RTX 2060 back to market in 2022 with a new 12 GB model.

Regardless, this card still has more than enough power for 1080p gaming, and it actually performs nicely at 1440p as well.

The Radeon RX 5600 XT has 6 GB of GDDR6 video RAM and a 192-bit memory bus, both of which are identical as the RTX 2060.

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ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2060 6GB EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Ventus XS OC
Image ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, ZT-T20600H-10M EVGA 06G-P4-2066-KR GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming, 6GB GDDR6, Dual Fans, Metal Backplate MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6G OC)
Clock: Core /
Boost
1365 MHz /
1680 MHz
1365 MHz /
1680 MHz
1365 MHz /
1710 MHz
Memory Clock
(Effective)
14000 MHz 14000 MHz 14000 MHz
FP32 Theoretical Performance 6,451 GFLOPS 6,451 GFLOPS 6,566 GFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s
Recommended
PSU
450 W 450 W 450 W
Power Connectors 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin
Display Outputs 1x HDMI
3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DP
1x DVI
1x HDMI
3x DP

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Alternative #4: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super

As Nvidia released the less expensive GTX 1660 Super, the value of current GTX 1660 Ti cards dropped (or 1660S).

GTX 1660S contains the same GPU as a conventional GTX 1660, but the GDDR6 video memory has been enhanced to make it more powerful. Because of this, there was only a little performance difference between it and the 1660 Ti.

In most circumstances, the GTX 1660 Super is a better value than the GTX 1660 Ti or the ordinary 1660. In terms of value for money, the 1660S may be the best option.

RX 5600 XT Vs. RTX 2060 Vs. RX 5700

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Metro: Exodus, and Battlefield V are just few of the games that are included in this movie. That the resolution is 1440p, rather than the recommended 1080p for these graphics cards, is particularly intriguing.

Summary and Recommendations

PULSE 5600 XT

A year ago, the $300 price point was a wonderful value and offered a wide choice of options. Rivalry between AMD’s Radeon 5500xt and Nvidia’s GTx 1660 and RTx 2060 was fierce.

In today’s market, it’s rare to find an RX 5600 XT for the original launch price of the card, while the RTX 3060 and RX 6600 XT are significantly more expensive.

We’ll have to settle for entry-level GPUs like the RX 6500 XT if we want to stay under $300. In contrast, the GeForce RTX 3050 would have been an appealing alternative at $249, but so far this card looks like a paper launch. If the RTX 3050 had been widely accessible and reasonably priced, the GTX 1660 Ti would have been a viable option.

It is possible that Intel’s Arc Alchemist lineup may arrive soon, preferably in huge quantities and with performance that is on par with current offerings. Unfortunately, none of these details will be available until well beyond the year 2022.

It’s possible that buying a used card instead of splurging for a new one will be more cost effective while you wait for the shortages to improve. If the price is correct, a used RX 5600 XT, GTX 1660 Ti/Super, or RTX 2060 might still be enticing. In this awful situation, even outdated graphics cards, such as the GeForce GTX 1070 or the Radeon 570/580/590, could provide a good return on investment..

CPU Pairing and PSU Requirements

Your new mid-range graphics card will perform to its full potential if the rest of your PC is designed to work with it. It doesn’t matter if you have a high-end CPU or not.

An AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or 5600X or an Intel Core i5-11600K CPU is an excellent starting point. In terms of video frame rates, a more powerful CPU has limited advantages. Invest in a better graphics card to speed up your gaming experience.

However, third-party manufacturers recommend that you use a power supply of at least 350W for the RX 5600 XT and at least 450W for the RX 2060. Two graphics cards with the same number of cores have the same TDP (Thermal Design Power). A 500W power supply is more than enough for most setups; a 350W unit would leave you with little room for overclocking and other components.

For connecting your GPU, every power supply on the market has a single 8-pin PCIe power connector (or, more commonly, two).

Were your options limited, what would you do? The best graphics cards around $200 are listed here.

PCIe power connector

Both the Radeon RX 5600 XT and GeForce RTX 2060 require a single 8-pin connector.