02Best budget graphics card for 1440p
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus OC
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If you’re keen on saving a couple of bucks on your PC gaming setup, we can help find you the best budget graphics card for the job.
You may be looking for a cheap graphics card to play less demanding games like Fortnite, or to run video editing software like Davinci Resolve. Depending on how little you want to spend, you can expect the cheaper graphics card to feature less overall VRAM, lower clock speeds and fewer outputs.
So, while opting for a budget GPU may involve a few tradeoffs, now is one of the best times to get a cheaper graphics card thanks to recent releases including Nvidia’s 40-series cards and AMD’s RX 7000 series.
Luckily for us, these stonking new graphics cards have done us the favour of pushing down the prices on older graphics cards, leaving us with a wide selection of budget graphics cards to choose from. What’s more, the best Intel Arc GPU’s have some great specs at low prices – check them out.
So, while it’s not quite yet time to see the best budget graphics cards from this generation like the Nvidia RTX 4050 or AMD RX 7600, our selection is a good place to start, especially if you’re planning to install it into a fairly old gaming rig.
So, let’s jump to it – here are the best budget graphics cards.
Best budget graphics card
- Zotac Gaming RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC
- MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus OC
- Gigabyte Radeon RX 6500 XT Eagle graphics card
Best overall budget graphics card – Zotac Gaming RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC
224 x 116 x 39 mm
- Ray tracing
- Brilliant 1080p performance
- Large dimensions
We’re a huge fan of the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3050 which has one of the best price-to-performance ratios when it comes to graphics cards. We think this would be one of the best GPU’s for the i5-13600K.
Its standout features include DLSS and ray tracing which are welcome features given the 3050’s budget credentials. Additionally, it comes with a low TBP making it a much smaller choice than more recent releases. These are particularly welcome for those who value the visuals when it comes to gaming.
In terms of design, you’ll get 88mm dual fans that cope pretty well with thermal output. Though some will be inevitably disappointed, the Zotac 3050 Twin OC does not have any RGB bling, instead going for a low-key design. It also only has a single HDMI port, though this is potentially balanced out by its three DisplayPorts.
If you need any further convincing, our graphics card expert Seb from WePC provides a little more insight into the Zotac RTX 3050 OC card.
“This graphics card delivers a strong performance at its price point, particularly when it comes to playing games at 1080p resolution. It serves as a good entry point to Nvidia’s RTX family of graphics cards, meaning users can take advantage of features like DLSS and ray tracing where possible.”
Best budget graphics card for 1440p – MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus OC
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus OC
235 x 124 x 42mm
- Runs quietly
- Large amount of VRAM
- High PSU needed
This should be your go to graphics card if you’re looking to game in 1440p on a budget. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the best 1440p gaming monitor for the job before committing to this bad boy. Our GPU Guru Seb has also pointed out that it’s worth looking at the best AMD RX 6600 XT graphics cards if you’d like an alternative to Nvidia.
The 3060 Ventus OC has made it onto the list of our top picks on account of its robust design, quality cooling system and affordable price.
Like the Zotac RTX 3050 OC card, the 3060 Ventus boasts a dual-fan thermal design, and this card has a good reputation when it comes to cooling. This is potentially helped by its on-screen display that provides real-time information on your system’s performance.
Like the RTX 3050, this card also boasts Nvidia’s second-generation RTX architecture that’s built with enhanced Ray Tracing Cores, Tensor Cores and high-speed G6 memory. If you’ve got a processor such as the Ryzen 5 5600x, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ventus OC would be a great choice.
Read More: Best 1440p graphics cards – our top picks
Best budget graphics card for Fortnite – Gigabyte Radeon RX 6500 XT Eagle graphics card
Gigabyte Radeon RX 6500 XT Eagle graphics card
192 x 117 x 38m
- Good 1080p performance
- High boost clock
- Can run hot
We’ve decided to recommend a budget graphics card specifically for Fortnite on account of its popularity. If you haven’t already, take a look at the Fortnite system requirements then consider the potential tradeoff between going for the best graphics settings, and something a little lower.
The RX 6500 XT strikes what we reckon is a pretty good balance. This GPU will guarantee you high performance in Fortnite and the kind of frame rates you need to maintain an advantage over the others in the battle royal. It offers this for a reasonable price that will be affordable for many.
Frequently asked questions
Is the RTX 3050 still good for gaming?
Yes, the RTX 3050 is still a high-end graphics card capable of reaching decent frame rates in pretty much any game you throw at it.
What is the cheapest RTX card?
The cheapest RTX cards are, unsurprisingly, the least powerful. This means you should check out the RTX 2060 and RTX 3050 if you want a cheap GPU that is still capable of ray tracing.