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Best PCIe 3.0 graphics cards in 2024 – The top picks

Which of these GPUs is the best PCIe 3.0 pick?
Last Updated on March 13, 2024
Best GPU PCIe 3.0

Graphics card manufacturers are gearing up for new architectures and technologies. While this is a great option for those looking to have the newest systems, it doesn’t mean that old-gen is useless. In fact, a PCIe 3.0 GPU can be the perfect choice for someone looking for great performance on a budget. In this article, we discuss the best PCIe 3.0 graphics cards in 2024; covering best value, AMD, and high-end graphics cards.

With the launch of PCIe 4.0 and the rumors of the 5.0 coming, PCIe 3.0 graphics cards are starting to show the best market prices available. Regardless of this new technology, the Nvidia with its 1000 and 2000-series, and AMD with the 500 line-ups are still strong units for entry-level gamers and high-end enthusiasts.

 

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best PCIe 3.0 graphics cards in 2024

Our picks for the top PCIe 3.0 graphics cards are based on a thorough analysis of publicly available benchmarks and user testimonials. We look for cards that deliver strong performance in today’s games and applications at a good value, focusing on how these cards balance cost with the capability to run demanding software applications smoothly.

Performance per dollar and operational efficiency (in terms of power consumption and heat management) are key metrics in our evaluation, ensuring selected cards are the best offer for a meaningful upgrade for users without the need for the latest system specs.

If you’re keen to read some more of our graphics card’s best guides, here’s our list of high-quality graphics cards on the market at the moment and our guide of the best graphics cards for Intel 13th gen.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Quieter operation
  • Advanced cooling system
  • Excellent 1440p performance
CONS
  • Limited by 8GB VRAM
  • High price for mid-range
  • Requires a powerful PSU

The ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Super is the go-to choice for gamers aiming for high performance at 1440p and dabbling in 4K gaming, despite its 8GB of VRAM. This card finds its niche among mid-range GPUs, offering a blend of power and price that makes it appealing for those looking to enjoy current gaming titles without venturing into the top-tier pricing category. Its capability to handle the most demanding games at 1440p with high frame rates and respectable performance at 4K for certain titles makes it a versatile option for a wide array of gaming setups.

A standout feature of the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Super is its advanced cooling system. The card features robust fans and a large heatsink, ensuring top-notch thermal performance. This cooling efficiency not only allows the GPU to maintain higher boost clocks during intense gaming sessions but also contributes to quieter operation, enhancing the overall gaming experience without the distraction of loud fan noises.

2
PROS
  • Unrivaled 4K performance
  • Superior thermal solution
  • Boosted clock speeds
CONS
  • High price tag
  • Large size may not fit all cases
  • Significant power consumption

For those seeking the pinnacle of PCIe 3.0 graphics performance, the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC ULTRA GAMING stands unrivaled, provided its premium cost is within your budget. This high-end graphics card elevates desktop PC gaming to new heights, offering unmatched performance in both 1440p and 4K resolutions. The slight boost in clock speed over the Nvidia Geforce RTX Founders Edition, along with EVGA’s refined cooling technology, ensures that this card not only outperforms its peers but also maintains optimal temperatures, graphic design, and acoustics during heavy use.

The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti XC Ultra’s pro lies in its exceptional thermal solution. The dual-fan setup and a comprehensive heatsink design are engineered to keep the card cool under load, promoting sustained high performance. This thermal efficiency is crucial for maintaining the overclocked speeds and provides a quieter gaming environment, setting it apart from other high-end options in the market.

3
PROS
  • Ideal for 1080p gaming
  • Efficient performance
  • Cost-effective
CONS
  • Not future-proof for 1440p
  • Struggles with ultra settings
  • Not future-proof for 1440p

The GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB is an ideal choice for gamers looking to excel in 1080p gaming. When paired with a new generation CPU, this GPU forms the backbone of a formidable gaming system that can tackle the most popular titles with ease. Its blend of affordability and performance makes it a smart pick for those aiming to build or upgrade to a gaming rig capable of delivering high frame rates without venturing into the more expensive GPU territory.

The most significant pro of the GTX 1660 Super is its exceptional efficiency. Despite its modest price tag, this card offers impressive performance per watt, making it an economical choice for long gaming sessions. Its ability to deliver solid frame rates in 1080p while keeping power consumption low is a testament to the efficient architecture it’s built on. Gamers can expect a smooth and immersive experience without the need for frequent hardware upgrades, making it an excellent long-term investment for 1080p gaming enthusiasts.

4
PROS
  • Great value for performance
  • Supports FreeSync technology
  • Good for 1080p
CONS
  • Higher power consumption
  • Older architecture
  • Limited future-proofing

The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition stands out as AMD’s best PCIe 3.0 offering, delivering commendable performance for gamers sticking with this interface. While it may not pack the same punch as its higher-end contemporaries, its performance-to-price ratio makes it an attractive option for those looking to enjoy a good gaming experience without breaking the bank. This GPU shines in delivering solid frame rates for 1080p gaming and even handles some titles at 1440p, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of gaming setups.

The RX 580’s standout pro is its excellent value. It offers a great balance of price and performance, providing gamers with the ability to play most modern games at high settings in 1080p. Additionally, the card’s support for AMD’s FreeSync technology ensures smooth gameplay by eliminating screen tearing and stuttering, enhancing the visual experience for gamers who have compatible monitors.

Features and considerations

When selecting the best PCIe 3.0 graphics cards in 2024, it’s essential to consider good performance compatibility and value. These cards remain a solid choice for those not ready to upgrade to the latest motherboard technologies but still seeking good gaming, great graphics, and excellent performance.

Key considerations include how well these cards match up with your system’s power, technical resources, and cooling capabilities, as well as their ability to handle current software and the latest games. Despite the introduction of newer interfaces, PCIe 3.0 cards are a good choice if you’re after significant savings without a major sacrifice in performance, especially for users with systems that might not benefit from the incremental gains of PCIe 4.0 or 5.0 cards.

Is PCI Express 3.0 outdated?

While PCIe 3.0 was released back in 2010, it remains a viable option for many users in 2024, especially for 1080p gaming and productivity tasks like video editing. Despite the advent of newer generations like PCIe 4.0 and the anticipated PCIe 5.0, PCIe 3.0 graphics cards still deliver substantial performance for the majority of current applications and games. This makes them an excellent choice for gamers and professionals looking to maximize their workstation without necessitating a complete overhaul for the sake of a newer interface.

Our Verdict

From the balanced performance and cooling of the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Super, suitable for high-end 1440p gaming, to the unparalleled power of the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC ULTRA GAMING for those seeking the zenith of graphical performance without constraints, there’s a card for every need.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB emerges as the quintessential choice for 1080p gaming, blending efficiency with affordability, while the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition represents AMD’s enduring presence in the market, offering solid performance for budget-conscious gamers.