Best GPU for $300?

Hey there guys. My friend is looking to upgrade from his 2x SLI GTS 450s to a single card configuration for right around $300. He wants my help picking out the best card for the money, and with all the rather recent turbulence in the GPU market, I haven't really gotten a grasp on what's the best for all the price ranges out there. So I figured I would ask you guys about it.

I should mention that my buddy really isn't going to be interested in G-sync, Shadowplay, nor PhysX. He just wants a decent card that will game at 1080p smoothly for a long time so that he doesn't have to upgrade a year or two down the road or something. So I'm looking for strictly the best performing card for $300.

My first choice was the R9 280x, but I'm really just not sure about Mantle. I don't think it's appropriate to gamble on Mantle taking off and really giving Nvidia a run for its money, especially since this card will be going in my friend's system. Alternatively, I was thinking maybe a GTX 770 if there's a really good sale for one on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.


You guys have any input? Any suggestions would be great.

The 280x is the best for the price, but really it comes down to the games in question. For instance BF4 which is AMD optimized the 280x beats the 770 by 8ish frames, and its cheaper. There might be nvidia optimized games that the 770 would perform better but still it comes down to that the 280x is cheaper and actually costs 300, where as the 770 costs over 300

i would go for the Gigabyte 270x its $199.99 on amazon and has great aftermarket cooling and will play any game on high/ultra settings. It is also really good for overclocking. Gigabyte also made a 280x version but its $345

The R9-280x is a good card for 300 dollars. it will run almost all games on Ultra. its hard to compare the 770 and the R9-280x (7970) because they are neck and neck. they surpass each other in the games that are optimized for the card.  driver support is getting so much better now. plus if Mantle does something the AMD card will most likely do better in the long run.

R9-280X all the way the best you can get.  i would say look at the Msi or Asus models. you have to beware that there are a few cheaper R9-280X´s on the market, that are not ghz editions.

Msi R9-280X gaming is a good choice. ☺

At 300 bucks a 280X is probably the best choice right now. I've read many good things about the Asus DCUII 280X throughout various forums. I would get one of those my self from Newegg. It would seem they are still out of stock since I last checked yesterday, maybe i just have bad timing though. Kinda hoping for a deal Friday/Monday but yeah, no stock at Newegg, wishful thinking but you never know..

edit: nevermind.. just checked Newegg after posting and the Asus seems to be in stock now! lol


Asus 280x is out of stock when i look on newegg. I plan on picking up one in the next day or two, along with the rest of my parts, hopefully there will be some sale on it.

They went back in and out of stock after I checked.. Amazon seems to have matched Neweggs price and have free shipping but those also sold out within 30 minutes after being in stock 2 times.

Either those cards are really that good or people are just impatient to get their hands on them but from what I've seen only the Asus 280X seem to be selling that fast. Trying to be as patient as possible but I will be watching them like a hawk now.. 

280x is a strong choice for the best $300 GPU.

But, I'm going to throw a curve ball in here.

On several game benchmarks I've seen a 760 OC 2gb card running just behind the 280x. This card runs for roughly $250.

There's an EVGA 4GB version of the 760 GTX with Articx cooling that may need some delving into for games with large HD textures. It's $300 and might not quite stack up to the 280x but it isn't a slouch.


R8-280X blows a GTX760 out of the water in every category. ☺

4GB on a GTX760 does not make sense at all, because the gpu it self isn´t powerfull enough to utilize it anyway. But still indeed for 1080P gaming its not a bad choice a 2GB version for $250. but for $300 i would realy recommend a R9-280X.

So if i see it in stock should i just jump for it or do you think there might be any sales that would justify waiting a bit (like 20-30ish$)?

That is really a question you should be asking yourself lol.. "Is it worth waiting for a deal that there may or may not be on Friday/Monday or should I just get the card as soon as it is available and guarantee getting one."

I've already made up my mind that I will get it regardless if I can get one on sale or not. From everything I've read so far it would seem to me that it is well worth the $300 and I would not feel any differently as long as I receive a quality product. I will be a bit bothered if I end up getting one as soon as there is stock and then I see an awesome deal somewhere but $20-$30 is nothing I will be pulling my teeth over. I can only speak for myself though.

Personally I've been between the mentality of waiting it out for a deal or jumping the gun when I see the pages go from out of stock to in-stock. My paranoia surely isn't helping anything either but I digress..

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I'll definitely have him pick up either the MSI or ASUS 280x if it magically restocks on Monday. It'd be awesome if one of them goes on sale too, but that's highly unlikely. We'll see though. Either way, their default prices are totally within my friend's budget so it's not a big deal if they don't go on sale.


I was also thinking about a 4gb 760, but he's never gonna need that much VRAM, and I agree with Mistery Angel about utilization. But more than anything, he will only be gaming at 1080p where 2 gigs of VRAM is enough. He's not gonna be modding games like Skyrim so they have uber textures or anything or play at resolutions higher than 1080p. Most of all, he won't be playing games like Crysis 3 that are hyper-realistic. This purchase is mainly to get rid of his outdated GTS 450s (one of which he never uses since he doesn't play any games that support SLI), as well add a lot of longevity to his system in regards to graphics power. This way if he ever comes across a game he's interested in, he won't have to worry about his graphics card not being able to handle it. And he'll be able to enjoy high settings in most cases. Hopefully I can score one of his 450s for a future mid-range build for another friend or something.