Whether you use your PC for gaming or not, the graphics card is one of the most important components of your configuration. If you don’t have much money to waste when buying a PC, then you will probably end up with an integrated GPU. So, I will give you some recommendations and advice on how to choose the best graphics card under 100 dollars.
You know, some graphics card are actually quite good and will serve your purpose of playing Pinball or surfing on the Internet. But if you enjoy visual quality, then some dedicated GPU will come in handy – and you do can find great GPUs within this price range!
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Top 6 Best Graphics Card Under 100 Bucks
Sometimes we search a dedicated GPU for gaming or high-quality video under 100 dollars. After researching, we found some graphics card under $100 for you. So, here is a list of these GPU reviews.
#1 GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 GV-N1030D5-2GL
You probably won’t find any GPU under 100 dollars that are better than GIGABYTE’s GeForce GT 1030. This ‘low-end class’ GPU can easily be sorted into ‘budget GPU’ (next level) based on its performance. And you will love it!
I know, 2GB doesn’t seem much in comparison with newer beasts, but for under 100 dollars – it is bang for the bucks! I’m not trying to say that 2GB GDDR5/64bit of memory is bad. On the contrary – it can run 4K resolution smoothly! And this resolution is more than enough for whatever you are planning on doing – games, projects, entertainment – you name it!
Apart from good memory, the speed is quite satisfactory as well. With the Core Clock of 1506 MHz in overclocked mode (OC) and 1468 MHz in Gaming, you can expect excellent processing speed with this card. The combination of Core Clock and V-RAM can run games on high-quality in 1K resolution. Pretty good, eh?
Its design form is low-profile, that is, it occupies one slot only and can fit into smaller systems. Ports equipped are one DVI-D and one HDMI, while hardware connectivity is PCIEx4. Only one fan is cooling the device, but that should be sufficient for normal use.
What’s great about this card is that you can use AORUS Engine to overclock it with only one click! Overclocking usually can take a lot of time, using different programs and numerous testing. With GIGABYTE’s GeForce GT 1030, this process is quite fast and easy! Still, some research on how and how much to overclock your GPU is highly recommended!
#2 EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC 02G-P4-6332-KR
EVGA GeForce GT 1030 is one of the best graphics cards under 100 dollars, which is a similar GPU like GIGABYTE. The model of the two cards is basically the same, but the manufacturing companies are different. These two are just cheaper versions of once famous NVIDIA’s Ge Force GTX-1030, but still as good as the original.
As mentioned, the performance is pretty much the same as GIGABYTE’s, including the memory specifications. 2GB GDDR5 with 64-bit width, 6008 MHz of Effective Memory Clock, and 48 GB/s Memory Bandwidth. This memory can run moderate graphics quality in 4K resolution, or very high details in 1K.
This unit has 384 CUDA Cores that can process much information at once. This number is quite good, especially considering the price of this GPU. The base Clock is 1290 MHz and can be boosted to 1544 MHz. The bus connectivity is PCI-E.
The low profile bracket is quite compact and includes one HDMI and a single-link DVI. The recommended power supply size is 300 watt. When talking about power, it is worth mentioning that the cooling is passive! This means that the GPU will slow down to cool down in extreme conditions. This greatly limits the overclocking amount and performance capabilities, as there is no additional cooling (like fans or liquid in active cooling systems).
#3 ASUS GeForce GT 710 SL-2GD5-CSM
Now, let’s take a look at some even cheaper graphics cards. The first on the list is GeForce GT 710 from ASUS manufacturer. I highly recommend this GPU if you are trying to save as much money as possible, but still, get a good picture quality. Since this card is almost half the price from those three that we previously mentioned; naturally, the specs and performance will be lower as well. But not that lower!
Similarly to my previous picks, this GPU also has Graphics RAM size of 2GB GDDR5 type. The Bus width is now standard 64 bits. The Memory speed is slightly lower, with this card coming with 5012 MHz. Once again, not the monster GPU that will run new games or render high-quality videos, but still pretty good memory for older games in high detail, or newer ones in low.
Core speed is lower as well, with 954 MHz Clock Speed, which is about 40% slower than GT 1030. The number of CUDA cores is also halved, so in ASUS GeForce GT 710 you will get 192 CUDA cores. Still – half the price.
One great thing about this GPU is that it can support three displays – VGA, HDMI, and DVI! You can connect all three of them at once and enjoy your visual experience. The Interface type is PCI-E 2.0 and takes up only one slot on your motherboard.
Cooling System is passive but incredibly silent. If you want to watch movies with low volume or enjoy the music in front of your laptop, then this is a great feature for you! Not the most efficient cooling system, but nevertheless a good one, and definitely silent!
#4 MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GD3 LP
The reason why MSI’s GT 710 comes after ASUS’ on this list (since MSI is as a reliable company as ASUS) is pretty simple – similar price, worse performance. There is some great stuff about this card, of course, but if you were to choose between the two, I would suggest buying the previous model.
The first and most obvious reason is memory. MSI’s GPU comes with 2GB of DDR3 memory type. Now, DDR3 was a standard type for a long time and was broadly used for general computing, and many older PCs still have this type of memory. But, while the gaming industry‘s popularity grew, this type was replaced with DDR4 and ultimately DDR5, which provides better graphics performance. The perfect example is the memory speed of this card, which is 1600 MHz (in comparison with 5000 MHz that ASUS has).
On a positive side, its core speed is rather unchanged, coming with 954 MHz. Also, this GPU is a real power-saver! It is using only 19 watts, so any lower PSU (power supply unit) is sufficient – 300W is recommended. PCI Express interface, only one slot needed.
Once again, with this card, you will have a vast option of connectors, with HDMI, VGA, and dual-link DVI-D to choose from. Unfortunately, the number of maximum displays is limited to two, but still, for 55 bucks, quite good. HDMI can provide 4K resolution, but that’s really just pushing it to the maximum limit.
#5 EVGA GT 710 02G-P3-2717-KR 2GB DDR3
Here is another one of the best GPU under 100 is EVGA’s GT 710. This beautifully designed graphics card will be a valuable addition to any low-price gaming laptop or PC, and you should seriously consider buying it if you want to save some cash.
This GPU is a mixture of the previous two cards on the list. The memory is almost identical to MSI’s – 2GB DDR3, 64-bit bus width, 14.4 GB/s Memory bandwidth and 1800 MHz of memory speed. Not as good as ASUS’ model, but arguably better than MSI’s.
The core clock is 954 MHz once again, which will be quite sufficient for standard needs. GPU’s bus is PCI-Express 2.0, and its dimensions are about 4.5 inches in both length and height, so naturally, it will occupy only one slot, as usual for low-budget cards.
The interface is rather excellent as this GPU provides one DVI-D, one DVI-I, and one mini-HDMI. The latter gives you the possibility to enjoy your favorite movies and pictures in 4096×2160 resolution. Also, all three can be used at once so similarly to ASUS’ model; you can use up to 3 monitors simultaneously.
Let’s take a look at TDP (thermal design power) and TPD (total power draw). With only 25W used to power up this GPU, you can feel confident that it won’t overheat much and use most of your power supply. The 300W power unit is recommended for this GPU. Dual-cooling system is there to cool it off, once you get into gaming or high-quality image performance.
With HSF (heat sink + fan) you get a better deal than for most of GPUs in this price range. Beware that the heat sink is your primary cooler, and the fan will activate once you go into more demanding tasks. Even this may not be enough if you really overdo it.
#6 ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 ZT-P10300A-10L 2GB GDDR5
My final suggestion for the best video card under $100 is Zotac GeForce GT 1030! What can I say, if you want quality for a low price, then this is what you need. It is the last one, I promise.
ZOTAC, though not as famous as NVIDIA, AMD or GIGABYTE, is still trying very hard to produce good stuff. Famous for their broad spectrum of components for all price ranges and PC types, as well as great warranties, you can actually feel confident when buying a GPU from this manufacturer. They are cheap, good, and durable – hence the great warranties.
In recent years, the main focus of this company, like many others, is the gaming GPUs. That shouldn’t be surprising since the gaming industry is the most lucrative and ever-expanding in the 21st century. If a graphics card is good for gaming, it is rather good for anything else.
This GPU was made for gaming a few years ago, and still, it is very good. Since we have mentioned its specs in the previous two models, we won’t go through everything again, as memory and core specifications are completely the same.
What’s different are the ports and cooling. For display outputs, you have one VGA and one HDMI 2.0. VGA used to be a standard port since before i-series processors, and many older monitors still have this kind of connectivity. This is actually a good thing – if you are looking for a low-budget laptop or PC, then you will probably have a low-budget monitor. If you opt to use something more advanced, there is always an HDMI port.
The cooling has a heat sink and a fan. So, heat sink as a passive cooling system is primary. It will take the hot air away from the GPU, thus cooling it. If that’s insufficient, there is also a fan that will help the process. Pretty handy.
How to Get Better Performance from a GPU?
There are simple ways to boost your graphics performance on a cheaper card slightly. They are by no means bad; I just call them cheap because there are GPUs that cost more than $1000. These ‘tricks’ are rather applicable to any GPU, and you should do them frequently. Well, at least the first two suggestions.
Cleaning is a must for every tower PC or a laptop. While the cool air is being blown into your PC case to reduce its temperature, the dust comes hand-in-hand with it. Now, the dust (even though it is light) can still put on some weight to your components, making it hard for them to operate as they should. Also, a layer of dust will produce more heat. So, naturally, your job is to clean your laptop and PC from time to time (once a month or two) – especially the fans, the CPU, and the GPU. Without the dust, your GPU will work the best way it could.
Every piece of your hardware has some drivers that make them work properly. The graphics processing unit has drivers that are probably being the most frequently updated of them all. Those updates are very helpful as they continuously fix bugs, problems, and improve general performance.
Overclocking is the most efficient, but also the most dangerous way of boosting your GPU, and that’s why it’s my final proposition. From my suggestion list, you could have seen that overclocking was mentioned several times. That’s because the manufacturer will never sell you a GPU that is working at 100% immediately from the box, for that shortens its lifespan and overheats the card.
Some programs go either with your GPU only or with any GPU. Using these programs, you can ‘boost’ the speed and memory (which the company reasonably reduced) of your GPU in order to make it work better and faster. But, by doing this, you are exposing your card to potential dangers.
Firstly, if you overclock it too much, it can crash or worse – die. If you are trying to OC, do it by adding 5% of power at the time, until you reach the limit. Secondly, making your card work better means it will work harder. Overheating is one of the main concerns because it could destroy not only your GPU but motherboard as well. The other concern – pushing your card to the limit will greatly reduce its lifespan. So, choose wisely – health or better performance.
Considering the Factors for Buying a GPU Under $100
All those numbers, letters, and abbreviations that you can see with each product give you a slight insight into what to look for when buying a GPU for gaming or just simple using.. There are several factors that you should consider.
Purpose of use:
This has much to do with your finances. Think about why you need a good GPU. Is it for gaming? For movies? Editing and rendering? Or you just want the best that you can afford because you have no preference?
Well, the gaming world needs powerful components. For these new gaming releases, even a $500 GPU is not enough. If you have a tight budget and you want to play games, then most of your money should go on the GPU.
Movies and the Internet are much less demanding. If your sole purpose of having a PC is relaxation, then the GPU comes after the CPU and RAM. You don’t need a graphics monster, and any solid GPU will suffice.
It stands for Video Random Access Memory. It serves the same purpose as regular RAM, only for your graphics. When choosing your GPU, V-RAM is pretty simple – the more, the merrier!
On my list, all six cards have 2GB of V-RAM, which is very good for this price. Of course, there are GPUs with more or less V-RAM, going up to 32GB! Don’t feel discouraged by this large gap; those cards are the best there are. Regular memory goes from 1 to 8 GB.
Also, DDR (double data rate) works on the same principle. With DDR1 being the lowest number, and DDR6 the highest (even the best), you will strive for the latter. Pay attention to compatibility with your motherboard as you cannot put DDR5 in a DDR3 slot.
Same principle like with the memory. It is measured in MHz (or GHz) and you will be looking for as much as possible. Now, the clock speed is very important for gaming and other similarly demanding tasks. Not that important for Internet surfing and using Microsoft Office.
Usually, the more clock speed the GPU has, the faster it will run. I say usually because this is sometimes not the case. We have different manufacturers, different types of GPU, different everything. Sometimes a 1.7 GHz GPU can work faster than a 2 GHz GPU simply because it is way better in quality. Still, though, go for the best.
Related to the previous three, especially with the purpose of use, you will choose the GPU based on its performance. Naturally, everybody strives for the best they can get, and so should you. Memory speed, V-RAM, clock speed, overclocking possibilities – try and find the best card for the amount of money that you are willing to give.
There are several types of ports, one of which your monitor might use:
Now, the first two, as mentioned, are a bit older types and will be present on older screens for sure. The next three are newer and better (faster, better image quality, etc.). If you already have a monitor with either DVI or VGA type of port, then you are limited to buying a GPU compatible with one of these two. The same goes with HDMI, Display Port, and USB, but they are better, so there is no harm here.
Most of the GPUs have several ports, as you could see from the text, which gives you a chance to choose. You can always link your PC with the TV (it probably has an HDMI port) and enjoy high definition on a big screen.
The importance of the cooling system is quite emphasized in my list. The newest graphics cards have some insane cooling systems, with water cooling or even liquid nitrogen available! With those, no GPU performance could overheat the card.
But, unfortunately, you won’t find such cooling systems for under $100, and your choice will be limited to fans, heat sink, or the combination of the two. Strong fans are a necessity, and they can cool your card quite well. The tricky part is that you have to maintain them regularly, for example, cleaning the dust. If your only cooling is through the fan and it goes out, then your GPU is in danger.
A heat sink is now a very old system, but it can serve its purpose nevertheless. It’s easy to clean, makes no sound whatsoever, and will be quite sufficient for normal graphics usage. The problem here is that it is insufficient for gaming or rendering, so I suggest you avoid them if the purpose of your card is something similar.
The combination of the two (heat sink + fan) is also perfect. The main problem being that the heat sink will be your primary cooling system, while the fan will activate if necessary. Not very well in the long run.
We live in a time where technology is blooming; we have everything we need, and in a vast amount. The beauty of this is the fact that we can choose whatever we like and usually afford it. If you enjoy good games and HD movies like I do, then choosing the best graphics card under 100 dollars for your PC is one very important task. You don’t need to spend big in order to enjoy it!
There are plenty of good GPUs to satisfy your needs; all you need is to find them. This text will hopefully help you in making your decision easier – feel free to use this guide and recommendations – and enjoy the world of beauty.