Best Graphics Card Under 100$: Top 13 Budget Reviews

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Best Graphics Card Under $100
Best Graphics Card Under $100

The RTX feature in graphics processing has changed the way games look. From reflective surfaces to real-time light tracing, it almost seems like nothing’s really stopping us from achieving better and more complicated graphics display.

With graphics cards rapidly evolving over the past few months, it’s fairly easy to invest in something as affordable as $100 and still get a mid-to-stellar gaming experience.

In this article, we’ve uncovered some of the best graphics cards under $100 that still packs a punch.

Graphic cards are among the principal components of desktop computers. Their primary function is to enhance the quality of images that are displayed by a monitor. They are necessary for graphics-intensive tasks like gaming and video editing. 

Nearly 28% of the world’s population bought a GPU device in 2017 and has grown exponentially after 3 years in 2020. That number is a lot and just means that PC gaming is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, powerful graphics cards range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. Thankfully, there are graphics cards under 100$ that can handle gaming at low to medium settings and feature impressive rendering capabilities. A number of these cards can even run some games at 1080p resolution!

How Does Picking the Right Graphics Card Help You?

Every part is essential and has to be taken into careful consideration when building a PC. But among the pieces that are really considered important is the graphics card.

Like most parts of a PC, it’s hard to come up with a solid solution as to which specific make and model fits your needs. Specifically, in the case of graphics cards, there are tons of things that need to be considered, such as:

Brand

Unlike investing in the right monitor for your gaming needs, there are only two manufacturers you can choose from. These are AMD and Nvidia.

However, even though they are the only GPU manufacturers, they still license other companies to sell their graphics cards. Companies like MSI, EVGA, ASUS, and Gigabyte, are good examples of companies that sell their own graphics cards.

On paper, all these cards perform just about the same across the board. The major thing that makes these graphics card apart is the cooling solutions, clock rates, and software that support customization. Depending on how these are incorporated will be what makes them better to a certain degree.

It is crucial to remember that there is no one brand that is considered best (as some people believe do). You see, these cards are specifically manufactured to fit the needs of consumers from different ranges. But there are cards that are considered best in terms of price-to-performance.

At the time of writing this article, Nvidia currently has better value graphics cards across the board. But some AMD-based graphics cards are still found to offer significantly better price-to-performance ratio on specific tiers.

With that, there really is no solid answer to which graphics card brand is considered best as it boils down to your preference, budget, and needs. Head over to our effective buying guide section below to learn more about the things that matter when choosing a graphics card.

Games You Play

Picking the right graphics card help you greatly by giving you the quality, smoothness, and overall performance you need to enjoy every second of your gaming experience.

It is in theory that the more graphically-intensive the game is, the more likely that you will also need a powerful graphics card to achieve a smooth and seamless gaming experience.

Games that fall under the graphically-intensive category is called AAA title games. A good example of AAA title game includes The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Monster Hunter: World, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, and the Battlefield game franchise.

There also are eSports games, which naturally don’t require a powerful graphics card to run at max settings. Games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, Valorant, Fifa 2021, NBA 2K, Rocket League, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Fortnite, and CS:GO are a good example.

With that said, you will most likely save a ton of money by choosing a more affordable graphics card if you’re someone who plays eSports and less demanding games.

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, then you’ll want to make sure you get some of the must-buy gaming cards.

The Monitor You Have

In line with the type of games you play is the type of monitor you have. When choosing the right graphics card, you have to also consider the resolution, refresh rate, size, and output your monitor supports.

When a monitor has a high resolution, it will require more power to display all the pixels at once. And, producing a number of pixels can be taxing to your graphics card. Simply, the higher the resolution, the more demanding it will be.

If you’re looking for a graphics card to pair with your 4K monitor, then you will want to get a high-end graphics card instead of one that is as affordable as under $100. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a graphics card to pair with your 1080p monitor, you can save a lot of money by choosing among the graphics card we featured in this article.

PSU and Case You are Going to Use

Similar to how you pair your processor with the right motherboard, you also want to make sure your graphics card will work with the rest of your computer components.

When it comes to compatibility with your graphics card, there are two main things you want to check to ensure your graphics card will work well with the rest of your components:

Power supply
Of all the parts in your computer, the graphics card is going to be the most power-hungry component in your system. Needless to say, you want to make sure your power supply can support the demands of your graphics card.

To ensure your power supply can support your graphics card, check the graphics card’s minimum wattage recommended by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

Picking carelessly could risk your graphics card– or even your computer’s life.

Case
Graphics cards can be really big, which is why it’s crucial to check that your graphics card is compatible with your case and that it will fit inside the computer case of your choice.

To check and see if the graphics card will fit inside the case, take note of the graphics card’s length and check the minimum graphics card clearance on the case you have (or are considering to get). Make sure that the graphics card is shorter than the clearance to avoid issues.

Best graphics card under 100$ at a Glance:

If you are looking for an affordable graphics card to upgrade your setup or build an entry-level gaming rig, you have come to the right place. We have listed 13 of the best graphics cards under 100$ to help you save money while boosting the performance of your computer. Don’t worry though, as these graphics cards require minimal wattage and are a good match for budget processors like AMD Athlon or even Intel Pentium!

ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB

Asus Geforce Gtx 1050 Ti 4gb

 

Pros
  • Very efficient
  • Great priced
  • Handles Full HD well
  • Power-efficient
Cons
  • Does not support SLI
  • Some games need to be dropped to lower graphics settings

Tech Specs:
Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 4 GB 128-bit GDDR5 SDRAM | Max Resolution: 7680×4320 | Interface Type: PCI Express 3.0 | Interfaces: DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort | Core Clock Speed: 1290 MHz (up to 1392 MHz)

With only a slight difference in price, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider the ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti. It has a memory size of 4 GB, which is totally enough for eSports title games.

While it may be able to handle AAA title games, some of its graphics settings need to be toned down in order to attain a stable 60 frames per second. For a few extra money, you get double the VRAM capacity, which goes a long way if you’re going to look at the price-to-performance gains.

The ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti is among the most power-efficient cards on the market since it doesn’t need to be plugged separately to power it up. After you hook this on your motherboard, you’re good to go.

Needless to say, the ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti is a great card to consider if you can spare a few more dollars. The small amount of investment should go a long way since this can still handle eSports games perfectly well.

If your budget is strictly limited, then you will be better off considering our next product on the list.

EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC 2GB

Evga Geforce Gt 1030 Sc 2gb

Pros
  • Still performs well in eSports-based game titles
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Can’t handle AAA title games really well

Tech Specs:
Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 64-bit GDDR5 SDRAM | Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Interface Type: PCI Express 3.0 | Interfaces: HDMI, DVI | Core Clock Speed: 1290 MHZ (up to 1544 MHz)

The EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC 2GB is a great entry-level graphics card that may not excel in handling AAA titles but it does offer enough power to handle eSports games well.

This version of GT 1030 features a GDDR5 technology that essentially performs way better than the rumored GT 1030 cards that uses the DDR4 technology. If you are looking for the best bang for the buck graphics card in the $100 range, this will definitely excel.

Overwatch, DOTA 2, League of Legends, and other eSports titles should be handled smoothly with this card. Unfortunately, AAA title games like GTA V, The Witcher 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be too much for the card to handle.

It is also important to note that the more recent eSports title like Valorant may be too taxing for the card– but not too much for the ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB above.

GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 OC

Pros
  • Good for games based on DirectX 9/11 and e-sports games
  • Remarkably low TDP of only 30W

Cons
  • Trails the Radeon RX 550 when it comes to games based on DirectX 12
  • Runs cool and quiet

 

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 64-bit GDDR5 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 4096×2160 / Interface Type: PCI Express 3.0 / Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-D / Core Clock Speed: 1290 MHz / Boost Clock Speed: 1544 MHz

The GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 OC is one of the most popular options at this price point. Compared to the XFX RX 550, it is 5-10% more powerful, but it is only a 64-bit card and has a lower max resolution. Nevertheless, it can play most games at 1080p medium settings at an average of 30 to 40 FPS. These numbers are impressive, considering the tight budget.

You can also expect features that are integrated into higher-end cards to come with the GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 OC. These include one-click overclocking, GDDR5 SDRAM, and high customizability using the GIGABYTE Command Center. Like the XFX 550, this card is run efficiently on a 300-400W power supply. 

The GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 OC has a powerful fan that runs silently to keep temperatures at a minimum while you play games. You will have no trouble running most non-AAA games at 60 FPS without having to reduce video settings. It can do a bit of everything and is truly one of the best graphics card under $100.  

MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710

Pros
  • Up to 10x better performance than integrated graphics
  • Good for less demanding games at low settings
  • Support for high display resolution

Cons
  • Not a sensible upgrade for gaming

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 64-bit DDR3 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 4096×2160 / Interface Type: PCI Express 2.0 / Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA / Core Clock Speed: 954 MHz

The MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 may only cost half of the budget we set for this list, but it deserves to be among the top picks. It is powered by the GT 710 chip which allows it to handle modern games at decent graphics settings. This card even has support for just over 1440p display resolution.

If you are into low-profile graphics cards, the MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 features a sleek and unpretentious design that makes it ideal for small stealth builds. The core clock speed of 954 MHz enables you to do design, engineering work, basic animation, and play games at respectable settings. 

Overall, the MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 is an inexpensive graphics card that will not leave you feeling disappointed. If you are looking to build an ultra-cheap gaming rig, this card is an excellent option. It is also great as a secondary card for gamers who are looking to boost the performance of their setup.

ZOTAC GeForce GT 730

Pros
  • Accelerates multimedia experience
  • Good for e-sports games
  • Great value

Cons
  • Not the most sensible upgrade for gaming

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 4 GB 64-bit DDR3 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 3840×2160 / Interface Type: PCI Express 2.0 / Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA / Core Clock Speed: 902 MHz

The ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 is our choice for the best graphic card under 100$ for animation mainly because of the decent graphics processor paired with 4 GB of VRAM. Although the GT 730 is slightly outdated, it still has some great features that make up for its lack of performance. These include support for triple-display and 4K resolution.

Depending on your preference, you may also appreciate the small form factor of the ZOTAC GeForce GT 730. The heatsink stands out in the design of the card. It is also worth noting that it does not have a fan. You must make sure that your case has adequate cooling to avoid the card overheating. 

The ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 only uses 25W of power, so you can easily get by with a 300W power supply. The card may be outdated, but it is a bargain if you are currently without a dedicated graphics card or using one with lower performance. Otherwise, we would recommend going with the other options mentioned earlier.

ASUS AMD Radeon R7 250 1GB

Asus Amd Radeon R7 250 1gb

Pros
  • Great for indie games
  • Capable of handling some games at 1080p quality at medium settings
  • Perfect for builders looking only for the essentials
  • Compact
Cons
  • Requires a 6-pin connector
  • Uses more power under load

Tech Specs:
Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 1 GB 128-bit GDDR5 SDRAM | Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | Interface Type: PCI Express 3.0 x16 | Interfaces: DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI | Core Clock Speed: 725 MHz (up to 925 MHz)

Contrary to most beliefs, graphics aren’t the only thing that matters for gamers. For some, the story is far more valuable than graphics quality.

Take it from Indie games, where graphics aren’t the highlight at all but the story. If you are a budget builder looking to only play games on 1080p quality at medium settings, then the ASUS AMD Radeon R7 250 1GB won’t disappoint.

The R7 250 may be old but it is still slightly better than most integrated graphics cards on the market– and a good buy if you’re really on a budget and into Indie game titles.

ASUS Radeon R7 240

Pros
  • On par with GeForce GT 730 in terms of gaming capabilities
  • Durable dust-proof fan design
  • Support for multiple display setup

Cons
  • Outdated for modern games

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 128-bit DDR3 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 1920×1200 / Interface Type: PCI Express 3.0 / Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA / Core Clock Speed: 730 MHz / Boost Clock Speed: 780 MHz

The ASUS Radeon R7 240 is an impressive graphics card that stands out compared to the other alternatives in its price range. This low-profile card performs similar to the ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 in terms of gaming for a significantly lower price. It comes with 2 GB of DDR3 which may be outdated but can get the job done for basic tasks and older games. It also features a dust-proof fan design that can help extend its lifespan by up to 25% longer.

With the ASUS Radeon R7 240, you can play games like Borderlands 2 and Skyrim at medium to high settings on 900p or 720p resolution. For more recent titles, you can run it on 720p resolution at low settings, which makes it a good option for players looking to transition to PC gaming.  

Another upside for the ASUS Radeon R7 240 is that it does not require external power connectors from the power supply. It is also ideal if you want a multiple monitor setup or for use in Hypertext Caching Protocol (HTPC) and video editing. 

MSI GeForce GT 730

Msi Geforce Gt 730

Pros
  • Supports DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI
  • Supports 1080p display
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a decent cooling feature

Tech Specs:
Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 64-bit GDDR5 SDRAM | Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Interface Type: PCI Express 2.0 x16 | Interfaces: DVI, HDMI, VGA | Core Clock Speed: 1006 MHz

In all honesty, the graphics card isn’t entirely great when compared to any recently-released cards on the market. And gaming just won’t look good at all. But surprisingly enough, it does get the basic jobs done just as well at a significantly low price.

By basic, I mean the card can support 1080p resolution well without any issues. Gaming with this card isn’t any luxurious at all but if you’re planning on using it only for basic display functions, entertainment, as well as light gaming, then this is the best bang for the buck.

ASUS Radeon R5 230

Pros
  • Comes with useful multimedia features
  • Runs cool and quiet

Cons
  • Not suitable for gaming

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2 GB 64-bit DDR3 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 2560×1600 / Interface Type: PCI Express 2.1 / Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA / Core Clock Speed: 650 MHz

The ASUS Radeon R5 230 is not precisely the ideal gaming graphics card. Although that might turn off gamers, this card is best for people who are looking to develop a home theater. It comes with 2 GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and it runs with no noise since it does not have a fan. 

You can watch HD movies and videos for extended periods without having to worry about its temperature since it is designed to dissipate heat silently. If you use a discrete case for your home theater setup, you will have no issue installing this card since it has a low-profile form factor.

This graphics card also comes with ASUS GPU Tweak II software. It lets you customize the performance of the card for high-resolution videos and other demanding tasks.

We would recommend the ASUS Radeon R5 230 to people who mostly use their computers to stream videos or watch movies. It also can support a dual-monitor setup as a bonus.

GIGABYTE GeForce 210

Pros
  • Good for consumers who use their computers mainly for multimedia
  • A great upgrade from integrated graphics
  • Very inexpensive

Cons
  • Not designed for gaming

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 1 GB 64-bit DDR3 SDRAM / Max Resolution: 2560×1600 / Interface Type: PCI Express 2.0 Interfaces: HDMI, DVI-I, VGA / Core Clock Speed: 520 MHz

The GIGABYTE GeForce 210 may be the least powerful card on this list, and it is certainly not meant for gaming. It can barely get over 30 FPS at the lowest settings for most modern games. However, it is still an excellent upgrade for people who primarily use their computers to watch videos and movies. The card is also a significant improvement from on-board or integrated graphics.

Since the GIGABYTE GeForce 210 is a single-slot card, you will not need an additional power connection from your power supply. You can use it on a monitor with built-in speakers to take advantage of the gold-plated HDMI interface. 

If you use your computer for photo and video editing, this card is a good alternative. You can even edit videos at 720p 30 FPS without a problem. Older games also run smoothly on this card.

Overall, the GIGABYTE GeForce 210 does everything but gaming well and is a substantial upgrade from integrated graphics. We would recommend the card for those looking to improve their home theater system or those who use their computers for light video editing.

Biostar Radeon RX 550 Gaming Edition

Biostar Radeon Rx 550 Gaming Edition

Pros
  • Contains 4GB of video RAM for your graphics-heavy applications
  • Fan is extremely quiet
  • Supports triple monitor setup
Cons
  • The accompanying software is a little cumbersome
  • Windows 10 won’t be able to identify the card without first installing the drivers and may take a little extra work
  • Not ideal for use in slim form factor or laptop computers

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 4GB DDR5 / Max Resolution: Digital at 4096 x 2160 or VGA at 2048 x 1536 / Interface Type: PCI-Express 3.0 / Interfaces: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort 1.4 and 1xDVI / Boost Clock Speed: 1183 MHz

The RX 550 is a fairly large graphics card and requires a PSU minimum of 400W to operate. Its 4GB of RAM gives it a lot of graphics-processing power and thus is a fairly robust device. You can run games at max or ultra settings comfortably without having to make too many adjustments.

This card takes up a sizable amount of space and is not meant to be installed on smaller computers. You’re going to need a large motherboard like the ASRock X470 Taichi to be able to mount this card and get the most out of it.

EVGA GT 710 Single Slot Graphics Card

Evga Gt 710

Pros
  • Low power consumption due to being a low-profile variant
  • Can handle up to three displays
  • One of the few cards that can fit inside Dell servers
  • Good for general use
Cons
  • Not ideal for gaming, even with the 2GB built-in
  • Requires a large power source; 300W minimum

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2GB 64-bit DDR3 / Max Resolution: 4096 x 2160 / Interface Type: PCI-E / Interfaces: 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA / Core Clock Speed: 1800 MHz / Boost Clock Speed: N/A

The EVGA GT 710 is another graphics card that is low-profile in a similar vein to the GeForce 210 with a little extra power packed into it. Even though it has some Nvidia technology equipped, it is more ideal to use for graphical display than it is for intensive gaming.

It can support multiple displays (up to three); so if you happen to be working a job where you need to view multiple documents or web pages at large resolutions (up to 4096 x 2160) this card can help accomplish that. On top of that, this card is ideal for server use, specifically Dell servers, since it’s a small form factor card that doesn’t take up a lot of real estate within the computer casing.

Keep in mind that you’ll need a fairly large power supply to be able to run this card and get the most value out of it.

MSI GeForce 210

Msi Geforce 210

Pros
  • Good for dual monitor setup
  • Low profile makes it suitable for smaller computers
  • Fan runs quietly
Cons
  • Entry-level GPU designed for desktop PCs for basic applications and not geared for gaming programs
  • Some fiddling may be required before the card registers on your machine

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 1GB 64-bit DDR3 / Max Resolution:2560 x 1600 / Interface Type: PCI-Express 2.0 / Interfaces: 1x DVIiI Dual Link, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA / Core Clock Speed: 1000 MHz / Boost Clock Speed: Variable with MSI Afterburner and has no cap

MSI’s GeForce 210 is a relatively small card with an Nvidia graphics co-processor built for small machines. It doesn’t pack much in terms of power compared to high-tier graphics cards, but it does get the job done. If you’re looking for a video card that’s basic in terms of functionality and low-profile, the GeForce 210 is good for desktop computers that have office applications installed to handle basic workloads.

The card does have an overclocking capability, but it should be emphasized that this is for low-end gaming since this is a very basic video card. You won’t be blown away when playing games on this card, as you’ll end up playing them on the lowest settings possible.

While it supports three interface connections, it can only be used in dual monitor setup, so if you’re looking to set up additional monitors, you’ll need a more robust card that supplies additional graphics power.

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 GV-N1030D5

Gigabyte Geforce Gt 1030 Gv N1030d5

Pros
  • Low-profile design
  • AORUS Graphics Engine enables one-click overclocking
  • Two different overclocking speeds
  • Comes with an integrated heatsink and cooling fan to keep the card cool
Cons
  • Needs a 300W PSU minimum to run
  • No VGA support handles DVI and HDMI only

 

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2GB 64-Bit GDDR5 / Max Resolution: 7680 x 4320 / Interface Type: PCI-E / Interfaces:1x HDMI and 1x DVI-D / Core Clock Speed: 6008 MHz / Boost Clock Speed: 1468 MHz Gaming Mode and 1506 MHz Overclock Mode

This iteration of Gigabyte’s 1030 graphics card is a low profile version of the original 1030 from Gigabyte. It is different from the standard version in that it comes in a smaller form factor and takes up less space inside of your computer. This is an ideal card to have if you need a slot or room for other peripherals within the PC chassis. For the most part, it handles video playback and gaming just fine and plays many legacy titles such as Borderlands 2 at max settings at a healthy frame rate of 60-75fps. You can run two different overclocking speeds on the card but in the case of games in can be a bit overkill unless you want to push frame rates past their limit.

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

Zotac Geforce Gt 1030

Pros
  • Excellent for video and photo editing applications
  • Comes with native Nvidia applications include GameWorks, GeForce Experience in a low profile
  • Satisfies some gaming requirements and enables max settings on legacy games
Cons
  • Dual-display capable only
  • Power consumption is fairly high

 

Memory Size/Bus Width/Technology: 2GB 64-bit GDDR5 / Max Resolution: 7680 x 4320 / Interface Type: PCI-E 3.0 / Interfaces: 1x HDMI and 1x / Core Clock Speed:
Boost Clock Speed: N/A

ZOTAC’s GeForce GT 1030 is based on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture and comes with many other things users love from Nvidia. The onboard 2GB on the card gives it enough of a punch to run older games such as Borderlands and Fable at max settings with steady frame rates. When running gaming applications, the fan that’s built into the card runs silently and never gave off any noise emissions during long periods of play.

Installation of the card was simple and is a low-profile card that fits snugly into the motherboard. Despite the punch it packs, what proved to be disappointing was the fact that it was only capable of handling two monitors, which can be a dealbreaker for users that love to run multiple monitors for their computer setup.

Graphics: Why Do They Matter?

Graphics dictate how immersive the viewing experience is for your computer, regardless if it’s for streaming video content from YouTube or playing your favorite shooter in high resolution. If you’re looking to build a gaming PC or purchase a laptop that is gaming-capable, you’ll want to check out the specs of the graphics cards. Games that are listed in online stores such as Steam, Blizzard or Activision will have specs listing the minimum requirements necessary to run their games on your system. Ideally, you will want to have a card that satisfies the minimum requirements so that you’ll be able to experience playing games without any issues.

Computer vendors such as Razer, Alienware and ASUS Republic of Gamers have both desktop and laptop machines that have high-end specs capable of running games in insane resolution. When you run the games at max settings, you can see the extreme level of detail provided due to the cards’ innate processing power.

Gaming laptops are good solutions if you want to be able to game on the go. They are often referred to as desktop replacements since they tend to weigh more than three pounds on average, compared to ultralight tablets. The caveat to their portability is that the video cards built into gaming laptops possess almost as much graphics-processing power as their desktop brethren, so choosing between the two ultimately boils down to what kind of machine you’re looking for along with how much your budget can support.

Your displays will also dictate what kind of video cards you need for your system. You won’t truly reap the benefits of the kind of graphics power these cards have to offer unless you’re using a 1440p or 4K monitor as part of your computer setup.

Graphics Cards Specs Explained: How to Choose a Graphics Card

The past few decades saw significant advancements in computing technology, and the trend will continue to grow in the graphics department. Systems such as the PS4 and Xbox will feature 8K resolution and ray tracing, which shows how light behaving more realistically as it does in real life. Below is a guideline to help you choose the best graphics card for your system and aid you in creating the best gaming machine:

Manufacturer: Graphics cards typically come from two major vendors: Nvidia and Radeon. Nvidia is the more predominant of the two as their graphics cards are coupled with computers that have Intel processors mounted onboard the chassis, but Radeon is slowly catching back up to where it was alongside its rival vendor in the early 2000s.

Connection: The connection for the card refers to the slot available on the motherboard that can accommodate the graphics card.

VGA/Video Graphics Array: VGA connections are the oldest video connections still in use by servers and found in video cards from the low to mid-tiers. It’s a blue connector that contains three rows of five pins, totaling up to fifteen. It is the last analog connectors still used today and thus has the lowest resolutions of all connection types available.

DVI/Digital Visual Interface: DVI connections are still in use today and come in five variants: DVI-A, DVI-I (single link), DVI-I (dual-link), DVI-D (single link) and DVI-D (dual-link). DVI-A is used exclusively for analog signals and is rare compared to DVI-I and DVI-D connectors.

DVI-D is the opposite of DVI-A where it sends digital signals only, whereas DVI-I can send both digital and analog signals. DVI-I is very useful if you want to be able to connect to older VGA-based monitors.

HDMI/High Definition Media Interface: The most advanced of the video connection types, HDMI connections offer between 1920×1080 up to 4096×2160 as the maximum resolution on display.

DisplayPort: DisplayPort is a newer flavor of HDMI and comes via the standard DisplayPort connection or Mini-DisplayPort Connection. The difference between DisplayPort and HDMI differs based on how data is transmitted. In the case of the former, it uses packetized data transmissions in the same vein as Ethernet, SATA, or USB connections. One neat feature about DisplayPort is that multiple monitors can run through one DisplayPort connection.

Core Speed: The core speed is a fancy term for the frequency of the video card. It is the operating speed of the GPU and is annotated in either GHz or MHz. Since architecture for graphics cards varies, two cards that have identical clock speeds won’t necessarily perform the same job within the same time frame. Differences involved include the number of cores, architecture, as well as memory speed/size/type, will be variable as well.

Boost Speed: This feature is a relatively new feature. Basically, it is a temporary overclocking of the video card’s core frequency to supply additional graphics power as needed.

Video Memory: Video memory is similar to a computer’s RAM where is used as temporary storage for data. Video cards use the amount of RAM based on the output of the card itself. Machines that have more video RAM available will be able to use software or multiple monitors where graphics cards that have greater processing power.

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is 1GB GPU good for gaming?
1GB GPU may or may not be good for gaming. Actually, this depends on the minimum and recommended system requirements of the game you’ll be playing. You have to check out the website or packaging of your game to ensure you have the right GPU for the job.

For instance, Fortnite has a recommended video card of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 or equivalent DX11 GPU. This means the recommended VRAM for the game is about 2GB. On the other hand, The Elder Scrolls Skyrim: V has a recommended video card of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or its AMD Radeon 4890 equivalent, meaning it is suggested to use a graphics card of about 1GB in memory.

How much of my GPU should be used?
For maximum performance, especially in games, GPU usage should be at 99% or 100%. If you’re using a lower percentage, this means you’re experiencing a low GPU usage issue. This will equate to less frames per second (FPS) and lower performance during gaming.

What graphics card do I need for 4K?
According to NVIDIA, GeForce GTX 600 and 700 series (and up) can support 4K resolutions with its DisplayPort. The driver will automatically detect it and no special setup is required. Playing games at this resolution will need a GTX 780 SLI or better GPU. The AMD equivalent of the said graphics cards will possibly have the same capabilities.

What is the best low budget GPU?
The best low-budget GPU will depend on the purpose of buying it. Plus, you have to check out its specifications to make sure it fits your needs. Other factors to consider include manufacturer, connection, ports (e.g., VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort), core speed, video speed, and video memory. Our list of the best graphics cards under $100 found above is a good baseline to start with.

Recap: Great Options for the Best Graphics Card Under 100$

That sums up our picks for the 13 best graphics cards under $100 available in the market right now. Some of these cards have gaming performance in mind while others are designed as a step up for on-board graphics. 

What you need is a thorough understanding of what you need in a graphics card and which features are most useful to you. With such a tight budget, it can be challenging to find a compromise that meets your demands. 

Fortunately, you now have an idea of what you should look for and what to avoid. We hope we have given you a good sense of what your next system upgrade will be and that you take full advantage of the boost in performance it provides. 

Do you have any questions for us? If you think that we missed a killer graphics card at the same price range, let us know in the comments section!

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