Nowadays, as prices fall and spec standards rise as they do, having a powerful best graphics card under 100 is an integral part of working as a digital creative.
With even your most mid-range laptops arriving with non-integrated graphics and some even have more powerful cards than their package-built desktop counterparts, there’s no excuse for not having a decent graphics card in your daily-driver rig. While tech may be innovating at an astonishing rate, an excellent old GPU remains a staple.
However, we don’t have to fork out hundreds and thousands to get good performance these days. While you might be dreaming of a new RTX card that’s going to cost you a month’s rent, this is not necessarily the only option. Whether you’re doing Animation, design, playing games or even just watching 4k movies, you can get some incredible power and performance at a much much more reasonable price from a cheaper card.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, this is probably information you’re familiar with.
In this article, we will look at this year’s best graphics card for under $100. We’ve reviewed different cards from different manufacturers, with varying specs and abilities, to best showcase what GPUs under $100 have to offer. Let’s boot up and get those fans spinning!
Is it wrong to run your GPU at 100?
It is built to run at 100% utilization, so it should be safe unless you push the limits too much. Even mining GPUs last year spent all the time at 100%.
But running at 100% affects its lifespan; the transistor wears out on usage. Still, it will run for years unless you are unfortunate enough.
Cheap graphics card
If you are not providing enough cooling, disaster awaits you. Modern GPUs on overheating reduce utilization just to keep themselves in the safe zone. But in the worst case, you can burn the chip.
Always better cooling increases the safety of GPUs.
And if your graphics card is not running at 100%, then
- The game is a piece of cake for your graphics card
- Some severe bottleneck (consider upgrading parts that are always running on 100%, check task manager)
- Check your cooling system.
- Some software issues. (update everything)
- Or hope you are still covered by warranty(graphics card issues).
That means you should be worrying if it doesn’t run at 100%.
What is the best graphics card for cheap?
The Best Graphics Cards Under 100 for Animation
The ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 4GB: It is the favourite for the best GPUs under $100 for Animation. And you probably know you’re not going to get a graphics card upgrade to your animation rig with a $100 graphics card; this is still quite the baby beast.
If you’re currently sitting with a less powerful card, you’re going to have a nice jump in performance if you upgrade to this. Of course, you have the necessary 8-16GB RAM, a decent processor, and an SSD.
Budget Graphics Card
When the point is “budget” AMD graphics cards, the Radeon RX 5700 is a good option for us. Capable of delivering 1440p gaming on Ultra or Max settings, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better mid-range graphics card at this price point.
Some sacrifices also need affordability, however – and it is just barely affordable. The Radeon RX 5700 doesn’t come with ray tracing, so the budget-minded will have to wait a bit longer before that feature makes it even the best cheap graphics cards on the market.
1.AMD Radeon RX 5700
- Stream Processors: 2,304
- Core Base Clock: 1,465 MHz
- Core Boost Clock: 1,725 MHZ
- Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
- Memory Clock: 14 Gbps
- Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin and 1 x 6-pin
- Outputs; 1 x Display port 1.4 DSC, 1 x HDMI with 4K60 support.
100 Dollar graphics card
When you update your graphics card, you can still not see much boost in performance as others experienced. It could be several issues – such as system optimization and age – but most likely the other parts in your system.
Firstly, an SSD is a significant upgrade to start with to eliminate that ‘slow computer’ feel. While SSDs will be expensive, it is almost more important than a CPU or GPU to upgrade, as they allow the whole system to run faster, to a degree. They’re eliminating any bottlenecking happening in terms of storage, which allows you to expand faster with your other parts and do so more effectively.
RAM is another easy way to get some life back into a system that begins to slow down. You’d likely see a more immediate and recognizable boost in performance by upgrading RAM and the SSD instead of the graphics card – so consider this carefully. RAM generally works based on equal numbers, so if your system has 4GB RAM, upgrade it to 8GB. If it’s got 8GB, don’t add another four to get to 12GB, but rather match the existing 8GB to get it up to 16GB.
Lastly, and least conveniently, is the possibility that your processor, and brain of the computer’, is slowing everything down. This is a tough cookie to swallow, as unless you were super clever and careful when choosing your motherboard, you’re likely going to have to get a new one and reinstall your operating system if you’re upgrading your processor. This can be a lengthy and tiring process, but it is worth it if you’ve exhausted all other options before this. It also just feels great to start with a freshly wiped, clean and new system.
If you’re going the route of a CPU upgrade, we’d recommend looking for upgraded kids that come with a motherboard, CPU and RAm as you’ll have far fewer headaches trying to pick out the right parts, as well as likely save a few bucks here and there.
Video cards under 100
There are a few things to consider when picking from a long list of GPUs, which are all quite similar in their performance and abilities. Here are some pointers we’ve put together in an order that we think helps eliminate units that won’t work for you, leaving you with a fine selection of graphic cards built to your needs that you’re still able to choose between.
Size is probably the most critical factor in buying GPUs under $100. Many GPUs are built to specific sizing standards, such as ATX motherboards or Low Profile cases. There is no worse feeling than arriving home toa new package of tech upgrade, only to realize that it doesn’t fit in your step – so be sure to have your case’s measurements and connectors types on hand when shopping to avoid minor mistakes that will throw off your whole upgrade.
While most of the cards on this list require a mere 300-350W power supply, and it’s unlikely anyone reading this has a power supply with a lower wattage than that in this day and age, it’s another factor to double-check. If you’re running a fundamental low power supply, then you might even want to try to find a package deal to get a new PSU and GPU together at a discounted rate.
Cooling, Fans and Noise
You will also want to consider how loud the card is and how much cooling it needs. For most people, a little bit of fan noise is a worthy trade-off for an upgrade in performance, and most graphics cards can cool themselves decently with a quiet fan at around 30%-50% speed.
However, some of us are pickier than others and need quiet. In other cases, cheaper graphic cards might not come with a fan and instead just a heatsink, meaning you need to ensure your case is adequately ventilated, leaving no room for dust or heat build-up to occur. This can be a tricky process, but it is most certainly something you can set up yourself.
Lastly, you’re going to want to take a look at the specs of the card. The clock speed, the amount of RAM, and perhaps some benchmark tests to see how it performs compared to other cards. If you’re running a system with an outdated i3 processor, and no RAM, then you’re not going to see the performance boost you want, even if you were to go for an RTX card. With modular computer systems, it’s all about eliminating the bottleneck.
Lastly, you’ll probably want to consider these other points in a less-pressing manner.
- Brand of manufacturer
- Does the card have a decent warranty
- How many screen outputs does the card have
- What’s the maximum Resolution?
- Are there any known issues with this card that might affect your system?
Is a GT 1030 good for gaming?
I used someone else for a bit while waiting for a deal on 1070.
It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. With everything on low, I was able to get fallout 4 to run at about 70 FPS. Games like Total War Attila were running in the mid-thirties.
The Witcher 3 is the only game I wasn’t satisfied with by it’s performance. Novigrad was a stuttering mess.
I wouldn’t say it was the best, but it was plenty suitable for the PricePrice I paid for it. Make sure you get the GDDR5 version! The DDR4 version is absolute garbage.
What is the Best Graphics Card for Gaming under 100
Best Graphics Cards for Gaming under 100
The NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 OC 2GB is our top pick for the best gaming graphics card under $100. We chose it as our top pick for this category as it comes with some great features designed for gaming. These features include a total of 4K / 60Hz Quad HD Output, one-click overclocking, drawing very little power, and being entirely customizable through Gigabyte’s included control software.
1.NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 OC 2 GB Review
- 2048MB GDDR5 6008MHz
- HDMI and DVI Output
- [email protected] Resolution
The GeForce GT 1030 OC 2GB is a powerhouse at a steal from Gigabyte, as far as we’re concerned. It’s got incredible power for such a tiny little card, and at less than double the PricePrice of the MSI GT 710, it’s got great bang for your buck.
While small in form factor, the GT 1030 has some great features that one might only expect in the higher-end card. For this very reason, it’s our pick for our favourite GPU under $100 for gaming. Some of these features include one-click overclocking, full 4k / 60Hz resolution, two gigs of GDDR5 RAM, and a whole host of possibilities in terms of tweaking and optimization using Gigabyte’s included command centre.
The card runs using very little power (running more than efficiently on a 300-350W power supply) and is built in the ATX form factor, with fans built to run silently and powerfully. It’s a great purchase if you’re looking to upgrade your gaming rig on a budget. It can also manage to hit 60fps on most non-AAA without much of a drop in graphics settings – this makes it a bit of an everyman in the budget gaming department.
Gaming Graphic Cards Under 100
Here are my favourite nine graphics cards under $100 that we reviewed. You’ll see each one has handy pros and constable, as well as some notable features listed for each, making it easier to understand and compare them at a glance. We’ve also listed a budget rating ($ – $$$) for each card, so you can see if it’s cheap, mid-level or pricey
2.MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GB Review
- 2048MB DDR3 1600MHz
- DVI, HDMI, and D-Sub Outputs
- Supports DX12
- Max Resolution of 2560 X 1600
The GeForce GT 710 2GB from MSI Gaming is a solid, mid-range graphics card with a price well under the $100 mark. It’s a great daily driver that supports just over 1440p DisplayDisplay – quite a feat for such a cheap card, and one you would have paid around four times as much for a few years back. It’s got a great compact design, making it perfect for small stealth builds or a homemade Steam Machine. It’s got Afterburner overclocking capabilities and 2GB DDR3 RAM, DirectX 12 and a 954MHz core. It’s great for design work, doing some basic animation, or playing some games at a decent quality level.
Sure, you’re not going to be racking up 60fps on the latest Battlefield on Ultra settings, but with enough RAM, an SSD and a decent CPU, you’re going to be well-equipped to bring your setup up a notch to the next level. It’s a simple, sturdy and well-rounded card that won’t leave you disappointed, adding a little kick into the mix.
3.ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 4GB Review
- 4096MB DDR3 1600MHz
- HDMI, DVI and CRT outputs
- Full 4k Resolution
The GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition from ZOTAC is our top pick for a budget GPU under $100 for Animation, as it’s got a whole lot of RAM and a decent processor too. It’s got a tiny form factor, which is made up mostly of its heatsink (there’s no fan on this card), so be sure that your case has adequate cooling before setting your sights on this baby beast.
The GT 730 4GB has a host of great features, which make up for the lack of performance compared to newer, similar cards on the market. Some of these features include it being triple-display ready, using only 25-watts of power (meaning one can quickly run it on a 300W power supply), supporting full 4K Quad HD resolution, as well as having a low profile form factor.
Now, while this is a 4GB card, the Memory is a little slower on this one and the processor, compared to, for example, a 2GB GDDR5 card. This card is a little outdated and starting to reach a point of outdated performance. However, if you’re without a graphics card in your setup or currently using one with lower performance and handling than this one, then it’s a no brainer to upgrade your animation rig with this bit of fighter.
4. EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC 2GB Review
- 2048MB GDDR5 6008MHz
- HDMI and DVI Output
- DX12 Compatible
- 4k Full Quad HD Resolution
The GeForce GT 1030 SC from EVGA is a great card, and while it just about hits the $100 mark, you’re not going to find much better performance for the same PricePrice. It comes loaded with a fair bit of fast Memory, a more-than-decent clock, as well as a whole host of NVIDIA support that comes included, such as NVIDIA GPU Boost 3.0, Vulkan API and many more.
The card clocks in with 2GB of high-speed RAM and DX12 compatibility and has both HDMI 2.0b and DVI outputs. It has built-in 3D gaming support and was designed to be used for 3D gaming as part of NVIDIA’s foray into that field.
While 3D gaming hasn’t quite taken off as predicted, this build still makes the card great for classic gaming, as well as Animation. You could also use it quite efficiently for video editing and rendering when combined with good CPU power.
All in all, this card is quite a run-of-the-mill, powerful, yet a reasonably-priced option. It’s also a bit of a do-it-all, in that you could use it for Animation, gaming, video editing, or even just for a performance boost in your desktop overall.
5. ASUS AMD Radeon R7 250 1GB Review
- 102MB DDR5 SDRAM
- Supports DX12
- 2560 x 1600 Max Resolution
This little 1GB card from Asus isn’t anything special – but that’s not to say it’s not any good. It’s basic yet powerful for its size and has good support for modern gaming and animation integration. While it’s not the most powerful card you’ll find for under $100, it’s one of the most reliable and a great quality model at that.
The Radeon R7 250 from ASUS comes with a 1GB high-speed DDR5 Ram and supports a 2K resolution running DirectX 12. It uses a PCI-e 3.0 connector and has a low profile form factor and a dust-proof fan that increases the card’s life by up to 25% – quite an intellectual achievement, as far as we’re concerned as we know how much killer dust can be.
The card also comes with ASUS’ GPU Tweak II, allowing you to customize performance and capabilities on the fly, as well as their signature one-click gaming booster for an instant jump in performance and handling.
This is a pretty simple and straightforward card and is perfect if you’re looking for an essential, solid upgrade with no-frills, an excellent build quality, and enough performance to handle all your day to day and basic creative stuff.
6. ViewMax GeForce GT 740 4GB Review
- 4096MB GDDR3
- DX12 Compatible
- HDMI, DVI and CRT Out
- 4K Full Quad HD
While buying a graphics card from a relatively new or unknown manufacturer can always be a bit daunting, with the market for graphics card being dominated by a few titans. As such, many will avoid GPUs from brands they don’t know.
However, the ViewMax GeForce GT 740 is a card that defies these expectations. With a high-quality NVIDIA chipset and excellent specs, it’s a perfect example of why sticking to what you know best isn’t always the right move.
This card comes with a whopping 4GB of high-speed RAM, is compatible with the latest DirectX and OpenGL, and supports all common output types in a 4K Full Quad HD resolution.
It comes with all the frills of a top-end NVIDIA graphics card, such as NVIDIA’s adaptive sync technology, unified architecture, PhysX and CUDA technologies. In combination with the specs, all these help this card get the utmost performance capability on its budget-limited build. It would have otherwise been our pick for the best graphics card under $100 for gaming had they included one-click overclocking and GDDR5 RAM.
This is a great card for its PricePrice, with features and support ensuring it won’t soon become obsolete or stop being able to keep up with new gaming, Animation and design/video editing. If you’re looking for a robust and general upgrade within the price range of $100 as an overall performance booster, then this is undoubtedly the card for you.
7. MSI AMD Radeon R7240 2GB Review
- 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM
- HDMI, DVI and D- Sub Outputs
- Low Profile Design
- 2160p UHD Max Resolution
This simple little no-frills card made it to our list because it caught our eye when we learnt that it’s crossfire compatible – AMD’s equivalent to NVIDIA’s SLI, which allows you to run two of the cards in tandem as one graphics unit.
Many people use crossfire or SLI for different purposes, with some receiving better performance boosts than others. However, none of the other GPUs on this list had crossfire / SLI, so this one stuck.
It’s got a decent amount of RAM and a core fast enough that it won’t struggle with too many medium-to-high intensity jobs. It’s built for gaming, but many buyers also report it to be fantastic for video editing, and one could even use it for less-intense animation work or the odd render.
If you’re running two of these cards in crossfire (which would still somehow be under the $100 mark!), then be sure to do your research so you can best optimize the cards together, not sacrificing any performance in the process. Crossfire and SLI are generally moving away from in the industry; however, they supply certain benefits you really won’t find in a singular graphics card.
All in all, this is a great card to go for if you’re hunting for flexibility or versatility or if you already own one and need a jump in performance but don’t want to upgrade.
8. ASUS Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
- 4096MB GDDR5
- HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI Output
- 8K Full 8x HD
This GeForce GTX 1050 Ti from ASUS is quite a beast that sits just under the $200 mark and is most definitely worth the extra budget if you can afford it. It’s got fantastic build quality and super high specs for a card at its PricePrice. It will boost your gaming, Animation, or other visual experience to the next level in most systems.
This GTX 1050 comes with 4GB of high-speed RAM, with a clock speed of 1290MHz, allowing you to get some excellent, high-speed performance out of it. It’s got a strong metal alloy build quality, as well as a dual-ball bearing fan which is meant to wear out slower and last far longer.
These, in combination, allow it to run up to 50% cooler than previous designs. It supports up to three simultaneous displays and runs on an impressive mere 300W power supply.
This is an excellent option for a powerful upgrade if you’ve got some extra cash to spend. The tweaks one can achieve with ASUS’ included software allows you to angle and optimize the graphics card to whatever task is at hand.
9. Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB
- 2048MB GDDR5
- HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI Outputs
- Max Resolution of 8k 8x Full HD
This card is a slight downgrade from the ASUS GTX 1050 we mentioned just above. It’s got a slightly lower price point, half the RAM, but still outperforms most of the cards on the $100-or-less list. It’s a solid mid-range purchase that’s still close enough to the $100 mark yet allows you a bit of wiggle-room to squeeze some extra performance out of it.
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 clocks in at a strong 2048MB of GDDR5 high-speed memory, with a clock speed of just over 1400MHz without using the boost function (which can get it up to around 1500MHz).
It’s got a Windforce 2x Blade Fan design for easy cooling, especially if you don’t have a good airflow case and supports an 8K display at 60Hz. It also supports up to three outputs in multiview mode.
All in all, it’s a solid card. It’s excellent for gaming and will certainly help out with Animation, video editing, and design. It’s a great purchase if you’re trying to stick closer to the $100 mark but have a few extra singles to spend.
10. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 4GB
- 4096MB GDDR5
- HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI Output
- 5K Display Support
The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 is a quality card that packs in a few extra features, sacrificing a drop in display size (still at an impressive 5K) and is an excellent upgrade to any computer system.
It also features ASUS’ AuraSync Colour tech, allowing you to sync your graphics card lighting with any other ASUS components in your system. This makes it just about one of the cheapest custom-lit cards on the market.
It arrives with 4GB of high-speed Memory and a clock speed of 1285MHz in boost mode. The DirectCU II fan technology offers a far quieter cooling option, which is 30% cooler and 3x quieter than previous ASUS models – a plus for some of us who like to display our rigs on desks but are bothered by constant white noise in one ear.
It supports a 5K resolution over a maximum of three displays, making it ideal for a multi-monitor setup on which you still want to achieve good performance. This card’s power requirements are a little higher than that of the others on this list, with a minimum recommended PSU of 400W, but that’s a small sacrifice to make for such a well-performing card.
This GPU is a solid choice for anyone looking for a general upgrade, something with pretty lights, or happy to sacrifice an 8K display for a bit of a drop in Price.
Best DDR3 Graphic Cards
There are two best DDR3 Graphic Cards
- GTX 980: This card from 2014 comes with 4 GB VRAM and can perform similar to GTX 1660ti. In some scenarios, it can even beat it.
Price:$100–150 in the used market
- GTX 1060 (3GB & 6GB): Most popular card in steam hardware survey you can play every game on med-high settings. This card is trendy and can be found on every possible Used market.
Low Profile Video Cards
There are a lot of cases where you would want to go with a small and compact computer. Such compact computers can be great for compact offices, using as an HTPC, or any other situation where you do not need a potent computer.
For such computers, you should consider one of the best low profile graphics cards stated down below since they offer these features:
- GPU Model: Before taking a look at any of your graphics card specifications, you should check its GPU model. This is due to the simple reason that a higher-end GPU model like the Nvidia GTX 1650 is going to be much more potent than the lower-end Nvidia GT 710 GPU.
- VRAM: Even if you selected a specific GPU model, not all of them might offer the same performance as they tend to come with different amounts of VRAM. While a 1 GB or a 2 GB GPU will be enough for primary video output, you will need 4 GB of VRAM for playing any sorts of modern PC games.
- Clock Speeds: Another factor that heavily affects the performance of your graphics cards is its clock speeds. Like the processor of your computer, a GPU with higher clock speeds like 1500 MHz or similar will perform much better than GPUs with clock speeds around 1200 MHz even if they have the same GPU model and the same amount of VRAM.
While these features are pretty important, there is still a lot to know before buying a GPU. Hence, all of the best low profile graphics cards present below also have their significant features and options.
1. ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Zotac offers pretty value-for-money GPUs that offer decent performance without charging a premium for the same, making them ideal for most computer users.
The Zotac GeForce GT 1030 low-profile graphics card is present in the 1st position of this list since it offers an outstanding balance between a GPU made for gaming and primary video output. Because you get a decent amount of 384 CUDA cores with this GPU that run at a base clock of 1227 MHz and a boost clock of 1468 MHz, you can expect pretty good performance out of it.
Even though there are only two gigs of VRAM with this GPU, it is GDDR5 VRAM which has a memory clock of 6000 MHz for pretty high-performance output. To ensure that you get high performance out of it without any thermal throttling, Zotac has even included a fan with it.
Coming to the back of this GPU, you will find a VGA and an HDMI port, which can be limited for some users. Fortunately, Zotac has not compromised in terms of durability since it includes a 3-year extended warranty.
- Uses PCI Express 3.0 Bus
- It comes with 384 CUDA cores
- Includes 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- 1227 MHz base and 1468 MHz boost clock
- 30 watts power consumption
- Cooled by a single fan design
- It takes up 1x slot
- Includes 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI ports
- It comes with a 3-year extended warranty
2.EVGA GT 710 1GB DDR3 Graphics Card
EVGA also offers entry-level graphics cards similar to the MSI and Zotac models stated above in this listicle that tend to offer high value for money.
This EVGA GeForce GT 710 low-profile graphics card can be another great option if you want something highly affordable. Because this is an entry-level offering from EVGA, you get a total of 192 CUDA cores with it. Since all of these CUDA cores running at a 954 MHz base clock paired with 1 GB VRAM, which happens to be DDR3 and rated at 1800 MHz, this GPU is only ideal for primary video output.
Thankfully, despite being a budget option, you still get an inbuilt fan with this graphics card, ensuring that it does not have any heating issues.
As this graphics card is primarily going to be used for video output and not gaming, EVGA has included VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI ports on the back. Another great thing about this entry-level EVGA GPU is that you get a 3-year extended warranty with it similar to other higher-end offerings.
- Uses PCI Express 2.0 Bus
- It comes with 192 CUDA cores
- Includes 1 GB DDR3 VRAM
- 954 MHz base clock
- 25 watts power consumption
- Cooled by a single fan design
- It takes up 1x slot
- Includes 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI ports
- It comes with a 3-year extended warranty