The Video game industry is arguably one of the biggest ones in existence today and video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. With the technology constantly marching forward, video gaming as a hobby is getting more expensive, however, that is not stopping gamers from building their gaming rigs with the lowest of budgets which is why today we will be taking a look at top 5 graphics cards that you can purchase for under $100.
Best Gaming Graphics Card Under $100
XFX RX-560D4SFG5 Radeon RX 560
- Optimized for the most popular resolution on the market, the Radeon RX 560 graphics card powers through the latest AAA titles in 1080p. Featuring 4th generation GCN architecture, the Radeon RX 560 graphics card provides exceptional DirectX 12 and Vulkan experiences with native asynchronous shader support
- Tuned by XFX for peak performance - Overclocking your card to it's peak performance potential is not an easy task but a stock card is simply underutilizing your graphics card's full potential. Luckily for you, we have factory overclocked the RX 560 at the BIOS level and have fine tuned it for optimal gaming performance. Our state-of-the art equipment and testing labs ensure that your card reaches it's maximum performance level safely and optimally
- XFX's 3 year warranty - Even though we trust that our high quality products will continue working at peak performance well beyond your use of it, we want to put our word behind that promise. That is why we offer our 3 year warranty with this series of graphics cards. This means that your product is protected by a 3 year limited hardware warranty on manufacturing defects of anything on the card
When it comes to the best of the best graphic cards that are under a $100 mark, there aren’t any that can beat the XFX Radeon RX 560. If you are aiming to game at 1080p at a $100 price point, this particular card will help you achieve your goal, however, this card can’t work miracles, and while it is a good card, it does have a few drawbacks which you as a gamer should be aware of.
Looking at the XFX Radeon RX 560, it can play most titles at 1080p without a problem, but the problems arise if you are also looking to stay at or above the 60 FPS mark. To achieve this, you will most likely have to tone down some of the settings of your games. But if that 60 FPS mark means nothing to you, most of the titles will play at around 40 FPS on high/medium settings.
The XFX Radeon RX 560 is also able to support up to three displays and comes with a DVI-D, HDMI, and a DisplayPort which allows the use of AMD’s Eyefinity technology for a more immersive gaming experience. When it comes to cooling, the card has two fans so staying cool and quiet under load should be no problem and since the card comes with a small overclock out of the box, the two fans really come in handy. All of these features do come with a price in terms of power consumption so having a good PSU with at least one 6-pin PCIe connection is a must-have.
EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC 2GB GDDR5 Low Profile
- Real base Clock: 1290 MHz/ real boost Clock: 1544 MHz; Memory Detail: 2048MB GDDR5
- EVGA GeForce gt 1030 - Superclocked performance,PCI Express 3.0
- 2x faster than Intel Core i5 integrated Graphics
EVGA GeForce GT 1030 is a perfect gaming graphics card in case you don’t have a 6-pin PCIe connector on your power supply which is likely to happen if you are going for a budget build with a GPU under $100.
When it comes to performance, the EVGA GeForce GT 1030 is capable of running most video game titles on 1080p, even the more demanding ones such as The Witcher 3 and PUBG, however, such titles will require you to decrease the in-game graphic settings to a minimum if you want to run them on a decent framerate of 40-60 FPS.
The biggest pro when it comes to this card is the fact that it doesn’t need a 6-pin PCIe connector so you can easily plug it in into your motherboard and once you do, you are ready to play, however, the card comes with only one cooler and can get a bit noisy when under extreme load, but not too bad overall. The EVGA GeForce GT 1030 card can also support two displays as it comes with a single DVI-D connector and an HDMI connector.
VisionTek Radeon Radeon R7 250
- DUAL 4K DISPLAY SETUP - Watch Cinematic 4k content on 2 displays (4096 x 2160 max @ 60 Hz) in 10-bit color
- INDEPENDENTLY POWERED - Bus-powered 65W max power draw and requires no additional power source (minimum of 350W PC power supply is required)
- INDEPENDENT HD AUDIO - Each DisplayPort provides independent audio sound to each monitor in brilliant 7.1 Surround Sound. Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD, DTS Master Audio formats and 2 independent DDM Audio (DDMA) stream capabilities
Radeon R7 250 is yet another card that just like our previous entry, doesn’t require a 6-pin PCIe connecter and doesn’t consume a lot of power, however, compared to the GeForce GT 1030, it is not as powerful. However, it does offer support to three screens instead of just two coming with VGA, HDMI, and DVI-D outputs.
While this is not a graphics card designed to play games at 1080p, it is perfectly capable of playing older indie games as well as eSports titles such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends and even more if you don’t mind lowering the resolution to 900p or even 720p. At 720p with high/medium settings, this card is capable of dishing out an average of more than 40 FPS.
MSI GeForce GT 730 Kepler
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Coming in at number four we have the MSI GeForce GT 730 Kepler which is an excellent graphics card choice if your budget is very limited and if you are looking to game at either 900p or 720p.
The MSI GeForce GT 730 Kepler comes at a price of around $70 and is a perfect card for a casual gamer with an older setup who is looking to upgrade. Needless to say, this particular card comes with a few downsides, so if you wish to use it for gaming, you should be ready to make some compromises. While MSI GeForce GT 730 Kepler will support games such as League of Legends, Rocket League and DOTA 2, you will need to scale your resolution to 720p and dial back your game’s graphics settings to low in order to get stead 30 FPS.
MSI AMD Radeon R7 240
- Chipset: AMD Radeon R7 240
- Video Memory: 2GB GDDR3
- Memory Interface: 64-bit
Our final pick is the MSI AMD Radeon R7 240 and it is by far the cheapest graphics card of the bunch. Coming in at only half the price of the $100 budget, one can’t expect too much from this card, however it is a valid pick if the money is tight and you want to maximize your productivity while doing some casual gaming along the way.
While this particular card can run modern eSports titles such as DOTA 2 and CS:GO at 1080p on the lowest settings, the sweet spot for gaming with this card is at 720p at which modern titles can run stable and some older titles can even achieve 60 FPS. The card also comes with DVI-D, HDMI, and VGA outputs which allows you to attach up to three screens to max out your productivity. Considering that the card is relatively small and requires no additional power connectors, it is likely that you will be able to fit it into your PC, no matter what kind of setup you are running.
Graphics Card Buying Guide
While we have laid out our top 5 GPU picks, there might still be some lingering questions that arise when purchasing a new graphics card, so before you decide to spend your hard-earned money, here are a few things you should keep in mind when buying a new graphics card.
The first and most important aspect that you need to look at is whether the graphics card you are eyeballing is capable of performing the tasks that you intend to use it for. There is no need to spend money on a card that doesn’t measure up to the tasks you have planned for it, as well as overspending on a card whose power and features won’t be utilized.
Before you purchase your card, make sure that it can fit in the case that you are using. While all of the cards mentioned above can fit most of the cases out there, it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if your chassis is very old. Older chassis have a different layout and were designed differently back in the day, so doing some research before making a purchase can save you time and money which is why you should make sure that the chassis that you will be using can fit your new graphics card.
Graphics cards tend to get hot under load, especially when gaming, so keeping things nice and cool is very important. Cards with more fans tend to stay cooler and quieter under load but they also tend to be a bit more expensive comparing to those with only a single fan. Generally, the more fans, the better. As long as you don’t go over budget.
Each and every graphics card needs to be paired up with a power supply that is reliable and can deliver enough power for the GPU to perform properly. Having a weak power supply can lead to crashing and even damaging the graphics card, so make sure that your PSU can handle the card that you are purchasing.
Before purchasing a card, make sure that you can actually hook up your monitor to it. Some cards have legacy I/O connectors such as VGA, others only support more modern ones such as DisplayPort and HDMI and some support a combination of them which is why it is extremely important to check your monitor’s I/O connectors before buying.
In conclusion, none of the graphics cards mentioned above will provide you with the top of the line gaming performance, not even at 1080p, but they should give you a decent taste of the gaming experience at 900p or 720p without any problems. Of course, it all depends on the games that you desire to play as well as the graphics settings of them, but at this price point, realistically, it is all that you will be able to get without dipping into the used section.
Last update on 2020-08-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API