Best Graphics Cards Under $100 in 2019

The graphics card is by far the most important component in any gaming PC, but its also by far the most expensive part of any gaming PC. If you’re on a thin budget or if you aren’t looking for an especially beefy graphics processor, you can still get a discrete PCIe graphics card for under $100. These graphics cards are easy on your wallet, but they also blow you integrated GPUs out of the water!

Most modern Ryzen CPUs also do not come with an integrated GPU apart from the 2200G and 2400G, so you will have to have a discrete graphics card if you are planning to use any other Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 GPU.

You’ll be able to do some basic gaming on these ultra-budget graphics cards. Minecraft, Fortnite, and all E-Sports will run well, but you might struggle to run more resource intensive titles at max settings without losing all of your FPS.

Both Nvidia and AMD sell graphics cards for under $100. Lets start off with AMD’s offerings, which are slightly stronger than Nvidia’s.

Best Budget AMD GPUs for Under $100

Currently, AMD only offers one graphics card for under $100 — the RX 550. The RX 550 comes in 4GB and 2GB variants, both in GDDR5.

The RX 550 is around 10% better than it’s Nvidia counterpart, the GT 1030 while being around the same price so we will always recommend the 550 over the 1030 if they are priced the same.

Biostar Radeon RX 550

When you think of Biostar, you think of motherboards and probably only motherboards. I haven’t seen my Biostar graphics cards, but I guess they make graphics cards now as well. Don’t be scared by the relative inexperience Biostar has in the GPU market. Biostar is a reliable brand that consistently produces high quality products.

Biostar certainly does need to hire a new design team though — because this RX 550 looks like it’s straight from 2008.

The Biostar RX 550 has a relatively cheap cooler design like all other sub-$100 graphics cards, but the heatsink does resemble the thin aluminum fins that most higher-end graphics cards have.

It comes in two variants, one 2GB and one 4GB.

Biostar Radeon RX 550 Specs 
Stream Processors512
Video RAM2 GB or 4 GB GDDR5
Base GPU Clock Base/Boost1100/1183 MHz
Base Memory Clock1750 MHz
TDP50W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort

 


Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 560 2GB

Just stop reading this article right here. This Sapphire Pulse RX 560 is by far the best graphics card for under $100 that you can buy new in 2019. It has a higher clock speed and twice the amount of stream processors that the RX 550 has. The RX 560 is significantly faster than both the RX 550 and GT 1030, the only two other graphics cards that come close to matching the RX 560 in power.

Sapphire is also generally accepted to make the highest quality Radeon graphics cards with the best reliability as well as the best cooling systems.

This RX 560 only has 2 Gigabytes of video RAM, compared to 4 GB on some of the RX 550s, but you really don’t need that much VRam for weak budget graphics cards like these ones.

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 560 Specs 
Stream Processors1024
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Boost Clock1216 MHz
Base Memory Clock1750 MHz
TDP75W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort

XFX Radeon RX 550 2GB

XFX makes a decent RX 550 with every port you would need (HDMI, DVI, Display) in a simple but timeless design.

XFX Radeon RX 550 2GB Specs 
Stream Processors512
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Boost Clock1203 MHz
Base Memory Clock1750 MHz
TDP50W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 2GB

Gigabyte is reliable graphics card maker and is a decent brand in general when it comes to PC components, but this RX 550 has a boost clock only 12 MHz higher than it’s base clock. Is Gigabyte being extra cautious or are the GPUs that Gigabyte got from AMD really that low binned. We will never know, but since all graphics cards can be overclocked, it doesn’t hurt to try!

The Gigabyte RX 550 also comes with an interesting spiral heat sink design that is pretty unique cut from a single aluminum block, similar to the stock Intel cooler.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 2GB Specs 
Stream Processors512
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Clock Base/Boost1183 MHz / 1195 MHz
Base Memory Clock1750 MHz
TDP50W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort

Best Budget Nvidia GPUs for Under $100

Nvidia’s only offering at the sub-$100 price point for discrete graphics carts is the GT 1030 (It’s so bad that it can’t even be GTX!). Though Nvidia only makes one type of GT 1030 chip, various manufactuers have configued that custom PCBs and coolers to provide a wide vairety of GT 1030s. Some have tiny PCBs, a passive cooler, and just a few ports, but others have pretty large coolers with dual fans and lots of ports.

Nvidia sells a version of the GT 1030 with the slower GDDR4 memory instead of the industry standard GDDR5 to cut costs, so beware of the GT 1030s with GDDR4 as they aren’t really cheaper than their GDDR5 counterparts either. Always remember to check what type of memory the graphics card has!

One interesting advantage the GT 1030 has compared to the RX 550 is power draw, something that people don’t usually consider. While both are low-power cards, the GT 1030 has a TDP of 30W while the RX 550 has a TDP of 50W. While the RX 550 is a bit faster than the GT 1030, it’s not 66% faster as the TDP difference might suggest. This should come to no surprise, as Nvidia has more power efficiently architecture compared to AMD.

EVGA GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 Passive

This is a tiny graphics card that produces zero noise and can literally fit anywhere. It looks puny, but even a passively cooled GT 1030 blows the integrated GPU on even the newest 8th Gen Intel chips out of the water.

Because the PCB on this 1030 is so short, there is only a HDMI and DVI port. Don’t count on this GPU having display port!

EVGA GT 1030 Passive 2GB Specs 
CUDA Cores384
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Clock Base/Boost1290 MHz / 1544 MHz
Base Memory Clock3000 MHz
TDP30W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5

The Gigabyte GT 1030 does look like a mini version of a GTX 1060 OR 1070, but it really is still a GT 1030. It’s got a fairly big hood and single fan, but the heat sink isn’t especially high quality or large and there is only one DVI and HDMI port.

Gigabyte GT 1030 2GB Specs 
CUDA Cores384
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Clock Base/Boost1290 MHz / 1544 MHz
Base Memory Clock3000 MHz
TDP30W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 2GB

The ZOTAC GT 1030 doesn’t have a passive cooler, nor does it have a cooler that remotely resembles those found on higher end graphics cards — it’s kind of a hybrid. There is a tiny laptop-esque fan found right in the middle of what looks like a passive cooling heat sink. However, this is plenty of cooling for the GT 1030 a low-power graphics card that can run on passive cooler even.

Gigabyte GT 1030 2GB Specs 
CUDA Cores384
Video RAM2 GB GDDR5
GPU Clock Base/Boost1290 MHz / 1544 MHz
Base Memory Clock3000 MHz
TDP30W
Output Ports1x DVI
1x HDMI

Conclusion

We hope you have learned a bit from this guide on the best graphics cards below $100. Right now, there are only two sub-$100 graphics cards that are consistency below $100 — the RX 550 from the Team Red and the GT 1030 from the Team Green. In general, the RX 550 is slightly faster than the GT 1030, while the GT 1030 will have better thermal performance (and hence a simpler cooler) and a slightly lower price.

When a higher end graphics card (like the RX 560 that ended up on this list) does end up being under $100 or close to $100, you should definitely buy it over the 1030 and 550 because you don’t find deals like those very often.

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