The Best Graphics Card Under 100 Dollars | 10 GPU’S Reviewed
In the current technological climate, as prices fall and spec standards rise as they do, having a powerful graphics card 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 having more powerful cards than their package-built desktop counterparts, there’s really no excuse for not having a decent GPU in your daily-driver rig. While tech may be innovating at an astonishing rate, a good old GPU remains a staple.
However, we really 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 fantastic power and performance at a 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’re going to look at this year’s best graphics cards for under 100 dollars. We’ve reviewed different cards from different manufacturers, with varying specs and abilities, in order to best showcase what GPUs under $100 have to offer. Let’s boot up and get those fans spinning!
Table of Contents
- The Best Budget Graphics Card
- The Best GPU Under 100 Dollars for Animation
- The Best Graphics Card Under 100 Dollars for Gaming
- The Best GPU Under 100 Dollars to run in CrossFire / SLI
- Best Graphics Cards Under $100 Compared
- Graphics Cards Under $100 Reviewed
- MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GB Review
- MSI Gaming GeForce GT730 2GB Review
- ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB Review
- EVGA GeForce 8400 GS 1GB Review
- ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 1GB Review
- VisionTek Radeon 5450 2GB Review
- Diamond AMD Radeon HD 5450 1GB Review
- ASUS Geforce GT 710 2GB Review
- Gigabyte Geforce GT 710 1GB
- MAXSUN GeForce GT 710 2GB Review
- How to Choose the Best Graphics Card for Under $100
- How to Get Better Performance Out of a 100 Dollar Graphics Card
- Final Thoughts on the Best Graphics Cards Under 100 Dollars
The Best Budget Graphics Card
The best budget graphics card under 100 dollars is the MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 for its overall performance in comparison to other graphics cards. It has incredible value for money and supports 2k resolution. Other contenders for this title include:
The Best GPU Under 100 Dollars for Animation
The VisionTek Radeon 5450 2GB is our overall favorite for the best GPU under $100 for animation. While you probably know you’re not going to get a bomb 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 or outdated card, you’re going to see a really nice jump in performance if you upgrade to one of these. Provided, of course, you have the necessary 8-16GB RAM, a decent processor, and an SSD. Other notable graphics cards include:
The Best Graphics Card Under 100 Dollars for Gaming
The Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 is our top pick for the best gaming graphics card under 100 dollars. We chose it as our top pick for this category as it comes with some great features designed for gaming. These features include a full 4K / 60Hz Quad HD Output; one-click overclocking, as well as drawing very little power, and being quite customizable through Gigabyte’s included control software. Some other notable GPUs include:
The Best GPU Under 100 Dollars to run in CrossFire / SLI
The Diamond AMD Radeon HD 5450 is your best bet if you’re looking for a graphics card under $100 that you can easily run in CrossFire / SLI. This model, being AMD, supports Crossfire and allows you to run two graphics cards linked as one enhanced graphics processing unit. Further down in our review of the card, we talk about the pros and cons of this feature, and go into a little more detail.
Best Graphics Cards Under $100 Compared
|Name||Best For||Image||Budget||Overall||Check Price|
|MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GB||Gaming||$$||7.5/10|
|MSI Gaming GeForce GT 730 2GB||Gaming||$$$||9/10|
|Zotac GeForce GT 710 1GB||Animation||$$||8/10|
|Evga GeForce 8400 GS 1GB||Animation||$$$||8.5/10|
|Asus Nvidia GeForce GT 710 1GB||Gaming||$$||7/10|
|VisionTek Radeon 5450 2GB||Gaming||$$||8/10|
|Diamond AMD Radeon 5450 1GB||Gaming||$$||8.5/10|
|Asus GeForce GT 710 2GB||Gaming||$$$||9/10|
|Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB||Animation||$$$||8/10|
|Maxsun GeForce GT710 2GB||Gaming||$$$||8.5/10|
Graphics Cards Under $100 Reviewed
Here are our favorite 10 graphics cards under $100 that we reviewed. You’ll see each one has a handy pros and cons table, as well as some notable features listed for each, making it easier to understand and compare them at a glance. We’ve also listed a budget rating ($ – $$$) for each card, so you can see if it’s cheap, mid-level or pricey.
MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GB Review
- 2048MB DDR3 1600MHz
- DVI, HDMI, and VGA
- 1600 MHz Memory clock speed
- 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 a 4096×2160 display – quite a feat for such a cheap card. And one you would have paid around four times as much 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 with 2GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit interface and a 1600Mhz clock speed, 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 with 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. This makes it a contender for the best 2GB graphics card.
MSI Gaming GeForce GT730 2GB Review
- 2048MB DDR3
- HDMI, VGA and DVI Output
- 1080 Resolution
The MSI Gaming GeForce GT 730 2GB is a powerhouse at a steal from MSI, as far as we’re concerned. It’s got incredible power for such a small little card, and at less than most other cards with 3D vision ready capabilities, it’s got great bang for your buck.
While small in form factor, the GT 730 has some great features that one might only expect in a higher-end card. For this very reason, it’s our pick for our favorite GPU Under $100 for gaming. Some of these features include Afterburner Overclocking utility, 1080p resolution, two gigs DDR3 Ram and a whole host of possibilities in terms of tweaking and optimization. Not to mention the built-in DX12 effect test.
The card runs using very little power (running more than efficiently on a 300-350W power supply), and is built in a low-profile design to save space within any casing. It’s a great purchase if you’re looking to purchase your first graphics card to get a better experience on screen. It is worth mentioning that this is not meant for intense gaming but just adding some help to the general graphics of basic games.
If you are wanting a hardcore gaming experience then the “GTX” or TI” cards would be for you.
ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB Review
- 1024MB DDR3
- HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs
- 2560×1600 Max resolution
The GeForce GT 710 from ZOTAC is our top pick for a budget GPU under $100 for animation, as it makes the most out of its RAM and a decent processor too. It’s got a very small 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 710 1GB has a host of great features which make up for the lack of performance when it’s 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 easily run it on a 300W power supply), supporting full 2K HD resolution, as well as having a low profile form factor.
Now, while this is a 1GB card, the memory is a little slower on this one, as well as 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 little fighter.
EVGA GeForce 8400 GS 1GB Review
- 1024MB DDR3
- HDMI, VGA and DVI
- Nvidia chipset
The Evga GeForce 1GB 8400 GS from EVGA is a great card, and while it is towards the upper end of the price scale, you’re not going to find a much better 1GB card for this price range. 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 and a 64 Bit memory width.
The card clocks in with 1GB of high-speed RAM, a base clock speed of 520 MHz and a memory clock of 1200 MHz effective. It also has VGA, HDMI and DVI ports for added flexibility.
While this may not be the strongest card out there for graphic intensive games that need 4k resolution, this build still makes the card great for standard gaming, as well as entry level animation. You could also use it quite efficiently for video editing, and rendering when combined with the power of a good CPU.
All in all, this card is quite a run-of-the-mill, basic, yet 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 slight performance boost in your desktop overall.
ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 1GB Review
- 102MB DDR5 SDRAM
- Supports DX12
- 2560 x 1600 Max Resolution
This little 1GB card from Asus really 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 quite 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 NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 from ASUS comes with 1GB high-speed DDR5 Ram and supports a 2K resolution running DirectX 12. It uses a PCI-e 2.0 connector, and has a low profile form factor ensuring it will fit into the smallest of cases and has a memory clock speed of 5012MHz.
This card can support up to three monitors running and can even support 4K resolution at 30Hz on the DVI port. The NVIDIA control app is also a must download to accompany this when prompted. This will give you better control over the graphics and resolution settings for your setup and also allow for easier troubleshooting.
This is a pretty simple and straightforward card, and is perfect if you’re looking for a basic, solid upgrade with no frills, a great build quality, and enough performance to handle all your day to day and basic creative stuff.
VisionTek Radeon 5450 2GB Review
- 2048Mb DDR3
- HDMI, DVI and VGA output
- 2560×1080 Max resolution support
Buying a graphics card from a relatively new or unknown manufacturer can always be a bit daunting, with the graphics card market being dominated by a few titans. As such, many will avoid GPUs from brands they don’t know.
However, the VisionTek Radeon 5450 2GB is a card that defies these expectations. With a high-quality AMD chipset, 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 2GB of high-speed RAM, clocks at a 667MHz and improves the frame rate with higher resolutions making video editing and gaming enjoyable.
The AMD chipset and AMD Radeon graphics processor make this a quality graphics card to start your journey into the world of graphics cards. All these, in combination with the specs, help this card get the utmost performance capability on its budget-limited build. It is a strong contender for the pick for the best graphics card under $100 for gaming.
This is a fantastic card for its price, with features and support ensuring it won’t soon become obsolete, or be able to keep up on some level with the basic gaming needs of today, animation and design/video editing. If you’re looking for a strong, general upgrade within the price range of $100, as an overall performance booster, then this is undoubtedly the card for you.
Diamond AMD Radeon HD 5450 1GB Review
- 1024MB GDDR3
- HDMI, Dual-link DVI and VGA ports
- Low Profile Design
- 2560×1660 Max resolution
The Diamond AMD Radeon HD 5450 simple little no-frills card made it to our list because it caught our eye for its slim design and Pci Express 2.0 and 1×16 bus interface. The Terascale 2 unified processing architecture is another favorite with the CrossFireX Multi-GPU technology allowing you to run two GPUs at once.
Now, 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, and so this one stuck.
It’s got an average amount of RAM and a core fast enough that it won’t struggle with basic gaming that doesn’t have a high graphics demand either. It’s built for entry level 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 just over 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 speaking, being moved away from in the industry, however they supply certain benefits you really won’t find in a singular GPU.
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.
ASUS Geforce GT 710 2GB Review
- 2048MB GDDR5
- HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub
- DX12 Support
This GeForce GT 710 from ASUS is quite a beast that sits in an affordable price range, and is most definitely worth the wait for one of these. It’s got amazing build quality, and super high specs for a card at its price, and will boost your gaming, animation or any other visual experience to the next level in most systems.
This GT 710 comes with 2GB of high-speed RAM, with a clock speed of 954MHz, allowing you to get some great, high-speed performance out of it. It’s got a strong metal alloy build quality, with silent passive cooling which means a true 0dB sound output.
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 220 watt power supply unit.
This is a great option for an easy yet effective if you’ve got some extra cash to spend, and the tweaks one can achieve with ASUS’ included software allows you to angle and optimize the GPU to whatever task is at hand.
Gigabyte Geforce GT 710 1GB
- 1GB GDDR5
- Dual-link DVI-I and HDMI
- Core clock 954MHz
This card is a slight downgrade from some of the graphics cards 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 GT 710 clocks in at a strong 1024MB of GDDR5 high-speed memory, with a clock speed of just over 954MHz on a 64-bit memory interface system.
It has a single fan design for easy cooling, especially if you don’t have a case with good airflow. Add in the cutting edge interface that allows you to tune the clock speeds, voltage, fan performance and power target in real time and you have a quality card.
All in all, it’s a solid card. It’s great 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.
MAXSUN GeForce GT 710 2GB Review
- 2048 GDDR3
- HDMI, VGA and DVI Output
- 4K Resolution
The MAXSUN GeForce GT 710 2GB is a quality card that packs in a few extra features, sacrificing a drop in display size (still at an impressive 4K) and is a great 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 2GB of high-speed memory, and a clock speed of 1000MHz. The passive 0DB cooling is efficient and makes use of a massive heatsink radiator that covers the entire GPU. THis ensures a low-noise and temperature for any gaming. It supports a 4K resolution.
The power requirements for this card are pretty low than that of the others on this list, with a minimum recommended PSU of 200W, and an overall consumption of 19W, this is an efficient little card.
This GPU is a solid choice for anyone looking for a general upgrade with access to all the benefits of NVIDIA G-Sync, GeForce ShadowPlay and GPU Boost 2.0/
How to Choose the Best Graphics Card for Under $100
It’s quite easy to find a good graphics card under $100, and we think we’ve shown this to be true with the varied list we’ve provided here. However, it’s still a tricky task to decide which of the bunch is the best for you.
This depends on a number of factors, such as your existing computer specs, what kind of work you’re doing, and how much you have to spend within the $100 range. Here’s a little buyer’s guide for picking the best graphics card under $100.
How to Pick the Best 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 terms of 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 refined selection of graphics cards built to your needs, that you’re still able to choose between.
Graphics Card Size
Size is probably the most important factor in buying GPUs under $100. Many of these kinds of GPUs are built to certain sizing standards, such as ATX motherboards or Low Profile cases. There is no worse feeling than arriving home to a fresh package of tech upgrade, only to realise that it doesn’t fit in your setup – so be sure to have your case’s measurements and connector types on hand when shopping to avoid little mistakes that will throw off your whole upgrade.
How Much Power Does it Require?
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 very basic 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.
Graphics Card Cooling, Fans, and Noise
You’re also going to 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 graphics cards might not come with a fan, and rather just a heatsink, meaning you need to ensure your case is properly ventilated, leaving no room for dust or heat build-up to occur. This can be a tricky process, but 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 in comparison 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 or 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
How to Get Better Performance Out of a 100 Dollar Graphics Card
So, you’ve upgraded your graphics card, but you’re still not seeing as much of a boost in performance as others experienced? Well, it could be a number of issues – such as system optimization and age – but it’s most likely the other parts in your system.
Firstly, an SSD is a great upgrade to start with to eliminate that all-too-common typical ‘slow computer’ feel. While SSDs can be expensive, they’re almost more important than a CPU or GPU in an upgrade, as they allow the whole system to run faster, to a degree. They’re eliminating any bottlenecking happening in terms of storage, allowing you to expand outwards faster with your other parts, and do so more precisely.
RAM is another easy way to get some life back into a system that’s starting to slow down. In fact, you’d likely see a more immediate and recognizable boost in performance by upgrading RAM and the SSD instead of the GPU – so consider this carefully. RAM generally works on a basis of 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, the 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 is definitely 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 upgrade kits 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.
Final Thoughts on the Best Graphics Cards Under 100 Dollars
You should now be more than well-equipped to pick out a new graphics card that costs less than $100. We’re confident there’s at least one on this list that’s perfect for you, and we hope you enjoy a boost of speed, visuals and (hopefully) productivity with your upgraded system.
Don’t forget to share your two-cents about what you think of the cards we reviewed, and please do let us know if you think we left out a graphics card under $100 that’s absolutely killer. If you are looking for another upgrade, have a look at the best budget mechanical keyboards to take your setup to another level.
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