These GPUs will let you game while saving some money

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AMD R7 265

Source: Windows Central

Best Graphics Cards (GPUs) under $100 Windows Central 2020

We always recommend to spend as much as you possibly can afford on the GPU, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend hundreds on a new component to play a few games and get more done on your PC. We rounded up some awesome budget GPUs that cost less than $100. Not everybody needs the very best graphics cards, and $100 can get you a solid GPU.

Best Overall: ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

Source: ZOTAC

Plenty of budget-friendly GPUs like this excellent example from ZOTAC are considered low-profile, which essentially means they’ll fit in even the most compact PC cases. The GeForce GT 1030 only requires a single PCI expansion slot on the rear of the chassis, making it possible to play some games on even the smallest ITX case.

Now, this GPU is less than $100, so you shouldn’t expect amazing performance. It’ll even struggle with some games at high settings on a 1080p display. This is largely due to the lack of physical processing components compared to more premium GPUs, as well as the 2GB of GDDR6 RAM.

But there’s a flip side to this lack of performance, and that’s a cooler running GPU. There’s a small heatsink and fan that doesn’t produce much noise, so the ZOTAC GT 1030 is an excellent option for a silent PC build.

Pros:

  • Amazing value
  • Single PCI slot
  • 2GB GDDR6 RAM
  • Great for 1080p gaming
  • Doesn’t pump out much heat

Cons:

  • Cannot enjoy high detailed gaming

Best Overall

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

Great value

The ZOTAC GT 1030 is an incredibly compact GPU. While most GPUs today are either two or three PCI slot wide, this little card takes up but one slot on the rear of a PC case. That makes this perfect for not only those on a tight budget but also compact case owners.

AMD Runner-up: XFX RX 550

XFX Radeon 550

Source: XFX

Much like the NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030, the RX 550 from AMD is low-profile and perfectly suited for an ITX build. Using just one PCI expansion slot, the XFX RX 550 is a good budget card for those looking for a solid deal. Costing less than the 1030, the significant difference here is RAM with AMD going for older GDDR5 (versus GDDR6 on the GT 1030).

The performance isn’t terrible, but it’s also not going to blow you away, just like the GT 1030. You won’t be able to play most games at maximum settings unless they’re not demanding on hardware. As a positive, this means the RX 550 doesn’t produce much heat and therefore doesn’t require a powerful (and loud) cooler.

Pros:

  • Amazing price
  • Single PCI slot
  • Good or 1080p gaming
  • Doesn’t run hot

Cons:

  • 2GB GDDR5 RAM
  • Cannot play games at high detail

AMD Runner-up

XFX RX 550

Team Red

The best AMD GPU in our budget GPU collection is the RX 550. Costing less than $90 in most cases, this is one affordable card. Just don’t go expecting to play Crysis on maximum settings.

Budget NVIDIA: EVGA NVIDIA GT 710

EVGA NVIDIA GT 710

Source: EVGA

$100 isn’t much for a GPU, especially when you consider cards like the RTX 2080 Ti from NVIDIA, which can set you back into the thousands. The GT 710 offers even more value, priced at almost half of our available budget for this collection. The EVGA GT 710 is best suited for a work PC (or one with a Ryzen CPU) where you’ll play a game or two.

The RAM is slow, so too is the graphics processor. But there is 2GB of RAM, allowing you to fire up some 3D applications and games, and everything runs rather cool on the card. While quiet, this only requires a single PCI expansion slot on the rear of your PC, making it possible to throw one inside the smallest ITX case.

Pros:

  • Amazing price
  • Single PCI slot
  • Suited for 1080p gaming
  • Runs cool

Cons:

  • 2GB GDDR3 RAM
  • Cannot play games at high detail

Budget NVIDIA

EVGA NVIDIA GT 710

Best budget NVIDIA

If you really want to score a bargain, look no further than the GT 710 from NVIDIA. This fine example from EVGA has everything you need to work on your PC and play a little on the side.

Budget AMD: AMD Radeon R5 235

AMD Radeon R5 235

Source: AMD
One of the most affordable GPUs from AMD right now is the Radeon R5 235. It’s not great at all, but you shouldn’t really expect anything else at this price point. The value here is impressive, especially if you want a GPU to simply run an OS and some software if your PC doesn’t come with an integrated GPU on the CPU.

It’s a small PCIe card that requires just one expansion slot on the rear of the chassis and runs really cool. The 1GB DDR3 RAM is decent enough for media and general PC use, but won’t work well for gaming at all. This card is best suited for small PC, and NAS builds with a focus on low noise and dimensions.

Pros:

  • Amazing price
  • Single PCI slot
  • Suited for Mini-ITX PC
  • Runs cool

Cons:

  • 1GB GDDR3 RAM
  • Cannot play games very well

Budget AMD

AMD Radeon R5 235

Best budget AMD

The most affordable card we could find for team red is the Radeon R5 235. This GPU isn’t worth picking up if you’re looking to play some games, but it’s great for a small PC without an integrated GPU.

Bottom line

One of the best GPUs you can buy right now for less than $100 is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030. ZOTAC makes some excellent high-end graphics cards, and the company’s budget-friendly GT 1030 is a reliable card. Should you simply require a GPU for a Ryzen processor and don’t plan on playing too many games, this is a worthwhile consideration.

Not only does it produce little heat and noise, but the 2GB of GDDR6 RAM is ample enough for basic gaming and 3D work. It’ll also fit inside even the smallest of ITX cases that support GPUs, requiring just one PCI expansion slot on the rear of the chassis. Other recommendations on this list will do the same, but won’t be as good for gaming.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user. When he has some free time, you can usually find him practicing the guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say, “Sorry!” it’s only because he’s Canadian.

Richard Devine is a Reviews Editor at Windows Central. You’ll usually find him deep in hardware, gaming, both or drinking root beer for which he openly has a mild addiction.

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