Best Cheap Graphics Card for Gaming in 2018

GTX Titan X Pascal
If you ask me what is the strongest gaming graphics card you can get in the market today??, without a doubt, the answer is GeForce GTX Titan X Pascal. The GTX Titan XP uses 384-bit memory interface width and 3584 CUDA cores for its GDDR5 video memory (effective clocked at 10008MHz). Unfortunately, its price is very, very expensive.

But what if i told that you don't really need an expensive graphics card to play most modern games, at least for 720p resolutions. GeForce GT 740 for example, with memory bandwidth more than 60000 MB/sec (DDR5 version), it will easily handle a game like Battlefield 4. And the good news is, the price of GT 740 is really affordable. Well, in this article i will show you some good, cheap graphics card for gaming under and around 100 dollars, keep on reading...

Some tips you must know before you buy a graphics card:

* In order to avoid bottleneck and get the optimal performance of the video cards below, make sure your computer is powered with at least strong quad core processor. (a dual core processor is still good for HD gaming though)

* DDR3 vs DDR5
Get the DDR5 graphics card instead of DDR3 if you want to get better performance in gaming. (the DDR5 version is equipped with faster memory clock and larger bandwidth thus the price is more expensive).

* Make sure you have a good power supply before you buy a graphics card. You need at least 400 or 450 Watt power supply unit in order to run the graphics card below properly.

* If you are only using one monitor, 1 GB graphics card is more than enough for you (and it's cheaper of course).

* List of graphics card manufacturer i recommend: Gigabyte, XFX, ASUS, Sapphire, HIS, MSI, EVGA, Zotac. 

Okay, let's go to the main topic, here are some good graphics card under and around one hundred dollars i recommend:

GeForce GT 1030

In the end of May 2017, NVIDIA introduced their Pascal-based GPU architecture aimed at the entry-level class, the GeForce GT 1030. The presence of the GeForce GT 1030 marked Pascal's debut in the level of graphics cards priced under $100. One thing, of course the performance we can expect from this cheap video card.

The GeForce GT 1030 is not equipped with support for some of NVIDIA's flagship features, such as NVIDIA Ansel and support for G-SYNC. However, this is quite natural for a product intended for entry-level classes. This graphics card also does not support multi-graphics card configuration.

GT 1030's GPU itself uses Pascal architecture with 384 CUDA Core, with boost clock at 1468 MHz. As for the memory, GT 1030 supports the use of GDDR5 with 64-bit interface width, with a maximum capacity of 2 GB. As for the memory speed, GT 1030 supports up to 3000 MHz (6000 MHz effective).

Like the other graphics cards in this list, GT 1030 is not designed for 1080p gaming, especially since its bandwidth has been limited because of its 64-bit interface width. Fortunately, this GT 1030 can almost match the performance of better old video card like GTX 750 Ti as you can see on the video above.

Power Consumption: 30 Watts
Memory Bandwidth: 48.06 GB/s

Click here to buy GT 1030 from amazon

Radeon R7 240

The R7 240's most fundamental difference from Radeon R7 250, apart from the GPU chip, is the use of lower core clock specification. With 780 MHz core clock and 1800 MHz effective memory clock (DDR3 version), the R7 240 is not recommended for 1080p resolutions.

Judging from its standard specification, the R7 240 resembles the old HD 6570. Well, one of the most interesting point about this video card is its power consumption is really low (30 Watt max TDP).

Power Consumption: 30 Watts
Memory Bandwidth: 28800 MB/sec
Texel Rate: 14600 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate: 5840 Mpixels/sec

Click here to buy Radeon R7 240 from amazon

Radeon R7 250

The R7 250 is powered by Oland XT GPU. The Oland XT itself is a new codename for Cape Verde LE GPU. As we all know, Cape Verde LE is first used on the Radeon HD 7730. As a result it makes the Radeon R7 250's GPU chip has similar specs to the Radeon HD 7730 with 384 Stream Processors, 24 Texture Units, and 8 ROP Units.

Radeon R7 250 is one of the cheapest card from the entire line of Radeon R9/R7 200 graphics cards series. Despite its affordable price, the performance of the R7 250 in gaming can not be underestimated. Well, the R7 250 is a low-end video card that could be another good option if your budget is limited but you still want to play new games with good quality settings. Technically, with memory bandwidth about 72000 MB/sec and effective memory clock more than 4000MHz, R7 250 (DDR5 version) is almost as strong as HD 7750.

R7 250 best features

* Microsoft DirectX 11.2

* Enhanced Anti-Aliasing Quality.

* AMD CrossfireX.

* AMD Mantle
Mantle is AMD's latest APIs that can be used as an alternative to Microsoft's DirectX API. Theoretically, Mantle can make a game run more smoothly because that game is able to take full advantage from the GCN architecture-based graphics card's capabilities.

Power Consumption: 65 Watts
Memory Bandwidth: 72000 MB/sec
Texel Rate: 24000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate: 8000 Mpixels/sec

Click here to buy Radeon R7 250 from amazon

Nvidia GeForce GT 730

The GT 730 comes with some different variants in terms of specifications, 1GB and 2GB DDR3/DDR5 powered by 96 and 384 CUDA core, and obviously, this video card is made for gamers with limited budget.

After the release of the GeForce GT 750 with Maxwell architecture for the mid-end market, Nvidia then continued to target the low-end market through the GeForce GT 730. According to the information above, we can see if the GeForce GT 730 is not intended for heavy gaming. However, the GT 730 is still worth to get especially the DDR5 version.

Power Consumption: 25 Watts
Memory Bandwidth: 40000 MB/sec
Texel Rate: 14400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate: 7220 Mpixels/sec

Click here to buy GeForce GT 730 from amazon

GeForce GT 740

After the success made by GeForce GTX 750 Series, mid range gaming video card which has been powered by Maxwell-based GPU architecture, Nvidia released newer models with more affordable price, GT 740 and GT 730.

Unlike the GTX 750 Series, both GT 740 and GT 730 are still powered by Kepler GPU architecture. Interestingly, the GeForce GT 740 and GT 730 are offered with the DDR5 and DDR3 memory type with capacity from 1 GB to 2 GB memory size.

Standard specifications

GeForce GT 740 GPU chip is powered by Kepler GK107-based architecture, the same GPU chip which powers GTX 650, GT 640, and also the GT 630. Its GPU is clocked at 993 MHz with 384 CUDA Cores, unfortunately, it does not support the GPU Boost feature.

Well, just like i told you above, the GT 740 GDDR5 has faster memory clock than the DDR3 version. For the DDR5 version, its memory operates at clock speed of 5000 MHz (effective). While for the DDR3 version, its memory is clocked at 1800 MHz (effective).

- GT 740 is also available with 4 GB memory size which is more expensive than the reference model.
- GT 740 DDR5 requires one power connector.

Power Consumption:  64 Watts
Memory Bandwidth: 80000 MB/sec
Click here to buy GeForce GT 740 from amazon

Thanks for reading the article...