Whether you’re watching movies or playing games, we all crave for a 4K experience. Imagine watching Avengers: The Infinity Stone, on your laptop that only offers you 720p. The true effect of Thor diving in for the kill or Hulk taking huge leaps to destroy enemies will be lost in 720p. To save you from the grief of poor resolution laptops, in-built graphics cards have been designed to provide high quality visual display. Graphics cards can heighten your display quality and visual experience; therefore, having the best graphics card is must if you are an avid movie viewer or a gaming enthusiast.
Graphics cards accompany a full-fledged graphics processing unit [GPU]. These cards are equipped to handle graphics data quickly to deliver 3-D images higher pixel ratio, a broader range of colors and more. Graphic cards also help in increasing the frame rate by moving the graphics processing load away from the CPU to GPU. Therefore, Hulk’s leap doesn’t have to get stuck midway.
Take a look at our listicle of the best graphics cards under $200 that will improve the performance of your computer.
Our Top 3 Picks – Comparison
Best Graphics cards under $200 and $100 – Full Comparative Table
|Model||Memory||Memory clock rate||Price|
|Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB||2GB GDDR5||7008 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|4 GB GDDR5||2000 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|3GB GDDR5||8008MHz||Click Here for Price|
|4 GB DDR5||7108 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|2GB GDDR5||1350 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|2GB GDDR5||5010 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|1GB DDR3||1200 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|1 GB DDR3||1200 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|1 GB DDR2||800 MHz||Click Here for Price|
|2GB GDDR3||1800MHz||Click Here for Price|
Best Graphics cards Under $200
The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB holds the power of turning your gaming rig into an incredible war machine. It features NVIDIA Pascal GPU architecture which can take you to professional gaming levels. The graphics card is specifically designed for modern day games.
The card is powered by NVIDIA Pascal GPU architecture for efficient performance in high definition games. Therefore, it is considered as the best GPU under $200.
Featuring 2 GB RAM with 128 bit GDDR5, the card is fitted with XTREME Engine Utility which contributes to better control over your games. There is also an XTREME Engine overclocking software that you can download for controlling the graphics card.
Also, with the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB you don’t need to worry about your device heating up while playing a graphic intensive game. It is equipped with Wind Force 2X Cooling System Fan which will only operate when the system is running heavy, causing noise free gaming experience for low power gaming.
|Supports all modern day DirectX features|
Can connect as much as 3 HDMI monitors
Latest games at 1080 P at 60 FPS
Fans get noisy at certain speeds
The AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB appeals to the gaming folks. Specifically designed for gaming enthusiasts, this is the best budget GPU to be dropped into your rig. The graphics card has a huge pool of video memory and is adept at dealing with modern graphics APIs. The 4GB card offers good performance, however, AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB) is arguably a better buy.
You might be thinking how AMD’s RX 580 is different from the RX 480. Well, the differences are just a few. The base/boost clocks of the original RX 480 are 1,120MHz and 1,266MHz respectively, while the RX 580’s Polaris 20 chip is set at 1,257MHz and 1,340MHz.
Apart from this reference clock speed bump the RX 580 is pretty much the same as RX 480. The core configuration is the same with the 14nm Polaris 20 of the RX 580 featuring 36 compute units (CUs) with 2,304 stream processors. Along with compute units and stream processors there are the same 144 texture units and 32 ROPs.The memory system is a facsimile too. Sporting a memory of 4 GB of GDDR5 it can deliver a full 256GB/s of memory bandwidth.
AMD promises smooth 1440p gaming with a frame rate above 60. Well, we tested some of our favorite games and found that these figures might not be exactly accurate. While rise of the tomb raider shined at 107 fps at a setting of 1080p, Assassin’s Creed Unity sported just 42 fps. Games like Far Cry 5 and Wolfenstein 2 sported excellent performance at frame rates more than 70.
|Good gaming performance|
|Not substantially different from the RX 480|
Consumes more power
ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 3GB is powerful in terms of quality, performance, memory handling and overclocking. This card is perfectly capable to handle all your memory intensive tasks including all graphic intensive games.
For gaming, the core clock rate can boost up to 1468 MHz and consumes just 75 Watts of power. It supports all the classic and modern games running at HD 1080p resolution with the frame rate of 60 FPS. This is made possible by the Nvidia Pascal architecture.
If you are worried about heating while playing graphic and memory intensive games then the ASUS Dual-fan GeForce GTX 1060 comes equipped with patented wing-blade fans for maximum air flow.
A patented wing-blade design delivers mproved 105% static pressure over the heat sink, while operating at 3 times quieter volumes than reference cards.
Another noteworthy feature of the graphics card is the number of connectivity options. It has a bundle of connectivity options; one Dual-Link DVI-D port, three HDMI 2.0b ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 and a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot.
|Works good with VR technology|
Power efficient design
|Software loading problem|
Fans get noisy if the card is overloaded
The MSI Computer Video Graphics cards GeForce GTX 1050 TI is known for its quality hardware. The card is equipped with a twin Frozr VI thermal design contributing to higher core and memory clock speeds
The striking twin Frozr cooler is accented by a fiery red gaming glow piercing through the cover, which is coupled with the MSI gaming Dragon LED on the side.
Coming to the hardware of the card, it features a 7008 MHz processor, an integrated graphics card interface, geforce gtx graphic coprocessor and a 4 GB DDR5 SDRAM. With a memory interface of 128-bit, the machine works fine with the heaviest games of the current decade.
To add to the performance of the card the clocking rate also differs with different modes; 1392 MHz clock rate in silent mode, 1468 MHz in the gaming mode and 1493 MHz in OC mode.
To prevent overheating while gaming, the card is equipped with MSI TORX 2.0 cooling technology. TORX 2.0 Fan design produces 22% more air pressure for greater noise free performance. The fan only spins when temperature of the device jumps over 60 degrees.
Gaming performance is accentuated by a high resolution of 2560 x 1600. The Nvidia Pascal Architecture eliminates screen tearing, and input lag, delivering maximum performance.
|Provides ultra HD video resolution|
Convenient and easy setup
Efficient cooling system
|Driver installation is not easy|
Not highly compatible
ASUS GeForce GTX 750 Ti features a powerful GPU with brilliant graphics. The card is equipped with 1.87 billion-transistor GPU sporting Maxwell GPU architecture. The Maxwell architecture delivers improved efficiency and 35% more performance per CUDA core.
Maxwell incorporates an enhanced NVENC block to deliver six to eight times faster encode performance. The card has eight to ten times faster decode rate as well. Maxwell also has a new GC5 power state designed to lower the GPU power demand under light workload situations enhancing gaming performance.
The graphics card is also overclocked for best performance up to 52MHz. It has a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 for clear graphics for improving gaming experience.
If you are tired of your battery draining out while lost in an intense Dota battle then the power consumption levels of this graphics card can please you. The card never draws more than 75Watts and while gaming it consumes 64 watts of power. The Asus GTX750 Ti also features a 6 pin PCIE power connector to provide extra power.
|No memory overclocking|
Awkwardly placed power connector
Best Graphics Cards Under $100
EVGA is a reputed brand in the retail, distribution and production of graphics cards, motherboards and many other computer accessories. An economical option from the list of quality graphics cards is the EVGA GeForce 8400.
The graphics card features a base clock rate of 520 MHz and a memory clock rate of 1200 MHz which delivers excellent speed and the ability to handle huge data processing tasks. Memory of the card is disappointing as it has a 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM as you already know that for 1080p gaming, 2GB of video memory is an adequate minimum.
Though many games can be played with 1GB RAM there are certain games which demands higher memory. For instance, Shadows of Mordor will ask you for a 6GB VRAM just for Ultra 1080p. However, if you turn down memory intensive effects and filters, even Crysis 3 can be played at 1080p on high settingsPlus the maximum screen resolution is 1920 x 1200 pixels meaning Wonderwoman’s armor flash by when she is going for the kill.
| Economical option|
Easy to install
|Fan is noisy sometimes|
1 GB memory
The EVGA GeForce 210 Passive features a solid processing power. The GPU’s processing power accelerates CUDA based applications allowing for faster application performance such as video transcoding. The card features a digital video interface which can support both VGA and digital signals.
EVGA offers superfast performance for the normal operations of audio and video. The card has 1GB of random access memory which can handle extensive multimedia tasks without interruptions. Besides, it has 520 MHz as the base clock rate and 1200 MHz as memory clock rate which contribute to uninterrupted videos.
Videos can be played at a good screen resolution. The maximum analog resolution of the card is and the digital resolution is 2048×1536 pixels.
This is an entry level card that can handle your modest video viewing needs and beginner gaming needs. If you are using a substandard PC, this card can provide a performance boost.
|Low temperature operation|
This is another entry level card for your basic video and gaming needs. Dont expect to play games like Batman Arkham Knight with this graphics card. It features only 1 GB of RAM, hence cannot handle most of your graphic intensive games.
With its low profile, high-efficiency and low-consumption design it is ideal for home theater PCs and multimedia centers. It has a core clock rate of 589 MHz delivering uninterrupted video and gaming sessions.
There is a native HDMI port for full HD 1080p entertainment. With the support of GeForce CUDA Technology and NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology HDCP ASUS GeForce 210 provides enhanced viewing experience. Other connectivity points include a PCI Express 2.0 x16, a DVI and a DVI-I.
The disadvantage with this graphics card is that it is not equipped with a fan. However, the card features a thermally optimized design which is enough for handling a video or a basic game.
|1080 p HD resolution|
Low power consumptiony
|Not suitable for mini books|
The Radeon HD 5450 was launched in February 2010 by ATI. Based on the Cedar graphics processor, the card supports DirectX 11.2. The Cedar graphics processor is a relatively small chip with 292 million transistors. With DirectX 11.2 you can tweak your GPU’s visual display and 2D and 3D graphics.
While in use, the GPU is kept cool by a memory cooling technology that can reduce temperatures up to 30 degrees. There is also the True Clock technology in place for hardware controlled clock speed performance optimization. This ensures the card runs an optimized performance level.
However, the card only features a memory of 1 GB. While this can run most games at medium settings, modern day games demand more than 4GB for playing at 1080p. So you can consider this as an entry level card for playing basic games or viewing videos.
Being a single-slot card, the ATI Radeon HD 5450 does not require an extra power connector. It can maximum draw a power of 19 W.
XFX extends old methods to include the tastes of the new generation gamers and has managed to add dual display feature. Now you can tug your laptop to the docking station, plug in two cords and have the benefit of a second larger monitor. Imagine gaming on two screens at once! Your aircraft from FlightGear can be viewed from different angles on two different screens.
|Dual screen ready for better gaming experience|
High quality output
No noise problems
Can’t support RAM intensive games
The MSI AMD Radeon R72402364P 2GB DDR3 features a low profile design to save more space. The card boosts the performance of your computer by a significant margin. The picture quality is commendable, however, the card disappoints when it comes to gaming.
The graphics card suits only light gaming. Challenge it with new generation games like Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty, when playing this game, the card will stutter. If you try playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive at 1080p the frame rate is just about 30 fps and can extend to a maximum of 40fps.
You can lower your resolution to 720p and get a frame rate over 72 fps. At 720p you will get uninterrupted gaming at a lower picture clarity. This should give you a rough idea how newer games will work on this graphics card.
Radeon R7 promises a resolution of 1920 X 1200 and boasts a 2GB DDR3 memory. The GPU runs at 730 MHz and operats at a frequency of 780 MHz. Besides, the card is equipped with Afterburner overclocking utility making it easier to tweak the video card’s features for a better performance.
|Excellent picture quality|
Boosts performance of your PC
| Limits overclocking|
Disappointing gaming capabilities
A graphics card takes data fed by the CPU and turns them into images. On your screen, the objects you see are composed of small dots called pixels. A monitor shows over a million pixels at most common resolution settings, and the machine has to determine what to do with each to create an image.
To do this, a translator is required — something to take the CPU’s binary data and transform it into an image you can see. This conversion takes place on the graphics card.
Creating an image from the binary data is difficult. To display a 3-D image, the graphics card first makes a wire frame out of straight lines. Then, it fills in the remaining pixels and also adds lighting, texture and color. For fast-paced games, the computer has to repeat this process about sixty times per second. Without a graphics card to perform the necessary calculations, this workload would be too much for the CPU to handle.
i. Graphics Processing Unit [GPU]
Graphics Processing Unit or the GPU is the heart of any graphics card. All the graphic processing takes place here. Unlike the CPU that has two to sixteen cores, a GPU processor has hundreds of small core or units that are placed parallel to run complex graphics operations .Nvidia calls these cores as Cuda Cores or Shaders and AMD / ATI terms them as Stream Processors.
Memory is the place where all complex textures and other information about graphics are stored. GPU extracts the textures from the memory, filters them, and sends them back to the RAM. RAM then sends these texturesto the RAMDAC which then is transferred to the LCD screen or display. RAMDAC is Random Access Memory Digital to Analog Converter. This converts images to the analog signals and sends them to your monitor via a display cable.
Graphics cards have different types of memory depending on the GPU in the card. The most common type of memories used are the GDDR3 and the GDDR5 RAM. Here G stands for graphics and DDR stands for Double Data Rate. Graphics Card RAM or memory is a lot faster than the memory used in your desktop or laptop.
The internal interface helps your graphics card to connect to your motherboard. While older graphic cards used AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) interface to connect to the motherboard, new cards use the PCI Express 2.0 x16 interface which is much faster and efficient. The motherboard should also have the PCI Express x16 slot.
Heat Sink and Fan
Heat sink and fan together form the cooling part of the graphic cards. In general these are used to lower the temperature of GPU and RAM. Heatsink is a passive cooling device that is made up of copper or aluminum and its main purpose is to dissipate heat from the GPU.
The fan is an active cooling device that blows air onto the heatsink helping the latter to cool down faster. Some low end graphics cards are equipped with only a heatsink. But, all the mid and high range ones have a combination of heatsink and fan for efficient cooling.
Power Connectors (6-pin)
Power connectors are exclusive to mid and high range graphics cards because these cards require additional power for their operation. These are called 6-pin power connectors and in high range cards you might find two of these connectors.
Low or budget range graphics card do not have these 6-pin power connectors as they do not require that much power for their working. Since they draw power from the motherboard PCI Express x16 slot, they don’t require additional power.
1. What is a graphics card?
A graphics card is a hardware accessory connected to the CPU for the display of high quality videos on the monitor screen. It functions by transforming video data into electronic signals which are sent to the LCD/LED for image generation. Quality of image is highly dependent on the type and potential of the graphics card used.
2. What are the advantages of adding a graphics card to your PC?
- Overall increase in system performance
One of the key advantages of having a graphics card is that it contributes to an overall increase in your PC’s performance. It takes off the load from the CPU because all the functions related to graphics and handles all graphics related functions itself.
It also releases the RAM from the graphics data, as the dedicated graphics card comes with its own video memory which is much faster than the computer memory or normal RAM. A dedicated graphics card will also perform tasks related to graphics much better than an onboard graphics card.
- Increase in graphics performance
For graphics applications and technology, a dedicated graphics card comes with more features and provides much better performance. It can run your applications based on graphics (Adobe Illustrator, etc.), image editing software such as Photoshop, with more accuracy and better performance.
- Better gaming experience
You won’t get decent gaming experience while you play latest games with the PCs in-built graphics card. Even at the lowest settings possible you will not always get decent playable frame rates.
However, if you have a mid-range graphics card you can play the latest games on your computer at decent frame rates. If you are gamer and do not have a gaming laptop or want to upgrade your laptop we recommend that you buy a graphics card.
- Driver support
Dedicated graphics card have better driver support when compared to the in-built graphics card. This is useful when you want to shift to a different operating system or want to run some specific graphics applications or software on your PC.
3. What are the factors to consider before buying a graphics card?
Imagine you have a graphics card and it doesn’t fit in the physical space that your computer offers. Therefore, before you commit to buy one see whether the dimensions of the chosen graphics card can fit in your computer’s graphics card slot.
Don’t forget to check the ports. Some monitors use DisplayPort, some have HDMI, and other older units only use DVI. Make sure the card you want to buy has the connectors you require for your monitors. If you buy a card with different ports from the ones on your monitor, you may have to buy an adapter.
Keep note of the power requirement as well. Find out how many amps can your computer supply on the 12v rail. Also figure out how many six- and eight-pin PCIe connectors does it have. Match the information to your graphics card. If your computer can’t handle it you will have to consider a card which demands less power.
- Memory and Bandwidth
A higher RAM will always help your computer process data faster. It would also eliminate the need to swap programs in and out. Another important factor to pay attention to while buying a graphics card is the bandwidth.
Data ready to be processed by the GPU is usually stored on the card’s dedicated memory called GDDR3 and GDDR5. GDDR5 memory provides twice the bandwidth of GDDR3 clocked at the same rate. Since memory bandwidth is an important performance determinant, you should always pick the GDDR5 for better performance.
- CUDA Cores or Stream Processors
While the term CUDA Core was devised by Nvidia, Stream Processor was coined by AMD. CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) is Nvidia owned parallel computing language that works to utilize the GPU in specific ways to run tasks with greater accuracy. A CUDA core is Nvidia’s equivalent to AMD’s Stream Processors.
- TDP Values
The GPU produces heat for all the processing work it does, which is expressed by its TDP value. TDP values indicate the amount of power required to keep the GPU at a tolerable temperature. The more power the GPU requires, the more heat it will produce. Therefore, we suggest choosing GPU with the smallest TDP value.
In our opinion the best graphics card that can suit your budget and performance needs is the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB. Specifically designed for gamers, all games can be played without maxing out the graphic settings, therefore, taking your gaming experience to the next level. Besides, it also gives you crystal clear picture clarity for all your movies and videos.
Graphics cards are essential to boost the performance of your PC. If your computer is lagging and is refusing to play your favorite games, a graphics card can simply fix the issue. They can not only revive your computer but also give you the best gaming experience.
If you are a gamer who cannot afford one of those high-end expensive laptops then graphics cards are an excellent add on to your gaming rig.
Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API