Facebook Twitter Instagram
Last Update: Apr 16, 2019

Top 6 Gaming GPUs Under $150

Published 18:33 PM
SHOW CONTENTS

Deciding on what graphics card to buy when on a budget can be a frustrating process – I know!

One wrong choice and you must deal with stuttering image quality, plus the hassle of returns and nonstop calls to customer service.

While some gamers know the exact sort of performance they want out of a graphics card, and how much they should spend to get it, others spend long hours searching through various lists of graphics cards.

If you are looking for one of the best graphics cards under 150 dollars – welcome home. 💻 😊

Our mission at Game Gavel is to make it easier for you to pick a graphics card that best suits your specific performance requirements.

While the GPU market is a very dynamic one – new graphics cards will soon be released – this guide aims to take you through a pruned down list of 6 of the best GPUs under 150 dollars you can get and still play 1080p gaming titles effortlessly.

Most gamers erroneously believe that you need pockets the size of the Grand Canyon to build a great gaming rig…

Well, that’s not exactly true.

Yes, a high budget means you can get one of the best graphics cards for gaming on the market, but you can also have one of the best graphics cards under $150 for yourself just by reading this guide.


Best Graphics Card for Gaming Under $150

The compatibility, onboard video memory, noise and heat issues were some of the things we considered when reviewing the numerous graphics cards under $150 in the market.

Compatibility and the target resolution were crucial factors for us while reviewing the GPUs.

The target resolution is the horizontal-by-vertical pixel count at which your video card will drive your display unit. You also want to ensure you buy a graphics card with connectors that match that of your PC – some monitors use DisplayPort, others have HDMI, and some older units only use DVI.

If you buy a card with different ports, you will have to buy an adapter at an extra cost.

In PC gaming, the graphics card calculates lighting, positioning, and renders the onscreen image in real time. The higher the requirements for in-game detail level and resolution, the more graphics card power you require to run the game smoothly without lag.

The three most common resolutions in today’s gaming world are 1080p (1920 by 1080 pixels), 1440p (2560 by 1440 pixels) and 2160p or 4K (3840 by 2160 pixels). You’ll want to select a graphics card suited for your monitor’s native resolution. The “native” resolution is the highest supported by the panel and the one at which the display comes out best.

1

Best Choice: MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB DDR5

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • Pascal architecture
  • DX 12
  • HD capable
  • Airflow control technology

Specifications

  • 128 – Bit
  • 4GB DDR5 Memory
  • Base Clock; 1290 MHz.
  • Boost clock; 1392 MHz.

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB DDR5 Review

The MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is the best low-profile graphics card you can get. It’s a bit over $150, but we had to include it. And it’s on sale frequently, so you are quite likely to get it for less than 150. The GTX 1050 Ti has practically the same side-by-side performance with a GTX 960 and requires no additional power source.

Built on Nvidia’s famous Pascal architecture, the GTX 1050 Ti comes HD ready and can handle graphics-heavy games smoothly. It may need some optimizing with specific titles – medium settings should get you running – but it does offer you ultra-smooth graphics and eliminates screen lag.

Due to its low-profile form, it can fit in small PCs if they have a PCI-E slot. Its 4GB GDDR5 128-bit memory means this is one beast of a card. It manages base clock speeds of 1290 MHz and a boost clock of 1392 MHz.

The combination of Nvidia’s proprietary Airflow Control Technology, the ZERO FROZR, and MSI’s TORX 2.0 fans allow this graphics card cool remarkably well.

The GTX 1050 Ti card uses an elaborate heatsink which use advanced aerodynamics to direct more air into the TWIN FROZR VI heat pipes. The custom-made deflectors enlarge the surface area of the heat sink, allowing for lower temperatures and better gaming experience.

The extremely fast FinFET and DirectX 12 features enable the GTX 1050 Ti to deliver one of the quickest and most power-efficient gaming experience at that price point.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a great graphics card to get. It is not VR ready and won’t be able to handle your 4K game titles, but it’s a great buy if you plan to use it for 1080p gaming.

+Pros
  • The cooling system keeps the card 40% cooler
  • Sustains itself on slot power
  • Compact for small form factor PCs
  • Plays 1080p at 60fps
  • 768 CUDA cores
  • Improved clock speeds up to 1392 boost power
-Cons
  • Not VR ready
2

Premium Pick: Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GT 1030

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • One-click overclocking via AORUS Graphics Engine

Specifications

  • 6008 MHz Base Clock
  • 2GB DDR5
  • 6 GHz Memory speed
  • 64 – Bit
  • 1506 GHz in OC Mode and 1468 GHz in Gaming Mode

Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 by Gigabyte Review

The Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 low profile card is designed for beginner and casual gamers. Designed with Nvidia’s latest architecture, the GT 1030 allows you to play graphics intensive games smoothly without much of a lag in performance or image quality.

The GT 1030 doesn’t compromise on performance, its GDDR5 64 -bit memory enables you to play intensive game titles at reduced frame rates and low settings. It also supports HDMI 4K at 60 MHz, and clocks at 6008 MHz.

It’s custom designed fans handle heat dissipation effortlessly, keeping noise at a minimum while optimizing and ensuring maximum air flow. This functionality allows you to enjoy marathon gaming sessions without the occasional image freeze due to overheating.

The AORUS graphics engine lets you modify and optimize your card according to your specific needs, enabling you to derive excellent performance from your GPU with overclocking.

The GTX 1030 graphics card is our best gaming graphics card under $100, and an excellent choice for gamers looking to get a graphics card with a limited budget.

+Pros
  • Play new games in low & medium settings
  • Decent 2GB RAM
  • Minimal use of power
  • Not noisy
-Cons
  • Typically for beginners
3

Best Value: Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 550 2GB GDDR5

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • Radeon Crimson ReLive
  • AMD’s FreeSync

Specifications

  • Video Memory: 2GB GDDR5
  • Memory Interface: 128-bit
  • Base Clock: 1100 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1183 MHz

Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 550 4GB GDDR5 Review

Power-wise, the Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 550 is a great gaming card. It is quite popular amongst eSport fans and handles titles such as League of Legends smoothly.

The Sapphire RX 550’s Polaris GPU has 512 stream processors, and whirrs along at an 1100 MHz base clocking. Its 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 128 -bit gives you rapid processing speeds – just enough horsepower for gaming. It can hit 1183 MHz in boost clock mode.

The RX 550 is entirely powered via your motherboard’s PCIe slot, with no extra power cables required.

The high frame rates and resolution of the Sapphire RX 550 means you can push the GPU hard, supported by the proprietary AMD Radeon Crimson ReLive and FreeSync monitor.

AMD’s FreeSync enables choppy and stutter-free images, giving you a smooth and buttery visual experience. The Sapphire RX 550 is an entry-level card that aims to punch way above its weight, packing an impressive array of features any gamer would love. It optimized for DirectX 12 and supports AMD Eyefinity and AMD XConnect.

If you need a practical GPU, the Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 550 is built specifically for you – allowing you experience games 1080p gaming titles at 60 frame rates per seconds at affordable price points.

+Pros
  • Supports modern media technologies like HDMI 2.0b and display ports
  • Manages 4K video resolution
  • Achieves smooth gaming using AMD’s FreeSync
  • Single fan cooling technology is effective
  • Can be efficiently overclocked
  • It is Mac compatible
-Cons
  • Not a low-profile design
4

Best for HD: MSI R5604TPC RX 560

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • AMD FreeSync
  • Geometry engine
  • MSI Afterburner

Specifications

  • 4GB
  • Boost Clock: 1196 MHz
  • 7000MHz Effective Memory clock
  • PCI Express x16 interface

MSI R5604TPC RX 560 Review

The MSI RX 560 is one of the best budget graphics cards with simple design and tiny size and has enough power to run the latest game titles smoothly.

Designed for gamers, this card uses the AMD FreeSync to deliver the most intuitive gaming experience you can get at that price point. It runs cool and quiet even when overclocked and handles your favourite AAA titles comfortably.

The MSI RX 560 comes packed with 16CUs – giving you enough ultra-resolution to manage 4K gaming titles with sharp images and no lag. It’s a low-profile card which means some space savings when setting up your gaming rig.

The RX 560 GPU boasts of a robust base and boost speeds at 1196 MHz max clocking, while the MSI Afterburn overclocking Utility allows you to adjust and customize in-game settings, monitor and regulate your fan speed, and record your best moments in-game.

The dualised fan design enables it to cover more surface area in the heatsink, ensuring faster cooling times while overclocking.

Overall, the MSI RX 560 is an excellent choice, and its power-efficiency and GDDR5 onboard video memory are just enough for you to play your favourite AAA game titles.

+Pros
  • HDCP ready
  • Highly stable aluminium core
  • Low profile saves installation space
  • Supports MSI Overclocking Utility and AMD FreeSync
-Cons
  • Its usefulness lies with older titles that do not need super fast speeds
5

Best FPS: ViewMax GeForce GT 730 2GB GDDR5

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • DirectX 12 compatible

Specifications

  • 128 – bit
  • 1GB DDR5
  • Base Clock – 780 MHz
  • Boost Clock – 1048 MHz

ViewMax GeForce GT 730 2GB GDDR5 Review

A major positive of the ViewMax GPU is its compatibility across a wide variety of gaming titles. However, it does tend to struggle with gaming – but it’s a cheap graphics card if the price is a pain point for you.

The ViewMax card comes with a 1GB GDDR5 onboard video memory and a 128-bit processor with a base clock of 780 MHz and a boost clock of 1048 MHz.

The ViewMax GeForce GT 730 GPU is built with Nvidia’s Fermi architecture which comes packed with 192 processor cores. Nvidia’s adaptive Vsync technology also allows the GPU to render faster frame rates per second – giving you choppy-free images.

This card uses a passive cooling system – the heatsink and fan cooling system keep the temperature down while running at a minimal noise level.

Overall, the ViewMax GeForce GT 730 is great for casual gaming and is a great value GPU.

+Pros
  • It has HDCP support
  • Microsoft DirectX 12 compatible
  • It has a 2560 x 1600p VGA Max resolution
  • Nvidia Adaptive VSync technology
  • Has DVI, HDMI, and display ports
-Cons
  •   Can struggle with games
6

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550

See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews
See
More
Reviews

Key Features

  • One-click super overclocking
  • DX12 compatible

Specifications

  • 2GB GDDR5
  • PCI Express 3.0 x8 connection
  • Standard Clock – 1,100 MHz
  • Turbo Clock – 1183 MHz

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Review

The Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 is an entry budget GPU that is perfect for less demanding game titles and casual gaming. It might struggle with graphic-intensive AAA game titles.

Its excellent performance to price ratio will keep you happy though. The Gigabyte RX 550 is built with high-quality chokes and capacitors, enabling the graphics card to deliver outstanding performance and a healthy lifespan.

The Radeon RX 550 is equipped with 2GB GDDR5 128-bit memory, one Dual-link DVI-D, one DisplayPort, and one HDMI port, enabling the GPU to handle 4K video playback effortlessly.

It can hit overclocking speeds of 1195 MHz in OC mode, and 1183 MHz in gaming mode. The custom-designed 90mm unique-blade fan along with its 3D fan-stop functionality enables effective heat dissipation, leading to a higher performance at lower temperatures.

The semi-passive fans will remain off when the GPU is under a predefined temperature for low power gaming. This allows gamers to enjoy the gameplay in complete silence when the system is running light or idle.

The AORUS Engine Utility allows gamers overclock with one click. It’s futuristic interface also will enable players to tune clock speeds, voltage, fan performance, and power target in real-time according to their specific requirements.

The Gigabyte RX 550 is a great inexpensive graphics card.

+Pros
  • Design should fit even small cases
  • Great solution for upgrading several pre-built systems
  • Excellent performance in eSports titles
  • Acceptable performance for some demanding games
  • Manages temperatures well
  • Price
-Cons
  • Limited VRAM at 2GB

Graphics Cards for Gaming Under $150: Buying Guide

An unspoken rule when considering a graphics card is to “always buy what you need” – especially when you have budget constraints.

Ensure you understand your specific requirements and chose a graphics card based on those requirements. A graphics card is critical to the performance of your gaming rig, and you don’t want to make a mistake while buying one.

No one likes the hassles of returns.

Before you decide on buying a graphics card under 100 dollars for your gaming rig, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Onboard Video Memory – For a Better Gaming Experience

Always look at the onboard video memory when comparing similar graphics cards. While 2GB of video memory can allow you to play many games, you’ll have a better experience with 4GB. If it comes down to a choice between a faster GPU or more memory, go with the quicker GPU if it has at least 3GB of video memory.

graphics card size

Frame Rate Per Second – To Avoid Image Freeze During Gaming

The frame rates per second are the speed at which in-game images and movements happen. Low frame rates mean your screen will freeze occasionally, and actions of your game characters might be shaky.

This can be a pain to watch or experience.

Size – To Avoid Unnecessary Returns

Nothing can be more exasperating than eagerly opening your case to install your new graphics card, only to realise it’s an inch longer. Before you make a final decision on which graphics card you are settling for, ensure you do your homework and find out how much physical space your case has for a graphics card.

eleven graphics cards

 

Memory Bandwidth – For A Better Performance

The memory bandwidth of your GPU plays a significant role in its performance. Data ready to be processed by the GPU is stored on the card’s dedicated memory called GDDR3 and GDDR5. Note that GDDR5 memory provides twice the bandwidth of GDDR3 clocked at the same rate.

AMD R9 Fury Graphics Card For Gaming

It would be best if you always chose GDDR5 for better performance. 1GB of GDDR5 is superior to 4GB of GDDR3, as far as performance is concerned.

Cooling – For Overclocking

Low profile graphics cards have smaller heatsinks and therefore aren’t efficient in maintaining proper temperatures if you are used to overclocking. Graphics cards with bigger aluminum heatsinks are much better at handling high temperatures while overclocking.

graphics card fan

If you are not doing any overclocking, you should still make sure that your PC chassis has enough ventilation for proper air intake and exhaust.


Gaming GPUs Under $150: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions you must consider when buying a graphics card under $150:

What are the best processors to use with GPUs under $150?

Firstly, when thinking of processors for your gaming PC, there are only two companies worth your time; Intel and AMD.

Hold on – this ain’t some brand promotion, but they are damn good at what they do! Intel and AMD have some great options at the low end of their product lineup that ensures that setting up a budget gaming rig doesn’t mean a poor performing gaming rig.

Intel’s Core i5-9400F and AMD’s Zen+ Ryzen 5 2600 are some of the most affordable but powerful gaming processors you can use with your $150 GPUs. They support overclocking, and will allow you plenty of power to work with. Unfortunately, neither GPU comes with integrated graphics and will need dedicated cards.

Can GPUs under $150 run games on high settings?

Well – 😉
If it’s a non-demanding game title such as the Xonotic or Prison Architect, you should be able to play it in high settings, otherwise, sorry friend!
Most GPUs within this price range should comfortably play game titles at medium settings, but anything higher than that, expect your monitor to freeze. You can, however, get titles such as League of Legends or Overwatch to run at playable framerates without freezing.


Conclusion

The graphics cards reviewed in this guide should be able to help you make the best out of your limited budget, without giving up on your fundamental right as a gamer – which is a pleasant gaming experience.

So, go forth, and let the games begin!


Sources:

  1. Tim Harcourt, What is GPU Rendering, Escape Technology, March 24th, 2016
  2. Steve Eschweiler, Benefits of a GPU Dedicated Server, Hivelocity
  3. Ofer Rosenberg, Introduction to GPU Architecture, Haifux
  4. What is a GPU, IT Pro
  5. Michael Martinez, What Is the Importance of Stream Processors in GPUs, Chron
  6. Steven Melendez, The Purpose of a Graphics Card, Chron
  7. How Graphics Cards Work, HowStuffWorks
Current Rating
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars 5.00
Based on 3 Users
ADD YOUR RATING
error: Sorry, Content is protected