If we take a look at the graphics cards that have stood out the most on the market, the more likely we will end up remembering the high-end GPUs, as these are the flagship models. But not everyone has access to them and for many people it was the much more modest cards that marked them.
That’s why we’ve decided to make a list of the most flagship low-end graphics cards, the ones that despite their price and lower technical specifications than their younger sisters ended up offering huge value for money.
Criteria for selecting the best low-end graphics
The main criterion that we followed is not that of performance but the relationship between quality and price on the one hand and on the other hand what they brought to their users.
That’s why you’re going to find graphics cards that wouldn’t be considered low-end in terms of performance, but we’ve included them because they come at a much lower price point than their performance matches. In other words, we did not focus
With that clarified, below is a list of what we consider to be the best low-end graphics cards in history.
3DFX Voodoo 3 1000, 3D acceleration for everyone
3Dfx Voodoos were synonymous with gaming in the late 90s, all thanks to their excellent performance and the fact that their proprietary graphics API, Glide, was more advanced than the rest.
A series of bad decisions and resting on their laurels led to bankruptcy and its takeover by rival NVIDIA but who wanted to play PC games used to buy a Voodoo.
The Voodoo 3 1000 was a shortened version of the 2000 model, which used slightly slower SGRAM memory and a clock speed of just 125 MHz. All of this allowed it to be sold without a heatsink, cutting costs and granting quality 3D acceleration to the most vulgar of mortals.
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX, the first low-end GPU
At the end of 1999, NVIDIA released the first full GPU for PC under the name GeForce, for the first time the graphics process was carried out by the graphics card and the calculation of the geometry of the stage no longer depended on the power of the CPU.
Just a few months after the launch of the first GeForces, NVIDIA brought us the second generation but also a low-end GeForce called GeForce 2 MX, which was extremely popular.
Out of curiosity, the motherboards for NVIDIA’s AMD K7 processors, known as NForce, had a built-in GeForce 2 MX.
GeForce 9500 GT, a popular low-end graphics card
NVIDIA’s G80 architecture brought us the legendary GeForce 8800, the first GPU with unified shaders on PC and the first for DirectX 10. Which was accompanied by its low-end version, the GeForce 8600, which was sold between 150 and 170 $. The GeForce 9500 on the other hand, is a more advanced node version of the GeForce 8600, which allowed NVIDIA to place this card at the suggested price of 100 $.
ATI Radeon HD 4770, the best low-end DirectX 10 graphics
For the move to 40nm, AMD took its second generation GPU under the Terascale architecture and adopted it on the 40nm node. The result? One of the best graphics cards in history that could be bought for around $ 100 and with an excellent price-performance ratio.
When the best NVIDIA card launched at a similar price, it was the GeForce 9800 GT, and AMD’s HD 4770 did 56% better. Which made it the best card for DirectX 10 by far at the low end.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti, the best low-end graphics in 2014
NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture dominated the market before the Pascal series, GTX 1000, through the GTX 800 line in GTX 900 desktop laptops. But the first graphics card to use this NVIDIA architecture was the GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
This GPU initially sold for 150 $ was the basis of the GeForce 860M and 960M for laptops, an excellent card with which many, including the author of this article, have been able to access and continue to have access to be able to play a large number of games. games of the last decade.
Best current low-end graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5500 4 GB
Based on the Navi 14 GPU with RDNA architecture, this 4GB card was launched for around 170 dollars and is excellent value for money for playing games at 1080p with graphics in between.
We selected it to be much better than the GTX 1650 with which it competes in price and to be for the moment the best graphics card in terms of value for money in the low range.
Unfortunately, low-end cards are disappearing due to the fact that cards built into the processors have replaced them and what is in the sector below $ 100 is not even worth looking at, especially if your CPU has one. good integrated graphics card.
The end of low-end graphics cards
The vast majority of current processors are in fact SoCs, as they are heterogeneous units that include not only the processor, but also the GPU or GPU.
This led to the fact that the lowest range of them all disappears and what we would consider low-end graphics have changed completely, which in turn is an irony considering that the inclusion of the GPU in the processor promised material democratization. GPUs, that is, everyone would have a low-end GPU that is good enough to play games.
Not everyone needs a GPU for gaming, but not everyone who gamers needs to spend more than $ 200 for a graphics, I hope the low end price doesn’t go up . And although we have cases like NVIDIA GT 1030 or GT 710 GPUs, their performance is in most cases exceeded by the integrated graphics.