Graphics cards are the driving force behind any gaming PC, they come in all sizes and have different capabilities according to their hardware. While we have many graphics cards that will make your games sharper with their 4k rendering capabilities for the PC enthusiasts, there are other cards that are not heavy on the wallet and provide decent experience overall.
There is one card that ditches both categories mentioned before and has a whole category on its name that is the ultra low-end Graphics cards that feel like a feather in the wallet, same can be said on their performance when put in the gaming machine.
Nvidia and AMD both have their low-end SKUs by the name of 1050 lineup and the low-end RX 500 cards, then Nvidia went ahead with their ultra low-end graphics card GT 1030 as the Nvidia’s answer to the $80 RX 550. It is the only card of the Nvidia’s 10th generation that falls below the $100 mark with MSRP of only $73. As the high-end cards like the RX Vega 64 and GTX 1080Ti are meant for the enthusiast and the Rich, these very low-end cards are meant for the enthusiasts and the poor gamers.
Nvidia GT 1030 is the graphics card for those who want to upgrade their onboard graphics card to a discrete graphics processor, the card has a minimalistic profile, and it can be fit in any case provided that the motherboard has a PCIe slot, it does not require fancy designs as the GPU can be cooled with a single minimalistic fan. Let’s get into the further details.
This card is based on the Pascal architecture same as the other 10-series Nvidia cards, but the GPU is newer Nvidia debuted the GP 108 with this card. This new GPU is very small compared to the other GPUs like GP 105, or GP 107 of the same series as the die size is only 70mm2 compared to the others that have more than 100mm2 die, lower die size means lesser transistors and hence lesser CUDA cores overall. The GPU is made with the 14nm FinFET process, and the die houses a total of 1.8 billion processors.
There are some limitations with this GPU because of the overall lower performance Nvidia could not put in the Nvidia boost 3.0 the software overclocking facility. The only concern with this GPU is the Nvidia’s decision to put a 64-bit memory interface the similarly priced RX 550 from AMD has a more reasonable 128-bit memory to render texture easily at higher resolutions.
Although the card is based on the low-end tier, the specifications are somewhat better for the price. The 70mm2 die houses three stream multiprocessors, each of which houses 192 CUDA cores making the CUDA core count 384 same as the GTX 750Ti from the 7th generation. The CUDA cores are clocked at a high frequency, the clock speed of the card at the base mode is 1227Mhz which becomes 1468Mhz at boost.
The inferior 64-bit memory even for this memory has two types GDDR5 or DDR4 depending on your preference, with the total size of 2GB making the overall memory bandwidth 48GB/s. The GDDR5 memory is clocked at 1500Mhz with overclocking capabilities while the clock speed DDR4 type is around 2000Mhz which will make both types essentially the same. The power consumption is the area where it shines, as it is rated at 30W which is lower than the desktop grade processors.
The performance out of this card was expected to be minimal as it is low-end hardware, but it surprised us with the level of performance it provides on the table. As always, our test starts with the synthetic benchmarks, that will test the capabilities of the graphics card to its toes. It scored only 3,224 in the Fire strike benchmark beating only the GTX 460 and the integrated graphics, showing that the card can be useful in 720p high and 1080p low gaming.
Coming to our gaming benchmark, starting with an easier game, Counter-Strike: Global Offense is a vastly popular game that can be played in almost all PCs regardless of the hardware, at 1080p high setting we were getting a smooth experience locked at 60FPS. Thus we can say that it can handle esports game easily. Coming to the AAA title, in 1080p medium settings, we were surprised that it got 50FPS on average, due to the VRAM bottlenecking we could not run the game at 1080p high settings.
The conclusion of this review is rather easy, if you are looking for a Graphics card that can help you with esports gaming at 1080p, or if you are upgrading your PC with a very low budget then this card is highly recommended, however, RX 550 would be a better card because of better specifications for the same price. Check out the prices on Amazon here.