The Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 is currently probably my favourite "new" desktop GPU.
Nvidia's sole representative of the entry level for the 10 series, the GT 1030 is tiny, power efficient and can be bought with passive cooling for ultra silent PCs. Its budget-oriented retail price, about €70 to €80, also makes it a prime candidate for retrofitting trash PCs for modern gaming.
A possible argument against buying a GT 1030 is the availability of older used gaming graphics cards, like the Nvidia GeForceGTX 750 Ti.
According to the Steam Hardware survey, the GTX 750 Ti is currently the most common graphics card in the service. It's meteoric rise to the top coincides with the influx of Chinese players joining Steam for Player Unknown's Battleground, also known as PUBG, so it is fair to assume this the budget graphics card of choice for Chinese PUBG players.
In Europe, the GTX 750 Ti can be found used for roughly the same price as a new GT 1030 so I thought it interesting to compare these two to see which one is truly the superior budget GPU.
Player Unknown's Battleground
PUBG recently received it's official 1.0 release, which included a new map and an optimization patch.
During my benchmark (lowest settings, 1080p) both GPUs performed comparably with the 750 Ti doing slightly better.
Assassin's Creed Origins
The latest entry of the Assassin's Creed series has also received an update recently that made it playable on a wider variety of CPU, including my paltry first-generation Intel Core i5 750. Because of this, we can make use of its very detailed Benchmark tool to test both GPUs.
Once again the 750 Ti comes up top, and this time with a margin that takes the game from unplayable to acceptable on 1080 and lowest settings.
It is worth noting that both graphics cards are perfectly able to handle the game on lower internal resolutions.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Independently of the discussion regarding its monetization system, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is an excellent way of testing performance.
Galatic assault, the heaviest mode in the game, mirrors the results with the 750 Ti beating the GT 1030 by approximately a 10% margin.
Starfighter Assault is considerably lighter and therefore sees a much stronger performance difference, with the 750 Ti pushing way past the GT 1030.
Before jumping to conclusions I wanted to see if the same difference is maintained when using Vulkan rather than DirectX. The 2016 reboot of Doom is a good place to start since it supports Vulkan for an important performance improvement.
Benchmarking Vulkan is a bit complicated since software like Fraps does not support it. The best way is to use command line tools like PresentMon to register the game's timings and then calculating the average framerate.
Surprisingly, under the same conditions (1080, lowest settings, shadows disabled) both GPUs basically performed the same.
Wolfstein 2, the New Colossus
Wolfstein 2 currently holds the record for the largest GPU requirements I have ever seen on a game on the lowest settings. Even while using a video card that I would personally consider "too powerful" for my channel's standards this game causes a fair amount of trouble, even on the lowest settings and shadows disabled.
On a resolution of 1080 and dynamic resolution enabled the GT 1030 could barely manage the opening levels, maintaining somewhere between 25 and 30 fps.
By comparison, the 750 Ti is perfectly able to handle the game between 45 to 60 FPS.
So, given the results, we may call it early and declare the GTX 750 Ti the winner but there is one additional important element to consider.
It is very easy to forget that second-hand markets vary immensely on each territory, which changes the price of components like the GTX 750 Ti.
For example, in Brazil, a new GT 1030 is 330 reales, or approximately 84 euros. Very close to the price I paid for it in Europe.
However, a used 750 Ti can go for about 166 euros. It is very hard to justify a 15% increase in performance for that is essentially a doubling of price.
Another example is India, where a new GT 1030 retails for about 6000 rupees, or once again around 80 euros. By comparison, a GTX 750 ti can go for about 7 000 to 10000 rupees (131 euros).
So the best option will depend on your location. If you can secure a GTX 750 Ti for a similar price as a GT 1030 (and you have enough space in your case and a proper PSU) then it is undoubtedly the best option.
However, if you live somewhere with a weaker second-hand market and the 750 Ti is considerably more expensive then a GT 1030 is a great way of getting a new GPU with comparable performance on a much smaller and power efficient package.
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