IdealCPU is supported by its readers. If you buy products through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more

Best Video Card for HTPC to Buy in 2021

Your newly bought Home Theater PC or HTPC is incomplete without a proper video card. For high-quality video playback or recording, you will need to add a good quality graphics card to your HTPC setup. With a war raging between famous brands like Nvidia, AMD, MSI, it is quite harder to find the best video card for HTPC if you are a newbie.

HTPCs nowadays come with powerful chips that are enough to watch HD movies and do your regular stuff.

But if you are a hardcore gamer, graphics designer, or videographer, then you have to invest a little bit more in your HTPC setup.

Obviously, you have to throw some cash on the table to buy a decent GPU for your home theatre PC. Building an HTPC typically for gaming or watching 4K movies will end up buying high-performance GPUs.

What if you are a budget geek like me, and really don’t want to end up breaking your bank account while building a next-gen HTPC?

Well, there are still a lot of options to make your dream come true. Low profile video graphcis card are enough to play games at 1080p resolution and record them as well.

Moreover, the low profile version GPUs are easy to fit inside the small dimensions of a home theatre PC.

Top 4 Best Video Card for HTPC

Best Video Card for HTPC

We have tested and reviewed some of the best graphics cards when it comes to upgrading your HTPC for powerful graphical performance.

1. MSI Graphic Cards GT 1030 2G LP OC for Home Theatre Setups

HTPC video cards for better performance

Key Specs

  • 2GB GDDR5 Memory
  • Small Form Factor
  • Display/HDMI port
  • PCI Express x16 3.0
  • 6008 MHz Clock Speed

Although being a low-profile video card to sit in your favorite home theatre PC setup, the MSI GT 1030 does not compromise on the performance.

We have tested a lot of games before on 2GB DDR5 chips, and most of them were playable at 1080 settings.

You can watch movies at a higher resolution with this video card on your HTPC. You can push the limits of this card to play videos at 4K, but in that case, you must come up with a good quality video processor.

With its small form factor and 30W power consumption, it is one of the most ideal GPUs to set up in your HTPC. We highly recommend this video card for average users who don’t want to break their bank for quality or mining bitcoins.

See also  Best Cheap External Hard Drive for Xbox One (2021)

2. Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 2GB Graphic Cards for HTPC

best HTPC video card that easily fits in small cases

Key Specs

  • 2GB GDDR5
  • Dual-link HDMI/DVI-i
  • 954 MHz Clock speed
  • Supports PCI Express 2.0 x8

This is one of the most versatile video cards to install in your HTPCs. You can easily tune the clock speed, voltage, fan performance in this GPU.

Low profile design allows you to fit this graphics card in the small cases that come for HTPCs. If you want to watch videos on Netflix or YouTube at 4K resolution, then this card is truly meant for you.

Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 has an acceptable video performance while playing games and watching videos at a higher resolution. Good performance for the price you pay for it.

3. MSI N210-MD1G/D3 GeForce 210 Affordable Video Card for HTPC

ideal htpc graphics card

Key Specs

  • 1 GB GDDR3
  • NVIDIA GeForce 210
  • 1000 MHz Memory Clock
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16

This might not be the most powerful GPU on our list, but a great addition to our list of best HPC video cards. The reason for adding this graphics card to our list is the low budget and profile.

The MSI N210-MD1G/D3 sits well under the tight budget range of beginners. With this card, you can play the latest game titles at the lowest settings if you want.

However, it isn’t possible for you to watch 4K videos on this card if you are a die-hard fan or Netflix.

The Nvidia 210 GPU still allows you to do light video and photo editing on your HTPC. If you are an office geek who loves to watch movies on 1080p, this video card is meant for you.

4. ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition 4GB

most recommended GPU for HTPC

Key Specs

  • 4GB DDR3 
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
  • 1600 MHz Memory speed

It’s time to throw away your integrated graphics and take charge of the new GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition with 4GB DDR3 video memory. This GPU is excellent for fast web browsing, video editing, photo editing, and high-level gaming on your HTPC.

This card comes with a low profile bracket for easy integration into HTPCs. The GPU is capable to handle 3 simultaneous displays at a single time.

See also  Is a CPU Cooler Necessary? (Yes, Here's Why!)

4GB Video memory and 1600 MHz clock speed allow you to play games at mid to high settings and watch videos at 4K resolution. However, gaming at 4K resolution would be a little problem at this point due to the outdated DDR3 memory type.

If you are willing to upgrade your HTPC on a budget, then this video card is a must-have. It won’t pinch your pocket if you buy this GPU to max out the video pefromacne on your home theatre PC.

Our Recommendation

If you are eager to upgrade your home theatre PC with a reliable video card, then the ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 lies in a sweet spot.

Well, there are many reasons for buying this graphics card for your HTPC. Firstly, it is the cheapest video card that comes under the $100 to easily fit inside the small form factor PCs.

This card meets all the requirements from gaming to video editing on your home theatre system. As Netflix recommends having a card with over 2GB of video memory to play videos at 4K, this GPU fulfills it perfectly by all means.

By all means, GeForce GT 730 is the best GPU to pair with your old HTPC. Playing movies and gaming at 1080p resolution won’t be any problem for this GPU.


Which is the best cpu for 4k htpc

In the case of HTPC, it really doesn’t matter if you have a powerful CPU or not as most of the work is done by the graphics card. However, we recommend having at least a Core i5 or Core i7 for better performance. Keep in mind that when our concern is not gaming when we talk about HTPC, a good quality GPU that supports 4K is good enough to handle extreme graphics.

IdealCPU is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Many or all of the products featured here are from Amazon or our partners who compensate us. If you grab anything we mention using our referral links, we may get a small commission. However, there's no extra cost for you.