How to buy graphics cards
A graphics card buying guide
A graphics card is a computer component that handles everything that is needed to display video on your computer screen by using its own powerful processor so that your computer's CPU (central processing unit) is free to do other things. There are many types of graphics cards to consider as you choose which graphics card to buy. If you want to learn how to buy a graphics card that will provide the right level of performance, this graphics card buying guide will help you understand your many options.
>> What will you primarily be using your graphics card for?
The first consideration as you explore how to buy a graphics card is the type of graphics you run on your computer. The level of performance you might need from your graphics card changes based on the complexity of graphics you work with.If you or a family member spends a fair amount of time playing graphics-rich games, you probably have the most requirements when it comes to video card performance. High-performance graphics cards can run in high resolution at high frames per second. There are a number of entry level, mid-range and high-end graphics cards you can buy for gaming, depending on what your budget may be.
If video editing is a regular activity, it is important to understand the software consumes a great deal of processing power and memory. Look for graphics cards with a lot of built-in memory to handle large amounts of editing if this is going to be one of your graphics card uses.
Another graphics card use to consider is whether or not you want HD video playback on your computers. If you do, be sure the graphics card you are looking into has this feature.
If you describe yourself as a general user that browses the Internet, occasionally plays videos and sometimes plays games, most compatible graphics cards should meet your needs without trouble. You may then want to think about your budget and your system specifications when thinking about how to buy a graphics card.
>> What are your system specifications?
Whether you are upgrading your computer or building a new one from scratch, you will need to know what type of graphics cards your system can use. Not all graphics cards can connect to all motherboards. In fact, no graphics card can connect to every computer, and no computer can accept any graphics card. Not only are the connections different, such as AGP, PCI, PCI express and so on, but various graphics cards will also require things such as minimum hard disk space, RAM and power.
Laptops also have their own unique graphics card requirements. If you are looking to upgrade a laptop, you will need to be sure that the graphics card in question is designed for laptops as well.
>> What is the graphics processing rate?
One of the key specs to consider in a graphics cards comparison is the difference between graphics processing rates of the two. At the heart of the graphics card is the GPU (graphics processing unit). It serves as the brain of the graphics card and runs all of the computations needed to display your graphics quickly and smoothly. In general, the more powerful the GPU, the better quality graphics the card produces. Graphics processing rates are helpful to understand when you are learning how to buy a graphics card.
>> How much memory does the card have?
In order to quickly process complex images and video files, graphics cards include their own RAM so that the system's RAM is free for other things. The size of the dedicated memory is an important consideration when choosing a graphics card. Every manufacturer offers unique graphics card designs, each with their own specific types and sizes of memory. If you enjoy the latest games or edit a lot of images or video, generally you will want a graphics card with more RAM than less.
The other aspect of memory is its speed. You might notice that some types of graphics cards offer various types of RAM. RAM access is rated in various speeds, and thus, it is a good idea to compare specific graphics cards with each other to see which has faster RAM. Faster RAM means smoother frames per second and better data access for the card.
>> What other features might you need?
There are plenty of other features to consider as you choose which graphics card to buy. As you make your graphics cards comparison, you might notice there is a wide range of proprietary technologies. Each technology meets the needs of a unique niche, so it is worth exploring the different technologies to discover which ones might meet your needs.The latest Direct X support is a helpful feature for avid gamers because the technology is prevalent in graphics-rich games. If your graphics card supports the latest Direct X technology, your gaming experience and performance is often better and enriched.
Another popular feature is 3-D technology. As movies and games become more widely available in 3-D, it might be a good idea to get a graphics card that supports 3-D technology. You might also need to purchase a 3-D ready monitor to enjoy watching 3-D movies or playing 3-D games.
Besides enabling your computer to display graphics, a graphics card also provides your computer with video connections such as HDMI, component, S-video and other video outputs. You have many options available as you determine which graphics card to buy. Be sure to consider how you use graphics on your computer, whether you are upgrading or building a system from scratch and what specs and features are most appealing to you.
Be sure to research as much as you can about individual graphics cards that you are considering when looking to find the best graphics card to buy. Go online and compare various reviews and benchmarks that will help you decide the best graphics card to meet your needs. Graphics cards are one of many computer components, but often one of the most important in your computer.