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For gamers and users with graphics intenstive needs, the choice of a graphics card often matters most second to the processor in use. Yet at times it may be difficult to know just how to choose a graphics card for your pc that will both offer value and performance for every dollar you spend.
How to choose a graphics card that you won’t bash against the wall…
If you’re a gamer, video editor or are in 3D modeling, this is where your attention needs to be. On the other hand, it you’re an ordinary consumer, the integrated graphics that your processor comes with will most likely be all you will need and you don’t need to worry about the graphics at all.
Here are some of the major things to know about graphics cards.
1. The two main manufacturers of graphics cards are AMD and NVIDIA
When these two manufacture graphics cards, vendors such as MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte take these reference units and design custom version with unique coolers, IO and sometimes higher clock speeds – which take on different names but in general have the same GPU (the physical chip on the printed circuit board).
2. It is possible to have more than one GPU in a graphics card
Yes, it is possible to have more than one graphics card in computer. This can add tremendous amounts of graphics horsepower to your system. However since you’re technically running two GPUs, the card’s performance will depend on how well those games support multi-GPU performance. NVIDIA’s name for their multi-GPU connection is SLI, while those from AMD go by the name Crossfire.
3. What counts is clock speed and VRAM
When it comes to assessing whether a graphics card can handle the tasks you need it to handle, whether games or common graphics intensive tasks, things can get pretty confusing. However, the two main things you need to watch out for are core clock speed and VRAM (Video RAM). These two can show the performance of one graphics card over another, but only if compared within the same generation. Comparing across generations will most certainly give a false impression of performance considering matters such as efficiency improvements across generations come into play.
So when it comes to VRAM, you definitely want more. 2 GB of VRAM will generally allow you to play games at resolutions of 1366 x 768p and lower, though light games may run at 1920 x 1080p. 4 GB is generally considered the sweet spot for 1920 x 1080p resolution games, while 1440p and 4K resolutions demand between 6 and 8 GB of VRAM.
4. The best method to know how well a Graphics card performs is through Benchmarks
While VRAM and Clock speed are quite important in determining which graphics card to go with, its a little hard for an ordinary user to figure out the performance of one card against another based on only these considerations. And if the cards are of different generations, then things go from bad to ugly. Thus the best and most reliable way to choose a graphics card is through benchmarks. Benchmarks make easier to compare the performance between cards with the main considerations being resolution and the resultant frame rates. That makes life a whole lot easier for everyone.
The next time you’re out shopping for a graphics card, make sure to find out its clock speed and VRAM, then crown your research with some good old benchmarks. That way, you’ll be sure to find the right card that will handle the tasks you need handled.