Your graphics card produces what you’re seeing on your monitor. It’s in charge of the rendering process. This is why avid gamers care a lot about their GPU. People who work a lot with image processing do as well. The thing is, you can’t just buy any chip. There are several things to keep in mind before hitting the store. We’ve discussed them below.
There are two main GPUs to choose from. They are discreet and integrated ones. Integrated graphic cards are attached to your CPU, or are alongside it. They aren’t the most powerful. They can only handle everyday tasks.
Discreet GPUs are also known as stand-alone ones. They can be very expensive, sometimes costing over $1000. They’re worth it as they pack a punch. If you pick up a gaming PC, you’ll see that the GPUs in them are stand-alone.
As we just established, graphic cards can be very expensive. If you’re thinking of installing a new GPU, evaluate the total performance of your set-up. There’s no point in installing a pricey graphics card if your computer isn’t the most powerful.
When building a computer, it’s recommended that you spend 30% of your budget on the card.
If you’re adamant about splurging, wait till sales. Cyber Monday is a great way to save cash. You’ll easily be able to snag a graphics card for more than 50% off.
Depending on your CPU tower, it might not be able to handle the heat your GPU produces. If it’s a smaller case, getting a graphics card that produces less heat is a must. If it’s a larger case, more heat is fine. As a gamer, you know how bad overheating is. It not only hinders your performance, but it makes using your computer uncomfortable.
How do you know if a GPU produces a lot of heat? By looking at its exterior. There will be a ‘TDP’ rating. Your CPU should state how great of a value it can handle.
Even if your GPU produces enough heat for your computer to handle, you might not be able to install it. It just may not fit. A lot of the time, the slot may be a cm or two bigger. The size of the GPU your CPU tower can handle may not be on your manual – you’ll likely have to do some digging.
You’ll also have to find out how much power your graphics card will need. You’ll also have to assess its ports. Your card should be able to connect to your display, so look at its connectors and the type of port you have. Some displays have HDMI, DisplayPorts, and DVI openings.
When choosing a graphics card, see how much RAM it has. Most of them come with 2-12 GBs. Whether you need a lot of memory or not has been up for debate for a long time. Dylan Howe at CPU Forever says, “ you need a lot of video memory if your GPU comes with anti-aliasing features – you’ll achieve smoother edges”.
In general, we think more memory is needed. You’ll be able to handle higher quality stuff. This is essential if you’re using something like a 4K monitor.
Battle of The Brands
When it comes to GPUs, you’ll have to choose from NVIDIA and AMD. Manufacturers take the tech behind AMD and NVIDIA chips and spin them. These are ASUS and MSI.
NVIDIA uses CUDA cores. Similar to CUDA cores, AMD uses steam processors. To keep things simple, the more of them available, the better your graphics card will be at rendering. They will keep things smooth if your GPU has to handle a lot of frame rates.
Certain graphics cards can connect to others. Having them paired up, you’ll have a more powerful PC. This as the chips share the rendering process. Depending on the GPU you get, this is called different things. For an NVIDIA one, it’s called Scalable Link Interface (SLI), while it’s called Crossfire for AMD ones.
Although the amount of memory a graphics card will need is up for debate, all tech enthusiasts agree that a lot of bandwidth is needed. What exactly is bandwidth? It is the amount of memory a graphics card can access at any given time. When there is more bandwidth, data is passed through its shader cores (CUDA and Steam processors) faster. This results in an experience that’s sharp and buttery.
Clock speeds are basically how fast the cores in your graphics card are working. They are measured in megahertz (Mhz). Your card’s clock speed influences your computer’s frame rate, latency, as well as lag.
As you can imagine, a greater speed equals a faster GPU. However, everyday users don’t need a huge clock speed. It’s only needed if you deal with a lot of image processing, or are an avid gamer.
Even if your GPU comes with considerable Mhz, you can improve it. You can do this by overclocking, which pushes your chipset above its limits. Unfortunately, overclocking produces a lot of heat. This in turn can affect your performance.
To sum things up, a graphics card is important if you need a smooth, quality experience. It’s especially important if you deal with image processing, like a video editor. It’s also important if you’re a gamer.
GPUs are important as they are in charge of rendering images onto your display. When choosing one, there are many things to look for. We helped you by running through 9.
Look at the price of your graphics chip. There’s no point splurging if your computer isn’t the best. If you’re adamant about spending a lot, wait till sales. Speaking of purchasing, you’ll see two chip types available. They are from NVIDIA and AMD.
Graphics chips should come with a lot of bandwidth. They should also come with a lot of memory and great clock speeds.
The above points will help you out, so keep them in mind.