Choosing a graphics card can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the PC gaming scene and aren’t familiar with what makes each GPU unique. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with an outdated and underpowered graphics card that can only run certain games at low resolutions and with low graphical settings.
And who wants that? Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid making this mistake so that you get the best possible when buying a graphics card for your needs.
Which types of cards are out there?
There are three different types of graphics cards: entry-level, mid-range, and high-end.
- Entry-level graphics cards are the best option for people who don’t do much gaming but still want the benefits of having a dedicated video card on their computer.
- High-end graphics cards give users an excellent gaming experience with features such as higher resolutions and graphic fidelity.
- Mid-range graphics cards are in between the two with more than enough power for general home use, good enough quality for most games at low to medium settings, and an affordable price point.
When do you upgrade?
If you are a gamer and want your PC games to be able to run at the highest settings, then you may need the best graphics card that is out there. There are two main factors you will want to look for when buying a graphics card: how powerful the card is and what kind of memory it has.
If these are not a concern for you but are looking for an upgrade for your PC so that it can run software better, then maybe just upgrading your processor would be more beneficial. Before buying any computer parts like a new graphics card, always check out benchmarks on sites before buying something that might not have been on your list.
Can I get by with the onboard video?
Ideally, you should purchase and use the video card that was pre-installed on your computer or one that was recommended by the manufacturer. If you have an older model of a computer with only onboard video, however, some games may not work well and will not have optimal graphics because of a lack of memory on board.
Additionally, performance with onboard video is often less than satisfactory when it comes to rendering complex 3D graphics or playing more demanding games. Although buying a standalone video card might be a stretch financially, if you’re keen on doing so and don’t want any limitations as mentioned above then this may be the route for you!
What if I have no plans to overclock?
One of the most important aspects of a graphics card is its GPU, and not everyone wants an overclocked one. Of course, if you’re looking for that extra performance boost then it might be worth it to invest in an overclocked card, but some people just want what they need. If you do have plans to overclock your graphics card, this isn’t the guide for you.
But if you just want enough power for gaming at 1080p resolution with high settings without having to spend big bucks on your graphics card, then read on! GPUs generally come with 2 or 3GBs of VRAM, though 4K games will require more VRAM than that.
Which brands should I trust?
This one is tough. NVIDIA has been the clear choice for some time, and AMD has recently begun making competitive products again. However, it is best not to buy the card until you know for sure what games you will be playing and what kind of PC gaming you’ll be doing. If your games are run more on Nvidia software than AMD software, then buying an AMD card would be foolish, so check if any of the games have updates or if they’re coming out soon.
If you mostly play less demanding games like Rocket League or League of Legends, then it doesn’t matter as much because both companies make great cards for those. The most important thing to do before purchasing a graphics card is research!
How much do they cost?
Graphics cards can be expensive, but they’re essential for making computer games and certain types of software run smoothly. Prices vary greatly depending on the quality, but you should have no problem finding something in your budget as long as you know what kind of hardware you need.
What else do I need?: You’ll also want to make sure that your power supply is compatible with your new graphics card.
How can I save some cash?
Consider pre-owned cards: Cards can lose a lot of their value after only one year, but if you’re on a budget and need to upgrade, then pre-owned cards can be just as good for gaming. You’ll want to find out the specs and make sure it’s comparable before buying one online though.
Consider custom builds. Building your PC will cost much more than purchasing one from an established company like Dell or Apple, but it may be cheaper in the long run depending on what parts you choose. Choose components that are compatible with each other. If you decide to build your computer, check compatibility ratings between all the components before making a purchase.
Think about future expansions. Will this graphics card support any upgrades I might need down the line? There are some cases where upgrading the graphics card alone is not enough; other hardware components might also need updating.
Shop around and do research beforehand: Whether you’re building or buying a PC, researching beforehand will help ensure that you get the right specifications for your needs without wasting money on something that won’t work with your computer set up.
We hope that this guide has been useful in determining which card is right for you. We know that graphics cards can be daunting and complicated but they don’t have to be. Let us know in the comments below if this post was helpful and what type of computer setup you’re working with!