If you are an avid gamer, a graphics artist or a web designer, the graphics card is one of the essential peripherals that you will be paying most attention to. These activities need a detailed and crisp screen and graphics resolution for optimum task performance. There are a lot of graphics cards in the market that promise to give you the best visual experience. However, you need to closely check the specifications and capabilities of the graphics card you may be interested in before proceeding with the purchase.
Integrated vs. Discrete CPUs
The first thing you need to check in your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is the type of graphics processing unit (GPU). Some CPUs have integrated graphics – GPUs that are built into the same component as the CPU itself or closely interlinked with the CPU. Simply put, integrated GPUs are already part of your CPU. These tend to be low performance options, just enough to drive the operating system, run web browsers, emails, applications and any other regular tasks that don’t require intensive graphical performance. When it comes to games, with an integrated GPU you will only be limited to casual games or ones with basic graphics.
Discrete or standalone GPUs are the category where the graphics card belongs. These units are created separately from the CPU, and can thus designed with greater performance and specifications than integrated ones. Standalone GPUs have varying costs, which range from the affordable, basic level options up to the powerful, high-end GPUs that can cost around £1,000 per unit.
Laptop vs. Desktop
The type of computer you are using is something you should also consider when choosing your graphics card. Laptops and desktops need different specifications for their GPUs. You need to go back and check if your laptop or desktop has an integrated or discrete GPU. If it is the latter, you can then look for graphics cards that are made specifically for a laptop or desktop.
The good thing about technological advancement is that when it comes to gaming graphics cards, those that are made for laptops and desktops are already very close in performance. This means that you can get the same gaming experience even if you are the on-the-go type of gamer.
Gaming application can be the most intensive graphical task that you’ll have your PC to perform. It comes as no surprise why avid gamers spend hours researching GPU technology and updates, and often upgrade their GPUs regularly. With the current trend and requirement for 4K gaming GPUs (that can support ultra-high resolution of 4,000 pixels), the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti card is currently the top contender for the best card for 4K gaming.
To research further, gamers consult several Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Buyer's Guide websites for specifications that meet their gaming preferences. There are several manufacturers of Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti cards such as ASUS, EVGA, Zotac, Gigabyte, MSI and others. They offer the same type of Nvidia RTX 2080 card, but with distinct added features and tweaks that different gamers will find attractive.
For gamers who want to customize or build their PC for games, the GPU is considered the most important purchase. Of course there are other components that can affect PC performance, such as RAM, hard drive and processor, but a high definition and powerful resolution comes first for gamers.
Graphics and Video Applications
High-end photo, video and graphics editing applications are also demanding on the GPU’s capabilities. Users who use these applications want a graphics card that can make video or image resolution higher, provide clearer details and a stable and reliable video output.
There are GPUs that are designed specifically for these users. These are classified as workstation GPUs, and the specifications of the GPUs can meet the specific task needs of graphics and video editing users.
For Regular Use
If you do not belong to the gamer or creativity and editing application user category, you can settle for the entry-level GPU and focus on the RAM, storage and processor instead. Regular PC tasks such as web browsing, email management and running other low-end PC applications do not need a high-end GPU.
Nvidia vs. AMD
When it comes to choosing the graphics card that you need, you’ll come to encounter the two companies that provide the GPU in the stand alone cards in the market: Nvidia and AMD. These two companies have a long-standing history of competition for supremacy in the GPU market. Nvidia has been in the lead until the last few years and is still holding a strong position in the market. However, AMD is not far behind and is currently developing graphics cards with innovative features. This puts AMD in a very competitive position, poised for taking the top position.
Budget is never left out when it comes to choosing what you want to buy. The best option for you is to make the most out of the specifications you need from a graphics card while staying within your budget. In short, get the best value for your money when buying the card.
By now you already have an idea on the basic things you need to know about a graphics card. Since you are the one using your PC and know the features that you need to perform your tasks optimally, you can proceed in checking out the best possible GPU option. Remember to stay within your projected or actual budget. You’ll realize that having the best graphic card isn’t always what you need, but a card that can meet your usage requirements.