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What to look for in a video card?

Posted on Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 13:17:45 CET by

Every year the variety of graphics cards on the market expands substantially with newer and faster models being released more and more frequently. With this huge array of cards on offer you may feel as though technology is galloping ahead and you’re being left behind. However, finding the perfect graphics card for your needs isn’t the impossible task it appears to be.

What one need to do initially is to examine your requirements – your primary reason for wanting to upgrade your graphics card. Someone that needs a video card for editing photographs or designing catalogues probably has different needs to someone who just wants to speed up their existing system. On the other hand an ardent gamer would more than likely be looking to purchase the best of the best.

The GUP, or Graphic Processing Unit, is the first thing you will need to look at as the GPU is designed to reduce the load of your computer’s main CPU by processing graphics separately. This enables your PC to function faster. You will need to ensure that the card you choose has high pixel and texture fill rates as these will determine how quickly and smoothly your animations and scrolling are.

The next thing one needs to consider is memory. In the same way your computer needs enough RAM to operate, your graphics card requires ample RAM to hold information and store pictures. Ideally a high-end graphics card coupled with a fast CPU is your best combination. If the CPU is not up to scratch it won’t be able to utilise the additional RAM. The two main players in the in the graphics card industry are nVidia and ATI. These companies have spent millions developing their own rendering technologies which are used to process graphical data. Rendering Technologies sole purpose is to accelerate the communication speed between the graphic card GPU and your computer’s CPU. These technologies are measured differently, but the thing to look out for is a card that has higher numbers of ATI Stream capabilities or CUDA cores.

Then we move on to the Application Programming Interface (API). This is what allows your graphics card to interact with your software. It is vitally important that you purchase card that is compatible with the API of the programmes you are intending to run. For example, should your main interest be online gambling, you would require DirectX 9 in order to run it. If the casino requires DirectX 10, you would once again have to upgrade your card to play it. To illustrate the example try this mobile casino software. Whilst you’re busy playing online the API is enabling the communication between your computer and the website’s software.

Finally you need to look at the Display Interface – facilitating the connection between your monitor(s) and computer. Today’s graphics cards now include HDMI and DVI connections. These interfaces are able to support higher resolutions. Ensure that you use the right connection cable between your monitor and graphics card and also make sure that the connections are compatible with your monitor. While there isn’t really the perfect one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing a video card, investigating and combining all of the above should lead you to find the best graphics card suited to your needs.


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