How to Determine Which Is the Best Graphics Card for Your Personal Computer
Computer Graphic cards form a very important element of a computer system today. With the advent rise in quality of video generated, it is imperative we equip our computers with the best graphics cards to access this content. High-quality gaming, special forms of computer software’s such as CAD software’s, analysis software’s, etc. all ask for a graphics card to be installed on your computer system.
They are hundreds of Graphic cards out there on the market. They come with a hundred different features, and hence the confusion levels are high as well.
This article is catered towards helping you decide which graphic card is best for your system.
Step 1: Find the Compatible Graphics Card According to the Video Slot of Your Motherboard.
It is highly possible that your computer comes with one of the two types of video slots. That is either a PCI Express or an AGP type. Over the past five years, a majority of the computers are equipped with the PCI-Express 16x slot. Hence, its highly possible that your computer has this slot too.
PCI-Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect-Express): They form part of almost every personal computer in circulation since the start of the new millennium and still continue to dominate the industry even today. These slots come in multiple varieties of sizes. Since most computers, today, require a large slot size, namely the 16X. Majority of the latest computers are equipped with the 16X sized video slot.
AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port): A host of computers from the nineties carried along with them AGP video slots. Its characteristic color was chocolate brown. Despite a large number of revisions, the AGP port would accept cards that are either 4X or 8X sized. Such cards are still in circulation today and could be found on any of the e-commerce platforms out there.
Note: You can’t connect an AGP Card to PCI-E Slot or Vice Versa.
Finding the compatible graphics card is not that kind of hard task to do, you’ll just to find which Video Card Slot you have on your desktop’s motherboard and then eliminate your card selection according to the slot compatibility.
To find this slot, you need to open your computer’s case and look for the same slot, just like mentioned in the above-given picture. You can also go visit the Manufacture’s Website of your motherboard, in case if you didn’t want to open your PC’s Cabinet.
After finding the Slot, now PCI-E motherboard users you’ll need to check, that which version of PCI x16 Slot you have on your motherboard.
Normally there are four different types of PCIe x16 Slot generations out there in the motherboard’s market. The first one is V1.0 which is the first generation and continued to the latest V4.0 which is fourth generation PCI-E Slot with having the performance bandwidth speed limit of 31.51 GB/s (in ×16 Slot).
Every generation Slot looks same but contains double of bandwidth as compared to the previous version and the great thing is that you can run v4.0 Card on any old PCI-E Slot (which do limit the performance). Running a PCIe x16 v2.0 Card on v1.0 Slot can decrease the half performance of your Graphics card only if the higher generation card needs more bandwidth to work with, or otherwise it will work perfectly.
So, If you wanted to play the high-end game on your computer then make sure your motherboard at least has 3.0 Supported Video Card Slot and The Card too, in order to perform the best.
Here’s a pic of two graphics card specifications, to show you how to check the Video Slot compatibility.
Check your motherboard’s specification on the internet by its Model No. and can able to easily find the type of PCIe x16 you have on your motherboard.
If the specification shows you, just ‘PCI Express x16’ without any description that it means that you having a PCIe x16 2.0 (because v1.0 is discontinued) or otherwise it was listed the name of Slot Generation.
Here a specification of both PCI 2.0 and 3.0 Motherboard to show you how it looks like.
Step 2: Finding A Compatible Video Port for Your Personal Computer
This step requires a user to buy a video card which has at least one port which matches with the ports on your computer monitor. Following are the various types of ports which could be part of your computer monitor assembly:
- VGA (Video Graphics Array) or D-SUB: It’s like this port has been a part of every computer system since the beginning of time. It is a highly reliable port, but it should never be treated as the first choice. Other ports such as HDMI port provide the user with better video quality along with high compatibility as well.
- DVI (Digital Visual Interface): DVI ports can be found on a number of modern-day personal computer systems. The main principle of operation is simple. It sends a series of numbers to the personal computer screen. These numbers are then converted to pictures which appear to the user.
- HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface): An interesting fact about the above video ports is that they carry with only visual capabilities. An HDMI port carries both audio and visual functions in it. It is a very useful port if you wish to watch your video content on a very high-quality TV set. It is slowly replacing the traditional VGA port technology and this is evident, as latest computers come equipped with HDMI ports only.
- DisplayPort: A relatively new addition to the video port family, DisplayPort technology is something which could replace all of the above-mentioned video ports in the future. This technology is capable of sending the HDMI port back to where it came from, on DVD players only.
Or otherwise, you can use cross connectors in different varies of cables.
Step 3: Deciding Which Video Card Features Best Fit Your Budget.
Before deciding to buy a video card for your system, it is always important in mind to keep two things; A fixed budget in mind along with the basic technical requirements for your graphics card.
Below are a few technical features which influence the pricing of a video card.
- Video Memory: Higher the memory, higher is the detailing on the video played. Higher memory levels mean that your system can accommodate more pixels and colour on the screen. However, higher memory means higher the price as well. A majority of Windows systems require video cards which are of 256 MB memory or higher.
- Brand: There are a number of notable video card brands out there in the market. Some of the notable ones are Nvidia, AMD, etc. to name a few. It is always common to find that two brands offer the same technical specifications, but the prices are different. Off brands at time ship only the graphics card with little or no technical support. So by paying a little more, you get a quality product along with the proper documentation and technical support.
- Graphics Chip: Another major element which influences the cost is a graphics chip. Latest graphics chips are of premium quality and are of very high prices. Using a relatively older version of a graphics chip won’t do you any harm at all.
- Dual Monitor Support: A few of the graphics cards give you the liberty to connect two display monitors all at once. There are cases when some cards offer three monitors as well.
- DirectX: This software is utilized by almost every graphics card in the market out there. These are used to generate special audio-visual tricks on your system.
- Noise: A host of graphics cards come with built-in fans which create a very loud noise. This sound shows that they are cheap in nature. More expensive variants include fans which are quieter.
- Resolution: Every computer graphic card has a certain resolution which it can withstand. Higher the resolution, higher is the video quality. Along with high video quality, higher is the price as well. Hence, it’s imperative to decide how much resolution a user requires based on the set budget.
- Power Consumption Compatibility: Check the specification of your card to know how much Power Supply Wattage your cards need to run itself and does your PC’s PSU can able to handle that kind of load or not.
“And that’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the article, and you know it will always good to let me know about the article, in the comments down below.” 🙂