Choosing the right graphics card

The graphics processor (GPU) is the unit that takes the ones and zeros of computer data and converts them into signals that produce the display displayed on a monitor. A GPU can be basic, as found on motherboards of cheaper desktop computers. With some of these types of PC, the user has no choice in the GPUs. There may not be an expansion slot for a graphics card. With these types of devices, the graphics processor must borrow memory from the main memory (RAM) and make it unavailable to the computer. This shared memory can result in a decrease in CPU performance.

Graphics cards The next step would be a graphics card that plugs into an expansion slot on the motherboard. The AGP slot is one type. At one time, the primary slot was an ISA slot. This was the industry standard architecture. With the advent of faster processors, these have practically fallen by the wayside. Engineers started accelerating the speed of the GPU, which led to a new name … AGP or accelerated graphics processor. Another type has emerged in the past 3 years called PCI-E. PCI Express, officially abbreviated as PCI-E or PCIe, is a computer expansion slot or interface format that was introduced by Intel in 2004. PCI Express was developed to replace the universal PCI expansion bus, the high-end PCI bus and the AGP graphics card interface. In contrast to previous PC expansion interfaces, it is not just a bus, but serial point-to-point connections, so-called lanes.

Discussing technical details of this technology is beyond the scope of this article. It can be viewed on the nVidia website. Surfing and Word Processing If you just want to use the basics like surfing the web, creating emails or word processing, you don’t need the GPU power that is found on the motherboards of cheaper desktop computers. If you are editing videos or playing the basic video games, you will need to proceed to the next level of AGP or PCIe cards. Prices start at $ 50 and can go as high as $ 700 for the most intense game.

The reason for this is that much of the video processing is loaded from the central processing unit (CPU) into the GPU. If this hadn’t happened, playing the game would be in slow motion with nervous video. When processing video from a camcorder, rendering times of hours occur. Special requirements There are special requirements for these expanded cards. The GPUs are extremely fast and speed equals heat. All have heat sinks to dissipate the heat generated by the GPU. Some of them even have small fans mounted on the processor chips. There are even some of them that are cooled using a captive water process. All of them need more power and therefore need a power supply with higher power. Some even have their own power connection. The high-end card even requires additional fans to transport the heat.

The entire selection process is based on one of the following elements:

Decide what you need

Requirements Identify the requirements and ensure that the motherboard, chassis, and power supply meet the specific requirements.


Can your budget support success? Some of these cards cost more than a computer itself. If so, give it a try!


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