Writing in worry about getting a graphics card, are you?
It’s not uncommon for the gadget-savvy to get an up-to-date graphics card every now and then. With the need for better visuals and higher viewing resolution on the rise thanks to newer game releases and the recent demand for the cryptocurrency, people have found themselves opting for maximum hardware performance to keep up with the changes. This of course, has its demerits: you’re often forced to expend for the sake of heightened specs and in the end, you’re left with but a hole in your wallet.
Smart buying for that sweet piece of hardware you’ll need requires a weigh-in of valid pros and cons. It makes more sense to plan this ahead prior to making a purchase so as you won’t have to regret any of your decisions later on. The reason for this is because you might find yourself buying an expensive graphics card based on recommendations when in fact, it works just as neat as another one that’s more half the price (then again, that’s just half of the many reasons why you should buy smart).
The tips here should help you find the graphics card best suited for your needs. A word of caution, though: be familiarized with the proper terminologies associated with graphics cards, else you’ll be skimming dictionaries of computer-related words just to find them out.
Table of Contents
1. Consider your position
Are you really in need for a new graphics processor?
If the things you usually do with your device include web browsing, small-scale photo editing, video streaming and light gaming, the graphics system included in the CPU is enough.
Complex needs that require an equally complex GPU include games with higher definition and detail settings, hardcore photo and video editing, and mining for cryptocurrencies.
Two kinds of graphics cards could be considered depending on the work you’re going to put yourself into gaming-oriented cards optimize your gaming experience with the best possible frame rates especially with games that have high resolution and detail. Workstation cards, on the other hand, are handy with 3D rendering and are more centered on stability and accuracy over speed. Once you’ve decided on which of the two you’re going to need, time to go to the next step.
2. Have to check your base hardware
If you have no clue on how to check your base hardware, you’d have to download the program CPU-Z. Run it, and you’ll get a screen that looks like this:
Wikipedia describes CPU-Z as a freeware system profiling and monitoring application for Microsoft Windows and Android. After running it, you can see the CPU you’re using, the motherboard, amount of system memory and other useful data. Using this, you’ll get a pretty good grasp on the ‘specs’ of your computer that your future graphics card will be hosted upon. Memory, power supply, cooling and storage space, and your monitor size will follow through as equally-important aspects.
You also have to know whether or not your system is still capable of handling replacements. It’d be pointless if you managed to buy the parts, only to realize your hardware is already ‘too old’ to allow any upgrades and what you need is a full replacement of the entire set.
3. Set your budget and expectations
According to The Idiot’s Guide, outcomes will vary whether you want to upgrade an existing unit or build a new PC. If the former, you can do as much as determining ‘what that hardware is worth’. Check auction sites for a rough estimate on prices of sold items - just don’t force yourself to get an upgrade worth more than what cost you to buy your PC set.
If you’re building a new PC from scratch, that’s another story. Most of the other parts of your hardware would cost more, so it is recommended to set your sights on a graphics card that’d be roughly one-third of the price of your PC’s hardware (not including parts like monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.). Don’t forget about the type of graphics settings you’d go for: a snipping from the guide says, “for graphics settings, higher resolutions mean more pixels, and more pixels means lower performance,” so be careful on the quality and resolution you’re aiming to have.
4. Compare performances
This involves some fuzzy math and may have you sitting on a desk wishing you weren’t in that uncomfortable spot, but it’ll do you wonders. By comparing the processing performance and overclocking capabilities of existing GPU units, you can narrow down to those that perform evenly and consistently in different scenarios and make your graphics card choice around them. I have pretty much done the numbers for the best GPU choices in 2021, so you can check that out for yourselves.
5. Consider both time and location
Basically, when can you buy a graphics card, and where can you buy them. It is suggestible to buy graphics cards after new GPUs are launched, since other competing products that have been out for a while would have experienced a downhill curb in their pricing trend. Also, buying online is a preferable choice for obtaining lower prices for GPU items, but if you can scout your area for a local shop, you can heighten your chances for an affordable graphics card that not only fits the budget, but is also easy to replace and refund compared to shipping deals and the like.
Now that you’ve been briefed on the important aspects of choosing your graphics card, you make a choice yourself. Are you going for the low, economical choice or a high-priced one you’re willing to spend just for that crisp performance output? It’s all up to you.
Just do make sure that when you get the graphics card of your dream, you make sure to use it on where it’s due.
Aiden’s the name! Just your typical comic book store and EB Games VIP. I’m a full-time God of War 4 obsessed, bagel loving, DOTA2 warrior in training, and an IT professional on the side haha. I’m always keen to connect, so hit me up if there’s anything specific question you’d like answered.