Today’s computing and gaming wouldn’t be possible without a powerful graphics card. Therefore, we need to know quite a bit about them. What do they do? You might not be getting the most performance from your processor or graphics card due to bottlenecks, and wonder how to fix them. You will find the answers to these questions and more in this article!

What is a Graphics Card?

In short, a graphics card is nothing more than a video adapter that processes and displays graphics data. As gaming, CAD, and photo editing require graphics resources for computer simulations, graphics cards play an important role.

Your computer’s video card can do a lot of things. Since they have been around for decades and manufacturers have brought a lot of improvements on them, they can not only display graphics on the screen, but also render some programs or solve non-graphic problems.

Today, AI is also using video cards because GPUs contain multiple processors, called cores, that make calculations happen faster than CPUs are able to do alone at this point!

Types of Graphics Cards

GPU types have an impact on your computer’s overall performance and how it will handle certain tasks. There are two main types of graphics cards:

  • Integrated Graphics
  • Dedicated Graphics

Integrated Graphics

Internal Graphics Card

Intel processors with the F suffix lack integrated graphics, while AMD processors with the G suffix come with them. They use a part of system memory for storing graphics files like textures and give a hard time running triple-A titles because of a low number of resources. Although they are good for productivity tasks and debugging, no one recommends using them for gaming. 

However, modern processors like AMD Ryzen come with APUs with integrated graphics cards that can run at least Esports gaming without any problems. The integrated graphics on laptops perform well because they are not designed for gaming, but you can invest some money and get a Nvidia MX series graphics card which is much better than Intel’s UHD series graphics cards. 

Dedicated Graphics

External Graphics Card

Dedicated graphics cards work the same way as integrated GPUs, but they are connected to one of your PCIe slots. As the latest RTX 3000 series graphics cards have 10000 cores, and come with dedicated memory, they offer advantages over integrated graphics.

There are two types of dedicated graphics cards: low-profile and high-end. Low profile cards are designed for compact builds or games with limited budgets, while high end cards are designed for midrange and enthusiast gamers. The prices range from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. You should check out the performance of a card before buying it to ensure that it will not bottleneck your CPU and ruin your gaming experience. 

Make sure to invest some money in your graphics card if you like to play games. In addition, you can make a one-time purchase of a gaming laptop with an integrated graphics card for your AAA games.

Which Graphics Card to Buy?

You already know that gaming is one of the most expensive hobbies, but did you know why people usually upgrade their computers? As technology improves and games continue to push higher graphical standards with each release, gamers are upgrading their hardware more frequently. For gamers who love playing PC games at high settings, this process can be quite frequent, as new models replace older ones and they continue to upgrade their GPUs and CPUs to get the best performance.

While a powerful GPU can be handy for playing games, it can also be useful to those running productivity applications. In video editing, high-end GPUs are often used to speed up video encoding and other tasks.

When building your own PC, choosing a GPU can be a difficult task. The first question you need to ask yourself when choosing a component is, how will you use it?

Gaming

Graphics Card Used for Gaming

The gaming industry is a major booster of graphics card evolution. Today’s PC games are more realistic and complex than ever before. Because of this, the demand for more powerful GPUs is constantly increasing.

It’s important to know the minimum and recommended specification for a game you’re going to play before you purchase your GPU. This will ensure that it has enough power which makes your build future-proof to play latest and upcoming AAA titles.

Buying a top-of-the line graphics card that can play current games as well as future ones will make upgrading easier in order to keep up with new technologies. However if you know precisely what kind of game experience you want then doing some research makes this process much simpler when starting out shopping around for GPUs.

Video Editing & Other Rendering Programs

Graphics Card for Video Editing and Rendering

When you’re using your PC for complex tasks like 3D rendering, game development, and video editing you must need a potent GPU. High-end applications such as AutoCAD and Adobe Premiere Pro also use high GPU resources in order to speed up the process so that workflows are more efficient and quicker. That is why there are graphics cards out there specifically designed just for professionals!

These workstation GPUs are optimized for these applications, and are certified to be stable and reliable when undertaking these operations. Professional graphics cards can be powerful, but they were not designed specifically for gaming, so they might not be ideal if you’re looking for a more expensive GPU in your PC that will also perform well while playing games.

This means that the most expensive GPU isn’t always “better” - it’s important you pick a GPU based on how you plan to use them, not exclusively on price!

Casual Computing

Don’t be too eager to spend extra money on a graphics card that you don’t need. If you’re not going to do gaming or running productivity applications, then the integrated GPU in your CPU will do just fine for graphic demands like web browsing and email management. Invest your money in RAM and storage instead of upgrading hardware such as an additional GPU; Intel has built-in graphics capabilities if all else fails!

Nvidia vs. AMD

NVidia Vs AMD. Which one is best?

Nvidia and AMD are the two major players in GPU manufacturing. The companies have battled for leadership, forcing each other to innovate while benefiting consumers. Both offer good options that cater to your individual needs as a gamer.

You’ve probably seen a graphics card before, but chances are good that it was made by someone other than Nvidia or AMD. You’re most likely to get your GPUs from different vendors from Acer, Asus, Gigabyte and many more. These companies take the chips designed by either AMD or NVIDIA to create their own products that can compete in many other factors like cooling, clock speeds, and aesthetic design which can affect how they perform while gaming.

Nvidia

Nvidia’s RTX series of GPUs are based on Ampere architecture. The most popular and powerful ones in this line-up are RTX 30-series which are RTX 3070, 3070 Super and RTX 3080, with performance capabilities increasing as you go up to the higher number range (RTX 2070/2080).

Nvidia’s RTX 20 Series is the perfect GPU for gamers who don’t need cutting-edge technology right now, but still want a great GPU for gaming purposes! Technology like Ray Tracing and 4k gaming are available without breaking your bank account - it has all that power at an affordable price.

There are many factors to consider before purchasing the best graphics card for your needs. As an example, the number of cores on an Nvidia GPU can be thought of as an indication of performance capabilities because more cores means better processing power and faster rendering time for complicated 3D scenes.

Another indicator might be memory size or clock frequency, which might limit game capacity per slot on pre-built computers; whereas other potential issues, such as driver incompatibility, might impact gameplay quality (e.g., frame rate).

AMD

AMD is committed to providing gamers with powerful and affordable hardware. Radeon RX 5000 series, which utilizes the RDNA architecture and replaces their Vega model, provides a significant performance boost when playing games at 4K (3840x2160).

They also offer entry-level GPUs like their 500 series, which are still capable of handling games with high graphics requirements such as Battlefield 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2.

Ray-Tracing: Do You Need One?

Ray tracing is the latest advancement in graphics technology. With this new advancement, more realistic lighting effects create smoother transitions from one shade to another, without any jarring edges or lines like with other traditional rendering techniques. Ray tracing allows you to experience lifelike realism and seamless color transitions in your favorite games and movies.

Ray tracing is becoming an increasingly common tool in game development as hardware and software catch up with this vision. Despite the fact that today’s games may be embracing it more than ever before, there is no doubt that as GPUs become even more powerful, they will surely end up being the new norm for gaming graphics rendering technology.

AMD and Nvidia want ray tracing to be the next big thing in graphics cards. Ray Tracing is a newer technology, so GPUs that can efficiently implement it tend to be more expensive, but the cost will continue to decline as graphics cards get cheaper with each new generation. Almost all flagship models support some version of this advanced feature, so no matter what your budget is you’ll eventually have access!

Buy the GPU That’s Right for You

Memory: You want the best quality when playing games. If you are planning to play your games at 4K resolution and have all of their fancy features cranked up or if you want to install high-res texture packs on your favorite MMOs like Skyrim SE, then you will need at least 8 GB.

Form Factor (Important): To make sure your card fits in your case, make sure you have enough space. Consider the length, height, and thickness of graphics cards; they can be half-height (slim), single-slot, dual-slot, or even triple-slot! You should buy a smaller graphics card if you have a small PC. In any other case, your GPU will take up two slots and may block an adjacent slot. Consider something that’s close in size to the motherboard–but keep checking since some cards say “mini” but they’re actually larger than 8 inches!

TDP: Many users are confused about TDP because it’s measured in Watts and they think that it’s the amount of power the CPU or graphics card takes from the power supply. Even though it’s different since it’s the power input and thermal output of your GPU/CPU that determines which cooler is best for you. During peak loads, the processor’s TDP is much higher, whereas at idle it may be at a minimal level.

Power Connectors: Most graphics cards draw all of their power from two sources. Most of the power is provided by the power connector, while the rest is provided by the PCI slot. GPUs from two or three years ago use six-pin connectors, while some flagship cards use 8-Pin connectors. The new generation of cards, however, takes power from a 12-pin connector or even two of them.

Ports: Unless you are going to use multiple monitors, you don’t need to worry too much about the ports on the graphics cards. Usually graphics cards come with three or four ports, but you need to look at what kind of ports they have. I am not going to discuss the specific features of these ports, but some HDMI ports might not be able to provide you with 4k Resolution with 60 frames per second. You can read the full guide here. [Put a link to display ports there]

Cuda Cores / Stream Processors: Cuda cores or stream processors are simply the GPU’s cores, but Nvidia refers to them as Cuda and AMD refers to them as Stream processors. A GPU is simply a graphics card with cores, just like a CPU, but with tens of thousands. RTX 3090 GPUs offer ten thousand cores and can solve complex calculations with much greater efficiency than CPUs due to their great number of cores.

Clock Speed: Graphics cards' clock speeds have nothing to do with Nvidia or AMD, as they depend on the vendor who makes them. Often, you will find MSI graphics cards offer better clock speeds than XFX or Sapphire. This is due to the cooling solution installed on them. The more clocks a GPU offers, the better it will perform, and you should look at it before making a purchase, but don’t waste a lot of money on an overclocked GPU.

Conclusion

The GPU you choose will be determined by the type of work it needs to do, how much power is needed for those tasks, and what your budget looks like. Hopefully this blog post has helped you better understand where to start when making a decision about which one is right for you. Let us know if we can help make your purchase process easier!

Erik Bolinder
Erik Bolinder
Hi, I'm Erik. As a gamer and computer hardware enthusiast, I love to play games and write about them for my blog. My other interests are programming and learning new languages. Reviewing daily use products is my favorite hobby because it helps me find the best product for each need.