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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Computer Performance and Video Cards

Do you need a video card? 

In my last post, I discussed checking your computer's CPU performance in task manager, and the possibility of upgrading your CPU. I have already briefly covered testing your internet connection, checking for malware, and cleaning junk files from your system. So you can have a look at my earlier blogs if you need to or leave me a comment if you would like me to go into more detail about any of the previous topics.

Many computers come with built in graphics. While some are better than others, most of them are not suitable for gaming, at least if you want to play newer games and have a decent frame rate. It does depend somewhat on what kind of games you want to play on your computer. If you just want to play games on Facebook, you may not not need a video card. And if you prefer older games you may need a video card, but you probably can get away with a cheaper one. If you want to upgrade your video card it is definitely going to require some research first.

If you like to play video games the first thing I recommend is to check out the system requirements for the games you want to play before you buy them. There is even at least one tool I know of that can automatically detect those settings for you. Although I'm not certain how reliable it is, it did show me that I needed a graphics card to play games, for example. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and use my computer as an example and check to see what games I can play. The first thing I'll do is go to System Requirements Lab and type in the game I want to run. Then I will click the blue "Can I run it?" button, and download an application to check the system requirements for the game. It looks like I won't be playing Fallout 4 on this computer:

This is actually kind of funny, because my computer (not surprisingly) doesn't meet any of the system requirements for Fallout 4! So, in this case, it wouldn't do me any good to look at a video card, because I couldn't even install a CPU that would be fast enough, and the maximum RAM I could install would be less than the 8GB required. And keep in mind these are the minimum system requirements for the game. If your hardware just barely meets the minimum requirements the game is probably not going to perform very well.
Tomorrow I will cover how to select a video card for your system, and a couple of the problems you may encounter when doing so.

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