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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Selecting the the right video card for your computer

Selecting a Video Card

In my last post I wrote about how you might need to install a video card in your computer, especially if you like to play games on it. Today I will show you how to select the right card for your system. As I mentioned in the last post, you don't necessarily need a video card to play all games. Some games will run with the built in graphics, especially if your computer has an AMD CPU with a built in graphics accelerator (GPU). But if you notice your games are running  slow and you've determined that a video card (or new video card) will help, the next thing to do is choose the right one.
If you like to play games, you should probably try to find the fastest video card that fits in your budget. But you also need to make sure it will work with your computer. Also, there's no point in spending a  lot of money for a high end card if the rest of your computer isn't going to keep up with the latest games. For example, if I wanted choose a video card for my old computer, I'm not going to be concerned if it will play Fallout 4, because my computer won't support the CPU or even the amount of RAM needed for that game. Even though my system is pretty old I happen to know I cold play older games on it with the right video card, because I used to play games on a similar system. Any one of my favorite games back then was GTA IV. Rockstar recommends an ATI 3870 card for this game, but that series was released on 2007, so I wasn't even able to find one new. So I started doing my research by looking at some video card benchmarks:

According to this chart, the best card for your money is the Radeon HD 6950, and I actually found this card on NewEgg for $49.99 after a rebate. According to reviews, this card would perform fine for playing the games I could play on my computer. But make sure you look at all the specifications, when choosing a card. I would not be able to use this card in my computer because it needs a 500W power supply, and my existing power supply is only 255W. So if I really wanted the 6950 I would also have to buy a new power supply. Another specification to pay attention to is the actual size of the video card. Before you buy one you may want to open up your computer case and make sure there is enough room for the video card that you want to use, since some gaming cards can be rather large.

I hope these tips have been helpful if you are planning to upgrade your system for gaming. Just remember that if your computer is older you can only upgrade it so much, so you want to do your research and make sure it is going to be worth it. And keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, these days you a can build budget gaming PC with no video card, if you're already thinking of building another one. I have now covered the basics of computer performance. If you would like a more detailed explanation of any related topics please leave me a comment. Tomorrow I will start a series of daily blogs on protecting your computer.

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