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A Beginner’s Guide to PC Video Cards: Choosing A Card

The video card is an essential component in a gamer or home theater’s buff’s setup. It can be the difference between mediocre graphics performance and screaming fast high definition goodness! Like most things these days, you often get what you pay for, but how do you know where to begin? In a previous article [1], we discussed how to identify what type of card you currently have on your system. Now, we look at what you need to know before purchasing a new card. 

How Do I Pick a New Card?

If you find that the video card you already have is not up to the task, then it’s time to go shopping. However, be prepared to find a wide variety of options. Video cards can be bought for as little as $30 but can cost as much as $900 or more.

With such a wide range for prices, you need to know how to narrow things down a bit, so here are a few of the key considerations to bear in mind when choosing a new video card.

Of course, there are other things to consider like the maximum resolution of the card vs the resolution of the display you are going to use it on. So, check the card supports the resolution you want to show it on. Cards also vary in size, so make sure that you have the space you need inside your PC, and some need additional power to make them run, but that may depend on your PC and how powerful its power supply unit is.

Last, but not least, if you want to compare some video cards side by side, check out the comparison charts at Tom’s Hardware [2] for some up to date comparisons.

~ Jonathan Wylie