VI: Beautiful visuals, the graphic card
Now the next step in our build is to choose our graphic card (also called GPU: graphics processing unit). After choosing this we only require power and a case to have our working computer, although there are many other things that we can consider to improve the aesthetics and the performance of the computer. Choosing a graphic card is easy in theory, the problem you will face is the huge amount of options you have with very similar performance. Also, there is currently two main manufactures of chips, and some people takes the choice very personal. As usual, looking the reviews and searching for all the things you may don’t know what they mean should give you the information you need to make the best decision.
The key things you will look for in the graphic card:
- Interface: As usual, you require the same slot in your motherboard or you won’t be able to put your card anywhere. Be aware that different interfaces in this case also give different speeds.
- Memory size: The amount of memory the card has for graphics itself. It works similarly as the RAM memory in your computer: larger memory is capable of handling higher amount of data improving performance.
- Outputs: Although you can use some converters, is better if you just use the native signal from the computer to your screen, so it is good if you make sure when choosing your card that you have the required output for your screen.
- Multi-card support (only for gamers): This is an optional feature required for better gaming and is the capability of the card to work together with more equal graphic cards. It allows to handle more data and process it in parallel units, speeding up the results.
What graphic card you need when you are a gamer and your focus is to play computer games at the highest quality:
Aim for the best, if possible several cards of the best one. This is the place where most of the budget of a computer for gaming goes. If you are cheap in other components, they may be able to perform good enough but if you save money in your graphic card, rather sooner than later you will face the limitations. There is one good thing though, if you expend the money in a multiple graphic card system, your computer will last for longer time, even if in the future you cannot handle games with ultra quality, you will be able to still play with medium-high quality at high number of FPS (frames per second) for years. Look for high speed, and high memory size.
Finally, if you have a game in mind, look in the requirements for maximum quality which chip they recommend. If you get at least the same or better, you can be quite sure that you will be able to play it with full quality.
What graphic card you need when you are a professional and use the computer for high-demanding task as video editing, Photoshop…:
You probably don’t need to go for the multiple option but you will for sure benefit for a good graphic card. In the case of creative work is clear the relationship but in general the GPU core of the card will save work to your CPU, so it is good to improve performance to have a quality graphics card. It also makes the computer to be able to perform for longer time without updating.
What graphic card you need when you use your computer to watch movies, surfing the web…:
Anyone will work. The only thing you want to be sure is to have the correct outputs to connect with your screen, but any medium-end graphic card will be more than enough for you. Although you can save some money going for a budget one, I still recommend go for a better one because it helps the computer.