How to Buy a Video Card For Your PC?


New to Mu-43
Aug 22, 2014
All PCs come with the ability to display basic graphics. But to play the latest games with full graphic effects as well as use dual monitor displays and high-end digital displays, you often need to purchase an "add-on" video card, also known as a graphics accelerator card. There are many different types of video cards available. Here is how to find the best one for you.
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Decide what you want and need to do with the video card. Video cards range broadly in price from as much as $3000 for Titan Z, the latest and greatest, to $30 for a low-end card. To choose the right one, you need to know how you want to use it. Do you want to play demanding games at maximum resolution and max settings or just play old games? If you chose to play demanding games, you will need to purchase a high-end card, usually $300 or higher. If you just need to display your PC screen on two monitors or drive a high-end DVI monitor or TV, you can purchase a lower-end card. Keep in mind that the cost-to-speed ratio steadily drops after the cards reach the $150 mark i.e the prices follow an exponential curve with the most economical (more bang for buck cards) in the middle or $200 range.
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Know what type of slot you will be using. Video cards can plug into three different types of slots on your motherboard. In order of highest performance, the slot types are PCI Express, AGP, or PCI at the low end. If your PC is more than 5 years old, it may only have a PCI slot. Some PCs today have AGP slots; AGP cards are usually $10-$20 dollars cheaper than PCI equivalents and perform 2-4 times faster, but are now rapidly superseded by the PCIe standard. If you bought your PC recently, it may have the newer, faster PCI Express (PCIe) slot.
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ATI has lost some ground again in some people's opinions. Either is fine, but it is really up to the user to research the specs for the particular card they wish to purchase. You can find reviews and descriptions of the leading chips and video cards available in all the major PC magazines online and in print. You can also go to manufacturer's websites, such as the one for Diamond Multimedia, for more information on the available video cards.
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Choose a manufacturer. Many video cards are available from multiple manufacturers. Some examples are XFX ,EVGA, Sapphire technology and Asus. Different manufacturers offer different levels of warranty and customer support as well as different game bundles depending on the product. Many cards go on sale from time-to-time, especially at back-to-school and holiday time so be sure to shop for the best deal.
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Install the video card and your graphics card drivers and enjoy your good to go!
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Mu-43 Veteran
Jul 6, 2014
Unless I missed it you left out one very important point

Some High End graphics cards require an extra power connector and this can be in the form of the 4 pin hard drive supply type or square format 4 pin type or six pin type or even 8 pin types or in the case of some cards like my GForce 295 two extra power supplies both 6 & 8 pin connectors.

So you need to make sure your power supply has these connectors available and make sure the power supply supplies enough power to run it as well.


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