How to Choose Right when Replacing a Video Card

Top notch video card form Nvidia

Replacing a video card isn’t easy when you don’t know which is the best one to buy.  If you’re confused and need a bit of help replacing your current video card with a newer, faster model than read on.  We’ll talk about the different features in simple terms so you can make an educated decision.

When replacing a video card you’ll need to know what type of slot your motherboard has.  You can find this information in the manual for the PC or motherboard.  There are three types; PCI, AGP, PCIe.

The way you use your computer will point you towards the correct video card in terms of capabilities and price. Will you be playing the latest graphic intense games?  Will you be watching the occasional video? Your graphic usage will determine the power (and cost) when replacing a video card.

If you’ll be using heavy graphics then you need to choose between Nvidia and ATI video card chipsets.  Video cards that use these two particular chipsets are great for gaming.  If you’ll be replacing your video card for the purposes of gaming, stick with these two chipsets.  If not, you can go with other manufacturers such as Intel.

If gaming performance is important to you than when replacing your current video card go for one with lots of memory.  The more on board memory, the more textures the card can hold internally instead of calling them from the hard drive.  This will give you better frame rates and less ‘slide-show’ effect.  If you don’t game, then you can go for a video card with less on board memory.

Replacing a video card is easy when you know what to look for

When replacing a video card you’ll often see two numbers real big on the box; Chip speed, and on board memory. But the most important spec is neither one of these; it’s the number of pipelines. Simply put, the more pipelines a card has, the faster it can display data on the screen. Low-end cards will have 4, medium range cards will have 6 or 8, and high end will have 10 or even more. Don’t be fooled by large memory with only 4 pipelines, the performance will be horrible.

When replacing a video card consider the stats in this order:

1) Number of pipelines
2) On board memory
3) Chip speed

Buy according to these parameters and you’ll have no problem replacing the video card in your PC with a good quality one that fits your needs perfectly.

And finally, when replacing your video card make sure the drivers will be comparable with the version of windows (or other OS) you are running.  It couldn’t hurt to find one that also supports the latest software as well, like DirectX10.

Before heading out and replacing your video card I suggest reading video card reviews on sites like Consumer Reports, Consumer Search and even on Amazon.  They have video card reviews written by users like yourself and can really help you find the top video card for your system.

Filed Under: Computers and Electronics

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About the Author

Hi there!, My name is Norm. I am a college grad, a veteran, a pet owner and a family man. I started writing articles both to make a little extra money, and to share my knowledge with others. I currently work in the IT department of a major NY hospital.
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