Choos­ing a... Graph­ics card

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES -

01

You re­ally don’t have to spend much to buy a de­cent graph­ics card that can drive mul­ti­ple mon­i­tors. The AMD Radeon R7 250 costs less than £60, for ex­am­ple, and while it isn’t suited to play­ing the lat­est games in Full HD, it is per­fect for watch­ing videos, brows­ing the web and play­ing ba­sic games.

02

You’ll need to spend more money if you want to play the lat­est games. A good mid-range gam­ing graph­ics card is the Nvidia GTX 950, which is pow­er­ful enough to play any of the lat­est games.

High-pow­ered cards tend to be more ex­pen­sive, so ex­pect to pay over £300 if you want to play games in Ul­tra HD at the high­est qual­ity set­tings.

03

Check that your cho­sen card has the graph­ics out­puts you need. Only low-end cards now have VGA out­puts, but many come with a DVI-to-VGA adap­tor. De­pend­ing on your mon­i­tor, you may also want an HDMI out­put or even Dis­playPort con­nec­tion.

Bear in mind that AMD’s Eyefin­ity triple-mon­i­tor gam­ing mode re­quires at least one Dis­playPort mon­i­tor, which means your AMD graph­ics card must have at least one Dis­playPort out­put. Nvidia’s Sur­round three-mon­i­tor mode needs only DVI and HDMI ports.

04

The amount of mem­ory a card has is im­por­tant if you want games to look their best at high res­o­lu­tions. Get a card with 2GB of RAM at the very least, as this should al­low you to se­lect the high­est-qual­ity tex­tures in games.

05

A card’s size, noise out­put and power re­quire­ments are the fi­nal con­sid­er­a­tions. Make sure your PC’s case has enough room to ac­com­mo­date your cho­sen card. Dou­ble-slot cards with large fans tend to be qui­eter than sin­gle-slot cards with small fans but will block other ex­pan­sion slots on your moth­er­board.

Also check that your power sup­ply can pro­vide the power the card needs and that it has the right con­nec­tors. Many cards re­quire a six-pin PCI Ex­press power con­nec­tor, and some also need an ad­di­tional eight-pin con­nec­tor.

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