How to choose a graphics card for a computer

When choosing a video card, you need to pay attention not only to its performance, but also for compatibility with the rest of the “iron” computer, as well as software graphics technologies.


  1. How to choose a graphics card for your computer: what are the specifications need to pay attention
  2. Which graphics card manufacturer to choose
  3. Interface
  4. Video processor
  5. The amount, type and frequency of video memory
  6. Energy consumption
  7. Cooling
  8. Video card size
  9. Connectors
  10. Processor compatibility
  11. Summary

How to choose a graphics card for your computer: what are the specifications need to pay attention

video card for computer

When choosing a graphics card, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Developer and manufacturer of the device;

  2. Interface;

  3. Video processor;

  4. The amount, frequency and type of video memory;

  5. Energy consumption;

  6. Cooling system;

  7. Video card size;

  8. Video card connectors – external and additional power.

Well, of course, it’s worth remembering compatibility with the rest computer hardware components.

The following information is valid for desktop configurations. For a laptop, choose a video card practically impossible due to the peculiarities of mobile computers.

Which graphics card manufacturer to choose

graphics card manufacturers

The modern graphics card market is represented mainly by two developers – NVIDIA and AMD. The former work closely with game developers, and therefore models for their authorship are often support unique graphics technology. Besides, NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards offer good energy efficiency and increased productivity.

But AMD video cards are much cheaper and better suited for mining.

However, AMD and NVIDIA are the developers who release only chips. The production of the video cards themselves is done by others company. And it depends on them how long it will be device. Among the manufacturers of video cards the most well-behaved recommended by ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI.


Almost all modern graphics cards connect to a computer via the PCI-E interface (connector). Previously, there were also models which connected via AGP or PCI, however they do not provide sufficient data exchange speed and therefore preserved only in very old computers.

When choosing a graphics card, you need to pay attention to the generation PCI-E interface installed on the motherboard – 2.0, 2.1 or 3.0. It is desirable that it be the same for both devices. IN otherwise, the data rate will be “cut” to minimally supported by one device.

That is, if you insert a PCI-E 2.0 video card into the PCI-E 3.0 slot, then maximum data rate will match PCI-E 2.0 standard.

Video processor

The video processor is one of two parameters that determine graphics card performance. He is a computational a module consisting of computing cores (also called shader units and can be not only hardware, but also hardware and software, as in NVIDIA CUDA technology).

The higher the number of shader units and clock speed GPU, the higher its performance. For example, the least powerful graphics accelerators up to 500 cores, and the frequency is up to 1100 MHz, as a result of which they are practically impossible to run modern games. But the top video cards the number of shader units has already exceeded 3500, and the clock frequency over 1700 MHz.

The amount, type and frequency of video memory

type of video card

Video memory is the second parameter that defines graphics card performance. The more it is, the, respectively, it’s better. However, volume is not the only parameter that needs to be note.

When choosing a graphics card, you need to pay attention to the following video memory options:

  1. A type;

  2. Frequency (or at least bandwidth);

  3. Volume.

The most optimal type of video memory for cards that supposed to be used in modern games – GDDR5. Gddr3 Only suitable for very old projects. On top maps from NVIDIA can meet the memory GDDR5X, and from AMD – HBM.

Video memory performance is measured in frequency and width. data bus. Together they form such a parameter as missing ability. And it is she who determines how fast the processor of the video card will exchange data with video memory.

It is advisable to buy video cards with a bandwidth of 224 Gb / s. For top models, it is better to take from 320 Gb / s.

The amount of video memory determines how many image elements able to process the card. Therefore, modern games with high Detailing requires at least 4 GB of video memory. However worth foresee future use and take a model with 6 GB or even large volume – it is she who will “pull” the projects whose release is only scheduled.

An important point: if you plan to use a 4K monitor, then 8 GB – in principle, the minimum amount of video card memory that will be send a signal to it (though this is true only for games).

Energy consumption

The higher the performance (power) of the video card, the more it consumes energy and the more heated. So, top modern models consume up to 250 watts. This parameter must be taken into account when choosing not only video cards, but also the computer’s power supply – the total the consumption of system unit components should not exceed power supply unit.


video card cooling

Video card cooling is passive and active. First implies that only a radiator is installed on the chip, without a fan. It requires that the system be worked out in the cooler cooling – in the form of coolers or a liquid system. Otherwise In this case, the video card will quickly overheat and fail.

Active cooling can be of two types – conventional and turbine. Normal is a system of radiator, heat pipes and cooler (and then several). Turbine is the most efficient – it’s fast cools the video card. However, under load, it can cause strong hum and noise.

With insufficient operation, cooling may decrease the operational period of the video card, it will overheat and exit system. In addition, as the temperature rises, called throttling – a temporary drop in performance.

It is most advisable to purchase video cards equipped with good cooling system – radiator, two cooler fans and massive heat pipes (metal handsets). If the noise level does not matter (with good soundproofing the room and playing with headphones), you can take a video card with turbine cooling system.

It is desirable that the temperature of the video card does not exceed 80 degrees.

Video card size

Modern video cards are available in two versions – occupying one slot and two. The former are characterized by reduced thickness and therefore can be installed in highly loaded peripheral device configurations. But at the same time, such video cards because weak or often missing cooling system is not too productive.

Gaming video cards in the vast majority of cases dual-slot, and this should be taken into account when planning the case.


You also need to pay attention to the connectors that are equipped with graphics card.

External connectors

External connectors are for connecting a monitor. From the fact what connectors the video card is equipped with, including maximum display resolution:

  1. VGA is the oldest analog connector. Modern graphics cards they are practically not equipped with it;

  2. DVI, once the standard, is now an outdated connector. Needed to connect most released in the 00s and early 10s monitors;

  3. HDMI is the current multimedia standard. Transmits not only video, but also audio. It is found in the vast majority of video cards, monitors, televisions and other devices;

  4. DisplayPort is the most advanced standard. Created for connecting game or special monitors with a resolution of 4K and refresh rate above 60 Hz.

Internal auxiliary power connectors

The vast majority of modern power graphics cards, which comes from the PCI-E port, not enough. Additional required. Such video cards are equipped with a 6- or 8-pin power connector, to which connects the corresponding bus from the power supply.

If the power supply is not planned to be changed, you need to see what tire it is equipped with. For older computers, you can use the MOLEX-PCI-E adapter.

Processor compatibility

compatibility of the video card with the processor

To unlock the potential of a video card, it needs to be fully compatible with the processor. Determine yourself independently the degree of compatibility is difficult – you need to consider bit depth and a lot of tires. However, this can be done approximately.

Current top-end graphics cards require top-end processors (i5 or i7 current or past generation.

Medium cards require mid-range processors (i3, i5 current or previous).

Weak graphics cards require weak processors.

When installing a too powerful video card on a “weak” configuration (and vice versa, when installing a “weak” video card on too powerful configuration) video card performance will be reduced.


When choosing a video card, you must strictly define the goals for which it will be used – is it a game of modern projects right now, no need to upgrade to the next few years or just displaying the image on the screen. Also do not go to extremes. Get top-end graphics cards for huge amounts (for example, the flagship 2017 NVIDIA Titan XP costs 89 thousand rubles) and use them for a couple of matches in Overwatch a week makes almost no sense – but, saving, you can to deprive yourself of the pleasure of modern games.

It makes sense just once every 2-3 years to get “average” video card by upgrading the computer. Then the costs will not be too tall.

And, of course, it’s important to evaluate the compatibility of the computer with the video card installed in it. Moreover, it is extremely low performance is not the only problem that may be caused by incompatibility. In extreme cases, the graphics card may simply Do not start – for example, due to a lack of power.


In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose a power supply for the computer, the secrets of choosing a sound card and a complete guide to choosing a keyboard for your desktop a computer.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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