Memory, processor and the good, old hard drive are undoubtedly important and proverbially system-relevant, but even without them nothing works on the computer: The graphics card! In particular (but of course not only) for gamers are particularly interesting high-quality and fast graphics cards – these are also necessary for a smooth video and video editing. When buying, pay attention to the correct slot, the so-called chip clock and the memory bandwidth – detailed information can be found in our buying guide for 2019. With the graphics card that’s best for you, nothing stands in the way of the fun of playing and working!
Purchase advice: How to find the right graphics card in 2019
- Basically, graphics cards always consist of the same components: hardware interfaces and connectors, graphics processor, graphics memory and cooler.
- The cooling can be done either via a heat sink without fan, a heat sink with fan or a water cooling.
- PC games, image and video editing place greater demands on the graphics card than word processing and spreadsheets.
The year 2018 is certainly also a year of computer and video games. Their stories are being told more and more complex and are now more reminiscent of interactive films. They create worlds and universes with their own physical laws and have the power to take the player into another dimension and experience the greatest adventures.
Of course , this poses some challenges to the home computer that not all gaming PCs can cope with : jerky graphics and game delays are occasionally part of everyday gaming and at the same time the nightmare of every gamers. After all, computer games are about quick reactions. If the hardware does not play along, even the fastest reflexes do not use anything.
You can retrofit PCs or build a special gaming PC according to your wishes,so that such hardware glitches will no longer be a problem in the future.
An important element in this equation is the right graphics card. Various graphics card test winners, graphics card rankings and graphics card comparisons can give first aid. Is the graphics card most praised the best graphics card for your needs? Should it be graphics cards from well-known manufacturers such as NVIDIA or Radeon AMD graphics cards ? Need the graphics card for the notebook?
1. More math than colorful pictures: This is how a graphics card works
The graphics card transforms the processor- calculated data generated when using an application into images that the computer or tablet user can see on the display or screen. The final appearance of this graphic is captured in the codes of the software that are passed to the operating system.
Here, the graphics card driver serves as a translator , so that the graphics card also understands the commands. The graphics card can be created in pipelines based on the translated commands pixels. Out of these, a graphic is created in a complex interaction of several components. Once a picture is completely created, this process repeats itself with new commands and calculations.
1.1. The construction of the graphics card
Whether laptop graphics card or PC graphics card, the hardware basically always consists of the same components:
- Hardware interfaces and video card connections
- graphics processor
- graphics memory
1.2. A small wonder calculator: the graphics processor
The graphics processor calculates the image that will ultimately be output.He takes the main processor thus work and is now sometimes even more powerful, because the graphics have become much more complex.
1.3. Picture by picture saved in graphics memory
In graphics memory, the so-called “frame buffering”happens . This refers to the caching of images previously calculated by the graphics processor.
1.4. Inputs and outputs: What hardware interfaces and video card connections are there?
The most common interface is the PCI Expess interface. This can now transport very large amounts of data. In addition, the signals produced must find their way to the terminal.
For this, graphics cards have video interfaces that send digital signals to the output devices. These are usually HDMI and DVI outputs as standard as well as a display port. By contrast, VGA outputs for analog signals are rarely found.
1.5. One hot thing: graphics cards can overheat quickly
There are three different ways to cool the video card. Again, it depends very much on what performance you want the card:
|VGA Cooler Type||properties|
|Active air cooling||A heat sink with the help of a fan, the heat of the graphics card to the ambient air on. With the fan, this way of cooling can be a little louder.|
|Passive air cooling||The graphics card is cooled by a heat sink, but without a fan. The result is quieter, but only makes sense with powerful graphics cards with a larger heat sink, because the graphics card temperature can quickly become critical.|
|Water-cooled graphics cards||The graphics card is connected to a water circuit in the computer. The water absorbs the heat at a high graphics temperature. Then the water is passed through a radiator, where the heat is passed on again. The installation process is very complicated and such a system is correspondingly expensive.Therefore, it is only recommended if the graphics card regularly delivers an extreme performance (for example, gaming computers).|
Note: If the graphics card fan fails, this is a sure sign that the fan is defective. In this case you should bring the device for repair.
2. Different types of graphics cards and what to look for when buying
2.1. PCI and AGP graphics cards
While the PCI graphics cards are now the most common form of graphics card and the corresponding data transfer, the AGP version has almost become obsolete.
2.2 What do you need a USB graphics card for?
An external graphics card or a USB graphics card can be helpful if a computer is equipped with an older graphics card. The graphics cards are connected to the USB port of the computer with a cable. However, the card can only be used meaningfully if the corresponding PC is not too old. The graphics card driver is also essential here because it tells the processor to work with the external graphics card.
- no complicated installation necessary
- not suitable for every computer (pay attention to compatibility)
2.3. The right graphics card for your individual needs
Before buying a new card, be sure to ask what you want to use it for.
2.3.1. Enjoy smooth games: graphics cards for gamers
The complex gaming worlds require high-end graphics cards that meet these demands. High-quality GeForce graphics cards or Asus graphics cards are ideal for this purpose. However, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX1080-8G gaming graphics card can cost over 500 euros.
Here you should not stingy, because you decide for . This is because in this case not only the graphics card but also the other capacities like the CPU, the RAM and the main memory have to be used.
Tip: If your video card requires more than 75 watts, you must have a video card power adapter connected to the power adapter .
2.3.2. Bright colors, but no red eyes: editing images and videos
Video and especially video editing software also places high demands on the computer and the graphics card. If you have to stop editing all the time, because the work is interrupted by long delays, it can not only be frustrating, it can also affect your work.
Recommended is a GeForce graphics card from NVIDIA: The MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X4G graphics card costs just under 200 euros. So-called performance graphics cards can help with this work. At the same time, you can also use these graphics cards for slightly older game titles.
2.3.3. Tap, click and count: Normal Office programs
For everyday use, the cheap graphics cards that are installed in the computer are usually sufficient. Such work requires at least the computer from not too great performance.
3. Purchase advice: Criteria for purchasing a graphics card
You ask yourself: Where can I actually find my graphics card data?Chip.de has put together a simple guide to help you figure out which graphics card you have and whether it’s worth the upgrade.
Scouring the world of graphics cards of any type and category of brands such as NVIDIA, AMD or graphics cards from GTX is not easy for laymen. Graphics Card Leaderboard can help you find your way around, but it does not serve you if you do not know what to look for. There are numerous criteria for finding out which graphics card suits your needs:
3.1. The graphics processor
If the clocking , also called chip clock, of the graphics processor is high, the graphics card also works fast. So you can enjoy smooth image and game sequences without any jerks and distortions.
3.2. The storage space of the graphics card
Image resolution and color depth are determined by the amount of storage space. The higher resolution the game is the more extensive the storage space needs to be.
For the graphics card memory space the term GDDR is used, which means Graphics Double Data Rate. The following memories are available:
- GDDR – highest data throughput: 25.6 GB / s
- GDDR2 – highest data throughput: 32 GB / s
- GDDR3 – highest data throughput: 83.2 GB / s
- GDDR4 – highest data throughput: 102.4 GB / s
- GDDR5 – highest data throughput: 115.2 GB / s
At best, a game with an Ultra HD or 4K resolution will require a 6GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory.
Attention: Manufacturers sometimes specify a higher storage space than is actually available. You should definitely consult a video card comparison or video card test before purchasing.
3.3. Please no 8-bit: the resolution
If there is enough space on the graphics card, the conditions for a high resolution are given.Especially for 4K games you need high performance graphics cards. Graphics cards such as Titan X, GeForce GTX 1080 and Geforce GTX 1080 Ti are among the favorites in graphics card testing. Also, the Geforce GTX 1070 is often called among the test winners.
3.4. The connection to the monitor
Also pay attention to the connections and if your monitor or TV is compatible. For 4K and Ultra HD games, of course, you need a corresponding HD equipment.
3.5. Where the card is integrated: the slots
More and more often the PCI graphics cards are used. Because of this, it is necessary to make sure that your motherboard has an appropriate slot before purchasing. Meanwhile, almost exclusively PCI-Express 3.0 or 4.0 models are sold. But even if you still have a previous model, you can upgrade without any problems . However, the speed slows down.
4. Important questions and answers about graphics card
4.1. What do two graphics cards bring?
In short: not much. 25 percent performance increase is the maximum when you install a second graphics card. In addition, the software always causes problems. Much more sense makes it to buy a higher quality graphics card, even if this is ultimately more expensive.
4.2. What does TI mean for graphics cards?
In the relevant Internet forums, there is a lot of speculation, what means TI in the corresponding graphics card models. Jokes are also made in this regard very much. Most likely, TI is the abbreviation for Titanium.
In the end, it just shows another upgrade of GeForce models . The software has no differences to the GeForce basic models.
4.3. When will new graphics cards come?
New and improved graphics cards are constantly being launched. The best place to look is in specialist magazines, online portals and forums.
4.4. How can I detect a graphics card defect?
If the graphics card does not work and you sit in front of a dark screen , despair is often not far. Not always the graphics card is defect . First of all, you should do some research and look for symptoms:
- Check all connections and cables related to the video card
- Check driver and update if necessary
- Artefact formation while playing: flickering objects occur, indicating a threat of overheating of the graphics card
- flickering lines
The symptoms can also be detected by means of a so-called benchmark test. Here you get the maximum out of your graphics card. If the computer can not handle this, crashes, or any of the above symptoms occur, it is likely that the video card is damaged.