New Graphics Cards - Don’t Get Caught Out

By: Mike Mann

When you do not have as much disposable income as you would like it is quite often a good idea to try and update your existing equipment instead of buying something new and this is very much the case with Pc computer systems it is easy to purchase parts that are available from either local stores or from the many online computer retailers. Upgrading your computer system often starts with a graphics card upgrade but as the cost of cards can go from the sublime to the ridiculous you need to ensure you buy the right one.

Do You Want To Play The Latest Games?

Inititally it is a good idea to take a step back before making a purchase and give thought to the level of upgrade that would be most suitable i.e. are you an ardent games player. Do you have an older collection of games or are you looking to buy the latest releases?. If most of them are 2-D models, you’ll get the most from the graphic cards that are on the market today without needing the more expensive 3-D acceleration.

Surprisingly one consideration you also need to take into account is your current processor speed. Do your homework before purchasing. If you processor is older then it simply may not have the power necessary to drive a newer card.

Does Your Motherboard Support The Card Type?

You need to keep in mind as well these cards are not universal. That means not all of the ones you buy will be compatible with your system.There are number of different card configurations you need to be aware of; PCI, AGP and Pci-e.

Do You Have Enough Computer Memory?

Most of the time doing a graphic card upgrade will also require purchasing extra memory as well!

Graphics cards will be available with different gpu’s and varying amounts of memory, and if your computer only has a pretty small amount of onboard memory then you will run into problems as your computer will simply not have enough memory to support your new card and installation will either fail or your pc will become vary slow.

Is Your Power Supply Good Enough?

Bigger cards draw more power from your computer so you so you’ll need to make plans for this as well, earlier power supplies tended to be much smaller and may only be around 200w or there abouts, so depending on if you have already added additional hardware to your system, this may cause a power drain which can lead to computer instabilities. Also be aware of the fact thatmany of the new breed of graphics cards often require an alterantive direct power connection so check your cabling before purchase and buy a splitter if your need one.

Is My Case Suitable?

Even some PC tech’s forget about this one as case design does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer or depending on the main board manufacturer, graphic card space may have not been a major consideration when the board was designed so a newer card will simply not fit!
The new generation of cards often have multiple GPU’s or large amount of memory so the tend to be a lot longer than previous cards. Equally many will have larger fans to keep then cool as they work harder so check in your case to make sure there is enough space above and below the graphics slot.

Installing a new graphics card is worth the effort but you do need to take account of the above considerations, but if you have an older AGP based motherboard and want to play the latest games then you may be better investing in a new computer.

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