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Graphics Cards

The best Graphics Cards for your Gaming PC!

The Graphics Card is the most important piece of Hardware in any Gaming System. It’s responsible for doing critical data calculations from the processor and converting this into images for display on your output device. Graphics Cards are usually connected to the motherboard as internal expansion cards via interfaces such as PCIe. High Performance Graphics Cards are important for video games, video editing and graphics rendering.

Most Graphics Cards are being produced by so called Add-in-Boardpartners (AiBs) like ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire and ZOTAC. The majority of the manufactured Custom Graphic Cards are Gaming variants with OC. OC refers to Overclocking, meaning that the Graphics Chip has higher clock speeds than the reference model of AMD or NVIDIA. Depending on the chip architecture, Graphics Cards have features like ray tracing, multi monitor support and other optimisations for gaming and streaming.

What’s inside a Graphics Card

Graphics Cards are made from several components. The most important part of any Graphics Card is the graphics chip or graphics processing unit (GPU). The GPU is mounted on a PCB with several other components. The Graphics Chip has both a core clock and a boost clock. Next to the GPU, or positioned around the GPU, is the video memory. A memory interface connects the video memory to the GPU. These three components are responsible for the Graphics Card’s performance. To the right of this trio is a power supply with MOSFets, power connectors, resistors and other control chips. On the left is a PCIe-Bracket and standard video output ports, such as HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI. All these components are typically concealed under a large cooling device.

A dedicated GPU-Cooler keeps the Graphics Card cool. The fans of this cooler are generally controlled by thermal sensors so when the GPU gets hot under load the fans will speed up. However, when there is no load the fans often turn off completely. Most GPU-Coolers are equipped with two or three axial fans. These use air from inside the case to cool the Graphics Card. Coolers with radial fans also take air from inside the case, but instead of expiring the waste heat back inside the case, they release it outside via the PCIe-Brackets.

More powerful Graphics Card use water cooling to dissipate heat. One approach to this is with so-called a Hybrid Card, which utilise both an axial fan and an all in one liquid cooler (or CLC: closed Liquid Cooler). These All-in-Ones (AiO) must be connected to radiators mounted inside the case on dedicated radiator mounts. Another way to water cool a Graphics Card is by replacing the included air cooler with a custom water block. In this case the Graphics Card can then be integrated into a custom water cooling loop.

Graphics Cards for 4K Gaming & Gaming in Virtual Reality

For gaming in a 4K resolution (3.840 x 2.160 pixels) or 4K UHD Monitor in VR , you will need an extremely powerful Graphics Card from either the Enthusiast or High-End segment. Often the motion sickness associated with Virtual Reality is due to the Graphics Card not being strong enough to deliver a refresh rate greater than 120 hertz per display and under 20 ms "Motion to Photon Latency". You can check your VR setup’s capabilities on STEAM using their VR Performance Test.

However the most popular Online Games normally only require an Entry Level or Midrange Graphics Card. The more powerful the GPU, generally the more Frames per Second (FPS) you get. And the more FPS you have, the faster the Gameplay. If you are buying a Graphics Card for a specific Game, or a genre, check some benchmarks before you make your purchase. Common sources for Graphics Card benchmarks are on tech sites and YouTube.