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The 10 Best Graphic Cards  Jul 2018

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Top choice
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3
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Your Guide To Buying a Graphic Card

By Yehudah Posnick

    As computers have become more advanced, their ability to recreate graphics details has improved greatly. If you are using your computer for graphics purposes, you'll need a video card that matches your needs. For example, if you work a lot with Photoshop or 3D-image processing, you'll need a good video card for better performance and more features. If you a serious gamer, you'll also need to shop around for the right video card to play your favorite games. And if you want to display movies on more than one monitor, a good video card is what is going to determine how awesome your display will be. Here is a guide to some of the best video cards on the market.

    Your motherboard will usually have an internal, blue 15-pin VGA connector. That will be fine for running Windows, editing text, and 2D graphics. But gamers or people working with graphics will want 3D realism and special visual effects. That's when you'll need special video cards that you insert into the motherboard. There are three types of slots for video cards. The slots that your motherboard has will determine which video cards you can buy. You can identify what card you need from the color of the slot:

    • PCI—(Peripheral Components Interconnect)--These have a 32 bit wide bus, with a bandwidth of 133 MB/s (Bandwidth is the amount of information that can pass through the interface per second). The more Bandwidth—the faster the video card will perform. There is also a PCI-X (= Peripheral Components Interconnect—Extended) board—This has a 64 bit wide bus, with a bandwidth of 4266 MB/s. This kind of video card will still fit in a PCI slot. The slot for this type of card will usually be colored white.

    • AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port)--This type of card was developed purely for video cards, at a higher bandwidth. It fits into a chocolate-brown-colored slot in your motherboard (although not all motherboards have this).

    • PCI Express—This will have a different type of slot than the PCI slot. (The slot will usually be colored yellow.)They offer a range of bandwidths: PCI Express x 1 offers a bandwidth of 250 MB/s. That will fit in a short yellow slot. The PCI Express x 16 offers a bandwidth of 8 GB/s. That will fit a long yellow slot. These cards may have greater power consumption needs, so they accommodate a 6-pin connector from the power supply to give them extra juice.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Speed of your CPU: If you have an older computer, with a dual- core CPU, it won't be able to keep up with high end graphics hardware. You might have to upgrade to modern processor that can handle 4 threads (threads = the number of applications that the CPU can handle at once).

    • Display: An older 1280x1024 monitor doesn't require the most expensive graphics hardware. It is overkill to buy the newest video cards if the display is not capable of showing the difference in quality.

    • Power supply—You will have to make sure that the computer's power supply can handle the video card requirements. Check if your power supply has the six- or eight-pin PCI power connectors, if the video card requires it. Otherwise, you'll have to buy yourself a new power supply to go with the new video card.

    • Direct X: The higher the Direct X number that the video card supports—the more realistic the graphics that it displays. Cards that run DX11 can display games that are written for DX10. But it doesn't work the other way: if the game requires DX11, but your card can only run DX10, the game will not run well.

    • Memory: You have to make sure that your computer has sufficient memory to run graphics or games. There is the computer's own memory. But newer video cards will have what is called VRAM—video memory. This is memory that is allocated purely for graphics needs. Some high-end cards will have as much as 3 GB or even 12 GB of their own memory!

    • GPU: They will also have what is called a GPU—Graphics Processing Unit, to supplement the CPU (=Central Processing Unit) of the computer itself. The important thing here will be to look at the speed of the processor: The most advanced cards will operate at over 1 GHz. The higher the number of the card, the faster it will operate. So a GeForce GTX 690 is the top of the line, and will be faster than a GTX 680. Some cards will have faster speeds to compensate for less memory.

    • Heat Dissipation: video cards will heat up due to the amount of energy that they require. The computer needs its own fans to cool off. There are special methods of removing the video card's excess heat. video cards will have a heatsink. A heatsink dissipates the heat buildup on the graphics device by means of fins. If necessary, they will even come with a fan, or several fans, that dissipate the heat even more. Some will have a fan on the GPU, and on the graphics memory as well. Finally, some video cards will really be two cards together. They will occupy two slots on the motherboard. One fan will cool off the care, and a second fan blows the heat out of the computer case. Some cards will even require liquid coolers.

    • Frames per second: You'll buy a card according to the types of games that you want to play. The speed of the game is measured in frames per second (=FPS). Some games require 30 FPS, whereas some require 100 FPS. If the video card can't run that many frames, the action of the game will be choppy, or stutter.

    • Size of the card: Even if the card matches the slots on your motherboard, you have to make sure that your card will still fit inside the computer case. Sometimes the hard disk ports will be in the way and not allow for putting in a long 12.5” video card.

    EVGA-- is a computer parts company that was founded in 1999. They are authorized partners with NVIDIA. Their headquarters is in Brea, California, with branches in Munich, Miami, and Hong Kong. They manufacture video cards, power supplies, motherboards, and more.

    Gigabyte-- was established by Pei-Cheng Yeh in 1986. Their headquarters are located in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Their products include computer fans, cases, peripherals, video cards, motherboards, power supplies, as well as smartphones and notebooks.

    NVIDIAwas founded by Jen-Hsun Huang in 1993, and has its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. They started as a PC graphics chip company, but later expanded into visual computing for the gaming, professional visualization, datacenter and auto markets. They invented the GPU—the Graphics Processing Unit—to create accelerate the creation of computer images.

    XFX--XFX is a division of PINE Technology Holdings Ltd., a leading manufacturer and marketer of video graphics, gaming technologies, and computer peripherals. They were founded in 1989 and have their headquarters in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.