You might be in the market for a new graphics card for two major reasons. Either you're building a new PC and want to customize every function to your specific needs, or your existing computer is in need of a video processing boost. Video cards are especially important for PC gamers and anyone else who uses their computer for visually demanding purposes, but any PC needs some type of graphics support. At Walmart Canada, we offer hundreds of graphics card and accessory options, making it easy for you to customize your machine.
The first step in your journey to visually stunning on-screen content is ensuring you understand what the rest of your computer is capable of. If your monitor only supports 1080p, you'll waste money splurging on a graphics card with the power to drive 4K resolution. And if you have a PC or laptop with integrated graphics and no slot or space in the case for an additional card, then upping the ante on video performance may not be an option for that machine without a full motherboard upgrade. Graphics cards also require power, so you'll need to see how much wattage your power supply has to spare before you upgrade. If it's not enough, you may need to swap out power supplies before video cards.
Also consider the form factor of any graphics card. The width, length and height matter. Full-height graphic cards occupy two standard expansion slots in your PC. The size of the fan shroud and heat sink may take up space in a third spot. If you're low on space in your PC case, look for slim or single-slot graphics cards.
After checking to see whether your machine will support a graphics card (and how much graphics power it can take), next take time to understand what you want the graphics card to do. Are you building a personal work PC that's mostly needed for accessing the internet and managing basic productivity programs such as spreadsheets and PCs? Or, do you want a PC that lets you blast through digital galaxies or gallop across virtual landscapes? The answers matter, because lag-free gaming or use of heavy graphical applications often require dedicated graphics cards with specific specs.
Video memory is dedicated RAM built into the graphics card. Gaming at 1080p video quality typically requires around 4GB of dedicated RAM, but if you regularly view or game at higher resolutions, look for higher specs such as 8GB GDDR5 or even 11GB GDDR5x.
Ports are also important, because these determine whether you can connect your monitor of choice. While you can buy adapters, it's a good idea to start with a card that has the right HDMI, DisplayPort or DVI ports so you can connect screens straight to the unit.
Finally, you may want to consider clock speed and overclocking. It's usually better to opt for a card that performance at your requirements rather than relying on overclocking for normal use.