What to Know Before Buying a Video Card

There are many accessories mentioned when you buy a computer. The sales associate may ask about what you plan to do with the computer to help you determine the type of video card you will require.

What is a video card? It is the component responsible for the pictures that you see on the computer screen. The video card is essential for gamers, graphic artists and the everyday website surfer. Before getting just the basic video card or the top of the line one, know how to shop for one.

A video card has four basic criteria for choosing one:

• Price
• Speed
• Resolution
• Card Slot Type

Video Card and Graphics Card

You may hear people talk about video cards and graphics cards. They are similar in what they do. Video cards are more useful to gamers. A gamer wants to have the greatest amount of memory on their video card so that they can play faster. Certain games take up a lot of space and no one wants to have technical difficulties just as they are about to slay the giant beast.

Video games have advanced beyond the huge rectangular blip that was the ball in the Atari table tennis game. Resolution is important but some gaming worlds are so advanced that faster play is more of the essence.

Graphics cards are desired more by graphic artists and those using CAD. Here, attention to detail is essential in your designs so that is what will be the main consideration here. The same goes for the casual user who surfs the Web.

Types of Video Cards

This depends on what type of connection you have for a video card. The video card can already be installed to your preference in a new computer. If you build computers, this information is helpful.

Just so that you know, there are three main connection types for video cards. The ones that you will see used most often these days are AGP and PCI-E. Older connections use a VGA cable.


Video cards range from moderately expensive to quite expensive. A website surfer won’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a video card, but a graphic designer might to suit their job needs. Cheaper doesn’t mean inferior quality, just fewer bells and whistles. That’s okay if you are not into gaming or computer design.

Not sure what all the letters mean? Talk to someone at your local computer store who can help you choose your video card wisely.

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