You decide to buy a video card for your computer, but you are faced with several options on the market. Which one to choose? The cheapest? Well, just considering the price can lead to a bad purchase. But don’t worry: the Techblog has prepared some tips on how to choose a video card that suits your needs.
Check the video card connectors
This is an easy detail to check. Most modern video monitors have at least one of the following connections: HDMI (the most common standard), DisplayPort, or DVI. Just check if the video card is compatible with the standard available on your monitor.
Most, if not all, modern monitors are HDMI-based. More sophisticated models usually bring DisplayPort connection in a complementary way. For that reason, it’s easy to find video cards that support these standards.
Now, if you have a relatively old monitor or one with simple specs, you’re likely to find a DVI connection there, a standard that tends to fall out of favor. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find cards compatible with this type of connection.
It’s not just about the connector. Video card and monitor also need to match resolution. If you have a 4K resolution monitor, for example, you might be frustrated if you buy a card that works at maximum 1440p.
Likewise, it may be overkill to buy a card with 4K support if your monitor only works at 1080p (full HD), unless the purchase is motivated by the graphics capabilities the unit can reproduce.
energy consumption and dimensions
Video cards can demand a lot of electrical power. Therefore, check the consumption pattern — a parameter usually measured as TDP — of the model of interest to you before closing the purchase.
Based on this information, see if your PC’s power supply can work with this card. If not, you can use a model that consumes less or change your computer’s power supply for a version with more capacity.
Take this opportunity to check if the dimensions of the video card are compatible with those of the computer. Typically, cabinets of the gamer have enough space to install the card. However, this may not be the reality of common cabinets (especially compact ones).
This is the most important parameter. As a rule of thumb, everyone wants a graphics card to run games with maximum level of graphic detail or effects reproduction.
Therefore, it is important to analyze the context. If you only play occasionally or are more interested in the fun provided by the game than in graphics, you can do well with graphics cards from an earlier generation or with intermediate features — for example, an Nvidia GeForce 1650 (released in 2019) or an AMD Radeon RX 560 (2017).
Now, if you want to have maximum performance in your game, maybe not only because of the graphics aspects, but also because of the game’s response, advanced models are more suitable, like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 and AMD Radeon RX 6000 lines (both announced in 2020).
There are several parameters that make these lines advanced. The most important are the number of graphics processing units — CUDA cores on Nvidia models, stream processors on AMD cards — and the amount of memory.
The more of these items the video card has, the greater its graphics capability. The counterpart is proportionally higher prices.
More sophisticated models are also compatible with technologies or standards that can enhance the gaming experience, such as ray tracing and DLSS, factors that also influence the price.
The following tables summarize the most important features of the main (but not the only) video cards on the market:
|Nvidia Models||CUDA clouds||Clock base (GHz)||Memory||Fonte rec. (W)||Launch|
|GeForce RTX 3090||10.496||1,70||24 GB – GDDR6X||750||2020|
|GeForce RTX 3080 Ti||10.240||1,67||12 GB – GDDR6X||750||2021|
|GeForce RTX 3080||8.704||1,71||10 GB – GDDR6X||750||2020|
|GeForce RTX 3070 Ti||6.144||1,77||8 GB – GDDR6X||750||2021|
|GeForce RTX 3070||5.888||1,73||8 GB – GDDR6||650||2020|
|GeForce RTX 3060 Ti||4.864||1,67||8 GB – GDDR6||600||2020|
|GeForce RTX 3060||3.584||1,78||12 GB – GDDR6||550||2021|
|GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||4.352||1,35||11 GB – GDDR6||650||2018|
|GeForce RTX 2080||2.944||1,51||8 GB – GDDR6||650||2018|
|GeForce RTX 2070||2.304||1,41||8 GB – GDDR6||550||2018|
|GeForce RTX 2060||1.920||1,36||6 GB – GDDR6||500||2019|
|GeForce RTX 1660 Ti||1.536||1,5||6 GB – GDDR6||450||2019|
|GeForce RTX 1660||1.408||1,53||6 GB – GDDR5||450||2019|
|GeForce RTX 1650||896||1,48||8 GB – GDDR5||300||2019|
|AMD Models||Stream processors||Clock game (GHz)||maximum memory||Fonte rec. (W)||Launch|
|Radeon RX 6900 XT||5.120||2,0||16 GB – GDDR6||850||2020|
|Radeon RX 6800 XT||4.608||2,0||16 GB – GDDR6||750||2020|
|Radeon RX 6800||3.840||1,8||16 GB – GDDR6||650||2020|
|Radeon RX 6700 XT||2.560||2,4||12 GB – GDDR6||650||2021|
|Radeon RX 6600 XT||2.048||2,3||8 GB – GDDR6||500||2021|
|Radeon RX 6600||1.792||2,0||8 GB – GDDR6||450||2021|
|Radeon RX 5700 XT||2.560||1,75||8 GB – GDDR6||600||2019|
|Radeon RX 5600||2.048||1,37||6 GB – GDDR6||550||2020|
|Radeon RX 5500 XT||1.408||1,71||8 GB – GDDR6||450||2019|
|Radeon RX 590||2.304||1,49 (base)||8 GB – GDDR5||500||2018|
|Radeon RX 580||2.304||1,25 (base)||8 GB – GDDR5||500||2017|
|Radeon RX 570||2.048||1,16 (base)||8 GB – GDDR5||450||2017|
|Radeon RX 560||1.024||1,17 (base)||4 GB – GDDR5||450||2017|
Nvidia or AMD video card?
Choosing a video card involves making a decision not always easy: buy an Nvidia and AMD model? These are the two main manufacturers on the market. Historically, Nvidia has manufactured more advanced (and more expensive) models, but AMD is not far behind, especially when it comes to the advanced Radeon RX 6000 series.
The tip, therefore, is to search for opinions or reviews (reviews) about the video cards that interest you and, thus, make the best choice between them.
Ah, when you are looking for a video card, you will see that they are associated with brands like Asus, Gigabyte, Zotac and so many others. Don’t be surprised. These are the companies that make the boards. Nvidia and AMD provide the graphics chips (GPU) that make them up.