Choosing a Graphics Card

Your graphics card will have the largest impact on gaming performance, including framerates and visual fidelity. Gamers should consider their budget as well as the monitor they plan to use, as it’s important to pair a monitor capable of keeping up with your graphics card to make the most out of your new PC. High framerates are best achieved on monitors with high refresh rates.

There’s more to a graphics card than its onboard video memory (VRAM). We oftentimes see customers laser focused on choosing a graphics card solely based on how much memory it has, and it’s important to note that while video memory is important, other factors play an even larger role, such as the amount of graphics processing cores and the speed of those cores. Games will require more video memory at higher resolutions. If you’re gaming at 1080p or 1440p, for example, you’d require significantly less video memory than if gaming at 4K or 8K.

Not all gameplay utilizes the graphics card equally. As graphics cards become more advanced, they may not have to work as hard to keep up with less demanding games, or games at lower resolutions. For customers gaming at 1080p (FHD), or those enjoying older titles, expect diminished returns as you move up the graphics cards product range. In these scenarios, your computer’s processor becomes a more critical factor in in-game performance. If gaming at 1440p (QHD) or 4K (UHD), expect your graphics card to play a much larger role, and performance to more substantially improve as you move up the range.

Users focused on content creation should consider high end graphics cards if the software you’re using makes use of GPU acceleration, or “GPU-bound” workloads. A common misconception, for example, is that video editing requires a high-end GPU, when in fact most video editing software makes little use of the graphics card, with the CPU playing a much larger role in performance and rendering times. Of course, not all software follows this rule.


Feeling ready to make the jump into a new build? Head over to our custom configurators to spec out your new system here. If you'd rather leave the research and customization to the experts, take a look at our Ready to Game systems here.


Too many options? Still have questions? Give us a call at 908-620-9050 or reach out via email to Sales@MAINGEAR.com. Our entire staff is made up of gamers and creators alike, and we’re happy to lend a hand with configuring your new PC, however you plan to use it most!


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