Choosing a Graphics Card
 

 

 
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There are two possible reasons for changing you graphics card(video card). You may want to maximize your 3D performance for playing games, or you may want to use some of the additional features on more expensive cards like Video capture for editing home movies, TV-Out for watching DVDs played on your PC or even a TV tuner for watching TV on your computer.

Do I need a Graphics card?

Like sound cards some motherboards come equipped with a graphics card although if you want to play games you will certainly need to update it soon, as next years games will have difficulty running on this years motherboards integrated video.

Jargon

AGP - This refers to the slot type on the motherboard. Make sure you have a motherboard with an AGP slot before purchasing an AGP card. Also AGP is normally followed with a multiplier. eg AGP 4x supports quadruple clock AGP processing, obviously AGP 8x is better.

PCI - This is an older design from the AGP card. It fits into a PCI slot on the motherboard. It is not as good as AGP because AGP can access the processor directly whereas PCI needs to take the longer slower way through the peripheral bus.

Connect3D Radeon 7000 64MB AGP w/ Dual VGA & TV
Connect3D Radeon 7000 64MB AGP w/ Dual VGA & TV-Out
retails for around $60 and is a pretty good quality card


XFX GeForce FX 5200 128MB DDR 8X AGP w/ TV Out
XFX GeForce FX 5200 128MB DDR 8X AGP w/ TV Out is a mid ranged card and retails for around $65

TV Out -You can connect the output of your computer to a television. Why would you want to do that. Well you PC screen will be realistically too small to watch DVDs on, but using the TV Out port will allow you to watch them on the big screen. Unfortunately, the quality of your TV will show up if you try to use your TV as a monitor for traditional computer work. Text will at the least be fuzzy if it is readable at all.

 

TV Tuner (TV In) - This allows the user to watch TV signals in a window on the computer screen. It will even allow you to record them on you hard disk or CD-RW!

 

Video Capture- Capture and edit images from video or your TV

DVI Output - Used for connection to flat screen monitors

Memory - The more memory fitted the better the performance of the video card. 128MB is better that 64MB.

 

Helpful Hint

If your motherboard comes with integrated video it may be worth trying it out for a few weeks to see if you can justify spending the extra money on an upmarket video card.

 
 
 
   

A top of the range ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB DDR AGP8X with TV-Out & DVI Video Card. You get what you pay for.

 

 

 
   

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