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Buying a video card

February 24, 2006 04:27 PM EST | Hardware | Email to Friend

Stunning visuals don't have to cost an arm and a leg with cheap graphics cards (aka video cards). Unless you are a hardcore gamer, you don't need to have the best of the best and a cheap graphics card will do you just fine. Now I'm not saying you should skimp on getting a good video card, but find one that fits your needs.

For example, a work computer should just have integrated graphics on the motherboard. Integrated graphics means that it's already built into the motherboard without having to get anything extra so it's perfect for workstations. On the other hand, a serious gamer needs to get a good video card that can handle anything a game can throw at it.

Heh, I'm guessing you aren't here because you need a cheap graphics card for your work computer. You are looking for a good video card, right? Well, you have two options: an expensive card could let you play all the games with all the settings on high or you could get a decent one that can handle games on the low or medium settings.

I'd probably go with the second option since you get more bang for your buck. Buying a top-of-the-line video card will run you over $400 while a decent one will be around $200. Now, if you need the best of the best, go for it, but you can get a cheap graphics card that is almost as good for half the price.

AGP vs. PCI Express? What's the difference? Well, the newer cards are coming out for PCI express slots because they are much faster than AGP. What does that mean? The bottom line is better performance so make sure to get a motherboard with PCI express slots that can handle the new video cards.

Now if you are on a budget and want to save some money or your motherboard doesn't have a PCI express slot, get an AGP. I will warn you that AGP video cards might be totally replaced so make sure to upgrade later.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Cheap graphics cards need to be upgraded much more often than other parts of the computer. Since so many games push the limit of what a computer can do(Halflife 2, Battlefield 2), video cards need to be made better and better.

So if you want to keep current in gaming, go to http://www.gaming-computers-authority.com/Computer-Discount-Deals.html and look out for a great deal on a sweet new video card in the future.

Jared Strop is a devoted gamer, works with computers on a daily basis, and is now a webmaster of http://www.gaming-computers-authority.com

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