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Hardware Changes (Part 1 - Graphics Cards):

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Graphics Cards: A graphics card change will enhance performance, on the desktop and in games. A definite upgrade to help speed up your system, but be careful what you buy and make sure you have the slot to plug it into.

Check with manufacturer of motherboard or computer to see if they can accept these graphics cards (In order of importance) - PCI-Express graphics card, AGP graphics card, and finally PCI graphics card.

For laptop users you maybe able to increase the amount of Ram that is dedicated to the graphics card. This is usually accessed in the systems BIOS so check with manufacturer or in your manual to see if this can be increased. I find by default its usually the minimal amount. Note though that increasing the memory to the graphics card decreases the memory to your system, you may need to buy more system ram to balance the performance.

About: A graphics card is used to display images on your monitor. Without one you will not be able to see what your computer is doing.

There are four main types, PCI-E (Requires PCI Express slot (Not to be confused with PCI)), AGP graphics cards (requires an AGP slot in your computer), PCI graphics cards (requires a PCI slot in your computer), and onboard video (this is a video card that is merged with the motherboard.)

The more powerful the graphics card the quicker and smoother images will appear on your monitor.

Buyers Guide Part 8 - Graphics Cards

Pictured above (From right to left) is a board with a single PCI express slot (Long orange connector), next a board with two PCI-Express slots (White slots on right in middle picture) and an AGP card (Brown slot in right picture)

BUYING:

  • When buying a new graphics card, always look for what was top of the range 6 months previous. This will allow you to buy a card that was maybe $200 plus for less than $100. (This will save you a lot of money.)
  • PCI cards (Not PCI-Express) are best avoided as they usually only provide minor performance enhancements.
  • Laptops come with onboard video, remember this cannot be upgraded so look for the best that’s available at time of purchase.
  • Dual slot graphics card (Motherboard that links two) only work properly in games that support the configuration.

 



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