Getting The Right Graphics Card For You
While games are becoming more realistic by the day, and the worlds created deliver rich and immersive experiences, keeping your PC running at its optimal performance is quite important.
To help you do this, SolveiQ will catalog all your hardware, find the latest (approved) drivers for your devices, and optimize all the settings for you. Find us at the end of this article, where we lay out the value of the device driver software needed to go with the right graphics card.
What is a Graphics Card?
Also known as a graphics processing unit (GPU), a graphics card increases your PC’s video memory so that your video display is of better quality. The better the GPU, the better the image quality. It is a piece of increasingly expensive hardware that needs driver updates to ensure that your computer is running smoothly.
Prices range from $100 to $1200. An overwhelming demand for the latest GPU means that you’ll be battling it out with everything from bots to gamers and scalpers to tech geeks if you’re looking to get your hands on a good GPU. Why? Well, we have the pandemic to thank for that.
Ever since the early days of lockdown, people realized that being stuck at home sucked – so they spiced up their home entertainment by souping up their GPUs with ray tracing. This is what game developers use to work out how light beams actually bounce off virtual objects. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that is making Virtual Reality (VR) so damn realistic. If outdoors is off-limits, you may as well make your screen and what you see hyper-real.
Gaming is for play unless you’re a professional streamer. When it comes to work, GPUs are needed to mine cryptocurrency. Standard GPUs are needed to mine Ethereum, which can be traded for Bitcoin. Ethereum’s current price means that it has increased dramatically since it was valued at $140 in April 2020 at the start of lockdown.
So if you have a GPU with more than 4GB of memory, you can mine Ethereum and be making bank. Scalpers simply set up bots to buy up any online GPU supplies that make it onto the market, flipping them for exorbitant prices.
Throw in a year of uncertainty around international shipping, as well as increased tariffs on PC parts coming in from China, and it’s tough to assess fair market value for a graphics card right now. You can spend more on a second-hand old generation graphics card now than what it would have cost you new a few years ago.
AMD versus Nvidia
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) is to Apple what Nvidia is to Microsoft: two tech heavyweights duking it out for complete market share. Ultimately, if you’re looking to build your own gaming PC, you’ll be faced with a choice between these two GPU brands.
Nvidia’s primary GPU line is called “GeForce,” and it goes toe to toe with AMD’s “Radeon” brand. Nvidia has expanded their presence in the gaming industry with their handheld consoles Shield Portable, Shield Tablet, and Shield Android TV. They also offer a cloud gaming service GeForce Now. They are an estimated three times wealthier than AMD, for whatever that’s worth.
Apart from being known for GPUs, Radeon also make RAM disk software and solid-state drives. Radeon graphics cards aren’t sold directly to consumers – which is where things can get confusing. They sell them to third-party manufacturers who then build and sell Radeon-based video cards. Some of these companies are Force3D, Gainward, Gigabyte, Club3D, ASRock, and Asus.
As graphics cards have gotten better, from performance improvement to pixelation, iterations of the latest GPUs from Radeon have been prefixed with a letter such as the Radeon R100 in 2000, or the Radeon RV670 seven years later.
For roughly $650, you can now buy the Radeon RX 6800 XT. Or, if you’re brand loyal to Nvidia, go for the GeForce RTX 3080 for $700.
As mentioned as a caveat, though, prices are insane on account of demand outstripping supply. When it comes to choosing the right graphics card, you also need to think about a cooling solution that offers lower temperatures and reduced fan noise.
For what is the point of gaming with a whirring sound emanating from your PC that drowns out your actual entertainment and causes your PC to overheat?
It is also important to ensure that the size of your graphics card will fit into your case before you ambitiously spend big money on an upgrade.
Ensure Your Device Drivers are Up to Date
Once the relevant device drivers are installed, SolveIQ software will inventory your computer for all supported devices. The fully registered service will update any driver that is missing or out of date.
SolveIQ will provide an automated method of ensuring that your computer has the correct and most up-to-date drivers that will keep your graphics card running efficiently, without any guesswork or manual effort.