While the standard graphics card that comes in most computers is suitable for the average user who streams videos, surfs the web, and works on basic documents, gamers need a graphics card that can keep up with the high demands of their video games. To ensure that your stunning video game isn’t going to be ruined by images tearing, breaking, or lagging, you need a graphics card that is specifically designed for the demands of gamers.
The images on our computer screens are made up of tiny dots called pixels, which together form images. To turn these dots into pictures or to take the binary data and make it into a picture, the computer needs a translator. Some machines come with these translators already built into the motherboard, a common occurrence in computers explicitly designed for gaming. But if you want to upgrade your regular computer to a gaming one, want to improve the capabilities of your current gaming computer, or you’re building a computer from scratch, having a graphics card or ‘translator’ that can handle high definition images is a must.
When it’s time to purchase a graphics card, many factors need to be considered. It’s essential to know what exactly you’re looking for in a graphics card before you begin shopping, with a long list of options and a vast price range making for an often confusing list of possible options.
To start with, decide what size of graphics card will be appropriate for your gaming needs. Bigger is not always better, as larger cards are often noisier and pull more power, while also taking up more physical space.
Clockspeeds, cooling, and noise levels are also important factors to consider, with all three features affecting the performance of a graphics card and your gaming experience.
If you’re ready to take your gaming to the next level, check out three graphics cards that we recommend.
1. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini is a 6GB graphics card with 192-bit and is virtual reality ready.
Pros: The Zotac uses Icestorm cooling technology to ensure the card can keep up with all your gaming demands. The compact 6GB card, which fits into 99 percent of computers, includes 192-bit GDDR5 and has a 1708 MHz boost clock. The card includes one Dual-link DVI, three DisplayPorts (version 1.4) and one HDMI.
Cons: The Zotac is the largest graphics card on our list and therefore has a much higher price point. The Zotac requires a 400W power supply.
2. Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050
The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 features the new NVIDIA pascal architecture that delivers improved performance and power efficiency, resulting in fewer lags and tears.
Pros: We like that the Geforce can be customized, including OC mode, Gaming mode, Silent mode, and User mode. With built-in NVIDIA game ready drivers, you can start gaming immediately.
Cons: At 2GB, the Geforce is significantly smaller than the Zotac.
3. MSI Video Card Graphic
The MSI Video Card Graphic supports NVIDIA and GDDR5 and features a base clock of 1392 MHz.
Pros: The MSI has one DisplayPort, one HDMI port, and one Dual-link DVI-D port. The graphics card includes a boost clock and 7008 MHz Memory, with the ability to game stream to NVIDIA shield.
Cons: The MSI is smaller than the Zotac with 2GB and 128 bits. It also has fewer ports. Like the Geforce, the MSI does not come with a low profile bracket and won’t fit mini towers.