We have selected our top pick for 2021.
Best Overall Graphics Card: Our Score = 98%
Graphics Card Buying Guide (April 2021)
Graphics cards are now synonymous with gaming, and many of their other uses often go unnoticed. The general purpose of a graphics processing unit (GPU) is to turn video data from the computer processor into electronic signals which are sent to the monitor. Think of it like this: the better the graphics card, the better the quality of the signals. Better quality signals mean that graphics can be processed faster and at a higher quality.
Why would I need a better graphics card?
The first thing you need to know is that this only applies to desktop PCs. In most cases the only way to upgrade the graphics on a laptop is to buy a new laptop. A PC will always have a pre-installed card. They are consumer grade cards meaning they are aimed at people looking to browse the web, send emails, make documents and maybe even play older videogames. An upgraded and dedicated GPU allows you to play stunning triple AAA games with no stutter, connect more monitors to your PC, build in VR and intensively use demanding photo or video editing software’s.
How does a dedicated GPU work?
It is a highly mathematical process for any GPU to render the electronic signals to be sent to the monitor. A dedicated GPU is designed to sustain the more complicated mathematical processes which must be dealt with when rendering graphics faster and at a higher quality. In order to do this, they have their own RAM and memory bandwidth. This extra power will cause GPUs to become very hot and so you will find that most dedicated GPUs are quite big and bulky to accommodate fans which help with the cool-down. The installation process can be tricky, and if you are not confident doing it yourself, then it may be wise to ask a tech-proficient person to do it for you.
Which GPU should I get?
This is by no means an easy question, not even for technology buffs. While the most reliable brands in this space are Nvidia, GeForce, Radeon and AMD, their cards may not be right for you. There are some core factors to consider which we have listed below to give you an idea of what to look out for.
Is your computer compatible with the GPU?
Look for guides on checking compatibility as the GPU that you buy might not even work.
What are your needs and budget?
If you want stunning, 4K gameplay, you can expect to pay around a maximum of £700 for top-of-the-range performance. For non-gaming needs, you might be looking to pay around £200.
What bandwidth does it have?
A higher bandwidth means the GPU can render faster and higher quality images.
Upgrading a graphics card is a highly technical process so do not be in any rush. Look around, take your time and ask questions until you are confident that you have chosen a compatible card which will satisfy your needs.