A Quick Guide to Graphics Cards in PCs

March 12, 2020

There’s nothing more frustrating than a day of computer-related issues cropping up to halt your progress at work. A potential way to solve this issue is by identifying the strength of your graphics card and upgrading it if needed. But first, what exactly is a graphics card and what options are out there when it comes to upgrading?

What is a graphics card?

Without getting too deep into the technical jargon, here’s a simple graphics card definition: An essential piece of computer hardware that is responsible for producing the image on the monitor for you to see. To do this, the graphics card, or graphics processing unit (GPU), coverts data into signal, which it then sends to the monitor.

Essentially, the more advanced your graphics card/GPU is, the clearer and smoother your image will be. It’s for this reason that graphics cards are often considered the most important piece of hardware by gamers and media editors. For the rest of us though, struggling to open and run large files is a more common issue. In these cases, a GPU upgrade is certainly worth considering.

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The different types of graphics cards

There are two main types of graphics cards and the one that you have in your PC usually depends on what you most commonly use it for.

  1. Integrated graphics card: This is a standard type of computer graphics card and it’s most often found in “normal” laptops and computers. Integrated graphics cards are built directly into the motherboard and are perfectly suitable for browsing the web, editing documents and watching movies. They’re cost-effective but difficult to upgrade.
  2. Discrete graphics card: These are added on to the motherboard as a graphics card upgrade, most commonly because the user wants their device to be optimised for gaming or video editing. A discrete graphics card works to speed up the image processing time, ensuring that games and videos don’t lag or stutter.

How to identify your graphics card

Now that you have a decent understanding of what a graphics card is, and the different types available, your next question might be, what graphics card do I have? This is easy to check. Here’s how to find out what graphics card you have, on a Windows PC or laptop.

  1. Open the start menu on your device.
  2. Type “Device Manager” and press enter.
  3. Near the top of the device manager window, you should see an option for “Display Adapters.” Click on the drop-down arrow next to this.
  4. The name of your graphics card should now be shown in this window.
  5. If you need more information about your GPU, such as the manufacturer, right click on the name and select properties.

Once you know the name and manufacturer of the graphics card in your PC, delve into some research on Google to learn more about it. It’s usually pretty easy to find out the minimum GPU requirements for UHD streaming or gaming for instance.

You might have seen a number in the name of your GPU, for example NVIDIA GeForce 1080. This number relates to the amount of denotes the graphics card has. Normally, the higher number of denotes a GPU has, the more powerful it is. You can use this number to check the minimum requirements for whatever it is that you want to use your PC for. For instance, a game that has a minimum requirement of a GeForce 1080 GPU might not run properly, or at all, on a GeForce 1060 graphics card.

The benefits of a powerful graphics card

Investing in a graphics card upgrade will save you from the constant frustration of a slow performing laptop or PC. Of course, depending on what you use your device for, you’ll see these benefits in different areas. We’ve put together a summary of some of the best ones below.

Increased PC performance

A strong graphics card has the potential to increase the overall performance of your device. A powerful GPU will take on full responsibility for producing the images, meaning some of the processing power of the central processing unit (CPU) is freed up. This will simply improve the speed and responsiveness of your PC.

Higher definition potential

A strong graphics card can significantly enhance the quality of the picture that you see on the monitor. This will be especially handy when using TeamViewer’s ultra high-definition desktop access giving you the ability to control another desktop remotely. This will be especially noticeable during remote video calls, when the combination between TeamViewer’s technology and your upgraded GPU will make remote video calls clearer than ever.

Smoother software and application usage

The new graphics card in your PC will allow applications and new softwares to run a lot smoother. For those who frequently use video editing software or applications like Photoshop, this will make a big difference.

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