You must compare video cards before buying a new computer, to see to it that you are getting the best one in the market, which is suited to your specific requirements.
A video card, also called a graphics card, is the hardware component of the computer motherboard, which controls the rendering of graphics and videos on the computer monitor. The motherboard has a very limited ability to render graphics. The card is the device which converts the graphic digital data sent to it by the computer CPU, to pixel output on the computer monitor. It controls all aspects of graphics or video display, including the speed, resolution, and ultimately, the quality. So, it handles the complete responsibility of the output display on the monitor. It has its own RAM and processor called a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to carry out all its functions.
How to Compare Them?
So, no matter what your monitor resolution is, unless you have a good video card, it's useless. That is why, it is essential that you compare the cards and select one which best suits your requirements.
The single most important thing to look for in a video card is the 'Frame Rate'. This the number of frames that the card can display in a second. This frame rate needs to be at least 60 frames per second or more. So, one must compare benchmarks,which are hardware parameters that directly affect the frame rate.
The higher the values of these parameters, higher is the quality of the card. Following are the parameters which determine the frame rate, along with the units in which they are measured:
- Clock Speed of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) in Mhz
- Size of Memory Bus in Number of Bits
- Available Memory in Megabytes (MB)
- Memory Bandwidth in Gigabytes Per Second (GB/s)
- Speed of RAMDAC (Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter) in Mhz
Here is a chart that will compare cards, with top rankings overall. This chart will compare the parameters of the video cards mentioned above, along with some more parameters of comparison.
|Product Name||GPU Clock Speed (Mhz)||Fill Rate (Pixels Per Second)||RAMDAC Speed (MHz)||Installed Memory (MB)||Memory Bus Size (Bits)||Memory Bandwidth (GB/Sec)||Warranty||Price (USD)|
|PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GT (NVIDIA)||600 MHz||33.6 Billion pixels/sec||400 MHz||512 MB||256-bit||57.6 GB/sec||3 Years||USD 280|
|MSI NX8600 GT (NVIDIA)||540 MHz||8.64 Billion pixels/sec||400 MHz||512 MB||128 bit||22.4 GB/sec||3 Years||USD 110|
|XFX GeForce 8400 GS (NVIDIA)||450 MHz||3.6 Billion Pixels/Sec||400 MHz||512 MB||64 - 128 bit||6.4 GB/sec||Lifetime||USD 60|
|XFX GeForce 8800 GTX||575 MHz||36.8 - 40.32 Billion Pixels/Sec||400 MHz||768 MB||384 bit||86.4 GB/sec||Lifetime||USD 560|
As you can see, the above chart shows a gradation of parameters and a large spread in price. The high memory bandwidth and high clock speed products are well-suited for gaming applications. People who use the computer for non-gaming applications, do not need a high power card. They should choose a mid-range video card, which will abundantly suit their needs.
Compare cards thoroughly and check for hardware compatibility issues and overall features, when you decide to buy one.