8 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Graphics Card

Recently, Nvidia announced the GTX 3060 graphics card. That’s good news for PC gamers, but it means that price of older cards has started to drop. This is great for people who want to upgrade their rig or build a new gaming PC without spending too much money. However, if you’re buying your first graphics card in years (or ever), there are some things from the best gaming tips you should know before purchasing your next GPU.   

1) Do I Even Require A New Graphics Card?

Do you own an integrated or dedicated graphics card currently? If so, what type? Is it working correctly already? If the answers to these are “yes” and “yes”, then you probably do not need to purchase a new graphics card. If you are struggling with performance, read this guide to see if the reasons are something that can be fixed without buying a whole new GPU.


2) What Resolution Will You Be Playing At?

Are you going for 1080p resolution, or will you be playing at 1440p? Or 4K? All of these have different requirements from your video card. If you’re not sure what resolution(s) you want to use on an ongoing basis, try using Ctrl+Alt+DEL and clicking on Display settings and set them up there. That way, when it comes time to buy a graphics card, you’ll know exactly how much power is needed.

Graphics Card Resolution

3) Do You Even Need A Graphics Card?

In short, no. In long, using a powerful CPU to do the work of a graphics card is called “CPU-based PhysX”. It’s been around for years, and it’s free. If you want to experiment with this type of rendering, download the latest version (3.4 at time of writing) here. There are also some games that use this method exclusively (Sonic Adventure DX Director’s Cut is one example). However, bear in mind that enthusiasts tend to frown upon PhysX – if your computer doesn’t have any good GPUs in it, you’re better off buying one (or more) dedicated video cards instead.

4) Do You Have Enough Power From Your Current Power Supply?

Do you know what wattage your power supply is? Better yet, do you know how much power each component in your system requires? It’s important that your computer’s power supply output matches the requirements of the components inside. This is especially true with graphics cards – if you buy an extremely powerful GPU but only have a PC with a lower-powered PSU, it won’t work.

Graphics Card Power Supply

5) Do You Have An Updated Driver For Your Graphics Card?

Whether you own an Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics card, it’s strongly recommended that you install the latest drivers for your GPU and monitor them closely. There have been many improvements and optimizations made they were first released by both these companies, and both of them put out new drivers on a regular basis. Keeping your graphics card up to date means that you’re getting the best possible performance from it.

Graphics Card Driver

6) Is Your Graphics Card Old?

If you’ve been purchasing computer parts for a few years and haven’t changed your GPU (or if you built your gaming rig several years ago), chances are good that it’s not as capable as newer GPUs anymore. This can be especially true if it’s an AMD Radeon HD 5000 series or earlier card – many games cannot even run on these cards anymore because they are so old! Upgrading to something more modern is always recommended.        

7) Can You Overclock Your Graphics Card?

It doesn’t hurt to ask if your graphics card is overclockable. It can be a great way to squeeze out additional performance, but keep in mind that overclocking succeeds or fails depending on the specific model of video card you have. If you don’t know what kind of overclocking potential your GPU has (or even what overclocking is), check the manufacturer’s website for more information.

8) Can You Pair Your Graphics Card With Other Ones?

Not all GPUs can be SLI-ed with another one – this means that if you buy two of them and install them into your system, they’re not automatically going to create an even more powerful computer than either would separately. A list of Nvidia GeForce models that are SLI-capable can be found here. AMD Radeon graphics cards that are Crossfire enabled can be found here.


These are just a few things to consider when buying a new graphics card. Bear in mind that it’s one of the most important parts of your gaming rig, and having to replace it could be expensive. It might seem like you’re only throwing money away for nothing – but if you do some research first, you can find out if it’s worth upgrading or not. Good luck!