As any gamer knows, graphics cards are very important to the gaming experience and depending on your gaming style you will have different needs from other gamers. No matter your gaming style there are some aspects of a graphics card that are more important to you than another style gamer.
Knowing what graphics card is best for your gaming type will depend on a multitude of factors. Most gaming types have common elements to them that make it easy to gauge what is important in a graphics card when shopping around.
This article will go over the various elements you need to look for in a graphics card, sum up the types of gamers and go into what you need to look for depending on your gaming type.
What do you need to look for in a graphics card?
Before diving into what kind of graphics card you need, we need to go over what you need to be looking for in a graphics card. There are some four main features you need to pay attention to when shopping for a graphics card. Including VRAM, frame rate supported, connections, and benchmarks.
VRAM or Video RAM is very important for textures in your game. VRAM is RAM that is dedicated for your video data that your graphics card will need to store for short term access. It will become very noticeable if you don’t have enough VRAM for the game you are playing. Games have started to become more complexed and detailed requiring more VRAM to load all these details quickly and effectively. If you don’t have enough VRAM on your graphics card you will notice that the textures and details in your game are not loading correctly, you may even notice that your game will freeze for a second when you’re in the middle of playing.
Frame rate supported is important to ensure that you are using your monitor at it’s highest potential and making sure you have smooth video for your game. The frame rate is essentially how many times your screen refreshes the image that it is displaying. A high frame rate is very important for those games that are very fast paced and involve a lot of moving pieces.
You also need to make sure that you are getting a graphics card that will support the frame rate of your monitor. If you go out and buy a fancy monitor with a high frame rate, but a graphics card that doesn’t support that high frame rate you won’t be getting the most out of your monitor.
Connections are also an important feature you will need to look at before make a purchase. You need to check and make sure you have the right connections for what you plan on using your computer for. For example, there are some VR headsets that only take display port, which is becoming more and more common on graphics cards. You can usually find an adapter if you need a different port, but that can slow down the data speed of the intended connection and just be a hassle to find the correct adapters and troubleshoot any issues you may have.
Benchmarks are essentially testing of the graphics card’s chipset that helps you compare the speed, performance, and efficiency of the graphics card. Benchmarks will help you the most in choosing a graphics card for whatever game you are intending to play the most. Benchmarks allow you to see how the graphics card help up while in use and can help you determine if it is the right card for you.
What are the different types of games?
Casual gaming includes games that don’t involve a lot of action or adventure. Casual games are not usually targeted towards hardcore gamers and usually includes simulation, puzzles, or card games. Most casual games do not require a top of the line graphics card to run and can even be played on integrated graphics. However, there are some outliers, if you play a simulation game that has a lot of assets on the screen at a time a decent graphics card may be helpful.
Sims for example can be played on integrated graphics, however if you build a complex lot you will notice some lagging in your game. This is because you are maxing out your RAM, there are too many items that all need to load in and be used simultaneously.
If you are looking for a graphics card and are a casual gamer focus more on the amount of VRAM rather than the power performance of the chip. You mainly just need the ability for your graphics to multitasks than anything else.
Action / first player shooter games can call for some heavy graphics. Games such as Call of Duty have become more and more complex over the years. These games have very complex scenery and a multi of detailed textures all throughout the game and all need to load in relying on your graphics card. It is also crucial to avoid any lagging in these types of games because they move so quickly and if your game lags too much you might end up losing.
If you are looking to play some more action packed first player shooter games you will not want to go with a budget line graphics card if you want to avoid lagging. Really focus on the benchmarks of each graphics card you are considering buying before making a purchase. Make sure that there is no lagging and that they are playing on the highest settings when they test each of these graphics cards.
Adventure and open world games usually call for some decent graphics. Similar to action games, adventure games have many different textures and detailed scenery that is constantly loading as you explore the world. As you move throughout the world your graphics card is constantly loading in new assets and textures. Because of the heavy amount of content you want to make sure to that you have plenty of VRAM or you may experience some lagging, or textures may not load in right away.
Sports Games don’t normally require a powerful graphics card but have a high FPS can be beneficial. You can get away with a budget card or even integrated graphics for some sports games. Most sports games, such as FIFA 21 or Madden NFL 21 are all contained in one location and use the same assets throughout the game. They may have some cut scenes here or there, but most of the graphics are contained to one field and some players that have to load in. This isn’t usually that demanding on a graphics card.
You may experience some lagging from time to time with integrated graphics but it most likely won’t result interrupt your game play significantly. If you are looking to use a graphics card with a sports game, focus on the FPS. With sports games you want to make sure you have a smooth picture so you can see the ball moving and where each character is. If you have a high FPS and a good monitor you will have a seamless gaming experience.
Can you use integrated graphics for gaming?
If you are not a hard core gamer and want to skip the expense of a graphics card you can most likely get away with using integrated graphics. Integrated graphics are graphics that are included in your CPU and can save you hundreds of dollars because you won’t have to buy a graphics card in addition to your CPU.
Integrated graphics won’t give you the best gaming experience out there, but it can be a great option for someone who needs a solid computer for everyday tasks and plans to spend a little bit of time gaming on the side. This is especially true for more casual gamers who plan on doing puzzle or card games and even some simulation games. If you find that your integrated graphics are limiting you, remember that you can always upgrade your PC in the future to meet your growing demands.