Graphics cards represent one of the single most important components of any good esports setup, but actually finding a suitable esports graphics card can seem somewhat challenging at first. After all, there are many different things to consider, from size to memory, to the resolution you want to play at and even whether or not you are going to want the option for overclocking.
Read on for more on how to choose your gaming graphics card or learn how to setup the ultimate gaming setup by reading The Best Esports Setup: A Complete Guide.
Getting the best esports graphics card is an important part of putting together your gaming PC, but there is a lot to take on board and the abundance of information may seem overwhelming. In truth, there are no real easy solutions here and you will need to take the time to seriously consider the various options.
With that being said, it can significantly help to have an understanding of some of the key aspects to weigh up, and how they actually contribute to improving performance. This article will attempt to help with this.
Understanding Your Gaming Graphics Card or Gaming GPU
First, it is important to understand that people commonly refer to a graphics processing unit, or GPU, as a graphics card, but they are technically different things. The GPU is actually a chip that a graphics card uses and some graphics cards may have two GPUs. Nevertheless, for the most part, the terms have grown to be considered synonymous.
There are hundreds of graphics cards available, but the actual GPU is likely to be manufactured by one of the two main market leaders, which are Nvidia and AMD. Ultimately, your decision here may depend on budget and what you are looking for, as a top of the range Nvidia gaming GPU is likely to be better if you are seeking absolute peak performance, whereas AMD may be the better option if you are looking for a solid performance on a tighter budget.
As a general rule, you can expect a budget esports graphics card to cost around $200, a mid-range card to cost around $300 to $700, and a high-performance esports graphics card to cost more. The very best cards on the market may set you back more than $1,000, but this will not be a necessary investment for the vast majority of esports players.
Significant Factors to Consider with an Esports Graphics Card
The following are all significant factors, which you will need to take into account when choosing a gaming graphics card.
Size and Power
On a basic level, as an article for PC Gamer highlights, bigger can be better when it comes to finding an esports graphics card, but you do need to take several things into consideration. Firstly, the most powerful graphics cards can be very large, so you need to make sure you have sufficient space in your computer’s case to actually fit the card in. Secondly, you also need to consider your power supply, because the very best cards may require a special high wattage power supply. The wattage used will usually be referenced in product descriptions, so keep this in mind when you buy.
It is absolutely imperative that you buy a graphics card with your gaming monitor in mind. The simple rule here is that the higher the resolution you intend to play your games at, the better your esports graphics card will need to be. If you are intending to play in 4K, for instance, you are going to need a high-end graphics card, capable of supporting that. It is also worth taking the time to understand the difference between G-Sync and FreeSync.
Graphics cards require memory, or video RAM, and this is another crucial consideration. The card’s memory will usually be expressed in gigabytes (GBs) and for gaming purposes, you are probably going to want a card with at least 4GBs of VRAM. Ideally, if you are intending to play at high resolutions, 8GB will be preferable and you could exceed 8GB if you want to give yourself some leeway and ensure your card will remain useful for years to come.
Overclocking refers to the process of getting more performance out of your graphics card than it is officially intended to deliver. It is often associated with processors but is possible with graphics cards too, although the benefits are less relevant. It is important to remember that graphics cards can give off a lot of heat and overclocking increases this, so it is only worth considering if you have adequate airflow. Generally, it is better to just buy a better graphics card, but the potential for overclocking may provide some additional future-proofing.
While there are a lot of different things to take into account when choosing your gaming graphics card, the main things to remember are that you should prioritize memory and buying the right card for your monitor resolution, and you should also choose a card that is appropriate, based on the power and space available to you.
Interested in finding out more about esports setups? Then read The Best Esports Setup: A Complete Guide for a better understanding. Or delve into the what makes a good esports monitor here Best Monitors for Eye Strain – A Complete Guide in 2020.