Choosing a high-quality graphics card is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your gaming experience. The card renders the images to your monitor by processing signals. Basically, the graphics card is responsible for the seamless processing and display of visuals, particularly resource-intensive ones.
There are a lot of things that come into play here. Size and type of monitor, price preferences, game settings – you need to analyze each of these factors. It’s very confusing if you are a beginner – but don’t worry, we’ll walk you through main technical specs and possible traps.
Start with simple preparation
Buying a graphics card requires you to get to know your device better. If you did not have a chance to take a closer look at your technical specs, it’s about time.
- Adapt the graphics card to your monitor resolution. The majority of the cards are adapted to 1080p and 30-60 fps. For Quad HD and Full HD (1400p and 4K), you need to purchase a high-end card.
- Measure your refresh rate. An average PC display has a 60 Hz refresh rate but professional gaming PCs typically support 144 or 240 Hz. For triple-digit rates, you’ll need a more expensive card.
- Pay attention to the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Good deals should follow these ranges, anything that is much above or below is a shady offer.
- Prepare your device’s memory as well as a power supply. The problem with buying a graphics card is that it can require you to change a lot of your hardware – but the result is worth the struggle.
- Avoid dual cards. Their benefits are questionable but the price difference is rather obvious – and typically, it’s not a good deal.
Most importantly, you should save some money to spend on a good CPU as well. Even the best graphics card in the world will not deliver optimum performance if the processor becomes a bottleneck.
Get to know the crucial specs
But don’t worry, not all of them matter equally. To save our time on learning everything there is to know about a graphics card, we picked the main characteristics and explain just how they matter and why.
Memory: an important one. If you use the high-quality display (starting from 1080p), aim at least for 3-4 GB. If you are shooting for 4K and elaborate game settings, you’ll need as much as you can get.
Card’s size and form: a crucial one. Graphics cards vary in their physical execution – some are single-slot or dual-slot, others are half-height. Take a look at your motherboard and decide which form will fit. If you have a mini version of a motherboard, you’ll consequently need a smaller card.
Thermal Design Power: very important. Knowing TPD allows you to estimate the number of watts, required by your card. If you want to pick a card with a high TPD-value, you may need to upgrade your power supply unit. By knowing these values beforehand, you make sure that you don’t buy an incompatible card.
Ports: if the card doesn’t have the connector to your type of display, you will have to get an adapter. The most popular port types are DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI. You can usually check that by googling your monitor’s model.
Graphics Cards For 1440 and 4K
Even though both of these resolutions can be qualified as HD, they require another level of power consumption. Therefore, graphics cards for 4K vs 1400p will differ in terms of its technical capacity and price.
GPU for 1400p displays
For 1400p resolution, you need a card with medium technical specs. RTX 2060 or 2080 will be capable of processing the visuals and sending pixels to the monitor at the right speed. Medium range of GPUs is truly the best fit for 1400p, although if you are considering possible upgrades soon, it’s best to opt to a powerful card that can handle both 1400p and 4K resolution.
GPU for 4K displays
To handle high-quality visuals, opt for a display with powerful components that can take complex visuals at their maximum settings. Sure, you can theoretically use RTX 2060 for 4K as well but you’d have to lower down all essential settings.
Hence, start your search from 2080 Ti model and look into more professional ones as well. Anything less than that, and you’d be stuck with a low FPS rate. The price range for such cards is around $800 up to $1800.
Is the difference noticeable?
Yes but you need to make sure that your hardware can handle the requirements of your display. Even though technically both 1400p and 4K are HD formats, the difference in density is almost twice as much. If you are sitting close to the screen, you’ll definitely notice the improvements in image quality. It also depends on the genre of the game: visual differences are especially noticeable in action games and shooters.
The rule of thumb is, the higher is the resolution, the more professional should be the memory card to handle such visual quality. Don’t look for cheap deals – it doesn’t matter how great your display is if there is no powerful GPU to process the signals and provide the high-quality image output.
Before looking into specific models, take a closer look at the technical characteristics that we defined as important. Finally, it’s necessary to understand any compatibility issues you may face with your existing hardware before investing in a high-end graphics card.