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8 GB Memory Computer Graphics and Video Cards

Computer graphics cards, also called video cards or GPUs, handle the complicated calculations needed to render 2D and 3D images on computer screens. Models with more memory can simultaneously handle a greater number of monitors smoothly at higher resolutions. However, the amount of memory is just one of the several important factors to consider before choosing a graphics card.

Compatibility

Graphics cards plug into a slot on a computer's motherboard. Older systems may use an AGP interface, while modern systems use some form of PCI Express. Since PCI Express cards are not backwards-compatible with AGP slots, it is important to choose a card that matches the motherboard's slot. In addition, graphics cards consume considerable amounts of power, especially the more powerful models. Users should ensure that their existing computer power supply can provide enough power. Lastly, graphics cards come in different sizes. Models with large cooling systems may take up the space of adjacent slots and could be longer than what an existing system can accommodate. It is prudent to measure a computer case to ensure size compatibility.

Pairing Graphics Cards

The two major manufacturers of graphics cards — Nvidia and AMD — make cards you can connect to other compatible cards to provide greater graphics capabilities. AMD graphics cards call this feature CrossFire, and Nvidia cards call it SLI. Pairing cards can increase performance by 25 to 50 per cent, and this is a possible option when users need to run triple-monitor resolutions or high-resolution 4K displays.

Clock Rates and Type of Memory

Clock rates and memory bandwidth are two factors that dictate how fast a graphics card can render images. At the same clock rate, graphics cards with GDDR5 memory have twice the bandwidth of graphics cards with DDR3 memory. Higher bandwidth translates to smoother video when playing games or performing other graphics-intensive tasks.

Type of Graphics Card

Both AMD and Nvidia offer consumer graphics cards designed for gamers, such as Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, and professional graphics cards designed for applications such as 3D modelling, video editing or photo editing. While consumer graphics cards can handle most of these tasks, professional models offer more accuracy, stability, support and compatibility with software. However, they are more expensive equivalent consumer video cards.

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