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G raphics cards are among the essential parts of any PC system. Whether you use your system for casual or heavy-duty games, the cards always deliver where it counts. Even for streaming heavy HD videos smoothly, a great graphics card could offer something you need. The market has many different types of graphics cards; it is only a matter of choice. Some PCs out there come with inbuilt cards. Nevertheless, you can always add an outstanding one for better playback.

Nevertheless, sometime you might need upgrading it to the latest version. Thus, check to learn how to upgrade graphics card beforehand. But you don’t need to spend a fortune in the upgrading process. Finding a graphics card under 100 shouldn’t be a problem at all. You can take advantage of the pocket-friendly options out there for your upgrade. However, be keen so as not to go for a cheap option that won’t deliver the quality you are looking for in these cards. On the bottom line, however, you should understand the diverse of graphics out there. Read on to find out.

Top end vs. Mainstream cards

Most graphics cards usually come down to two types. These include the top-end, heavy-duty ones and the cards ideal for casual gamers cards. The heavy-duty ones come with an array of features that put them on the top of the list in terms of quality. Among the outstanding features in these cards is their robust memory. Also, they pack in fast processors that can deliver quite a punch when it takes on the latest games or high definition videos. Mostly, these cards feature DVI and HDMI outputs, although others come with several other outputs catering to different displays. These can include Video in and Out, TV, or Tuners. This category might cost you a little more for the quality, but it is worth it eventually.

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The other types of video cards include the ones used for general purpose as well as less intense gaming. If you are using a rather new system, then you might not have to change the card. However, if you will be taking on most of the new games, then you may need to consider specifications that are more robust. You may check at the back of your desired game for the least specs required. Most of the cards in this category come with several HDMI and VGA outputs. Nevertheless, sometimes they might feature a DVI output, all of which helps allow more displays. Other models could feature S-Video or TV Out connection ports. These are relatively cheaper than the other cards, although the offer an impressive service too.

Different graphics cards

Different graphics cards


That said and done, it’s time to dive deep into the diverse types of such cards. They might vary in design and capabilities. So consider picking one that can really get the job done. It’s the best option you have to get a return on your money.

Onboard card

You will find these video cards in most of the budget computers on the market. They can be several separate cards laid out in a slot. These cards are not as robust enough to take on most graphics-intensive tasks. So you cannot rely on them for gaming or playing high definition videos. So you could consider replacing these cards with a more powerful add-on card. And this will mean having to disable your onboard graphics card in your PC’s BIOS since removing them physically is impossible.

ISA cards

Also known as Industry Standard Architecture, these slots have seen better days in the world of PCs. They were once the ideal slots on all computers. However, with the modem motherboards, these slots have long lost their touch on the market. The slots were rather slow, pushing only about 2 to 3 megabytes of data per second.

Hence, these slots could support primary use alone. And with higher resolution necessity, the performance drops drastically. The drag in these slots resulted due to the cards’ use of the system memory via the CPU. This even caused the entire system to become even slow when executing graphic-intensive tasks.


The Peripheral Component Interconnect-type took over the ISA slots. This came as an expansion of the interface. These slots let the card’s GPU address the memory without using your computer’s central processing unit. This output, along with the ability to deliver a throughput of up to 132 megabytes in a second, made these slots more superior to the ISA ones. Hence, they took over the market and replaced the ISA slots.

In essence, the PCI, Vesa local bus as well as the ISA are known as legacy cards. These ones do not see much action these days since they can hardly work with most windows versions. For the graphics aspect, they are well out of commission. In case you plan to buy new such card, you should consider the most recent types for top value and quality.


One of the common problems with both ISA and PCI is the need for a communications way shared with other slots. The Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), on its side, eliminates the need for this path by helping the GPU and the memory communicate. The creation of this direct path gives the GPU ability to work at high clock speeds than would be possible with the other graphics . This comes at a cost though, since the motherboard is only capable of supporting a single AGP slot. In case you want to add other types of video cards to your system, you will need to use a different slot type on the machine. The good thing about these cards is that they come in up to four types.

These include the 1X, 2X, the 4X, and 8X. The fastest of them all is the 8X card, which can clock transfer rates of up to 2,100 megabytes in every second. Besides, you can find these cards in up to three types of slot configuration. It ensures your card can get 1.5V, 3.3V or both levels of power from your motherboard. When purchasing these cards, however, remember that not every AGP card can impress on every AGP type machine out there. So choose wisely to get the perfect match.

PCI Express

This comes in as the latest development among the different types of video cards. It stands out with its ability to eliminate the sharing aspect of the bus communication channel. Instead, the card makes the most of the serial links for every slot, which come in four main configurations. These are PCI-EX1, 4, 8, and 16. With the PCI-EX 16 and a well-supported system you stand to get up to 4gigabyte/sec read/write speed. These slots also work with matching cards only. So you might need to read the system’s documentation before buying, for ideal compatibility.

External cards

Among the many types of graphics cards out there, these ones work well for laptops. With this type of computers low on space on the inside, installing an add-on card can be a problem. This is where the external ones come in handy, as you can boost your laptop quite well. As its name suggests, it’s best used on the outside. Most of them rely on an ExpressSlot, but some work best on an external monitor. Whichever of these cards you go for; they offer an outstanding service to better your laptop.

As it turns out, the market is full of different types of graphics cards that you can buy. All you need to consider is avoiding the outdated ones. They are likely to fail to work as expected, leave alone making any changes. Now that you understand which ones can work and those that won’t, making the choice becomes easy. The next time you are setting out to upgrade your card, knowing the one to select shouldn’t be a challenge. The right card can go a long way to improving your gameplay and video streaming.

The most crucial thing is compatibility. For a laptop, be keen on getting an external type. Finding a quality card might require a bit of footwork. In addition, with the top one could come to a higher expense. Nevertheless, with all the types of video card, you should be sure to get a reliable one. Even if the price might be quite high, the results you can get out of it outweighs the cost by far. Go ahead, and get the perfect card for your PC, you’ll love the experience.

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