Most consumer computers are sold with a general set of components that can accomplish the basics: web browsing, email, movies, music and business applications. The general computers aren't designed to excel at the higher reaches of computing, such as playing games with high-end graphics. If you're interested in playing the more interesting and highly developed games on the personal computer (PC) market, make sure to understand the video card and what makes it special in a gaming system.
The Graphics Card Makes The Difference
If you're using a modern computer that isn't more than two years old, you only need to do one thing to turn it into a gaming computer: add a graphics card.
Graphics cards (also known as video cards) are dedicated to calculating and rendering the amazing graphics and actions in a game so the main computer processor doesn't have to--in many cases, the main processor simply lack the programming to understand game graphics instructions.
The cards are basically smaller computers on a board, featuring a processor (graphics processing unit or GPU), memory for storing game graphics files quickly and a fan with a heat sink to keep temperatures at a normal rate.
The required specification for games are constantly changing, but you can gauge your computer's power by looking at the system requirements for your desired game or asking around for the most graphics-intensive game this year. Simply meet or exceed the minimum system requirements for a great gaming experience. Try to avoid the minimum system requirements, as you'll just be buying a new card in a few months to keep up with newer games.
Extra Features With Graphics Cards
Modern video cards also enable the use of multiple monitors. Make sure that the video card has more than one monitor port, and that the ports match your monitor's video cable. Keep in mind that many televisions using HDMI can be used with computers via the video card, although larger television screens may have poorer quality due to poorly upscaled (increased in size) images.
Games aren't the only thing to benefit from having a video card. You'll be able to enjoy high definition videos without suffering brief computer lockups or stuttering (unrelated to the Internet) because of the graphics card's assistance.
Many productivity suites such as graphic design software can be enhanced by gaming graphics cards. Although there is a specific type of workstation graphics card for graphic design purposes, gaming cards are often chosen for home office or student use, since the speed is acceptable for many parts of the creative process. Contact a computer services professional if you have other graphics-related needs to go along with your gaming computer.