A graphics card is a component attached to the motherboard of your computer that uses digital information to create images. Graphics cards are fitted onto specified slots on the motherboard. Usually there are two types of slots in computers-PCI and AGP. The suitability of the card depends on the slot supported by its motherboard. The PCI Express (PCI-e) graphics card is an advanced adaptation of PCI graphics card. A PCI-e card is ideal if you use advanced image or video editing applications. Read on to learn buy a PCI-e Graphics Card.
1. Choose the PCI-e card depending on the slot compatibility of your motherboard. Remember, you can install smaller cards in larger slots, but not vice-versa. Having multiple PCI-e slots enables you to load two graphic cards.
2. Check the memory bandwidth of the card you want to buy. This refers to the speed at which the graphics processor communicates with the graphics memory. PCI-e cards are available in 1x, 4x, 8x, 16x and 32x bandwidth.
3. Check the memory size of the card. Memory size refers to the extent to which it can support graphics operations without tapping into the PC’s memory. The more memory it has, the faster it works. Memory size for PCI-e cards ranges from 64 MB to 1 GB.
4. Consider a model with the TV-out facility. It enables you to watch your PC video on a TV screen.
5. Choose a model with DVI. Such a model would enable you to watch PC video on DVI monitors. Several LCD monitors support the DVI format.
6. Look for a dual-head graphics card. It enables you to connect two monitors on one graphics card.
7. Compare prices of PCI-e cards online and in computer stores. Look at various buyers’ guides to understand features, pricing and versions of different video cards. Some buyers’ guides include MySimon, Nextag and Bizrate (see links below). These will also give you a list of stores selling high performance video cards and the respective prices.
8. Buy the card after comparing prices. Browse popular online stores, such as CompUSA, Best Buy and Circuit City (see links below).