PC gaming is quite big in India. As games become more intense and compelling, gamers find themselves wanting the latest and greatest hardware to run these games smoothly. That being said, the majority of gamers wanting to build or upgrade their machines don’t have much of a clue, and are often at the mercy of vendors and salesmen, due to which, more often than not, they end up making the wrong decisions. This is an attempt to address this lack of information, and help all PC gamers make the best of their resources. This is PC GAMING 101.
If you’re a PC gamer, you’ve most probably heard the term “GPU”. Commonly called “graphics cards” here in India, every gamer wants the best GPU they can get. But, with a lot of buzzwords and marketing fluff being thrown about these days, it’s easy to get totally confused and lose your way. Here are the things a person wanting to buy a GPU must remember to make the best and most informed choice:
Know your PC Configuration
When looking to upgrade your PC, it is absolutely essential to know the specifications and configuration of your PC. This is a seemingly obvious but often overlooked step. With some amount of looking up, one should be able to find out specifications like the model number of the motherboard, amount and type of RAM, existing cooling system (cooling fans etc) and the CPU cabinet. However, one of the most important things that must not be overlooked is the Power Supply Unit, or PSU.
The power supply unit is the component of the PC which converts the power from the outlet, into usable power that drives all the different parts inside the computer. From a PC gamer’s point of view, what’s important is knowing the power rating. The power rating is mentioned on the PSU itself, and one just needs to open the CPU cabinet to take a look at it. The PSU looks like this:
And the voltage ratings can be found on the sticker on one side:
The different columns under “voltage” are called “rails”, and one must note the power output for each rail along with the maximum power output. Why this matters is, GPUs generally have certain voltage requirements, which if aren't met, might cause serious issues, malfunctioning or may lead to the system not working at all. “Knowing the power supply requirements is essential. I had my graphics card lying idle for a year because it needed a better power supply” says Kartik Iyer, an avid PC gamer.
So be sure to check if the wattage of your PSU matches the recommended PSU wattage specified by the vendor. (Note: the recommended wattage is for the entire system and not just the GPU, so be sure to calculate the power requirement of the whole system) .
Here’s a handy tool that will help you to calculate the total power requirements for your system.
Stay tuned for part 2, where we'll talk about getting the right GPU for your usage.