PC gaming 101: Part 2: Knowing what you want

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.


Now that we’ve talked about knowing your initial configuration and the PSU, let’s talk about one of the most important component in a gaming PC- the Graphics Processing Unit, or the GPU.

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:


Select a Graphics card based on your usage

The first thing that needs to be considered while buying a graphics card is what the system is going to be used for.  This is because there are different kinds of video cards available for different types of users. The cards built for gaming have gaming specific feature sets and hardware, and gamers should be just fine with the usual Nvidia and ATI offerings. However, if the system is to be used for other tasks such as video editing, video recording and 3D modeling, you might want to consider investing in a card that’s specifically designed with these tasks in mind, like the Nvidia Quadro or the ATI FireGL series. But that’s a totally different feature set, a totally different price range and a totally different kind of usage scenario from gaming.

So, bottom line: Gaming: GeForce/Radeon Workstation applications: Quadro/FireGL

Differences between Workstation and Gaming Graphics Cards

You can in fact, use a gaming graphics card for workstation applications- but the gaming card won’t do the processing as fast as a dedicated workstation card would. The math involved in 3D modeling, video rendering and other such content creation is quite different from what’s involved in gaming. So although on the surface a gaming card may appear to have similar or even superior specs than a workstation card, the latter is designed specifically for such CAD applications. So you’re better off getting a workstation card if you’re into digital content creation, as these cards are optimized to run those types of algorithms, that kind of software, and you’ll be able to get work done faster.



In part 3, we'll go further into the details of what the things that every PC gamer should know before purchasing a graphics card.


(Logo Credits: Jui Pandya)

Prev>> Part 1: Initial Configuration and the PSU

Next>> Part 3: Be a Smart Buyer

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