So far, we’ve looked at a couple of component upgrades which can make an older system feel new again – adding system RAM and upgrading your hard drive. Today we look at another popular upgrade for older systems – a new video card.
Todays video cards are faster and more powerful – sometimes exponentially – than they were just a few years ago. While most of the attention goes towards their ability to make video games faster, with more graphical detail, the entire system benefits when a new video card is installed. Do you watch videos on your system? A new video card can decode them much quicker and offload work from your CPU. Run photoshop or illustrator? A new video card can make them run much faster than before.
There are two main suppliers of discrete graphics cards that dominate the market today – AMD and nVidia. AMD and Intel also offer graphics adapters bound to their CPU’s, which can further complicate matters when looking at your upgrade path. New video cards all require a PCI express slot on your motherboard, and many also require a supplementary power lead. Older systems and power supplies may have a difficult time running some of the most powerful new video cards; checking with a computer tech, as always, is our advice before committing to an upgrade. We’d be happy to help if you’re contemplating an upgrade!