Video Card Checklist

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Is there more to a video card than just memory?

Video Card Checklist

There are a lot of different things to look at when buying a video card. The main ones, like manufacturer, slot type, and memory spring to mind. But there are other considerations that might not be thought of by your casual at-home user. So here are a few to think about:

The fill rate is basically how fast a graphics processor can do two things: draw pixels and fetch textures. The ideal situation is to have a balance, so you do not want pixel rate to be three times that of the textures.

Another important feature is the memory bus width. Just like a wider highway can accommodate more cars, a wider bus memory can facilitate the transfer of more data from the video memory to the graphics processor and back again.

These are both very important, but the heart of the video card is the graphics processing unit (GPU). This chip is what makes the video card's 3D performance possible. The best GPUs are made by Nvidia and ATI, so be on the lookout for those. The new Nvidia GeForce 9000 series cards are packing a nice punch. Make sure to look at the model number though, because both companies make products in all tiers of performance to accommodate all kinds of needs.

   

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