Over the past few years, the gaming world has tremendously evolved, and the GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) has become a major type of computing technology, both in business and personal computing. It is an integral part of computer hardware that renders and calculates images, videos, and animations on the screen with precision, bringing the virtual world to life on your screens.
Specifically, they are known for their performance in gaming, but now they are gaining more popularity in creative design and artificial intelligence applications. In addition to processing and rendering visual data, they also take the load off the central processing unit (CPU).
Whether you are a beginner or an avid gamer, this comprehensive article aims to guide you in making the right decision about purchasing the best graphics cards for your gaming needs. Not only will we discuss the types and components of graphics cards, but we will also explore the top models available on the market.
Additionally, we will also discuss where to get these graphics cards and how to effectively compare their specifications and features.
So, let’s delve into the world of graphics cards!
A Deep Dive into Graphics Card Technology and Function
Graphics cards, also known as GPUs or video cards, are the workhorses behind the stunning visuals and seamless gaming performance of modern PCs. It is a dedicated component of a computer that is specially designed for parallel processing and rendering needed for high-quality images and videos in games and other visually intensive applications and software.
They work along with the central processing unit (CPU) to process and calculate graphics, textures, and effects in real time. If your PC or laptop does not have a graphics card, you will not be able to use it, as you wouldn’t turn on the monitor and interact with the computer at all!
Applications of a Graphic Card
As we have already discussed, your computer cannot deliver any visuals without a graphic card. They create 2D and 3D visuals in real-time gaming and other graphic-intensive applications. They manage sophisticated calculations for brightness, texturing, shadows, contrasts, and other visual effects that make realistic screens on the screen.
Gaming: A powerful graphics card renders a large number of gaming characters, effects, and animations in a short time by offloading the graphics processing workloads from the CPU. Gamers can enjoy smooth gameplay, better frame rates, higher resolutions, and more realistic images with high-end graphics cards.
3D Modeling and Animation: In the process of designing and discovering new drugs and medicines, 3D models are created virtually to visualise and observe their effects. Whether researchers intend to examine specific aspects from different perspectives or explore new viewpoints, graphics cards swiftly calculate the updated visualizations. Graphic cards equipped with advanced features such as CUDA or OpenCL can greatly enhance the efficiency of these projects.
Image Processing and Video Editing: Images and videos have high resolutions, high refresh rates, and high pixel densities. The dedicated GPU allows real-time rendering and playback of high-resolution videos, transitions, applying filters and effects, and colour grading to footage. The high-end video editing software then uses the power of the GPU to process all the pixels quickly and improve overall productivity.
Machine Learning and AI: A powerful graphics card offers high processing capabilities in machine learning and AI applications. They are more than capable of running deep learning models, delivering faster training times and improved performance in several operations such as image recognition, data analysis, and natural language processing.
Multimonitor Setup: Users can connect multiple monitors using the parallel compatibility of a graphic card unit. Powerful graphics cards can drive multiple screens at the same time, resulting in an expanded view, increased productivity, and immersive gaming visuals. They also support different display connectivity options, including HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI, to connect and share anything, anytime, anywhere!
Components of a Graphic Card
To get a better understanding of how graphics cards work, you need to know their key components and their roles in delivering immersive graphics. A GPU consists of the following components:
VRAM is the most important component of a graphics card. The memory on the video card is allocated to store the data, graphical tasks, frame buffers, and other data needed for rendering. The amount of VRAM depends on the GPU card’s ability to handle high-resolution scenes and process complex graphics smoothly. The more VRAM, the more power a graphic card has to perform!
A better cooling system increases the productivity of a graphics card. Otherwise, the GPU generates a lot of heat during its operation. A GPU must be able to work at a temperature of 100 degrees or more. There are two different approaches, such as active or passive cooling, incorporated into the GPU, depending on its type.
Active cooling is an old technique that works to reduce fan noise when productivity boosts. On the other hand, passive cooling is used to transfer heat from the graphic chip through a liquid medium. It is an advanced approach that minimises the noise levels even on high performance for hours.
A graphics processor is the building block of a graphic card that performs millions of calculations within seconds to render the images. This is where all the calculations have been carried out. It processes complex algorithms, handles contrasts, and applies multiple filters and effects to create realistic visuals.
The memory interface is also known as the “storage space” of the graphics card. It determines the rate at which data can be accessed and processed. A higher bandwidth means more transfer of larger data within shorter time frames. It is particularly useful for computer games and creative projects that require high frame rates.
The memory interface must have higher bit rates to ensure optimal performance. The higher the bit rate, the higher the storage space, and hence more data can be placed and used more precisely and quickly!
The types of connectors on graphic cards are necessary to determine which displays are compatible with your GPU. All modern graphics cards possess at least one HDMI port. The HDMI ports support a resolution of up to 4K (3840 x 2160) at a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz.
However, with the introduction of HDMI 2.1, you can get a resolution of 4K at a higher refresh rate of 144 Hz and even go as far as an 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 30 Hz. In addition to HDMI, there are other video output ports present, such as DisplayPort, VGA, DVI, and even USB-C connections.
Types of Graphic Cards
The following are the types of graphic cards:
Dedicated Graphics Cards
Dedicated graphics cards are commonly featured in gaming systems and heavy workstations. These are stand-alone accessories designed specifically for high-end gaming and other graphics-intensive applications.
They come with their own processors, memory, and cooling systems, allowing them to perform optimally in demanding applications. Nvidia and AMD are the two biggest brands for discrete graphics.
Despite their exceptional performance, these graphics cards can be easily purchased separately, allowing you to upgrade your PC with them in the future. Many advanced laptops also come with discrete graphics cards that are capable of performing like a desktop PC.
Integrated Graphics Cards
As compared to a dedicated GPU, integrated graphics cards consume less power and have a compact size, making them convenient to incorporate into thin and ultraportable laptops. They do not have enough capacity to handle 3D rendering and modern games.
Integrated graphics, or onboard graphics, share system memory (RAM) and processing power for graphics-intensive activities and are adequate for simple tasks like web surfing and office apps. They are simply incorporated into the CPU of a computer.
Workstation Graphics Cards
High-graphics-intensive applications, including video and photo editors or 3D rendering software, demand more performance than casual gaming. For that reason, there come workstation graphics cards. These graphics cards are designed within the software to handle tasks like that.
External Graphics Cards
These, often known as eGPUs, are standalone devices that can be connected to a laptop or desktop computer via Thunderbolt or USB-C interface. Users can improve their system’s graphics productivity by directly linking it with these external solutions.
Where to Purchase Gaming Graphics Cards in the UK?
Finding a reliable accessory for your PC or laptop can be really overwhelming, especially when it comes to a graphics processing unit. There are multiple GPU retailers available on the market, and having a solid understanding of their reputation and the quality they offer is crucial to getting the best one.
Let’s take a look at some of the top retailers to buy the best gaming graphics cards in the UK.
Laptop Outlet is one of the biggest tech providers in the UK, offering cutting-edge gaming accessories, laptops, desktop PCs, smartphones, and more. Since its establishment in 2010, the brand has grown significantly and has now become widely recognised and trusted by tech shoppers throughout the United Kingdom. It has become a go-to and favourite tech destination for gaming enthusiasts, creative professionals, and students.
It offers a wide range of new and refurbished graphics cards from some of the leading gaming graphics card brands, such as Nvidia and AMD, with guaranteed quality. The brand also provides an extensive selection of deals to cater to various customer segments. These deals include student discounts, seasonal promotions, bank holiday discounts, coupon codes, special offers for youth, cashback incentives, and exclusive deals for seniors.
Amazon is a huge online marketplace that sells all types of graphics cards from various manufacturers. You can explore comprehensive product listings, consumer feedback, and competitive prices to make an informed decision.
Additionally, Amazon also provides exclusive deals and discounts, especially during famous sales events such as Black Friday, Prime Day, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.
Newegg is the biggest global online retailer for electronics, PC hardware, gaming peripherals, home appliances, and lifestyle technology. You can choose from multiple options of graphics cards from top-of-the-line brands at competitive prices.
Newegg offers extensive product descriptions, a user-friendly interface, faster shipping, and reliable customer service. Individuals can also take advantage of numerous deals and promotions, catering to both their budget and preferences.
Find and explore the local electronics outlets in your neighbourhood that sell gaming graphics cards. You can simply start by browsing “best gaming graphic cards near me,” and there will be multiple local retailers in the search results. Visit their websites and contact them directly via phone or email to inquire about their current graphics card models and pricing.
After compiling a list of potential retailers, compare the prices and specifications of the product. For a more comprehensive view and understanding of the product, consider visiting the stores in person. By doing so, users can get hands-on experience with the graphics cards, check their quality manually, and gather genuine information about market rates.
Note: We recommend you carefully check the reviews and ratings mentioned on the online retailers’ websites and auction forms. This step will help you get more insights into the experiences of previous customers and ensure a smoother and more satisfying shopping experience. Additionally, before purchasing a graphics card, it is necessary to evaluate the type of games or software you intend to run on your PC. This information will assist in determining the right GPU for your requirements.
The Top 3 Best Graphics Cards in 2023
Are you considering purchasing a graphics card? Undoubtably, graphic cards are the core component of a PC, and there’s nothing that comes before them. Over the past few years, we have conducted extensive testing on different models of graphics cards from various brands. As a result, we’re bringing you a list of the top gaming graphics cards to help you make an informed decision.
We offer a range of options to cater to every budget and preference. Whether you prioritise having the fastest graphics card, seeking the best value for your money, or looking for the top-performing card within a specific price range, we have you covered.
ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3060
|Beats the RTX 2080 Super in most benchmarks.||Power is limited at stock specs.|
|Improved energy efficiency over RTX 3070, 3080, 3090.||Overclocking is more complicated due to power limit.|
|Great for 1440p gaming||Factory overclocking provides no real-world performance uplift.|
|Exceptional ray tracing performance||Massive size|
|Axial-tech fan design||Little headroom in the modern games|
No matter which way you use it or incorporate it, the ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3060 is one of the best mid-range graphics cards on the market. Featuring 3584 CUDA cores, a base clock speed of 1837 MHz, and advanced cooling solutions including two Axial-Tech fans for maximising airflow, the GeForce RTX 3060 is the best choice for gamers who seek robust graphical performance in a matter of time.
Despite the high performance, the card is packed with an aluminium backplate that adds rigidity to the structure to protect the components and trace pathways from damage. Its ray tracing and DLSS functionalities provide immersive visuals, and the ample 12GB V2 GDDR6 provides headroom for demanding games and graphical activities. You can purchase the RTX 3060 for under £350 from Laptop Outlet.
ASUS Dual-RX6400-4G AMD Radeon RX 6400
|Excellent for 1080p medium||Very low overall performance|
|AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution||4 GB of VRAM is challenging|
|Low-profile single-slot cards are available||Meaningless ray tracing hardware|
|Runs with slot-only power||Fan-speed overshoot when the fans first start|
|No power cable is needed||Minimal video codec hardware|
AMD has tried to add an affordable graphics card to its line with the Radeon RX 6400. It is combined with the latest AMD RDNA 2 architecture and dynamic thermal performance for wide compatibility.
Powered by advanced cooling features such as two Axial-Tech fans to optimise airflow, the AMD Radeon is the best choice for people who are seeking an affordable option for moderate gaming performance at lower resolutions. Additionally, save £100.00 on purchasing this compact form factor from Laptop Outlet.
Despite its compact 20 cm length and 2-slot design, this graphics card can efficiently run Fortnite at decent framerates, with a maximum FPS of 109. Putting the GDDR limitations aside, the RX 6400 offers an intriguing value proposition as an entry-level graphics card with low power consumption.
ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090
|Impressive performance||Overkill even in 4K|
|DLSS 3 is game changing||Hefty price tag|
|Usual exceptional Founders Edition build quality||Bulky GPU may not fit in all PC cases|
|24GB of VRAM||850W+ PSU|
|Best for creative designing||The dongle adapter is annoying|
The GeForce RTX 4090 has no rival in terms of speed and performance anywhere in the world. It is the stripped-down version of the flagship ROG Strix RTX 4090. Featuring 4th Gen Tensor Cores, 3rd Gen RT Cores, and a trio configuration of redesigned Axial-Tech fans, the NIVIDA GeForce RTX 4090 can take your gameplay to new heights.
The introduction of GPU Tweak III software allows you to do thermal controls, intuitive performance tweaking, and system monitoring. In addition, the TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC is combined with military-grade capacitors that have a rating of 20,000 hours at 105 degrees Celsius. This means you can enjoy exceptional performance even under heavy loads, and it guarantees durability for years of intensive usage.
The RTX 4090 is also a large form factor, occupying 3.65 PCI slots, while the printed circuit board (PCB) itself is relatively compact compared to the substantial cooler it incorporates.
When it comes to gaming, nothing can fulfil the responsibility of a powerful graphic card. Graphics cards, or GPUs, bring the virtual world to your monitors by effectively handling 3D rendering and calculating images, videos, and animations.
You can significantly boost your gameplay and enjoy realistic graphics with the right graphic card at your disposal. However, before making a purchase, it is advisable to consider your budget, needs, and trustworthy retailers to get the most value for your money.
In 2023, there are numerous graphics card options available on the market. If you want to enjoy gaming at 1440p, the ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3060 stands out as an optimal performer. Its exceptional ray-tracing capabilities increase the realism of lighting and reflections, adding depth to the gaming visuals.
In terms of affordability, no GPU can beat the ASUS Dual-RX6400-4G AMD Radeon RX 6400. With the inclusion of AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution technology, you get sharp and detailed graphics even at lower resolutions.
For those in search of a high-end graphics card delivering exceptional performance, the ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is the perfect choice. With its substantial 24GB of VRAM, it offers abundant storage capacity for demanding games and content creation.