distinguishing one graphics card from another.

Sep 9, 2009
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so im planing on getting a computer after Christmas and this computer is everything and all a gaming computer but 1 thing ... is does not have a good graphics card or one for my needs i guess but that is besides the point what i really want to know is how to distinguish one graphics card from another for example

(NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250)

(BFG NVIDIA GeForce 260 GTX) OC MAXCORE 55 896MB GDDR3 PCI Express
Graphics Card

(BFG NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT) 1GB DDR2 PCI Express Graphics Card

im using geforce for my example because i perfure it over other graphics card but anyways so these 3 graphics cards....how can i look at them and say "ooo well clearly the shbgjfgl one is better then the gjbdafgblas ones because.." without me looking at the price or how much MB or GB one has. how can i desides buy looking at the name

now i mostly look at the # 9400 or 8900 or what ever it is but sometimes the # does not tell u like the top 2 graphics cards up here that has 250 and 260 not 6000 7400 8800 or something on them so someone help me u dont have to talk about geforce if u like another kind of graphics card i just need someone to educate me on graphics card u can go ahead and right something long because i well take the time to read it thank you.

P.S. just so everyones know if u can keep the explanations on a lower scale to i can understand them better that would help im 16 and im pretty good with computers but im not a genyous about them mind u =-P.


Apr 2, 2009
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Welp, the GeForce 200 series makes mostly a lot of sense:

GeForce GTX 295
GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 280
GeForce GTX 275
GeForce GTX 260
GeForce GTX 250
GeForec GTX 240

Move towards the top, and things get a whole lot faster. Move towards the bottom, and things get a whole lot slower. The only real sticking point is that there can be a large performance gap between cards that are right next to one another. For example, the GTX 295 is really two GeForce GTX 260s in one card, which can make for major performance gains over the 285 at very high resolutions.

The GeForce GTX 275 is currently the price/performance champ because it offers the most speed for the least amount of money.

It's not without ridiculousness, though: The GeForce GTX 250 is actually just a renamed card. It is the GeForce 9800 GTX+ that they renamed because it hadn't been in the market long enough to toss away, or replace.

The GeForce GTX 240 is slightly less absurd, because they at least gave it more powerful hardware: The 240 is nothing more than the 9800 GTX with a higher memory/core clockspeed, and more memory.

Still, even today, the easiest way to tell which card is best is to just go look at GPU benchmarks. Memory and MHz doesn't mean much any more, because there's a lot more at work that makes a video card go faster than those two things.
Aug 21, 2009
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Eeek, my card is right near the bottom...

Okay Patrick, if you're interested learning a little more about GPU's (graphics processing unit), here's a quick lesson. I'll try to make as simple as possible, but as Thrax says, the things I'm about to tell you aren't as important these days.

3 big things: Clock speed, memory speed, video memory

Core clock speed: This is how fast the processor inside the GPU can go. You have a big processor know as a CPU (guess what it means) inside your comp to do other things. Every hertz means it can process another memory location (more complicated)
The quicker the clock speed is, the quicker the card can create complex images and moving objects and put them on the screen. The bigger the number, the better.

Memory speed: How fast the memory can send thing back and forth from the core clock. Memory holds all the colours and textures you see on screen. The quicker the memory you have, the quicker the processor can swap between different things.

Video memory: Video memory stores all the detailed textures, colours and objects that you see. The more memory you have, the more detail you can put on things and things will look better.

On a side note, whether a texture (surface) is 3-D or not is important. Picture a brick wall: it has mortar between each brick, and the bricks come out more than the mortar. In a game, the bricks and the mortar will all be the same level because it is much easier to store and process a flat object than an object with lots of bumps and cracks in it.

The below card is a good mid to high range graphics card. It has a 850Mhz clock, 3900Mhz memory speed and 1Gb of video memory. A computer has it's own processor and memory, but on a bigger scale.



OCing one chip at a time
May 11, 2009
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....how can i look at them and say "ooo well clearly the shbgjfgl one is better then the gjbdafgblas ones because.." without me looking at the price or how much MB or GB one has. how can i desides buy looking at the name
The name alone only tells you the ranking of the card, such as with Thrax's post.

If you want to make an informed purchase, find a few GPUs and then google up some reviews on them. The better reviews will include a range of GPUs that perform similarly to that one. Anandtech, The Tech Report, Techgage, are just a few with good GPU reviews, but there are plenty of others out there.

After Xmas is a long time off... ATI is in the midst of launching their new 5000 series and NVIDIA will launch their GT300 based cards just before Xmas, or somewhere around January I'm not sure.


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