In case you don’t know, one of my hobbies is gaming. I love games a lot and I love playing games without any lag. I used to play all my games on the computer before I got my console(I still do). One thing that I have always battled on pc games is the issue of system requirements. Contrary to popular belief, when you are talking about system requirements for high-end games or a graphics demanding app, it is not only about the CPU. Your GPU plays a major role and that is why a core i5 computer will play or run an app that a core i7 computer is struggling to run. Today, we will walk over the how-to of graphically-intensive applications GPU selection.
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A computer GPU defined and terms explained
From an adventurous user’s point of view, I have in-depth knowledge on this subject matter. I started with a desktop computer with a GPU, upgraded to a laptop with 64mb VRAM GPU, later to 128mb pc, 256mb video ram, 512mb VRAM pc and now to a 2gb (VRAM) dedicated GPU with an additional 128mb VRAM integrated. I have also operated a mac with an integrated GPU and that of a dedicated switchable GPU.
What is a PC GPU?
According to pcmag.com A GPU. (Graphics Processing Unit) is a programmable logic chip (processor) specialized for display functions. The GPU renders images, animations and video for the computer’s screen.GPUs are located on plug-in cards, in a chipset on the motherboard or in the same chip as the CPU (in the case of an integrateGPUpu)
Differences between a GPU and a CPU
The CPU (central processing unit) has often been called the brains of the PC. But increasingly, that brain is being enhanced by another part of the PC – the GPU(graphics processing unit), which is its soul. All PCs have chips that render the display images to monitors.
Importance of a dedicated / discrete GPU
If you buy a laptop computer, there is every possibility that it has an inbuilt (GPU)vga. However, modern windows computers now come either with a dedicated GPU, or a combination of both. The followings are the reasons why you may consider going for a computer with a dedicated GPU:
- General performance of the computer: An integrated graphics card is bound to the motherboard and shares RAM with the CPU, reducing the total amount of RAM available. On the contrary, a dedicated GPU has its own ram and does not slow down the computer.
- Video and image rendering: You may have a problem with some video playback and also have problems view some hd images if you have an extremely low GPU.
- For graphically-intensive apps like games, CAD and photo touch ups or some media players. A media player like kodi also requires a good GPU.
- 3D Visualization. Graphics processing units drive viewport performance in many 3D visualization applications. Everything from Computer Aided Design (CAD) to powerful 3D modelling and VFX platforms like Maya, 3DS Max and Modo and so on.
- Larger display: For example, 4k display requires a dedicated graphics card.
graphically-intensive applications GPU selection definition of terms.
Note: A GPU and a CPU go hand in hand. One cannot be separated from the other. A high CPU requires an equally high GPU and vice versa. However, you are not actually doing yourself much good if you buy a computer with a very high CPU and a low GPU. That is if you are a lover of graphics
- VRAM: According to Wikipedia Video RAM, or VRAM, is a dual-ported variant of dynamic RAM (DRAM), which was once commonly used to store the framebuffer in graphics adapters.
- GPU clock: Just as we have a CPU clock speed(which is measured in GHz that is why you can have a dual-core 2.2ghz and a core 13 at 1.9ghz)GPU clock is the graphics processor unit’s (GPU) clock speed, measured in megahertz (MHz). Also called Engine clock
- Dedicated GPU: Also known as discrete GPU is a Graphics Processing Unit that is not part of the CPU, ie, it’s a separate add-in board or a separate chip on the system board (usually in laptops and AIOs.) Discrete GPUs also use their own VRAM instead of using system RAM for video processing
- Integrated GPU: It entails Placing the computer’s display circuitry in the chipset on the motherboard or on the same chip as the CPU. Integrated graphics shares memory with the CPU
- What is a switchable GPU? The Switchable Graphics feature allows you to switch between using the Intel®graphics and a discrete graphics controller in a computer.
How to select a computer with the ideal GPU for my needs
Noteworthy, if all you need from a computer is basic tasks like running light applications, using Microsoft office and the likes, you may go with any computer whatsoever. On the contrary, if you are a light or heavy gamer, a video editor or you run-heavy apps that require intensive graphics, you need to read this.
How to view your GPU/display properties on windows and mac
For windows you can do this in two ways; 1. via device manager and secondly by right-clicking on any empty space on your deskop>>change resolution/personalze>>Advance display>>display adapter properties. see below. for your dedicated GPU, just launch your Nvidia or AMD control panel and click on system info.
How to select a computer with a desirable GPU
Graphically-intensive applications GPU selection is indeed a no brainer. I mean it is very easy to come by. All you need to do is to search online for a computer of your choice based on the configuration. Firstly, it is worthy of note that you need to be proactive about this. I mean, when you are buying a new pc, check the manufacturer’s website for the full specs. Then, determine what you want to use it for graphically. For example, if you want to use yours for modern pc games or video editing, get a pc with the highest CPU and the highest GPU that you can afford.
The name doesn’t count here. For Mac users, get the latest MacBook Pro with a discrete Nvidia graphics(switchable). You can partition your mac to run windows, or use a virtual machine. I want to repeat here, focus on the configuration aspect that has to do with RAM(get a minimum of 8gb), CPU and GPU. Some CPU clocks have a turbo. for example, mine has 1.8ghz with a turbo of 3.0ghz. In other words, I can conveniently run a game or an application that requires 3.0ghz clock speed
How to test the power of my discrete/dedicated GPU
After purchase, you need to know the limits of your GPU. Application developers release new titles weekly if not daily. These new titles require more resources in terms of GPU and CPU power. For example, you can compare the system requirements of pes 2010 with that of 2017. Because of this, you need to predetermine what your system can run and what it can’t.
Furthermore, you may need to change your default GPU if you own a computer with a 2-in-1 GPU. Mine came with both Intel and Nvidia but Intel was the default for all applications. Immediately I installed my pes 2017, I choose Nvidia as the default for my games and similar app. If you do not do that, you will have problems running some games and other GPU-intensive apps. You will get a message like the one below
Immediately I changed to the high-performance GPU(Nvidia in my case) the game ran smoothly and at the highest settings. I will now leave you with some valuable links that will serve as a guide for buying your next pc.
How to check your Pc configuration before buying it
If you are planning to buy a used computer, check the hardware config by clicking on run>>type system information and click okay. If you are using a mac, simply click on the apple logo>>about this mac. On the contrary, if you are buying new, check the full specification on the OEM site.
- For your games even before you buy it. You will need to visit this site to learn if your computer can run a game
- If you wish to know how powerful your GPU is, visit this site
- In a similar fashion, if you want to learn about the best GPU so as you can know what to look out for, visit this link
In case you do not know, running an application on an underpowered computer can ultimately lead to the death of your pc. I have personally attested to the burial of some computer motherboard as a result of running app that exceeds the configuration. Like I said at the beginning of this article, you do not need to buy a high-end pc if you will not need it. However, be 100% sure that you or any member of your family will not run a demanding app on it. If money is not the problem and if portability is not an issue, please go as high as possible.
We now have some notebooks that are very light and portable you can get any of them. Summarily, if you want to dedicated gaming pc or a pc for video editing, you will look at the Alienware, MSI etc. Click on this link for a preview of the best gaming pc for 2017 . Have a wonderful week and do not forget to share this with friends and families.