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Home > Computer Buyer's Guide > Video Card

Video Cards For Your PC

GeForce Video CardYour computer's video card will serve as the interface between your CPU and the computer monitor.

Older video cards found on Cheap Computers will utilize an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) port on the computer motherboard. The AGP slot allows a faster transfer rate than the standard PCI bus that your video card would normally use.

Most video graphics cards also have their own video memory installed on the card, which increases memory performance. This will be expressed in MB (MegaBytes), such as 16 MB or 64 MB, etc.

The more inexpensive desktop computers generally don't have separate video cards. Instead, they will have an integrated graphics chip that is designed directly into the motherboard. The graphics chips that come as part of a pre-built computer system are never as powerful as separate video cards, such as the GeForce series from NVIDIA

If you intend to play high-end computer games, or if you need to use any software programs that are very graphic-intensive, you might want to consider investing in a more powerful video card.

Recommendations: 8X AGP video graphics card or higher with 256 MB Video RAM minimum.

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)

AGP is an interface developed by Intel which allows a graphics card to directly access memory. This feature, along with wider bandwidth, helps improve the graphics performance of your computer and monitor.

For the most part, AGP has replaced older PCI video cards due to superior performance. Just about all modern motherboards have an AGP slot built into them as a standard feature, and other motherboards will have a full AGP graphics card built-in.

You will see AGP cards advertised with different specifications, but the main thing to look at is throughput (bandwidth), here is a summary of throughput speeds:

  • 1X - 266 MBps
  • 2X - 533 MBps
  • 4X - 1.07 GBps
  • 8X - 2.14 GBps

MBps is MegaBits per second, GBps is GigaBits per second.

Video cards are where the price of a computer can really skyrocket. If you get a pre-built machine with a high-end video card, the price tag is going to reflect the cost of a powerful graphics card. Most brands of Cheap Computers use low-to-mid range video cards that don't drive up the price and handle most computer applications quite well.

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