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Thread: How much video card do you need?

  1. #1

    How much video card do you need?

    I don't really know much about video cards. I have a 2.5-year-old computer with an NVIDIA 7 series video card with 128 MB of RAM. I use 2 monitors, and I recently upgraded one of them to a 1080p HD monitor (21.5"), so its resolution is 1920x1080. My other monitor is a little smaller, and its resolution is 1280x1024.

    What exactly dictates how "much" video card you need? They always say that if you're going to be doing some intense gaming that you need a substantial video card, but my usage is pretty recreational: Word processing, e-mail, Internet, etc.

  2. #2
    If you're just doing Microsoft Word, e-mail, and surfing the Internet, you can get away with integrated video. Most of the PCs and laptops sold today come with integrated video. However, on a desktop, I prefer to have a video card. Gamers push the hardware so they would want a good high end GPU.

    The NVIDIA Optimus seems to be a leap in the right direction with the way it powers on and off, depending upon what you're doing.

    I'll let the gamers chime in.
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  3. #3
    hmm... I've never heard of integrated video. Seems like PCs pretty much only come with video cards. Is there any sort of rule for how much memory your video card should have versus your "total resolution"?

  4. #4
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    crazyskiiier,

    If your GAMING on those 2 monitors at the same time thats when you need to worry about VRAM (video ram) but if your only using the monitors as displays and not gaming on them then as long as your video card supports 2 VGA or DVI outputs your fine and you can use 2 monitors without having to worry about performance issues.

    Even the crappiest of video cards can handle running 2 higher resolution monitors. But if you plan on playing games on them or watching a moovie you may run into issues.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_coffee View Post
    crazyskiiier,

    If your GAMING on those 2 monitors at the same time thats when you need to worry about VRAM (video ram) but if your only using the monitors as displays and not gaming on them then as long as your video card supports 2 VGA or DVI outputs your fine and you can use 2 monitors without having to worry about performance issues.

    Even the crappiest of video cards can handle running 2 higher resolution monitors. But if you plan on playing games on them or watching a moovie you may run into issues.
    Just in line with the answer I was looking for. How about watching a movie on just one of the higher resolution monitors? I guess that sounds like a ridiculous question since most people would not watch two movies simultaneously on different high-res monitors at the same time.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    With the graphics card you listed it will be fine. A cheap $50 graphics card can handle it. As long as you have 128 you will be fine.
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  7. #7
    Corey (or anyone else who knows video cards) maybe you can answer a related question for me...

    I am planning to install Boxee on my Core2 Quad 2.4GH with 3GB RAM. I will connect this to my 37" 1080p TV via s-video (for now).

    I currently have a nVidea geForce 8500 (256 mb... I think). Do I need anything more than this to get good quality video on the TV... aside from the fact that it's getting an analog signal...?

    If something beefier is needed, any suggestions? I don't imagine it would be necessary, but my mother-board does support SLI configuration. And if I do need to upgrade, how much more cooling and/or power supply would I need - I have just about the bare minimum for both (250W for power supply i think) right now - don't do any gaming so nothing pushes it too hard as is - don't plan to overclock.

    Let me know what you all think.

    Thanks,

    -dave

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  8. #8
    You could get high-definition output if you connected it with component cables instead of S-Video. I have a home theater computer hooked up to my high-definition TV with a $50 video card and the images great. When it comes to video cards, you really only need high-performance cards if you doing a lot of 3-D software like games or CAD. Even then their special video cards for that.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rybread View Post
    You could get high-definition output if you connected it with component cables instead of S-Video. I have a home theater computer hooked up to my high-definition TV with a $50 video card and the images great. When it comes to video cards, you really only need high-performance cards if you doing a lot of 3-D software like games or CAD. Even then their special video cards for that.
    yeah eventually, i'll have to get a video card with an hdmi output... but for now, you don't think i'll have any problems whatsoever watching full screen video on the 37" tv with the card I've got?

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  10. #10
    I don't think you'll have problems with the setup, dave, but you may be disappointed with the results if you are used to watching tv programs in HD.

    I had a similar setup for a while: vga output from my old laptop to the TV, ran Boxee/XBMC along with a browser for web content (think hulu, joost, justin.tv). It wasn't the greatest, but it was definitely watchable. Currently evaluating options for doing a tech refresh
    Daniel

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