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What makes a graphics card 'good'?

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    Hello people that know about technology...

    I currently play Starcraft 2 on my laptop, and to ensure it all runs nice and smooth, I drop all but one setting down to lowest. This doesn't particularly bother me, but it would be nice to perhaps change laptop sometime in the future and bump up the settings a little.

    My question is how do you tell if a graphics card is good? When I look at system requirements, on any game, it normally says "Graphics card: Nvidia XYZ followed by numbers I don't understand"

    For example on SC minimum requirements, the number after the minimum Nvidia card is '6600', but the number after the 'Radeon' card is 9800? Does a higher number mean the card is better? And why does it change? I obviously need to know what makes a good card if I have any money to upgrade to a better suited laptop down the line. Cheers
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    Hello people that know about technology...

    I currently play Starcraft 2 on my laptop, and to ensure it all runs nice and smooth, I drop all but one setting down to lowest. This doesn't particularly bother me, but it would be nice to perhaps change laptop sometime in the future and bump up the settings a little.

    My question is how do you tell if a graphics card is good? When I look at system requirements, on any game, it normally says "Graphics card: Nvidia XYZ followed by numbers I don't understand"

    For example on SC minimum requirements, the number after the minimum Nvidia card is '6600', but the number after the 'Radeon' card is 9800? Does a higher number mean the card is better? And why does it change? I obviously need to know what makes a good card if I have any money to upgrade to a better suited laptop down the line. Cheers
    Well technically yes, the higher the number the better.
    However what the problem is at the moment, is that they've changed the numbering on Nvdia which is like 4xx or 5xx or 6xx with GT in front for laptops. While Radeon is AMD6XXXM or AMD7XXXM.

    But the newer laptops have something like a GT540M or GT630M which are quite equal and pretty good generally. Going any higher will increase costs.

    And you need a good cpu to make it run along, to get the best from it.
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    This website (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Compute...s.13849.0.html) is the single most useful comparison of graphics cards that I've found, gives you a good overview of what kind of performance you can expect on various games with pretty much any graphics card on the market at the moment.
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    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

    They're higher up this list.
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    (Original post by Iqbal007)
    Well technically yes, the higher the number the better.
    However what the problem is at the moment, is that they've changed the numbering on Nvdia which is like 4xx or 5xx or 6xx with GT in front for laptops. While Radeon is AMD6XXXM or AMD7XXXM.
    Do I need to recognise what each brand would class as a high or low number? For example the Nvidia and Radeon seem to use different numbers which is pretty confusing to me.

    And you need a good cpu to make it run along, to get the best from it.
    Okay I'll remember this as well. I think my current laptop (not intended for gaming) has decent power but the graphics card gets wrecked on high settings. Thanks for the advice mate.
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    List of important things you should consider:
    GPU clock speed, size of the memory bus, amount of available memory, memory clock rate and bandwidth.

    Clock speed + amount of mem. are probably the most important factors, and the higher they are the better the GPU is. Make sure your CPU and motherboard are both capable of running the GPU - if not you will lose a lot of its performance.
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    (Original post by mikeyd85)
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

    They're higher up this list.
    Cheers
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)

    I currently play Starcraft 2 on my laptop, Cheers
    If you ever need some tips...WCG UK semi-finalist here...

    hahaha, starcraft were the days. f off exams!
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    Do I need to recognise what each brand would class as a high or low number? For example the Nvidia and Radeon seem to use different numbers which is pretty confusing to me.



    Okay I'll remember this as well. I think my current laptop (not intended for gaming) has decent power but the graphics card gets wrecked on high settings. Thanks for the advice mate.
    They both class the higher numbers as better, but obviously comparing 2 will have different results.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Compari...rds.130.0.html

    That website looks particularly at laptop graphics card and you can even see the results of them on certain games
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    Hello people that know about technology...

    I currently play Starcraft 2 on my laptop, and to ensure it all runs nice and smooth, I drop all but one setting down to lowest. This doesn't particularly bother me, but it would be nice to perhaps change laptop sometime in the future and bump up the settings a little.

    My question is how do you tell if a graphics card is good? When I look at system requirements, on any game, it normally says "Graphics card: Nvidia XYZ followed by numbers I don't understand"

    For example on SC minimum requirements, the number after the minimum Nvidia card is '6600', but the number after the 'Radeon' card is 9800? Does a higher number mean the card is better? And why does it change? I obviously need to know what makes a good card if I have any money to upgrade to a better suited laptop down the line. Cheers
    Nvidia and AMD are the only graphics manufacturers really so you don't need to worry about memorising too many systems, but at the moment:


    Nvidia is named with 3 number ABC - e.g. Nvidia GTX 680

    The first number says how new they are - the 6XX series is newer than 5XX series which is newer than 4XX series.

    The second number is how good they are compared to others in their series so GTX 680 is better than GTX 670 etc.

    The third number is usually always a zero - but sometimes they have a 5 and so 555 is better than 550.

    The 480 would be better than a 550 (whilst the 480 might be a year and a bit older - it was top of the range when released). Nvidia usually go up to X80, X90 is usually reserved for their dual GPU cards (basically 2 cards in one) and they cost £700+


    AMD Radeon cards are fairly similar, in that the first number denote the age and the second number denoted how good it is in that range, except AMD have 4 numbers.

    e.g. 6850, 6950

    The third number is either a 3, or a 5, or a 7 which again just says how good they are in that 'sub-range' i.e. 6870 is better than 6850. The one exception to being 3/5/7 is there dual GPU cards where it will be a 9 (e.g. Radeon 6990)

    The newest Nvidia range is 6XX and newest Radeon range is 7XXX

    They will always have an 'm' afterwards if they're laptop to denote 'mobile' graphics card.



    The best thing to do to see if the graphics cards meet your demands is to type 'Nvidia GT 650m benchmarks' into google, for example and click on what looks to be a good link. The best for laptop graphics benchmark is probably notebookcheck.net

    Taking the 650m as an example, go here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.71887.0.html and then scroll down until you can see performance on different games at different settings (low, medium, high, ultra usually) and the frames per second. Ideally for most games you want 40 frames per second or higher, and 60+ is what I'd call very smooth


    Hope that helps!
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    (Original post by Tyles)
    If you ever need some tips...WCG UK semi-finalist here...

    hahaha, starcraft were the days. f off exams!
    Not bad mate, not bad at all I'm still terrible at SC but getting better. One of my favourite phrases I read was something along the lines of:

    'You never get good at Starcraft, you only get less horrible'.

    (Original post by Iqbal007)
    They both class the higher numbers as better, but obviously comparing 2 will have different results.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Compari...rds.130.0.html

    That website looks particularly at laptop graphics card and you can even see the results of them on certain games
    Nice one mate, cheers for that

    (Original post by hassi94)
    Hope that helps!
    It definitely did! Thanks a lot to all of you, clears up all my questions.
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    Ppowweerrrr!!!!

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