ID:181028
 
Hey, I'm trying to figure out more about video cards. I want to know how to look for a good graphics card, how to know the terms used when buying one, and how to interpret the difference in the numbers in the names like Nvidia 460 and ATI Radeon 4250. I've already made a blog post about it (http://www.byond.com/members/ Ganing?command=view_post&post=120884), but basically what I'm looking for is a guide to graphics cards for newbs. I know about all the other parts of the computer, but my hardware class barely touched graphics cards.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_card

Most games have their requirements listed online, so finding out specifically how powerful a card you need is as simple as figuring out the clock speeds/memory of the card they list.
In response to Robertbanks2 (#1)
I've looked at the page a while back, but I'm still confused about things like Stream Processors. What are they and what do they contribute? I'm not looking for a card to run a specific game, I'm looking for a card that I know will be able to run at least 75% of the games out there at least on the lowest settings. I have an ATI Radeon HD 4250 and I can't run Black Ops on the lowest settings, but I can run WoW on the lowest settings. Basically, I want to know what I'm buying.

I've been using this as an example http://www.newegg.com/Product/ Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131397&cm_sp=Cat_Video_Cards_%26% 2338%3b_Video_Devices-_-Clearance-_-14-131-397 and have been trying to figure out what everything on this page means, but I only know the general stuff and am still newbin'.
In response to Ganing (#2)
http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/ 363095-processing-cores-vs-stream-processing-units.html

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/video/overRAMDAC-c.html

http://www.gpureview.com/core-clock-article-354.html

http://www.gpureview.com/memory-clock-article-355.html

Those are some basic definitions and explanations of the terminology behind graphics cards.

A simple comparison between your card and the one you linked to would show the following info:

Radeon HD 4250

Core clock: 500MHz
Stream Processors: 40
Memory clock: 0
Memory: shared


Radeon HD 6790

Core clock: 840MHz
Stream Processors: 800
Memory clock: 1050(4.2GB/s)
Memory: 1GB

These are the numbers you need to look at when comparing cards. Your current card is integrated, which isn't generally good for gaming.

Integrated cards tend to be considerably slower, as well as share your computer's RAM, which slows things down even more compared to a dedicated card(such as the 6790). They function well for basic computing and budget gaming, but just aren't suited for the average modern game.

Dedicated cards have their own memory, which can be interacted with much more quickly than the computer's RAM. They can also afford to have much higher clock speeds because they can be more easily cooled than integrated cards.

http://www.amazon.com/ Sapphire-Radeon-HD5670-PCI-Express-100289VGAL/dp/B004VQECCG/ ref=sr_1_49?ie=UTF8&qid=1315492040&sr=8-49

That is what I'm currently looking at for a new card(currently using a Radeon HD 3000). It's powerful enough to handle most modern games without killing your wallet. It also supports crossfire, which basically allows you to use multiple similar graphics cards at once.
In response to Robertbanks2 (#3)
If you want a card thats gonna last with new games to come
go long time and play alot of games

1. go with a newer card from now
2. go with a external card ( like robert said )

and for info moer places like the manufactur tell you

such as the card i got

http://www.geforce.com/Hardware/NotebookGPUs/ geforce-gtx-580m
GPU Engine Specs:
384 CUDA Cores
1240 Processor Clock (MHz)
39.7 Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec)

Memory Specs:
1500 MHzMemory Clock
GDDR5 Memory Interface
256-bit Memory Interface Width
96.0 Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)

3D Vision Ready
3D Blu-Ray Yes
3D Gaming Yes
3D Photos Yes
Being 3d Card and since 3d games are slowly coming out like Black Ops And Mw3 it tells you that this will last a while.
I've actually gotten into looking at benchmark tests to determine which cards are better than others recently. They also usually tell what games were played and what their framerates were playing it utilizing said card and what quality settings they were on. I determined that my laptop's 560M is more than enough to play modern games, is much cheaper than the 580M, and the benchmark numbers aren't that far behind. It plays Skyrim beautifully on medium-high settings with actor and object fade maxed.