Graphics Card FAQs
All games have recommended graphic card settings that will help you choose the right graphics card for your PC for what the game maker considers an optimal experience. You can also learn more by checking out our GPU buying guide.
Some graphics cards (like Intel HD series cards) are actually integrated on your CPU and cannot be moved; however, if you can’t remove your graphics card from its slot, don’t force the card out. Be sure the locking clip on the right end of the slot is in the unlocked position. If that doesn’t work, consult your owner’s manual.
In Windows 10 hit the Windows Key + R key and type “dxdiag” and hit enter. Click on the Display Tab and your Graphics card will be listed there. If you have an older version of Windows or don’t have a Windows Key just click on the Windows Icon in the system tray and select run and type dxdiag.
Graphics cards are used in games and 3D-accelerated applications. Graphics cards can be found in some desktop and laptop PCs. A graphics card can either be a dedicated card that is attached to the motherboard via an expansion slot, or they are embedded into the CPU or onto the system’s main circuit board. Systems like mobile phones, workstations, and game consoles will use either a dedicated or embedded card to display graphics.
Laptops with dedicated graphics cards use special form-factor GPUs in order to fit in the laptop body, some of which can be replaced and upgraded. Laptops without dedicated GPUs usually rely on an embedded graphics solution on the CPU.
In most cases, your graphics card is a rectangular component between eight to twelve inches long and sticks out perpendicularly from the motherboard about halfway up the height of your PC. Small form factor cases or unorthodox graphics card placement are possible, but rare. If you don’t see an obvious graphics card, it’s possible your system relies on integrated graphics on your CPU.
There are a number of graphics cards that support 4K, but one of the best options for gaming at 4K resolution on a standard 60Hz display is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super; however, it must also be paired with a powerful CPU.
The right graphics card for you depends on your specific needs. All games and applications have recommended graphics card settings that will help you choose the right graphics card for your PC and for what the game or application maker considers an optimal experience. You can also learn more by checking out our GPU buying guide.
If you don’t already have a graphics card, installing one can improve the performance of your system, especially when it comes to gaming. If you already have a GPU, upgrading to a newer and more powerful card can give you a boost.
No, your graphics card does not reduce or cause lag. If you are experiencing lag, it is more than likely your internet connection. However, your monitor or even your peripherals like a keyboard and mouse can also be a culprit given lower quality usually has delays between when they get the input and when you see it on screen.
Graphics cards continue to evolve every year, adding new technology and features like ray tracing. GPU technology and power will continue to advance for the foreseeable future.
Graphics card pricing is always fluctuating, but prices are usually at their lowest during big holiday sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The release of new hardware generally causes the prices for older hardware to fall.
Graphics cards will work without drivers installed, but your usage of the card may be limited. For maximum use, install your graphics card drivers before playing any games.
Top-of-the-line GPUs have tended to get larger, rather than smaller, over the past few decades, but miniaturization has made it possible for more advanced graphics capabilities to fit into smaller form factors. Mainstream GPUs are unlikely to shrink in the near future, but alternatives to GPUs and compact form-factor GPUs will likely become more popular.
First remove the graphics drivers of your old graphics card. Then shut down your pc and remove your old graphics card. After removing your old graphics card from your motherboard, you should be able to insert the new graphics card into a PCIe slot on your board, screw it into the case, and then connect the appropriate power cable. Once your computer is up and running, install the latest graphics drivers for your new card by visiting the manufacturer’s website.
Visiting the card manufacturer’s website is the best way to update your graphics drivers for Nvidia and AMD especially; however, if you don’t have one of those graphics cards or have another manufacturer’s, you can update your drivers by going into your Device Manager, clicking on your Display Adapter, and looking for “Update Drivers.”
In order to get the full benefit of 144Hz, your game or application needs to run at 144 frames per second. Most high-end NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards will support 144 Hz at different resolutions. Finding an application like Windows Game Bar (Windows Key + G) to monitor your framerate while playing a game will show you if your graphics card is capable of supporting 144hz. Remember also, in order to experience the benefits of this refresh rate both your monitor and your connecting cable must support it. More demanding games and higher resolutions make it harder to reach 144 Hz.
While this is not something a beginner should perform, graphics cards can be repaired. Damage to any GPU is usually complicated to repair, and everything depends on the level of damage or whether or not it is better to just buy a new one.
Graphics card problems can cause shutdowns or crashes. The most prevalant cause is overheating. Verify your computer is in a well ventilated area and clear of dust. Check to see if your fans are spinning on the graphics card while playing a game. If this doesn’t fix your issue or if you aren’t seeing your fans spinning while playing games, consult a PC expert to determine what the issues are.
Graphics cards can die like most components in a system. Graphics cards are a critical component of any personal computer, and a graphics card failure can make a PC unusable.
No, certain graphics cards cannot fit inside of EVERY computer. Graphics cards do have some universal features; however, some have features (size, card slot, etc.) that make them incompatible with certain computers. This can be especially apparent with large GPUs and compact PC cases. Ensuring that the dimensions of your graphics cards (Length and Height) are compatible with the case you are using is a must.
Graphics cards can overheat and can cause various problems for your computer’s performance. To avoid overheating, make sure you clean the dust out of your system, ensure the computer is in an open and well ventilated area, and check to make sure your system fans are working.
A graphics card is a physical piece of hardware and cannot be downloaded. You can download a graphics card’s drivers to get it to work with your computer.
Graphics cards can become obsolete as new technology or features are introduced, such as the recent advances in real-time ray tracing. They can also become below the minimum requirement for a particular program or game, and many programs won’t actually run if using a card that is below the minimum spec.
Yes, a graphics card is capable of causing a blue screen error in Windows. Common causes are outdated drivers or overheating. Checking to ensure you have the latest drivers, that your Graphics Cards fans are working, and that your computer is free of dust is an approach to troubleshooting this issue.
Graphics card problems can cause freezing. More than likely the issues are driver related, and updating your drivers may fix the problem; however, if you continue to get blue screen errors, your computer can lockup and freeze, or your computer can reboot; we recommend consulting a PC expert to determine what the issues are.
A graphics card can slow down your computer depending on what you are doing. Graphics cards can be a major source of slow down when playing games, but have little to no impact on your computer’s performance when browsing the web or running non-3D applications.
In general, no. Laptops with dedicated video cards may have the GPU soldered directly to the motherboard itself. To upgrade the video card would mean replacing the motherboard which may be cost prohibitive. Some laptops’ motherboards do have separate GPUs that are replaceable, but the GPUs aren’t typically sold through major retail channels. We recommend consulting an expert or reading about your specific laptop model before making any decisions about what to do.
To check if your GPU will work with a specific game or program, check the game or program’s recommended system requirements online to see if your hardware meets or exceeds them. You can also use sites like the System Requirements Lab.
Most graphics cards will fit in standard full-size PC cases, but if your case is a smaller form factor and your graphics card is especially large, you might run into issues. Many part resellers, like Newegg, show the maximum graphics card demensions in thier product pages, and it is good to reference those before making a purchase.
An older or underpowered graphics card can slow down your computer. This is true when playing games, but not so true when browsing the web or running non-3D applications.
Yes, a graphics card will be one of the biggest components to improve your FPS (frames-per-second). How much it will improve depends on the resolution you are running your game at. If you are using a monitor with a resolution of 1920×1080, then your CPU as well as your Graphics Card determine your FPS. As your resolution increases your GPU does more of the work and will have a bigger impact on your FPS in the games you play.
Graphics cards are one of the most important components for gaming at high resolutions and at high FPS. Upgrading your GPU to something more powerful and with more memory can help reduce slowdown while gaming. But if your “lag” is only a problem in online games, then it’s likely an issue with your internet connection, more than your computer’s performance.