Jumat, 11 Mei 2012

Test , Graphics cards, Buyer's guide

Test , Graphics cards, Buyer's guide
this month's tests concentrate on both gaming performance and GPGPU capabilities, but there are more than benchmark results to consider when buying a graphics card. For instance, the size of a card should be the first consideration. Take AMD's Radeon HD 5990: its a prime piece of top-end gaming hardware, but it's also 307mm long.

That’s the longest card in this month's test, and it won't fit into most standard PC cases. Theres more chance of fitting larger cards into high-end enclosures, as many enthusiast cases have hard disk cages that can be removed to accommodate large GPUs.

 If not, enthusiast motherboards often have secondary PCT Express x16 slots that also run at their full capacity; using one may allow the card to be installed successfully. its worth checking your PSU, too, to make sure it has the requisite power output and connections, especially with high-end cards. These often have demanding power requirements, and require eight-pin, rather than six-pin, power connectors.

 Many cheap PSUs simply won't provide the wattage required to power expensive cards, and eight-pin connectors aren't as common. The dimensions, power draw and power connections of all the cards on test can be found in the feature table on p58, so be sure to look before you buy. There are also unique considerations at the cheaper end of the market.

These chips are modest enough that they often don't need fans to keep them cool, and instead survive with passive heatsinks - thats great if you're striving to reduce the noise from your PC. These cards aren't as large as high-end cards, traditionally little longer than the PCI Express slot they occupy. They use single rather than double-slot coolers, and theyre generally not as wide and obtrusive. Some also come with shorter PCT blankers in the box, which make them ideal for use in smaller enclosures and media-centre cases.

It’s worth checking both your PSU and case to ensure you have the connectors and the
space to fit a Card.

Finally, theres the question of whether you need a graphics card at all. If you’re looking mainly towards playing or encoding video, or other less intensive tasks, todays CPUs come with integrated graphics chips that are perfectly capable, as we discover on p62.

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