What is a GPU?
The GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and relates to the display controls for the computer. It can be an onboard GPU, which is when the computer uses the chip that is built onto the motherboard, or it can be a dedicated GPU, which is when you add a graphics card to the computer to override the onboard graphics.
GPU’s – What you need to know.
There are a number of factors that affect GPU performance - core speed of the GPU, the number of cores it has in total (Cuda or Stream), ROP’s (Render Output Unit), amount of VRAM (see below) and the speed at which it runs etc. There are other factors too, but the total raw performance of the card is usually measured in Tflops (Trillion’s of floating point operations per second).
A typical entry level card such as an GTX 1650 offering around 3Tflops and a top of the range card such as the nVidia RTX 3090 offering around 36Tflops.
Cards which are worth looking at:
GTX 1650 4GB: Entry level card, general use, light gaming. Cheapest card I would suggest for gaming.
GTX 1660 Super 6GB: Solid lower mid range gaming at up to 1080p, high details.
RTX 3050 8GB : Mid range card for 1080 / 1440p
RTX 3060ti 8GB: Upper mid range, sweet spot for price vs performance.
RTX 3070 8GB: Gateway to the high end. Great performance, high detail and high frame rates 1440p.
RTX 3080 10 / 12GBGB: Brilliant gaming card, able to cope with AAA titles, max detail settings and high frame rates at 1440p-4K.
RTX 3080ti 12GB: Gaming in high detail at 4k resolution 4K displays.
RTX 3090 24GB: The flagship, though not that much faster in games that the 3080ti. Only worth it if you need the extra Vram or you just want the best.
AMD Radeon 5700XT 8GB: If you can find one, a great mid range card for up to 1440p.
AMD Radeon 6700XT 12GB: Landing somewhere between the RTX 3060 and the 3060ti
AMD Radeon 6800XT 12GB: This card’s performance is positioned between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080, it has great performance with only Ray Tracing performance being sub par.
How much VRAM (graphic memory do I need?)
VRAM or Video RAM is a type of memory that is used in computer display. When images are sent to the display, they are first read by the CPU as data and then written to VRAM. From here the data is sent as a digital signal.
How much VRAM you need will depend, but as a general rule of thumb, the higher the resolution you game at and the higher the texture details, the more extra VRAM will help performance. At the moment for gaming at 1080p, 4 - 6GB is enough, 8GB is recommended for 1440p gaming, and 4K cards can require more. This may change however, as games get more and more VRAM hungry by the year.
What’s coming in 2022:
nVidia: TheLovelace architecture is nVidia’s next generation GPU technology, promising more performance than ever before. The rumour is it’s is due to land at the end of 2022, though little more is currently known.
AMD: RDNA3 is AMD’s next gen GPU technology, not too much is currently known, but much like Lovelace it should bring power and performance benefits. Again, it is rumoured to arrive late on in 2022.