The image texts, pictures, OS interface elements, video, complex graphics are displayed on the computer screen thanks to the work of the video card. The speed of the programs and the user’s comfort depend on the characteristics of this component. Since a laptop computer is different from a desktop computer, each type of device will need a different video adapter. Users buy equipment for different purposes, so manufacturers produce components with very different characteristics. This makes it difficult for users How To Choose A Graphics Card For Laptop that is suitable for a particular case.
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How graphics card Works?
All information in electronic devices is presented in the form of alternating zeros and ones. The computer processor decrypts the received data using a set of special algorithms and transfers the task of processing information to the video adapter, which is equipped with its own processor.
The video card determines how exactly the points from which the picture is built should be placed on the display. Then the image prepared for human perception is displayed on the screen, which in the case of a stationary PC is connected to the system unit using a cable, and in the case of a laptop a flexible cable hidden under the case cover. The process is repeated dozens of times per second so that the transition between individual frames is smooth, without jerking and overlapping details from different parts of the picture.
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How To Choose A Graphics Card For Laptop?
A laptop graphics card should be compact due to the small size of the device, but not inferior in performance to similar components that are designed for system units. At the same time, it is important to take into account the needs of users, not all of whom need to watch videos in ultra-high definition, as well as run programs for processing and creating graphics or the latest versions of computer games. Video adapter manufacturers take into account the needs and capabilities of customers and produce three types of components: discrete, integrated, and hybrid.
Discrete graphics card
It is produced in the form of a separate bracket that connects to the motherboard. Most often, such a part cannot be removed from the laptop, since the video chip is soldered on the motherboard. Discrete (also called dedicated) graphics adapters have their own RAM and cooling system. They are distinguished by high performance and price, consume a lot of electricity, get very hot during operation, but provide the highest quality and most realistic image.
Dedicated graphics for notebooks are produced by nVidia and AMD.
In this case, the adapter is located on the motherboard or built into the central processor. The component uses the computer’s RAM, but some models are equipped with their own small memory. The power of the built-in video card is quite enough for office tasks, study, watching videos, surfing the Internet, but you will not be able to run a game with complex graphics on a laptop. Such a video chip is affordable, consumes a little power, and does not overheat during operation.
Graphics chips of this kind are manufactured by Intel and AMD.
Hybrid graphics card
Combination of the first two options: the laptop is equipped with both types of chips, integrated and discrete. When running software that does not need to display complex graphics on the screen, the built-in adapter is used, and when running games and other resource-intensive programs, a discrete one is turned on. This allows you to optimize the operation of the device, reduce heating and electricity consumption.
Video adapter options
There are two main characteristics that affect the performance of a video card:
- GPU frequency;
- amount of video memory.
The processor frequency is measured in megahertz (MHz) and shows how many simple calculations the chip can perform in one second. For budget models, the value is hundreds, for top-end models over one thousand megahertz.
Video memory is used for the temporary storage of intermediate data. Integrated video chips use the system RAM during operation. For discrete video cards, the value is indicated in gigabytes, but if necessary, system-wide resources are also allocated for the needs of the graphics controller.
Among other important parameters that appear in the ratings of video cards for laptops, it should be noted:
- Tire width.
Affects the video memory bandwidth. The higher the value, the more data can be transferred per clock cycle. It fluctuates from 32 to 512 bits, the optimal figure for gaming models is from 256 bits.
- Types of video outputs.
You can display the image on different devices that are connected to adapters through different interfaces. For analog video, this is VGA, for digital – DVI, for simultaneous output of audio and video data – HDMI.
- Cooling system type.
Low noise, but not very efficient passive system is suitable for video cards with low performance. Powerful gaming models require active cooling, sometimes using liquid refrigerants. The main disadvantage of the second type is the noise of the fans.
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Which graphics card is best for laptop?
The first tip when choosing a graphics adapter is to determine the scope of your laptop. The possibilities of an expensive and powerful video card will not be fully revealed when working only with software for office tasks, and a budget integrated controller will not cope with drawing complex 3D graphics in new games.
For work, study, communication on the network, it is enough to stop at an inexpensive integrated video chip with a memory capacity of 256-512 MB.
For gamers, a discrete model with video memory of 1 GB or more is suitable.
If you plan to run games and watch high-definition videos only from time to time, then it is worth buying a laptop with hybrid graphics in order to switch between components as needed. It is desirable that the card has an HDMI output (for example, for connecting to a TV).
You can navigate among the abundance of models and characteristics thanks to the current performance tables of video cards for laptops. They compare the parameters reported by the manufacturers, provide the results of testing hardware using special software.
An important parameter when choosing a graphics adapter is the combination of price and quality. The best graphics cards for laptops are high-performance and affordable. Ranked lists, tables, and diagrams will help you make an informed decision: they provide information in a visual way so that the likelihood of getting confused in the indicators is low even for inexperienced users.