Video Card Buying Guide
so you get the most out of your laptop computer.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400M Series or ATI Radeon HD 6000M Series
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 300M or GT 400M Series or ATI Radeon HD 4000M or
- Mainstream User: Any
NVIDIA or ATI dedicated graphics cards
- Basic User: Intel HD
or equivalent integrated graphics
How important is a laptop video
laptop graphics card is a crucial component to have in any modern
mobile computer in our opinion.
minimum these days you will even need a
card that processes 3D to fully take advantage of the Microsoft Windows
7 operating system.
performance demands for many of today's applications are greater than
ever also, and because these demands are going to only increase if you
want to future proof your investment a powerful laptop video card is
Today there are
choices galore from
leading laptop graphics card manufactures NVIDIA and ATI
fact they offer solutions that meet the demands of just about everyone
from the low-end all the way to the extreme high-end of the scale.
Laptops With Top Notch Video Cards
In today's demanding
Corporation even makes laptop video cards that are powerful enough
for Windows 7 3D features, multimedia applications, and even
basic gaming chores.
Solutions in the past
from Intel in comparison were what many would
simply call lackluster.
So as you see picking
up a powerful
laptop graphics card is a must, and because we want to see you have the
best laptop experience, we are going to help you pick one perfect for
Laptop video card
options will most likely be either a
dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA or ATI, or an integrated Intel
branded graphics card.
Not sure what
integrated or dedicated means? Don't
worry we will be covering those details in the next section
of now however these dedicated solutions from NVIDIA and ATI
Corporation are the current performance
leaders in the laptop graphics department.
In fact NVIDIA
out ATI by having the larger selection of more powerful chips these
of this writing NVIDIA's laptop video cards are among the most powerful
on the planet. ATI also manufactures extremely powerful
cards that are neck in neck in the performance department with NVIDIAs
mobile graphics chips.
Though we have to
admit that NVIDIA is our
current favorite, partly due to the fact that we're
long time NVIDIA users and also huge fans of the NVIDIA graphics driver
set compared to ATI's Catalyst drivers. But either way you
it NVIDIA or ATI, you simply cannot go wrong, for the performance you're going
to get out of your laptop is quite awesome.
notebook graphics card solutions in comparison to ATI or NVIDIA aren't
as powerful for
they are tailored strictly for the mainstream.
On the other hand
current Intel HD graphics are much
better then previous generation integrated Intel chips thanks in
part to the graphics demands of Windows 7, and industry trends.
So you can't honestly
go wrong with an Intel HD graphics if you're looking to save money on
your next laptop purchase.
But despite this
in Intel HD graphics horsepower we still
honestly recommend a dedicated graphics solution
from either NVIDIA or ATI for numerous reasons which we will detail.
Who will benefit from a dedicated
NVIDIA or ATI laptop video card?
and multimedia power users will benefit the most from dedicated
graphics cards by ATI and NVIDIA. For high-end enthusiast level gaming and powerful multimedia
recommend any NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400M Series or ATI
Radeon HD 6000M Series
chips or higher. Your line of work and play demand loads of
graphics muscle. Definitely don't skimp on the graphics if
and multimedia is your primary purpose.
course for the absolute pinnacle of
performance in gaming and 3D
applications, our ultimate recommendation hands down is an
NVIDIA laptop graphics card setup in an SLI configuration.
Just in case you
aren't in the know, SLI configurations are in a
graphics cards that work together simultaneously to improve the
performance in 3D games and applications.
Do expect to pay a
premium for such a
setup though, and forget about seeing an SLI setup in anything but the
highest-end laptops from enthusiast tailored laptop manufacturers like
Alienware, Falcon Northwest, or VooDoo.
all you mid-range gamers and multimedia jugglers, or average cats
simply looking for something powerful enough for all but the
hardest of the hard-core 3D applications, we say go for any
GeForce GTS 300M Series, NVIDIA GT 400M Series, or ATI Radeon HD 4000M
and 5000M Series chips or better. They are a great all around
performers and the typical laptop containing one won't always
everyone else, GeForce GT 400M and GeForce GT 300M series chips are
going to be great
your needs and then some. In fact, if you are looking for a
performing laptop at a great price you will most likely find one which
offers the GT 400M or 300M
series as an option.
The GeForce 400M and 300M series cards are great
all around performers that are priced well and they also
consume less power then their big brothers contributing to an increase
in laptop battery runtime too. This reason in fact is why you will
often find them in smaller thin and
you see there is a NVIDIA GeForce series
graphics processor ready to meet the demands of pretty much
any of you currently looking for a new laptop computer.
course let's not forget ATI, for if you do decide to go with an ATI
graphics processor we
really recommend you look for something currently with any ATI
Radeon HD 4000M or 5000M Series or higher
feel the Radceon HD 4000M and 5000M series are a solid starting point
most applications. Even
something a bit lower than the Radeon HD 4000M however will normally
knock the socks off your average integrated Intel graphics processor,
always look over your options closely when shopping around.
But at the end of the
day we feel any ATI or NVIDIA
graphics card is honestly going to be a great purchasing
decision from a performance and future proof standpoint over a basic
solution from Intel anyday.
This doesn't mean you
should count out
Intel HD integrated graphics though, for Intel HD graphics are included
on many fantastically priced laptops. And because Intel has
ramped up the performance of their Intel HD solutions, you're going to
get plenty of performance to handle everything except high-end
If saving money is your thing, and you're going to
primarily using your laptop for surfing the Web, word processing,
listening to music, or watching a movie, then an Intel HD laptop video
card is going to be a fully justified purchase.
what exactly should I look for in a laptop video card?
any laptop component it all really depends on your specific needs. In
general we recommend you purchase a laptop with a "Dedicated" graphics
card solution from either ATI or NVIDIA as we mentioned
you gamers and multimedia
users this is a must. A dedicated card is also a wiser choice if you
want to future proof your investment.
Dedicated? A dedicated
graphics card is one that has its own memory (RAM) onboard. Typically
anywhere between 256-512 MB or more.
Integrated on the
other hand use a
portion of your laptops main memory for graphics related duties, thus
using up some of your overall memory.
solutions are also faster and more feature rich in graphics features
allowing them to better take advantage of 3D games or multimedia
you word processors, other light duty users, or those simply on a
the other hand may want to look at an "Integrated" laptop graphics card
from Intel just in case for they may be a better option for you.
Remember as we previously mentioned Intel solutions are
than they've ever been.
Of course always
remember to pay
attention to your options for these days a dedicated solution
from ATI or NVIDIA may not
be that much more price wise, and if that is the case always go for the
Laptop Video Card Advice:
you see choosing the correct laptop video card is an extremely
important step when purchasing a new mobile computer. Definitely pay
attention to the video card when shopping for it can honestly make or
break your purchase.
Maybe you don't need
something powerful now, but we personally recommend you think at least
a year or two in the future for software demands will surely change and
maybe your own demands will too. You could get into 3D design
or gaming for example.
performance and future proof standpoint always go for a dedicated
notebook graphics card. A powerful NVIDIA or ATI dedicated card should
weapon of choice. Look for one with at least 256MB of onboard memory
too, and remember more memory is better.
are on a budget, an Intel integrated video card may be ok for many of
you, but honestly we still recommend you pay special attention to your
options for there often isn't much of a
price premium these days to step up to a dedicated ATI or NVIDIA.
Remember to also check
our other website resources for we have ton of
information for you. Also, please
don't hesitate to email us if you have laptop video card questions.
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