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UPGRADE GUIDE TO VIDEO CARD REVIEWS

Once you know the video card model that interests you for an upgrade, video card reviews can help confirm the decision or point towards other options for your upgrade. They can also be helpful in selecting specific brands for an upgrade, a topic disucssed more on the next page. The Internet has a wealth of graphics card reviews, tests, and comparisons to help find top rated video cards, but separating the wheat from the chaff an be very time consuming .  Many sites provide only user reviews, which can be helpful when you upgrade video cards but are anecdotal, or rely heavily on manufacturer provided specifications and provide no real independent perspective based on expertise and testing. Others are only links to forums with anecdotal information.

Guide to Best Video Card Reviews for Upgrade Information

GPUreview.com provides a convenient search index to general information about specific graphics cards and links to reputable review sites.  For some video card models, they provide links to more than 20 reviews, probably more than you care to read about for one prospective upgrade model.   Top rated review sites include the following:

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To use the search tool at GPUreview.com, it is easiest to insert only a model number into the search box, separating the prefix from the number by one space, e.g. GTS 450 or HD 5670, then click the familiar search button. When the selected page loads, the reviews are generally near the bottom of the page. The search results include manufacturer names and this is the easiest point to narrow the search if you wish.  Usually the title also indicates if the review is based on a card with the reference design provided by nVidia or AMD/ATI or is a “roundup” with tests and comparisons of graphics cards from several manufacturers; otherwise it is for a single cards from the named manufacturer.

If you don’t find the information you want for your target upgrade model at GPUreviews, you of course can always Google the card name with “reviews” or “comparisons”.  Be wary of anecdotal and paid reviews. Look for recommendations from the reviewers listed above. Other top reviewers include:


Using Video Card Reviews for Upgrades

When looking at reviews for video cards, it is particularly important to note differences, if any, between cards of the same model, particularly:

Most reviews test using top end computers to ensure they can measure maximum video card performance that is not limited by the testing computer. If your computer is not as powerful, and can't provide all the power the video card can use, don't be surprised if your results are lowers. Better reviews provide test system specifications that you can use to compare with your system.

Frames per second (fps) is the statistic used in benchmarks to compare the performance of different video cards. To better understand fps, see the Frames per Second paragraph on the previous "Reviews" page.

Most reviews have a final page of conclusions. If the review provides a handy link to that page in a table of contents or index, it can be helpful to go to that page first. It may provide all the information you need or help you focus your attention on specific pages or the best video cards, in either case saving you substantial reading time.


The next page discusses the selection of brands and vendors.


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