The winter holidays bring massive gaming titles to gamers across the world, and intense graphics are a great way to check your computer's power. A good video card, processor and memory set can mean the difference between choppy gameplay, smooth graphics or not playing at all. Before rushing out to buy the newest, most intense games on the market, make sure to invest in a few important computer parts areas so you won't be sitting with an unplayable box after unwrapping gifts.
What Does A Computer Need To Play Games?
A game is a program, just like the text editors, paint programs, office applications and anything else that you can click and run. Like many specialty programs, you need special resources on top of standard resources to make the game run properly.
The key standard resources are disk space, processor speed and memory. Disk space is the amount of storage space, so you'll need enough room on your hard drive (also known as a Hard Disk Drive or HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD) to fit your game and everything else on your computer with enough room to spare. Thankfully, hard drives are so much bigger than what most home computer users need, that it isn't a concern unless you're downloading a lot of movies, games or other big files on a regular basis.
Processor speed is where things get tricky. Your processor is the brains of the computer, and it needs to calculate fast enough to make sure that the complex math behind your game's gunshots, spells and other events is up to par. Modern processors are multi-core, which means multiple processors are built into a single processor unit.
Memory is what makes information move across the computer faster. For a lot of data, memory has to be searched across your hard drive--which sometimes involves pausing or slowing down other tasks--then sent to the processor. When that happens billions of times per second, things can get pretty slow. Memory holds the most commonly-used files for faster feeding to the processor.
You don't have to do a lot of complex math to get things ready for gaming. Every standard game release--or any computer program/application--will have minimum and recommended specifications (specs). Ignore the minimum and go for the recommended specs for comfortable gameplay.
If you want to spend more money for more power, go for it. Just remember that computers and their parts become obsolete eventually, so you don't want to invest too much on something that will be beaten by newer parts at half the price within a year.
GPU: The Special Gaming Resource
Also known as a graphics card or Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), the video card boosts a computer's gameplay and graphics management, including movies with a lot of detail.
A video card can be considered a miniature computer dedicated to graphics. Similar to the processor or Central Processing Unit (CPU), the GPU calculates graphics-related information only. It also includes memory for graphics and its own fan for cooling. It performs a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to gaming, so your game is taking up the GPU's resources while the main computer gets a bit of a break. Mostly, it allows you to play games and use other programs at the same time.
Modern gaming has made video cards required rather than suggested. Specific instructions need to be read by a video card, since standard CPUs aren't designed to read them. For help with the newest parts needed for the newest games, or to get upgrades or repairs for your current gaming system, contact a computer repair professional like one from C-Byte Computer Solutions.