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How to Decide Which Video Card Is Right for Your PC

When you think about upgrading a video card, please don’t think “gamers only.” A number of specialized video cards on the market have nothing to do with games. Video cards come in a variety of types:

  • A gamer’s card: The latest 3D video cards (equipped with chipsets from NVIDIA and ATI) simply kick serious tail, no matter whether your favorite games involve mowing down Nazis, building a civilization one stone at a time, or matching wits with your computer over a chess board. Of course, Windows displays ho-hum applications faster with one of these cards, as well.

    Many 3D gaming cards also offer dual monitor support so that you can run two monitors side by side for a really big desktop.

  • An MPEG card: These cards are specifically designed for encoding and decoding Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) digital video.

    High-end video cards specially designed for digital video editing are significantly more expensive than video cards meant for home and gamer machines.

  • A capture card: You use this popular video upgrade card to capture an incoming analog video signal and convert it to digital video. For example, you can connect your VCR or older analog VHS-C camcorder to the card, convert the signal to digital video, and then record CD or DVD backups of your home movies.

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