Gaming graphics are one of those things you can't easily appreciate until you see them in action, and many people think that they're doing okay with their computers until they see what modern technology has to offer. Computer technology is a fast-paced and ever-changing world that makes systems obsolete fairly quickly, but you need to know how to compare your current system against recommended system requirements and the newest possibilities on the bleeding edge of gaming. Here's an overview of what matters in a gaming computer, along with how to stay relevant.
Graphics Cards Are The Key
A lot of power goes into making any high-performance program work, but graphics cards/video cards have a function that can't be replaced in modern systems.
Although graphics cards have their own sets of specifications and levels of power/performance, they also read instructions that the rest of the computer can't understand. High-demand games such as Just Cause 3, Battlefield 1, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and many other AAA games have specific ways of creating graphics, manipulating in-game physics, and creating other events in the game world that the standard processor and motherboard can't calculate.
Without the video card, it doesn't matter if you add 10 of the faster processors; if they can't read instructions for systems such as Shader Model 3 or proprietary game physics engines, the game won't work. These systems are also part of the physical hardware, so unless you know how to hack and code your own chips, you can't simply download the right mix of files to make the system work.
There are many different specifications for graphics cards because of their complexity. They're miniature computers dedicated to graphics, but instead of focusing on every single sub-component, most game companies will list the lowest tier of graphics cards from the two major card manufacturers--Nvidia and AMD--to help you figure out what is old, new, and just on the edge of being obsolete.
Current Standards In A Changing Hardware World
When building computers or buying a brand new system, you need to be worried about changing standards more than bigger and faster specs alone. You can simply buy an affordable upgrade part as long as its standard is still in place, but what happens if you buy the "best" system just before standards change?
Double Data Rate (DDR) is a standard of random access memory (RAM) that changes in storage and clock (calculation) speed, and determines how much information can be stored for fast access instead of searching the entire hard drive that is already being accessed by so many other tasks. Along with increased sizes, the speed of storing, delivering, and organizing that information increases.
As of 2017, an awkward, but familiar, situation where DDR3 remains the dominant RAM standard, even though DDR4 has been around for consumers since 2014. Why? Because unlike the DDR2 to DDR3 shift, the DDR4 speed increases have not been big enough to justify paying full price.
This is slowly changing, and it may be necessary to purchase a DDR4-compatible motherboard to be ready. That's where the biggest trap lies; purchasing components that have to work with each other.
Processor socket type is another, more expensive point of replacement, but the socket changes are dependent on the manufacturer. Intel has had multiple socket shapes in a year, while AMD was lauded for its AM3+ socket lasting multiple years until the recent Ryzen socket.
Contact an IT support professional through companies like Staffing Solutions, LLC if you'd like to pair an up-to-date set of parts for an affordable, upgrade-ready gaming experience.