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How to buy a graphics card?

Many Windows and Mac games mention specific graphics cards "or better" in their system requirements. How do I know if my card is better or at least somewhat equal if it's of a completely different make and model? Is there a tool or website that compares two cards/chipsets based on a benchmark or something similar?

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marked as duplicate by DrFish, OrigamiRobot, Frank, Michel, Krazer Nov 16 '12 at 14:28

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The answer to your question is covered in this one: How to buy a graphics card? . Check the charts in the links provided by first three answers on the page. –  DrFish Nov 16 '12 at 7:49
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3 Answers 3

Tom's Hardware every now and then publishes "Best Graphics Cards For The Money". The last page of each one is the Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart.

"... or better" would translate to "same tier or any tier above" in the chart.

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You can use an online utility like HWCompare to determine how your graphics card compares to another graphics card.

Simply select your graphics card from the first drop and and the graphics card (or a graphics card from the series of graphics cards) mentioned in the minimum specifications for the game you want to play and this will load a page full of comparisons on a variety of factors like Memory Bandwidth, Texel Rate, Pixel Fill Rate etc.

This should allow you to make an educated guess on whether your graphics card would be sufficent to run the game, when compared to the minimum system requirements.

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Use a resource or website that compares GPU benchmarks. (I stressed benchmarks as it is a better and practical indicator of performance, compared to simply comparing specs.)

An example of a website that does this is AnandTech Bench. Just compare the recommended graphics card of the game to the graphics card you have. (The same website also allows comparison of CPU benchmarks.)

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