What is a GPU?

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What is a GPU?

A "GPU" or "Graphics Processing Unit" is a special type of processing unit designed specifically to complete the task of displaying images on a display device such as a monitor, TV, or projector. A graphics card can be one of the most expensive components in a system next to the CPU and for good reason, it has the important job of making the images on your screen happen. An example of a GPU shown below.

GeForce RTX 3080 Graphics Card | NVIDIA

How does a GPU work?

The GPU has a dedicated processor built into it that is specialized for rendering what you see on your screen. This is a very complex subject, there is a lot of technical details that don't necessarily help you determine what to purchase so we will instead go over key concepts that will be of more use to you. If you would like a technical breakdown of how a GPU works you can read about this here.

GDDR5/GDDR6 VRAM:

GDDR (Graphics Double Data Rate) memory is a specialized type of RAM, known as "Video RAM/VRAM," for Graphics cards. A lot like RAM, information is temporarily stored in VRAM for quick access. Since the job of a graphics card is to render information to a display, typically information on 3D models, textures, shading, and other details will be temporarily stored on your GPU. Having more VRAM will allow you to store more visual information, so you can play games at higher resolutions and higher quality.

 

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Memory Speed:

Memory speed relates to your VRAM and while the size of VRAM is important, the speed it operates at is just as important. Memory Speed is how quickly the VRAM is able to respond to your system's request to receive/send the information that is temporarily stored on your VRAM. A higher memory speed will help games and other GPU-related tasks render faster.

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Core/Boost Clock:

Core/Boost clock is the speed that the processor in your GPU operates. Core clock is the speed that the processor will operate at a minimum while not performing intensive tasks. Boost Clock is the speed that your GPU will automatically overclock to when performing a stressful task. This will allow your GPU to reach its full potential under intense workloads. When it comes to both the Core clock and Boost clock, the higher the better.

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What GPU should I get?

One thing to keep in mind, the GPU will likely have the biggest impact on FPS for your games. Not all games benefit from a better GPU but most do, and even games that depend more on the CPU will still receive improved gains from a better GPU.

However, another contributing factor for your budget/FPS goals is your games of choice. This is easy to do with our BLD configurator, as you can switch between GPUs to see the changes in FPS a certain GPU will provide. It is recommended to pick what is within your budget and what helps you hit your goal FPS.

Picking a GPU can be a bit difficult still even with the tools we provide and that's totally understandable! Please reach out to our customer service team if you have questions on what GPU to purchase for your build.

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