How to Buy a Graphics Card for Video Editing

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With all the memory and precise detail video editing requires, you must use a high-level graphics card to achieve the best results. When you start shopping, you'll find various types and models to choose from. Use the following steps to guide your selection.

  • Determine which type of graphics card you want. You have two primary choices: AGP cards and PCIe cards. Choose the slot supported by your motherboard. An AGP slot offers options up to 8x, while a PCIe slot is available in 1x, 4x, 8x, 16x and 32x. A PCIe motherboard supports more than one PCIe slot, while an AGP motherboard supports only one. Having multiple PCIe slots enables you to load two graphic cards. PCIe cards go well with complex and high-end functions like video editing.

  • Choose the a high-level graphics card to produce the sophistication and detail required in video editing. Consider graphics cards used by gamers and professionals graphic designers.

  • Check the card's processor/memory speed. Processor speed is one of the measures of a processor's power. The speed of a high-level graphics card is between 500 MHz and 1 GHz.

  • Consider the memory size of your graphics card. This is the extent to which the card can support graphics operations without using PC memory. The ideal memory size for a card for video editing is between 256 MB and 1 GB.

  • Choose a graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0. This standard is essential for all advanced graphics operations, including video editing.

  • Look for graphics cards that include all drivers required for the most popular video editing tools.

  • Compare prices of high-performance video cards online as well as in computer stores. Look at buyers' guides to understand features, pricing and versions. Useful buyers' guides include MySimon, Bizrate and Nextag (see links below). These also list stores that sell high-performance video cards (and their prices).

  • Buy a graphics card for video editing after comparing prices online and in local stores. The abovementioned buyers' guides provide an elaborate listing of online dealers for all types of high-level graphics cards. Alternatively, you can check out online stores such as Best Buy, CompUSA and Circuit City (see links below).

Tips & Warnings

  • Browse through product reviews on technology Web sites such as CNET (see link below) before you settle for a particular graphics card.
  • Browse through blogs and discussion forums for gamers and advanced video and graphic editors. These are good sources for understanding popular graphics cards and features to look for.
  • Check compatibility with your computer. Although high-level graphics cards are compatible with most computers, some require advance configuration.
  • Look for deals in local stores as well as online sellers.
  • Browse through eBay for used high-level graphics cards. You may get a good high-level used or refurbished graphics card for video editing on eBay at quite a nice price.
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