Do you want to play the latest games, but are not sure if your computer can handle them? Graphics is a big part of the PC gaming experience, but not all computers are built for the best games on the market. You need to know which graphics card you have installed and compare it to the minimum requirements for the game you want to play. Here's how to figure it out.
What is a graphics card?
When you turn on the computer, the images displayed on the screen – whether a simple Word document or a complex 4K gaming experience – are generated by a graphics processor (or GPU). These chips can range from simple "integrated graphics" included in the motherboard or processor to larger, more powerful expansion cards.
These expansion cards are often called "discrete" or "dedicated" graphics cards can usually perform more powerful tasks than integrated graphics, such as better 3D games, accelerated video editing or even some non-graphical jobs as mining bitcoin . This extra tool comes at the expense of higher power consumption, more heat and more space in your computer. Therefore, you will rarely find dedicated graphics cards in ultra-thin laptops.
Just like any other computer component, graphics cards can become obsolete over time. The card you bought in 2010 is unlikely to play 2019's AAA games at high settings, so if you are ever unsure whether a game will run on your computer, you want to compare its minimum or recommended requirements to the hardware you currently have.
Knowing which graphics card you have can be a bit confusing, because there are two relevant model numbers: the GPU model (ie the actual chip that does the job) and the model of the card itself (which includes other hardware like the radiator , the voltage regulation module, etc.).
There are two main manufacturers who manufacture discrete GPUs today: Nvidia and AMD. There are many other manufacturers, but do the cards themselves – Asus, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte and other companies can produce graphics cards using Nvidia and AMD's chips, and add their own tweaks to differentiate. A manufacturer's version may have better fans than another, may come overclocked from the factory or perhaps have a better guarantee.
So when you look up which graphics card you have, you need to decide whether it is enough to know the chipset (for example "Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060") or if you need the actual manufacturer and model on your card (like " EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 Superclocked ", which uses the Nvidia chipset). The former is very easy to find in Windows, while the latter is a bit more complicated.
Find out which GPU you have in Windows
Open the Start menu on your computer, type "Device Manager" and press Enter. You should see an option near the top for "Display Adapters." Click on the drop-down menu, and it will list the name of your GPU there. For example, in the screenshot below you can see that I have a Radeon RX 580.
If you are unsure of which company designed that chip, right-click it and select "Properties" to see the manufacturer-in my case, Advanced Micro Devices or AMD. (Note that Device Manager uses your graphics drivers to determine which GPU you have, so if you suspect that driver drivers may be installed, skip to the next section.)
When you have the GPU Name, you can Google around to learn more about it, or compare it to the minimum requirements of the game you want to play. Usually, a higher number means a better card, so a game that requires an RX 580 may not run on an RX 480, which is less powerful (although there are sometimes roads around it ).
If you compare two cards that use different naming systems such as AMD's RX 580 and their more powerful RX Vega 56-you may need to do some research to see which card is more powerful and what the difference in price is.  Find the manufacturer and model number
If for some reason you need to know exactly which model video card you have, you need to do a little more work.
The manufacturer is easy to find with a third party named Speccy . Download the free version, start it and click "Graphics" in the sidebar. Scroll down and look for the "Subvendor" entry, which will tell you who made the actual card in your computer, as did the Asus this RX 580. (You can also see how much video RAM your card has, including specifications.)
Unfortunately, this will not tell you the exact model number you need to say, warranty claim. (Asus makes some different RX 580 cards, and they need the exact model number to provide support.) For that, either you need to search your email for the receipt (if you purchased the card online) or open your PC up.
In this case, find the graphics card, remove it and look at the stickers on the page – it should have the model number you need. You may want to write this information somewhere so you don't have to crack your computer the next time you never know when you might need it!
How to buy a new graphics card
If you find that you need to upgrade your card, check out our list of best available options . We also know the best graphics cards for every specific need you need, including compact computers, VR games, 1080p games and 4K games. It is always best to compare specifications and prices before purchasing.