What is a GPU?

If you grew up in the mid-90s and were an avid gamer or bursting graphic designer, you’d know the cursive pain of hour long renders, pixelated graphics and lagging game effects. The world of gaming and graphic design was moving fast – we emerged from 2D to 3D designs, from simple vector displays to complex animations and software like Adobe Suite, Maya 3D, AutoCad etc demanded more powerful systems. Games were growing more complex and you had to have a beastly video card to play your favorite games. Systems were updated, cards were improvised until today, in 2017 (or 2015 to be precise), we have Nvidia’s GeForce Titan, a 6GB RAM, seven billion transistors GPU that are capable of handling the most complex and graphically intensive PC games! And the price? $1,000. Faint.

What Exactly is a GPU?

A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a chip used for on-screen display, performing critical functions as rendering for images, videos, animations and producing high-resolution graphics to give optimal user experience. The main purpose of a GPU though is to give the user greatest experience when it came to 3D effects. The world’s first GPU was developed by NVIDIA Inc, in 1999. Their GeForce 256 chipset was designed to be a ‘single-chip processor with integrated transform, lighting, triangle setup/clipping, and rendering engines.’ Unlike the CPU which performs sequential operations, the GPU performs parallel operations on data sets, thus enabling it to perform complex graphical calculations faster and more effectively. Having said that, don’t think you can do great things with an upgraded GPU because most efficiency is when there is a trio combination of a GPU, a powerful CPU, and a resilient OS.

Why Do You Need a Gpu?

If you’re into 3D modeling, own a design business or are on the verge of stepping into virtual reality, a powerful GPU can be your best friend. It can convert 3D models into 2D presentations, it can work on complex mathematical operations and it can make the process of creating 3D models more efficient and effective. If you’re a gamer, then a GPU enables you to get the best gaming experience with high res graphics and smooth animations. In fact, mobiles today are able to play 3D games because they have integrated GPUs based on the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard  - which is a ‘royalty-free, cross-platform API for full-function of 2D and 3D graphics on embedded systems.’ So that exciting Asphalt 8: Airborne game that’s getting you all geared up is thanks to a powerful GPU!

Modern GPUs have gone beyond their intended scope for 3D animation and rendering. They are now being used to speed up scientific computing, oil and gas exploration, intensive simulations, virtual reality projects and physics simulation for desktop and mobile games. In fact, GPU manufacturers are now looking to combine the powers of a GPU and CPU into one single unit known as GPU computing. According to a blog on Nvidia, ‘the CPU (central processing unit) has often been called the brains of the PC. But increasingly, that brain is being enhanced by another part of the PC – the GPU (graphics processing unit), which is its soul.’ Expect powerful happenings in the world of tech thanks to this combination of the CPU and the GPU.

Top 5 GPU of 2017

Generally, all Intel Core desktop computers and laptops have integrated graphics processors that take care of your basic gaming and graphics needs. These integrated units can help you play web-based games or work on graphic designing and modeling software. But, if you’re an all pro-gamer and want a powerful system set up to play mighty games as League of Legends or World of Warcraft, then you can get a dedicated graphics card that combined with your modern system will give you a good run of the game. You’ll experience higher resolutions, appealing graphics, and best performance.

So, in short, there is no ideal or best graphic cards. There are cards based on your gaming or functional preferences and so here’s a list of the top best GPUs you can get in 2017.

NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1060

Full HD, 1440p performance, and 6GB RAM make the Nvidia GeForce a powerful unit, giving higher performance than its competitors. You may be tempted to buy the 3GB version, but considering that games are growing more advance, the 6GB is a better investment. It’s a close tie with the 580 but if you’re into a high-end chip and don’t have problems bearing a cost of $299.

AMD Radeon RX 570

If you’re looking for a more affordable deal that doesn’t fall back on performance, then the AMD Radeon RX 570 is a great buy. You can get a 4GB or an 8GB memory with starting prices for as low as $170. You can also get the RX 580 which is for $190 and is a more enhanced version of the 570. Both versions are designed to run the latest intensive games and are in a direct competition with Nvidia’s GTX 1060.

Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 O8G

$869 this unit is definitely meant only for the brave of heart. It’s far better than Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 Founders Edition and is ideal for those who not only play games but also build them. It’s the perfect unit to have if creating physical simulations is your thing.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB OC Edition

Starting at $149, the Zotac GeForce is great for anyone who wants to upgrade their systems without spending a fortune. It’s not as magnificent as the others, but it’s good enough for people who want something to start their gaming adventure with. Couple this with a latest Intel Core processor and you’ve got good years ahead.

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 StormX 2GB

The most basic option for a beginner, the Palit GeForce does not boast much. If you want to update an aging PC with some good stuff, at a nominal price of $107, then the Palit GeForce is the way to go. Yet, if you can afford more, then opt for the Nvidia 1050 Ti. If not, this one is good too, but don’t expect it to out beat the others.

Farah tries to keep up with the fast-paced tech world by writing about it. She covers latest tech news and writes informative pieces to help her readers make informed decisions about their tech preferences.
BeepWee