For the best game experience, strategically match the video card to the monitor.
The pairing of a high-end graphics card with a high quality monitor is a must for the true PC gaming enthusiast. The quality of graphics rendering is tantamount in most game environments since only high-end graphics systems can provide detail and handle motion in a satisfying manner. Some PC games are so graphically sophisticated that lower-end graphics cards and monitors will actually impede the gamer’s performance. Matching the right graphics card to the right monitor is part of a good gamer’s strategy.
1. Note the specifications (“specs”) for graphics card and monitor performance for your favorite PC games. Game manufacturers print “minimum” specs for hardware performance on game packaging. Minimum specs are never adequate for true game enjoyment.
2. Calculate the “spread” between minimum specs for video card performance between each of your favorite games. If one game requires a minimum of 256 megabytes (MB) of onboard video memory and another game requires a minimum of 128MB of onboard memory, add the two numbers together. Example: 256+128= 384. Since there is no such thing as a video card with 384MB of memory, you’ll need a card that has 512MB of memory.
3. Calculate monitor performance standards between one or more games. Monitors (and video cards) are rated according to “resolution” capacity. Game manufacturers design games to be played at a certain resolution for best experience. If one game requires a resolution of 1024 x 768 and another game requires a resolution of just 800 x 600, add the first of the two numbers (1024 + 800) and then take this number times 70% (= 1276). Pick the standard resolution that comes nearest to this number: 1280 x 1084, for example, to determine your ideal resolution.
4. Research the manufacturer’s website for your current monitor to compare its capacity to your ideal resolution number. If your monitor can’t perform to this level, purchase a new monitor for best results.
5. Shop for a monitor make and size that can accommodate this ideal screen resolution. Screen resolutions are set for “good-better-best” performance ratings according to the size of the screen. A 1280×1084 resolution, for example, looks okay on a 17-inch monitor, but it looks far better on a 19-inch monitor. On the other hand, this resolution will not look as good on a 21-inch monitor, so don’t over-buy in terms of monitor size.
6. Test your current video card onboard memory figure. Go to “Start,” “Run” and type “dxdiag” in the Run box. Click on the Display tab. Allow the program to load the video information. If your card does not meet or exceed your ideal card memory number, you’ll need to purchase a new video card.
7. Install your new video card and monitor according to manufacturer directions.
8. Load any driver software from discs packaged with your products. Crucial performance information and tweaking control panel software is often available on these disks. Install the monitor drivers first, then the video card drivers. Let the video card recommend settings to your monitor according to resolution capacities.
9. Update your DirectX software package, from Microsoft. You can get the latest download of DirectX from Microsoft by visiting the Microsoft Windows Update website (see Resources).
10. Download and install the video card and monitor manufacturers’ latest drivers from their Support websites. There may have been new updates since your card or monitor was produced and packaged.
11. Tweak your card and monitor through their control panels or through Windows Control Panel. Most high-end games offer a testing program to check the results of your tweaking.