The Secret To The Perfect Gaming Environment

Kevin Nouse
K. Nouse|09.14.16

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Kevin Nouse
September 14th, 2016
The Secret To The Perfect Gaming Environment

AMD Extravi LAN

Every experienced PC gamer knows the importance of maintaining an optimal equipment setup, as everything from an ergonomic chair to multi-screen monitors can serve to provide the proverbial "home field" advantage.

Perhaps the most essential piece of equipment in a PC gamer's arsenal is a powerful graphics card. Responsible for rendering the countless polygons which present massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) fans with an immersive, interactive world (not to mention the texture mapping which gives first-person shooting (FPS) games their three-dimensional targeting), a superior graphics card is an integral part of gaming setup design.

Because the graphics processing unit (GPU) chip carried by the graphics card does the heavy lifting, powering a microprocessor to handle high-speed video calculations and allowing the central processing unit (CPU) in your PC to dedicate its power to basic tasks, poor performance can affect every aspect of your gaming experience. Lags and low resolution are among the many consequences of running an inadequate graphics card, so gamers of all stripes should make this piece of equipment a priority of their overall gaming setup – from recreational World of Warcraft (WoW) fans roving the countryside in search of adventure, to intensely competitive Counter-Strike snipers shooting their way to the top, and even online poker players who earn their living on the virtual felt.

Determining what to look for in your next graphics card depends on your particular area of interest within the world of gaming. Every game type requires unique processing capabilities, so find your niche below to find out the graphics card specifications you should be searching for.

MMORPG

During a long campaign within the incredibly detailed worlds built by MMORPG games like WoW, Rift, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, the onscreen action tends be less frenetic and fast-paced than you'll find in FPS and action games.

Rather than dodging a hail of bullets while sprinting to the next checkpoint, more often than not MMORPG games encourage a more languid pace, encouraging players to explore their surroundings, engage in conversation with NPCs and fellow enthusiasts, or even begin constructing entire communities from the ground up.

As a result, the best graphics cards for MMORPG-oriented PC gaming setups prioritize reliability and memory power over raw processing speed. At right around $200, the AMD Radeon R9 380 offers 4GB of memory and up to 176 GB/s memory bandwidth, while also including the usual bells and whistles like virtual super resolution and 4K resolution support.

For an MMORPG quest that may take many hours – if not days – to complete, you'll appreciate the AMD Radeon R9 380 for its ability to seamlessly maintain the massively complex world around you.


gaming experience

Online Poker

The most successful online gamers are capable of alternating between a dozen different tables on the fly; folding, betting, and raising hands with the flick of their wrist and the flash of a cursor. Accordingly, online poker setups invariably include multi-monitor displays to spread the action out onto several screens simultaneously.

Up to four monitors may be necessary for online poker players to assess the cards and chip stacks on 10 or 15 tables without any overlap, connected in either a horizontal alignment or a basic grid. Gambling websites have crafted their user interface accordingly, with most leading poker providers, including popular poker room PokerStars, allowing players to tile multiple tables or stack them in a grid formation across the screen. With only one monitor to work with, there simply isn't enough space to play a high-volume session. And when clicking by mistake can cost you the pot, it's important to have the best graphics card for multi-monitor display.

Visiontek Radeon 7750 2GB GDDR5 5M, which runs at a little over $300, contains four digital visual interface (DVI) ports, allowing for streamlined integration of up to four monitors at once. The memory power isn't all that great at 2GB, but for the relatively low requirements of an online poker software suite, it doesn't need to be. Maximizing your DVI capabilities is key, and the Visiontek Radeon 7750 2GB GDDR5 5M does just that.

First-Person Shooters

The intense onscreen action found in FPS games like Halo, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty – which includes multiple players engaged in running combat, accurate targeting and shooting, and texture mapping to create constantly updated buildings and physical environments – requires as many frames per second (fps) as you can muster.

When it comes to some of the bestselling titles in high-speed action gaming, the Nvdia GeForce GTX 1070 is widely considered to do the games justice. This graphics card roundly beats its rivals in speed and performance tests, and according to a recent product review, the "GTX 1070 ends up being the second fastest GPU in average frame rates, regardless of resolution. It's 9-10 percent faster than the Titan X and 980 Ti, and more importantly, it's 36 percent faster than the GTX 980."

At just over $420, this graphics card is a high end product, but experienced shooter and action game enthusiasts who take their craft seriously will appreciate the Nvdia GeForce GTX 1070 for what it truly is: a high-powered gaming engine designed perfectly for this particular genre's technical requirements.

The world of PC gaming offers players a seemingly endless amount of choices, from the character you'll inhabit and the world you'll explore, to varying degrees of competition and social interaction. Each genre and game requires its own unique computing power to run properly. Choosing the right graphics card is a fundamental part of building your entire gaming setup. Only when the action is presented fluidly and without interruption, you're free to enjoy every aspect of your favorite game as they were meant to be experienced. Take advice from the different approaches and take the time to conduct your own research and find the perfect gaming graphics card for your individual needs.

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