A graphics card, or GPU for short after Graphics Processing Unit, is a separate processor in your computer made to handle the graphics, videos and images. It’s simply an extra processor made to relieve the computer’s main processor. Often a graphics circuit is integrated into the standard processor, which is often good for web surfing and office work. However, if you want to play games or work with something graphics-heavy, a separate graphics card with more power in itself is usually required.
It is easy. On a Windows computer, simultaneously press the CTRL, Shift, and Esc keys to open the Task Manager. Under the performance tab, you will find the section "GPU" where your graphics card model is located. If you have several graphics cards, which some laptops have, both cards will appear here under the sections "GPU 0" and "GPU 1".
If you are going to play games, you should, of course, check out the system requirements for the games you intend to play. PC games rate system requirements in two classes, minimum and recommended. The cheapest option is to go for the minimum requirements, but then you will not be able to play the game with all the details and effects switched on.
If instead, you aim for, or above, the recommended requirements, you can play the game with all the effects running. At the same time, a slightly more powerful graphics card will allow you to keep it for longer and even play the games of the future with it.
Right now, there is an extreme shortage of components in the world, especially in IT equipment. There are simply no raw materials and capacity to manufacture processors and other computer parts at the required rate, a problem that may well linger into 2022. This means that many people buy all kinds of scarce goods and then sell them expensive second-hand, where PlayStation 5 and graphics cards have been the biggest sellers.
Graphics cards are also used on a large scale to extract cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. This means that many cards that you could otherwise buy for your gaming computer are bought up for other reasons.
Graphics cards can be quite large and heavy, but they are fairly easy to replace.
Unplug the power cord and open the side of the computer. Disconnect the power cord of the old graphics card and unscrew the screw that secures the card to the back of the computer. Then pull the card upwards until it comes loose (or wiggle a little).
Take the old card to a recycling station, or give it to a friend (and repeat the above process backwards to install). Carefully slide your new graphics card into the port on the system board, screw it into the back cover, connect the power connector to the card, close the computer, and plug in power again.
There are basically two manufacturers of graphics circuits today: Nvidia and AMD. Different manufacturers can make different types of graphics cards but need graphics circuits from either of these two. For the consumer market, Nvidia Geforce (RTX30xx is the latest) or AMD Radeon (RX 6xxx is the latest) are the best.
The same companies also target the corporate market, for example, engineers, with cards more adapted to the needs and the programs used there. In Nvidia's case, these professional cards are called Quadro, while AMD's equivalent is FirePro.