Mid-range video cards are in between the cheap $20 video cards that are only powerful enough for surfing the web, and the expensive $400+ video cards that are for extreme gaming enthusiasts and graphics developers. While this may seem like a niche market, mid-range video cards are actually very popular, simply because they give you a good balance between price and performance.
In this guide I’ll share with you some tips on buying a good mid-range video card for your PC.
Is a mid-range video card right for you?
If you’re needing a new video card that can handle most every game on the market, but you don’t want to spend a fortune then a mid-range video card is a good choice. Likewise, if you’re just starting out in the graphical arts business and can’t afford one of the higher-end video cards then you can buy a cheap mid-range video card in the meantime.
However, if all you plan on doing is surfing the internet and watching movies then you really don’t need as much power that a mid-range video card has and would probably be better off with a cheaper video card.
Picking a brand and manufacturer
When it comes to video cards, the brand and manufacturer make a huge difference.
The two main manufacturers are Nvidia and AMD (Formerly ATI). These two companies make the majority of all video cards you’ll find on the market. The biggest differences between the two are the specs of the video cards, the video drivers they offer and of course the price.
Which of the two manufacturers has the better mid-range video cards can change every couple months, so you’ll want to keep on eye on the video card market and look for the latest news on new video cards coming out so you can make an educated decision.
Although there are only two manufacturers, there are many brands and each brand will make different adjustments to the video card and will often use a different cooler from one another, and of course each brand also has their own warranty and return policies. You’ll want to look into each brand to see which one fits your needs the best.
Avoiding big box stores
While stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target and others do sell video cards, these are often only the lower end video cards and on the rare chance one does have a mid-range video card for sale, chances are it’s either outdated or incredibly overpriced.
When shopping for mid-range video cards you’re best bet is either a local computer hardware store, or online stores such as Newegg.
Old is new
Often video cards that were once top of the line will become as cheap as a new mid-range video card once newer video cards take the spotlight. Sometimes these cards will even be faster than the newer mid-range video cards while still being just as cheap.
One, or two?
Some mid-range video cards can also be connected together using either Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFireX. Doing this can significantly increase your computer’s graphics processing power, possibly even enough to match one of the higher end video cards.
If this interests you then you may want to look for mid-range video cards that can be linked together.