How to Check What Graphics Card You Have

With GPUs in such high demand, some might be wondering which graphics card is installed on their computer, and whether they need to upgrade.

With all the news about graphics cards in high demand, some might not be aware of which one their computer already has. High-end PCs and Mac computers often come with a discrete graphics card installed. If not, learning about integrated graphics can be helpful as well. Knowing what is already there might give a better idea of what kind of upgrade is needed to get better performance.

There are two basic types of GPUs on modern computers. Integrated graphics are part of the central processor and can handle standard tasks well. That means playing 4K videos, editing large photos, and simple games won't be a problem. For fast-paced, visually intense gaming a discrete GPU might be needed. In the case of Apple's M1 series chips or AMD's new 6000 series, integrated graphics can actually compete with discrete GPUs.

It's easy to check which graphics card or cards are already installed on a computer. On a Windows PC, type 'info' in the taskbar search box and hit enter. Microsoft's System Information app should appear near the top of the results and opening it will reveal the hardware that's installed. Open Components, then Display to find out which card is installed. On a Mac or MacBook, the user can open the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of the screen and select About This Mac to open a window with basic details, then tap the System Report button to bring up all sorts of interesting information. Open Hardware, then Graphics/Displays to see the GPU information.

What Graphics Card Is Needed?

If everything is running smoothly on a computer and no slowdowns or stutters are noticed, whatever graphic card or integrated graphics solution is available must be working fine. There isn't a real need to get an expensive GPU if it isn't needed. Eventually, the demand for graphics cards will ease and prices will drop. It won't always be so hard to find a good GPU at a reasonable price, so it might make the most sense to just wait.

Both Nvidia and AMD have said that the supply constraints will loosen by the end of 2022. Intel, AMD, and Apple are all integrating pretty powerful GPUs right into the main processor, so the need for a discrete graphics card won't be as strong in the future. Apple's M1 Pro and M1 Max already challenge many discrete GPUs, and AMD's new Ryzen 6000 series chips are expected to be powerful as well. If looking at a new computer in the future, it might make sense to wait and see how the latest systems perform before making a new graphics card purchase.

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