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The Right Graphics Card to Run Windows 7

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 6/20/2010

Windows 7 has been out for nearly a year and it is growing to be a popular OS for Windows users. Thinking about getting Windows 7? This article will point you in the right direction on what graphics card is right to run Windows 7.

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    The New Kid on the Block

    October 2009 saw the highly anticipated release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7. Noted as the answer to the unpredictable system of Vista, consumers are beginning to migrate to the new operating system. While there are many checklists to make sure that a PC has all the compatibility to run the operating system, none is more important than the graphics.

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    Right Graphics Card?

    It is safe to say that if a computer is able to run the higher levels of Vista, the system will be capable of running Windows 7. However, there were some issues where Vista could run on a system with lower graphics; it just meant that the Aero application will not run, reverting back to the XP display options. nvidia 

    Microsoft recommends that your graphics card is able to run Direct X 9, and also state that some of the newer video games may require a graphics card that runs Direct X 10. But how do you decide on what is the right graphics card for you?

    For some users a high end video card is necessary, not just because of Windows 7, but what they use their computer for. Some play video games and the newest games do require a graphics card that is capable of advanced rendering, so that images appear as real as intended. Games like Word of Warcraft, Mass Effect, and The Sims 3 require a video card capable of viewing 3D images.

    This is also true for those users who use visual programs like Photoshop or Dreamweaver. Not only do these program require a fast processor, but a high grade video card also makes designing easier to view and work with. Also, with most computers carrying DVD-ROM drives, a more powerful graphics card makes viewing DVDs or even Blu-Ray discs easier to enjoy.

    Microsoft does have a list of compatible graphics cards that work well with running Windows 7.

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    Which to Choose?

    There are so many choices in graphics cards, that trying to choose one can be a daunting task. Researching different cards that may be useful to you will definitely come in handy. For the users above, most of the manufacturers sites for video games or programs will have a listing of recommended or required graphic cards that the program works best with.

    There is also the cost. There are certain components within a PC that should not be skimped upon and one of those things, depending on what you are doing, is a graphics card. If you are just using a computer for Internet surfing or email, you have the option of going with a lower end card, though upgrading the card may need to be done in the future.

    For those users that will need a high end card, doing th research, comparing cards and their prices may be helpful in the long run, especially if you play games and use programs that need a higher end card.

    Popular graphic card choices are NVIDIA and ATI.

    If you're considering upgrading to Windows 7 and what to know what components you may need to replace, you can use the Windows 7 advisor.