A graphics card is a key hardware component in any PC, but if you’re interested in gaming or editing media, it’s probably the most important part of your computer. If the latest games will no longer run smoothly in Full HD resolution, a new graphics card may be the easiest fix. But it doesn’t even have to be one of the top-of-the-range models supporting 4K. According to numerous tests from gamers on YouTube, even entry-level models of the current chip generations of Nvidia and AMD are powerful enough to deliver smooth performance for current software and games. Performance isn’t the only consideration – you also need to think about the set-up of the computer that the card will be installed in. First, is there enough room in your PC’s housing to fit it? Some especially large graphics cards such as older Nvidia GTX 1080 take up a lot of space. A card that’s too big could obscure adjacent slots or prevent you from being able to close up the PC again after installing the card. Then there’s the power supply to consider – the graphics card has to be compatible with it. Are there enough watts for the device? And are there enough power connections? If your PC is from a popular manufacturer, it’s worth searching online to see if anyone else has already successfully added your intended graphics card to the computer. In addition, the graphics card has to have the correct connections for the monitor. Modern cards generally have sockets for HDMI, DisplayPort or DVI connections. Sony disables PlayStation 4 back door that allowed Chinese users to download overseas games For more efficient anti-aliasing and smoother performance, you can also try turning off multi-sampling (MSAA) and use FXAA instead. Those who want to play in WQHD (Wide Quad HD at 2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolution will still get about 30 to 40 frames per second. New chips are also quite good at handling current video formats and Nvidia’s new video engines can render most video formats without straining the main processor. If Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) resolution is enough for you, you can still play many new releases using a graphics cards such as AMD’s Radeon RX 560, which will set you back a little over US$100, for example. Meanwhile Nvidia’s compact Geforce GTX 1650 costs around US$150 and online gamers have shown this card running top titles like the Resident Evil 2 remake or Shadow of the Tomb Raider at upwards of 60 frames per second and 1,080p. Just because you can’t play a popular but resource-hungry game like Red Dead Redemption 2 on your PC doesn’t mean you have to buy a new chip. If you have a fast internet connection, you may prefer to stream your games to your computer instead. Cloud gaming services like Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s Geforce Now aim to make updating your gaming PC completely obsolete by moving the game processing to a remote data centre, while letting you switch between TV, PC, laptop and mobile devices. Players can live-stream the gameplay into their homes with relatively simple devices such as Android smartphones and tablets, notebooks, computers or Nvidia’s shield consoles. The actual game runs on a virtual computer far away in a data centre somewhere. Geforce Now users can choose between two access models: free or subscription. Free players can play for a maximum of one hour at a time, then their session will end and they must start a new one. Stadia has a more limited number of games such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 , as well as the three latest in the Tomb Raider series. But once you buy a game from the Stadia store, you can play it as much as you want on any supported device at 1,080p. To get games in 4K quality, you’ll need to pay a monthly Stadia subscription rate that also gets you access to a range of free games. Of course you’ll also need a monitor or TV that can display this resolution. Unlike on Stadia, Geforce Now players are able to access a selection of their existing game libraries from providers like Steam, Uplay, Battle.net or Epic. In our tests of game streaming services, load times and display quality can easily match top PC gaming rigs and we only noticed the occasional display glitch. But for all this to work, you of course need a stable internet connection; 10 to 20 megabits should be enough for gaming at 1,080p.