What does a GPU do for gaming? Explained!

by Arslan Ashraf

What does a GPU do for gaming? Explained!

The GPU has emerged as an essential computing technology for both consumer and business use. If we look at the current-era computer hierarchy, it comes with pretty much every mid-tier to top-tier PC in different sizes and shapes. It’s because it has become one of the most crucial computer components due to several reasons—I will explain more about it later. Despite their popularity in gaming, GPUs are gradually being employed in creative creativity, artificial intelligence, 3D rendering, and more load-intensive tasks.

Graphics cards are so much employed in video games that we often wonder what does a GPU do for gaming? Plus, why it’s so famous among gamers? Suppose you’re building a new custom PC or just wandering to have a card that boosts your gaming experience to the next level. In such a case, you must understand some basics of the graphics cards, their uses, importance, and everything. If you’re curious, then this post is for you. In this post, we’ll explain almost everything about GPU effects on fps, graphics resolution, and more.

What is a GPU?

No doubt, most of you would know about a GPU. But still, it’s necessary to understand things from the basics to dive deep into the actual query of this post. So, what is a GPU? As per the definition, a graphics card is an expansion card that is used to transmit images or graphics-related output feed to monitors or other display devices. A GPU, or graphics processing unit, is like a processing device inside a graphics card that performs all the graphics computations. On the flip side, the term, GPU, is often referred to the graphics card as a whole, so both are considered the same. 

GPU
GPU

If we look at the historical point of view, GPUs were predominantly employed two decades ago to speed up real-time 3D graphics applications. As the twenty-first century began, however, computer scientists understood that GPUs had the ability to tackle some of the world’s most complex computing challenges. This understanding ushered in the age of general-purpose GPUs, which correspondingly tells us what the purpose of GPUs is. Today’s GPUs are more programmable than ever, allowing them to accelerate a wide range of applications.

What does a GPU do for gaming?

As you know, a CPU, or processor, is like a brain for a computer that handles everything in and out of it. But it can’t solely compute the hefty graphics-related instruction or data of heavy-duty games due to their complex nature. This is where a GPU, or graphics processing unit, comes into action. It takes those complex data sets from the processors and processes those without taking much time under the CPU’s supervision. In this way, a processor saves itself from getting under such an intensive load. Now you know the basic GPU cruciality for gaming, it’s time to explain deeper concepts.

If we look at the general GPU perspective, GPUs are the hardware that enables computers to run specific software that produces more realistic visuals, enhancing the enjoyment of gaming. Games rely on the GPU for performance in general, but at lower-quality settings, when the GPU can render more frames, the CPU has to work harder transferring data around and attempting to stay up. A GPU can help here, but only at better resolution or better quality. When some heavy-duty games replace the lightweight load, a graphics card handles it. 

The vast majority of gaming GPUs on the market are integrated graphics. With highly detailed visuals and enormous, sophisticated in-game environments, video games are becoming more and more computationally demanding. With enhanced display technologies like 4K panels, high refresh rates, and the emergence of virtual reality games, graphics processing needs are increasing rapidly. GPUs can produce visuals in both 2D and 3D modes. Games may be played at larger resolutions, smoother picture quality, or both with an improved visual performance.

How much GPU memory is required for gaming?

GPU RAM, or VRAM, is a word that is frequently used to describe the amount of memory that a graphics card uses to run games. This is significant since it may affect a game’s performance and the time it takes to start up. Most of the time, the overall graphics performance or capabilities are directly proportional to the GPU’s memory size. But how much GPU memory is required for gaming? This is one of our most-asked questions, especially from the new PC builders. Well, its answer totally depends upon your usage. Let’s check the table below for more information!

Graphics memoryGaming Resolution
2-4GB GDDR6720p
4-8GB GDDR61080p
8-10GB GDDR61440p
10-12GB GDDR61920p
12+ GB GDDR64k

How to purchase a pre-built PC?

Gaming PCs are available in a range of sizes and graphic styles. Many of these distinctions are useful, such as space or cooling requirements, while others are completely optional. Unless you have specific size requirements, mid-tower/ATX cases are frequently the best all-around solution for a gaming system. They are the most common pre-built gaming PC design that may accommodate various components, such as bigger graphics cards or cooling systems. Aside from the size of the case, the following design considerations should influence your purchase decision:

  • Connectivity: Ensure that the front panel includes a sufficient number of quick-access USB or audio ports for attaching peripherals and devices that must be disconnected often, such as controllers, phones, headsets, and external storage. Otherwise, you may have to link them to the system’s back end, which, depending on your arrangement, may be more challenging to access.
  • Check the PC’s backside: Similarly, the back side should have enough connections for the equipment that will be hooked in for an extended period of time, such as your monitor, Ethernet connection, mouse, and keyboard.
  • Warranty: Not all pre-built systems are meant to be opened, so check any applicable warranties before attempting to operate a system for the first time.
  • Cooling system: A pre-built system will most likely include a sufficient cooling system for the components within. This implies it shouldn’t be a big deal unless you intend to update later. Check out our guide on the significance of keeping your PC cool for more information on system cooling, or learn about liquid and air CPU coolers.
  • Case material: Transparent side panels on gaming desktops allow a window of your system’s inner workings. The materials required in these panels have benefits and drawbacks. Tempered glass panels are simpler to clean and more scratch-resistant, while acrylic panels are lighter and more durable.

Conclusion

This post is all about understanding the basic concepts regarding a graphics card, or GPU, like its operations, benefits, and other aspects. The primary focus of this article was understanding the usage and utilities of a graphics card in the gaming field. Concluding the whole post, a card shares graphics-related load with the CPU and executes graphics instructions to showcase visuals on the monitor. Since the games put a significant load on the computer, the graphics card is the only component that is made to deal with those hefty computations and data processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does GPU affect FPS?

The short answer is yes. If we look at the GPU’s utility, it processes the graphics-related instructions and drives the gaming visuals. The overall graphics quality or in-game resolution totally depends upon the card, and FPS is one of the aspects when we refer to the terms graphics quality. Moreover, the GPU’s VRAM, or graphics memory, directly impacts the graphics resolution and fps, or frames per second.

Is 8GB GPU overkill?

No, an 8GB graphics memory size isn’t overkill for gaming. Instead, it’s a perfect combination of 1080p to 1440p graphics resolution and 50-70 fps depending on the other in-game setting. In addition, 8GB provides you with an ideal middle-ground for graphics and is known for impressive performance along with excellent value for the money. If you’re building a custom PC for the first time, just go for this sweet spot.

Is a 4GB graphics card enough for gaming?

Well, the answer to this question totally depends upon your usage, expected graphics resolution, and budget. If you’re happy with the 1080p graphics resolution, a 4GB GPU memory is a good-to-go option. In contrast, if you’re looking for FHD or 4k graphics resolution, this isn’t for you—you need a card with at least 10GB or 12+ GB graphics memory.

Arslan Ashraf

Arslan Ashraf is a tech enthusiast and an experienced technical writer at GamingDairy. He has been writing all types of guides, tutorials, and tips for gamers, developers, and other people who use computers. His way of writing is quite unique: he starts with testing every single piece of Hardware and does a long list of experiments before writing the actual masterpiece. Well, if you have any queries, ensure to connect with him!