When Should You Replace a Graphics Card?

There comes a time in every PC gamer’s life when they grapple with an important and inevitable issue: whether or not to upgrade or replace a graphics card.
This decision is now more complicated than ever. With GPUs suddenly becoming a hot item not only for industry-leading PC gaming experiences but also cryptocurrency mining, card makers NVIDIA and AMD cannot crank them out fast enough. As a result, demand is at an all-time high, so consumers must decide whether now is the right time to upgrade — or if waiting for another year or so is the right strategy.
Not sure how to proceed? Let’s look at some of the reasons why it may be time for a new graphics card.

4K Gaming

The days of 4K serving as an exciting glimpse into the future are gone. After all, with both the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 offering native 4K support, this should be regarded as the new standard for gaming resolution. That doesn’t mean that anything less is inferior, however. Games that demand twitch reflexes and instantaneous response times are better played at lower resolutions, since a sacrifice will always be made for more frames per second over graphical fidelity.
Sure, it would be nice to have both, and you can if you’re willing to shell out several thousand dollars for a PC gaming rig that refuses to compromise. However, that solution isn’t realistic for most consumers. Options such as 1080p or even 1440p resolutions still look great, especially on monitors with response times of 144hz or higher.
Players who prefer to game on traditional PC monitors — which often feature response times of 144hz or higher — can probably hold off on jumping into the GPU purchasing rat race for now. However, for those who simply won’t settle for anything less than 4K, the newest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 30 series cards are a must-have upgrade.

Price

Let’s face it: PC gaming is an expensive hobby. When some graphics cards cost more than a reliable used car, it goes to show that power comes at a price. This is especially true in the modern era of cryptocurrency mining, as those with no intention of gaming snatch up graphics cards. Shoppers in the market for a new card have, as always, a huge range of price options to choose from — it’s just a matter of whether or not they can ever find one in stock. Even if you want to replace your graphics card, you may not be able to.
The GeForce RTX series of cards range in price from $400 up to an eye-popping $2399. The similarly priced AMD Radeon RX series of cards isn’t any easier to track down, making this particular issue a non-starter for some consumers. However, if cards become more plentiful and miraculously drop in price, it would be foolish not to seize the opportunity and upgrade.

Performance

With the launch of new home consoles usually comes a half-step towards the next generation of GPUs. While the Xbox Series X and PS5 will never compete against the absolute top-of-the-line cards from NVIDIA and AMD, they can make it close against some of the more midrange cards available for the PC.
New consoles also mean new games — ones that are often poorly optimized when ported to PC. Unfortunately, this shabby treatment will often make players wonder if poor frame rates and lackluster performance result from an aging video card or bad optimization. If this issue keeps coming up in multiple games — especially those released in a close time frame — it could mean that the graphics card has reached a point in its life where it’s struggling to keep up.
Newer cards (with more horsepower) have a way of brute-forcing poorly optimized games into running better. Older, slower cards lack this luxury.
There’s a lot to think about when considering the timeline of a graphics card. The decision of when to replace your graphics card will ultimately come down to budget and personal preference.

Protecting Your Investment

When making key investments such as graphics cards, it’s important to consider how you can protect your devices on a long-term basis. An Upsie extended computer warranty is a great option, as this delivers exceptional coverage from manufacturing defects, power failures, and more. In addition, Upsie’s warranties cover pre-build PCs, gaming laptops, and even consoles and controllers.
With Upsie, you can rest easy knowing all of your devices are protected.

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