The first question is obvious, do you game? Meaning, do you plan on playing computer games on the desktop computer you plan on installing the graphics card into? And if you are wondering about a gaming laptop, we’ll get to that later. Back in the day, about 4 years ago sadly, having a 64mb graphics card meant you were able to play most computer games and play videos with ease. Times have changed, and drastically. For instance, there were times when you have to play Minecraft with colorless block graphics. However, with the advancement in technology, we have minecraft 1.14.3 shaders that can change the game completely by improving the graphics significantly.
The minimum standard for most average desktop computers is now 256mb, at least. Take Devil May Cry 4 for example (http://www.vgrequirements.info/?p=7629), the requirements say that 256mb is reasonable, that 512mb is the way to go. If you have 512mb, then you are slightly ahead of the curve. But soon even that won’t be enough if you are a real gamer. Soon a 1-gigabyte graphics card will be the recommended level of the video you will need. Even if you aren’t a hardcore gamer, then I’d suggest a 512mb graphics card either way so that it will last you for a couple of years from now as a decent video level. But if you are a real gamer or an aspiring gamer, then you need more power.
I’m talking GeForce Graphics of 9500 or better (http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_family.html). At least half of these video cards have 1,000mb of memory and 128-bit CPU processing or greater. To put it another way, 128-bits is what a Playstation 2 system has (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_2). That means that you can enjoy the same graphics as a leading game system but on your computer. Some of these video cards only have 512mb of graphic memory, but as long as the GeForce series number is higher than 9500, then you don’t really have to worry. The bit processing number matters just a little more than the actual amount of graphics memory the card has (but not by too much).
As for gaming laptops, unless you have issues with mobility and can’t leave a computer in one location for an extended period of time, and on top of that have money to burn, don’t get one. The largest reason not to get a gaming laptop is the upgrade issue. Desktop computers can be easily upgraded, mostly because they have the space to do so, laptops can’t (http://www.daileyint.com/hmdpc/upgrade.htm). Yes, the hard drives can be replaced, and the screen can be upgraded, or even the disc drive and RAM, but not the video card. The reason behind this is that laptops don’t have PCI slots. These are the slots required to install a video graphics card. This is what makes laptops dead ends when it comes to a long-lasting, viable computer. Desktops do have PCI slots and can be upgraded several times depending on what your motherboard started out with. As with desktops, the motherboard of a laptop has a built-in video card, but the laptop doesn’t allow for room to install a higher grade video card.
Now that you know what type for the graphics card you should try to get, you need to find out if you have a VGA connection or a DVI connection to your monitor. If you have an old CRT monitor, one that looks like an old tube-style television, then you have a VGA connection. If you have a recent LCD flat-screen monitor, you might have either. But if you just bought one of those new HDMI tv/computer monitors, then you definitely have a DVI connection. The way you can tell them apart if the shape. A VGA connection looks like a trapezoid (that means the sides slope away from each other and one side is larger than the other. If it’s a DVI connection then the basic shape is a long rectangle with some oddly arranged pins/pin holes inside. Some of the higher-end graphics cards only have DVI connections, and that means that you will have to buy a DVI to VGA adapter, they have been sold at some electronics stores, but the price is horrible. Try looking for one online and you will save more than 65% on it. Same goes for the video graphics cards, online is the way to go always.