Upgrade Your PC’s Graphics Card

Regular readers will know that 2020 was the year I revived two ageing computers of mine (a desktop PC and a laptop) using faster hard drives and more memory (see Issue 582, page 62 and Issue 586, page 60). These previous upgrades were, in part, driven by the need to ensure my kids had workable computers for their home schooling during the first lockdown. This time round, I’m carrying out an upgrade for more recreational purposes – to allow them to play Minecraft (a relatively undemanding game, graphically speaking).

Although my old desktop PC can just about run the game, a few months ago a message popped up in Minecraft saying that it would no longer work with any graphics card that supports DirectX 10.1 and below, which excludes the AMD Radeon HD3850 card inside my PC. Here’s how I chose and installed a suitable and incredibly cheap graphics card card – but first I’ll explain what you need to look for when choosing which card to buy.

What does a graphics card do?

A graphics card’s main purpose is to generate images, then pass them to your monitor (usually via an HDMI or DVI cable). It does this using what’s

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