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Pick a card

Alongside the CPU and the motherboard, one of the most important components in a decent gaming PC is the graphics card. The speed and power of it will dictate how well games look and play, and as such many users are prepared to shell out big to get the best product going. However, performance is often affected by external factors like coding, compatibility and operating system.

Despite a major push at its launch, Windows Vista was criticised by many gamers for being heavy on resources with little actual benefit over XP.

"DirectX 10 was the last main industry-wide development, but with the poor uptake of Windows Vista many gamers haven't really experienced the benefits of it," comments CCI category manager Cliff Cheetham. "Steam's July 2009 Hardware Survey showed that less than 30 per cent of gamers were using DirectX 10."

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