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When I first started gaming with my PC back in the [not telling] I had no idea that I could destroy my kit if I didn’t make sure my components were properly cooled. It wasn’t as if there was a group of techies floating in space, ready to swoop down and teach newbies the ropes. So it took a couple of bad experiences and painful wallet crunching moments to realise that my graphics card HAD to be kept cool and stable.

Unlike modern graphics cards, like the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP, my old cards didn’t come with factory overclock settings, specialised thermal design, and ultra processed components to keep it stable without much work. And that’s exactly why I am sometimes baffled as to why PC gaming today is not as popular as it was back then – it’s far easier now.

GeForce GTX 680

 Right, off my soapbox now.

So the graphics card, the champion component that slaves and sweats over the games you thrust at it, is often ignored in the cooling game. Most gamers know that their CPU needs maidens fanning it and thermal paste and heatsinks and, and, and… Your graphics card has the same needs, don’t neglect her.

These cards can hit very high temperatures when doing heavy work (like gaming) and to keep them going at peak efficiency you need to keep them cool. When you get your card the manual will tell you exactly which temperatures it can get up to without cooking itself and you need to keep track of that. You can do that using the built-in drivers that come with your card, like ASUS’ GPU Tweak. Just remember that performance is directly tied to heat – poor cooling and you’re looking at a poor gaming experience. There are other factors, obviously, but this is one of the biggies.

Consider looking into a card like the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 as it is kind of bundled with everything you need, and even if it does say scary things (for the beginner) like “solder wires onto voltage regulators” you can ignore the high-end tweaks and still get a great performance. Look at features like the built-in overclock to 1201MHz which will boost your frame rates but you don’t have to do anything hugely technical to get this tasty reward. And there are all the cooling features – DirectCU thermal design, twin 100mm fans with 14dB noise, Super Allow Power components – that are already there for the enjoying.

That’s the other thing, if you are adding fans to your machine to keep it from overheating you’re also adding noise. And there is only one thing more annoying that the heinous whirring of fans while you’re gaming…Oh, wait, no there isn’t.

I really think that people starting out in gaming can benefit from a high-end card right from the start. You may not know exactly how everything works, why it works, or what it means, but that just makes your adventure that little bit more exciting. And you get awesome performance. Let’s not forget that little advantage…

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