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What Is a GPU: Simple Beginner Information and Shopping Tips

You might have often heard the acronym, “GPU.” But just what is that important component all about? In case you don’t know this, the letters stand for Graphics Processing Unit. Many people will be more familiar with the term “video card” or “graphics card” when referring to GPUs. So, what is a GPU?

A GPU is important if you’re working with graphics of any kind. Simply put, GPUs render images on a computer. This unit is also used for performing quick calculations and generally doing the grunt work so that the CPU isn’t overburdened. That way, the CPU is free to tackle larger tasks that require more memory.

All this might sound a bit confusing, especially if you’re a beginner at purchasing a GPU. Have no fear; you can read on to get information and shopping tips for getting the best GPU out there.

CPU vs. GPU: What’s the Difference?

Answering the question, “what is a GPU?” also includes knowing the difference between a GPU and a CPU. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) works with low latency while the GPU stays high throughout its processing.

The CPU is also good for performing a few operations at once while a decent GPU performs thousands of operations in one go. That makes the CPU a logical choice for serial processing but the GPU is best for parallel processing.

The difference between GPUs and CPUs is architectural as well. While the CPU consists of a few cores and large cache memory, a GPU has several hundred cores for simultaneously handling thousands of threads.

Why Gaming Pros and Video Editors Shouldn’t Live Without a GPU

You might think that GPUs are for just graphics rendering but their usage goes way beyond that. The plethora of applications for a GPU includes gaming and video editing among many others.

Many folks might ask “what is a GPU?” but they’re probably using one without even being aware of it.

Now that video games have become so intensive, we need a quality GPU to display those realistic graphics and show us the complex worlds in each game.

Gamers need to work with a 4K screen, high refresh rates, and several other aspects of modern virtual reality gaming. When you have a proper GPU, you can play your games with high resolution and fast frame rates.

The same goes for video editors and content creators. With a modern GPU, you no longer have to deal with long rendering times that might disturb your creative flow. With a GPU’s parallel processing, you’ll be able to render your graphics and video in high-definition formats.

What’s more, modern GPUs also have dedicated display engines and media. It gives you video playback and video creation that’s much more power-efficient than before.

When you dig deeper for the answer to the question, “what is a GPU?” you should also learn about the more advanced, relevant versions.

Different Kinds of GPUs for Different Uses

You’ll need different types of GPUs for different uses. For instance, integrated GPUs share memory with the PC’s CPU processor. Discrete GPUs have a video memory and card of their own, so the PC’s RAM isn’t tied up for graphics use.

The performance of the latter is better but you also want to get the best GPU variation for the perfect experience. You should check out the GPU hierarchy for more details on this aspect.

Elements You Should Look for Before Choosing the GPU

When you’re choosing a GPU, some specifications matter a lot. The GPU hierarchy also matters if you don’t want to waste your time and money.

Let’s have a look at these factors one by one so that your final purchase becomes easier and best suited to your needs.

The amount of card memory

This is a critical factor. You need a graphics card with 4GB memory at least. However, 6GB is better if you’re gaming with a 1080p resolution.

If you want to turn up all your settings or play with high-resolution gaming packs, the need for memory will also go up. For 4K resolution or something similar, you should go for an 8GB card or even higher.

The form factor

This is also quite an important consideration. You’ll need enough room for the card in your case. Check the height, length, and thickness before making a final purchase.

In general, graphics cards come in a variety of forms. You can choose from dual-slot, triple-slot, single-slot, or half-height options.

If you’re looking for a gaming card, it should be full-height and take up two expansion slots at least. For a small motherboard, you’ll need a mini card around eight inches long or even less. Make sure to check the specifications before buying.

Thermal power design (TDP)

TDP is important as it measures heat dissipation and also gives the user an idea of how much wattage they’ll need.

For instance, if you’re operating a power supply unit that needs 400 watts and the CPU is 95 watts, you’ll need an upgrade when adding a 250-watt TDP card. When asking “what is a GPU?” make sure you also know the various specifications that make it tick.

Overall, a 600w PSU will be able to deal with most graphics cards. If you want to be prepared for the most powerful varieties, you can get an 800w PSU to be on the safe side.

Power connector

This is another important factor as many gaming cards require you to connect supplementary power connectors. Some of these cards might need one connector while others need two.

That’s why asking “what is a GPU?” isn’t enough. We should also know how to make it work best for us.

Ports

Ports are a critical consideration when you’re buying a GPU. Some monitors have DisplayPort while others have HDMI.

If you have an older unit, it might have Digital Visual Interface (DVI). No matter what card you get, you need the proper connectors for the monitor.

Clock speed

This is a factor with medium importance. When you have cards running on the same GPU, there could be some overclocking at a higher speed. The result might be a subtle difference in your frame rates.

While clock speed isn’t the top priority here, you do need to factor in architecture and core counts before making a decision.

CUDA cores

CUDA cores are also somewhat important. They’ll give you some of the necessary information when you’re trying to calculate the performance level of a potential GPU.

Therefore, it’s not just as essential as asking “what is a GPU?” in the first place.

Memory speed / bandwidth

Similar to better clock speed, having a faster memory will make one graphics card operate faster than its counterparts. It will naturally be of use when you want faster rendering for your video editing, content creation, gaming, etc.

Shopping Tips to Consider When Buying the GPU

When you’re thinking about what GPU to buy, the choice and information can become a bit overwhelming. The tips will help you get on track. So, check them out and save a bit of money on the way.

Budget for a CPU

If you’re focusing too much on the graphics, you might be tempted to compromise on the quality of your processor.

The system might give you awesome synthetic benchmarks but your actual gameplay will suffer. This phenomenon will occur because of the lower frame rates you get with a weaker CPU.

Matching the resolution

Most mainstream graphics cards will probably be enough if you want a gaming resolution of 1080p.

However, you’d be needing a high-end card if the game is at a 4K resolution or near it. High in-game settings will also require one of the more powerful cards. So, don’t be afraid to splurge a little in this department.

The refresh rate

Make sure you consider the refresh rate of your GPU. If a computer monitor has refresh rates in the triple digits, a powerful processor and card are necessary to meet that potential.

However, if your monitor has a maximum of 1080p and 6-Hz, there’s no need to pay top dollar for the most powerful GPU on the market.

MSRP

It’s the launch price of the GPU. Checking this factor before making a purchase can help you decide if you’re getting a proper deal or not.

That way, the store won’t be able to trick you with a fake markup while offering a discount.

It’s Time to Get the GPU That Suits Your Needs

If you’ve been wondering “what is a GPU?” we hope the above discussion cleared up your confusion. It may be challenging to find a GPU with just the right specifications for your requirements. But the research will be worthwhile.

The higher specifications may also cost a lot. Therefore, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons before clicking that order button.

Once you get the perfect card, pop it in and enjoy the fast, high-resolution performance! Don’t forget to spread the word and guide your friends as well. Do you have any tips on buying a GPU? Share them in the comments below.

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Steam Hidden Games: How to Find, View, and Play Them on Steam

When you hear about Steam hidden games, you might wonder if you’re missing out on some secret stash of games on Steam. And although that is what it sounds like, Steam isn’t hiding any games from its players.

The fact is that there are tens of thousands of games available for purchase on Steam.

And depending on how many you have in your library, some of those games might get lost in the shuffle. Plus, once you 100 percent some of those games, what do you do with them?

Deleting them all together might actually break your heart, but have no fear because Steam gives you another option — Steam hidden games.

What Are Steam Hidden Games?

Steam hidden games is a section in Steam where you can hide your games for whatever reason you choose. The platform gives you this option because they don’t want you to have to delete games.

That’s because if you start deleting games, you might forget about them. But you paid for them, so it would be a shame to delete and forget about all that progress you made.

Not only that, but those games might have updates and additions that you won’t know about if you don’t keep track. How will you beat the new additions or benefit from any updates if you don’t still have these games in your library?

On the other hand, you don’t want to junk up your list with games that you don’t play anymore. So, Steam hidden games gives you the option to keep the games in your library without having them crowd out the games you’re currently playing.

How to Hide Your Games

Hiding your games on Steam is pretty straightforward and easy to do. First, launch Steam and figure out which games you want to hide in your library.

Next, right-click on the first game you want to hide, choose “Manage,” and select “Hide this game.” Continue through your list and hide each game you want in the same manner. You’ll notice your list of games shrinking, but fear not, they aren’t leaving Steam.

You will find your hidden games in their own section within your library.

Where to Find Steam Hidden Games

When you want to access your Steam hidden games, all you have to do is go up to the menu at the top and hit “View.”

The second choice down in that menu is “Hidden Games” — select it. On the left side of your Steam screen, there will be a list of all your Steam hidden games in alphabetical order.

You can either play them from here, or you could unhide the games to make them visible in your regular library.

Unhide Them This Way

If you choose to move your games back to your library, you have a couple of options for how to unhide them. The first way is just to do the opposite of what you did to hide them in the first place.

Right-click on the game you want to unhide and move, scroll down to “Manage,” and choose “Remove from Hidden.” That will move your game out of the hidden menu in your library and back to your regular library. You’ll find it alphabetically organized, like your other games.

But that’s not the only way to access your hidden games. There’s another way.

Or This Way

Open Steam and go to your library. On the left-hand side, you’ll see your list of games. At the top of your list between Games and ALL, you’ll see a search box.

Type in the name or the partial name of the game you want to unhide, and that game will pop up. Right-click, as mentioned above, and unhide your game or play it right from the hidden section.

From here, you can also find all your other Steam hidden games because underneath the game you just searched for, you’ll see a category named “HIDDEN.” If you click on that word, all your hidden games will appear on the right.

Right-click on them there and unhide or play at will. Or you can unhide them by clicking and dragging the games one by one to the top of the left side of your screen, where a box will appear.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to keep your Steam games organized how they default. You can also organize them in ways other than alphabetical or place them in subcategories. That way, you can personalize your Steam and make it user friendly according to your preferences.

Organization Is Key

Whether your games are hidden or in plain view, you don’t have to have them organized by the alphabet. Here are some other ways you can organize your steam games.

  1. Friends Playing
  2. % of Achievements Complete
  3. Hours Played
  4. Last Played
  5. Release Date
  6. Size on Disk
  7. Metacritic Score
  8. Steam Review

In addition to or instead of sorting your games this way, you could also create game collections. To do this, just click on a game either in your visible library or your hidden game section and drag it to the “Create A New Collection” box that appears to the right of your games list.

Once you drag it there, a box will pop up for your new collection, prompting you to name it. After you name your collection, you can drag other games there and organize your game list.

Another option is to add your favorite games to your favorites list by right-clicking or dragging. That way, your best-loved games will be right at your fingertips. Note that you can use these features on all your games, including those you want to hide.

Why Would You Hide Games on Steam?

There is one main reason why you would hide a game on Steam, and we’ve already touched on it. The biggest reason to use Steam hidden games is to clean up your library and reserve those spaces only for those games you currently play.

If you have a ton of games on Steam, this might be a good way to quickly get to the games you want to play without having to scroll through the ones you don’t.

You can think of it as a spring cleaning of your digital world. In fact, it’s similar to what you should do with your overflowing inbox or your computer, in general.

Hiding allows you to organize your library without purging games you might want to play again someday.

Don’t Panic: Hiding Doesn’t Mean Deleting

Hiding games on Steam isn’t the same as deleting them altogether. When you delete a game, the game is not only gone but so is all your hard work.

Remember, you paid for that game (probably), and you spent countless hours earning achievements. It would be a shame to delete all that in one fell swoop.

So, before you delete your old games from Steam, consider hiding them instead. You don’t want to think about that game down the road and wish you could play it again and have it not be there.

You also don’t want to decide later on that you want to earn those last two achievements or look for that Easter egg you just learned about, only to remember you completely deleted the game.

The good thing is that hiding your games means that they are still waiting for you whenever you’re ready to return.

Hide Now Seek Later

As you can see, Steam made it easy for all of their players to organize their game cabinet. Steam’s hidden games function gives you the power to keep all of your games without having to sift through them to find the one you want to play today.

You can save those old, finished, or nearly finished games for revisiting whenever the mood strikes. And you don’t have to worry about them junking up your library in the meantime.

How do you organize your games on Steam? Did you know about Steam hidden games? Let us know how you keep your library tidy in the comments below!