This may be an essential if your motherboard choice didn’t have on board graphics. I personally like to have the option of on-board graphics. It’s one less thing to have to do when building a system and you always have the option of upgrading later. You can save a significant amount of money or at least make the initial outlay far less if you can make do with the on board graphics to start with and if you need a lot of graphics power for the latest games you can be talking about spending as much cash on a graphics card as you can for the whole computer.
Recent years have seen the graphics card grow into hugely powerful beasts consuming lots of watts of power and needing a couple of fans to get rid of the heat that the processing power on these cards requires. Again it comes down to what you want your card for and gaming certainly calls for top processing power and cost. You’ll certainly need to keep an eye open for what’s happening and look at a fair few reviews on gaming websites as this is one area that’s fast moving and a card that seems good value now will almost certainly seem out dated and surpassed in six month’s time.
There are two main manufactures of graphics cards and you can’t really go wrong with either. They are NVIDIA and ATI. Another area in terms of graphics cards that has become increasingly popular recently is using two monitors. If you’re doing something that requires a lot of screen real estate such as graphics editing it’s not unusual to have the image displayed on one monitor and the tools and palette’s displayed on another. The same with sound recording and editing, where you have the sequencer package open the graphical representation of the music on one screen while the soft synthesisers controls are open on another. If that’s something that interests you then check out the cards with dual monitor outputs. This brings me nicely on to monitors.