I currently purchased a "Sapphire 11244-01-20G Radeon NITRO R9 390 8GB GDDR5" for a 2013 Mac Pro on El Capitan. Unfortunately it would take technical acrobatics to get it to work with the hardware, which I don't feel confident in doing.

I'm fairly new to the hardware game, and would like some kind of modular guide to learning graphics card capabilities and compatibilities.

I understand that this is a HUGE question, but all I'm asking for is a surface level guide that introduces the core concepts and provides the terminology to enable a mostly google savvy person to research the reasoning behind graphics card compatibility for differing systems.


Compatibility wise, your motherboard will need a PCI Express x16 slot. You need to make sure that it actually fits into the case, since some more powerful GPUs have fans to cool them, and can be fairly large. Lastly, you need to make sure that your power supply has enough headroom above what the existing components are drawing to power your graphics card.

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