No, you cannot purchase any graphic card, slap it into your computer & expect it to work without issues.
While the PC industry has made an effort to make it easier to purchase & install graphics cards for desktops, there's pretty much 4 items you have to take into consideration when buying a graphics...
Best answer: No, you cannot purchase any graphic card, slap it into your computer & expect it to work without issues.
While the PC industry has made an effort to make it easier to purchase & install graphics cards for desktops, there's pretty much 4 items you have to take into consideration when buying a graphics card.
1) What expansion slots your PC has. -- Modern computers typically have PCI-E (PCI Express) ports to handle nearly all expansion cards. However, older computers (prior to like 2005) had other expansion slots like AGP & standard PCI that complicated things. Around the year 2000, I had to exchange a graphics card (a Nvidia VooDoo 3) because I got the wrong slot.
2) How many PCI-E slots you have open -- Many higher-end graphics cards will utilize TWO PCI-E slots because of the width to accommodate all the components & cooling. Mid-range & lower-end cards may use a single PCI-E slot.
If your computer has a bunch of cards installed already, this may become an issue. However, most motherboards tend to have the necessary stuff (sound card, ethernet, WiFi, ect.) integrated to reduce the number of cards needed to run a system.
3) The length of your computer case -- Modern graphics cards are pretty long, typically measuring about a foot in length for the high-end cards. This can be a problem if you're not using a standard-size PC case (going with a smaller or "mini" case) as you may have problems getting them to properly fit into your case (as you're going to need space for your fingers to handle the graphics card... unless you somehow have the power of telekinesis).
There are smaller cards that measure around 6 inches, but these are typically lower-end & mid-range cards. They're not as powerful as the big cards, but they're still very functional & better than not having a card at all.
4) POWER REQUIREMENTS -- This is probably the one item that many inexperienced PC owners may overlook as graphics cards can be pretty power hungry, making this an item to check. You may have have hottest graphics card out there, but if your computer's power supply can't cover it's demands, you're going to have a bad time ranging from unexpected shutdowns (as your computer may have enough power to basic stuff, but can overload the power supply when starting a 3D application) OR failing to power up at all.
ON Nvidia's side, their most powerful card (at time of post) is the GTX 1080 Ti, which requires a 250 W of power & recommends a minimum power supply of 600 W. On their low-end budget side being the GTX 1050, which requires only 75 W of power & recommends a minimum power supply of 300 W.
On AMD's side, their most powerful card (at time of post) is the RX Vega 64, which the liquid cooled version requires 345 W of power & recommends a minimum power supply of 1000 W (or 1 KW). On their low-end budget side, the RX 460 only requires 75 W of power (so you could get by with a 300 W power supply, although this isn't noted by AMD).
Please be aware that the power requirements noted are when the graphics card is under a full load & will use less power when in a more idle state. Since the power supply provides power to EVERYTHING in your system (the motherboard, CPU, RAM, storage drives, graphics card, optical drives & other cards / devices connected to your computer), it's important to ensure your power supply can handle the power load... so it's worth checking.
If your computer is pretty modern (2010 or newer) with a standard size case & a fairly beefy power supply (600 W), you can likely pick up any current generation graphics card you like with minimal issues & get decent performance.
SUPPLEMENTAL: With additional specs provided, the major concern is the power supply as you mentioned it's only 350 W. This pretty much eliminates the high-end & mid-range cards due to power requirements.
On Nvidia's side, I would have to recommend the GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti. The GTX 1060 (which is the best "balanced" recommendation) wants a 450 W power supply.
On AMD's side, I would have to recommend the RX 460. I'm having difficulty recommending the RX 550 due to lack of power requirements noted on it's website, but seems OK by comparison of other cards in the same series. The RX 470 & newer as well as the RX 560 & newer are requiring more power than what your system can provide.
These are low-end "budget" cards, which will handle most games under default settings at 1080p resolution... but your mileage will vary.
Hope this helps!
1 day ago