System compatibility with OpenGL 3.3

Hi; new user here, running Windows 7 Pro with 16 GB RAM on an Intel® Core i5 650 3.20 GHz dual-core system.

I just upgraded a geographical mapping program at work and was given the message in the new version that my system needed a “3D video card with support for OpenGL v3.3” in order to render 3D terrain. I know that the onboard graphics card (Intel® HD Graphics) on the system cannot handle OpenGL 3.3, maxing out at 2.1. Another thread involving a person in a similar position ( would seem to argue that I need to “upgrade [my] system to a current chipset” (ie replace my motherboard, etc.) in order to handle OpenGL 3.3. What isn’t clear to me is (a) whether I can get away with buying a video card that is capable of that support, and (b) if so, is there a list of video cards which support OpenGL 3.3? (I’ve trawled through the video cards offered by the local component store, but none of them list OpenGL compatibility amongst their specs and a quick Google search led me only here.)

Many thanks!

I would expect any graphics card using an AMD or Nvidia GPU to handle at least 3.3, and probably 4.x.

You don’t need to change anything else so long as the motherboard has a PCIe x16 slot (with enough space around it to fit the card; some of them have a heatsink the size of a house brick) and the PSU can supply enough power for the card (some of the high-end graphics cards can be quite power-hungry).

I’d suggest looking at the cheapest cards, noting the GPU model number, then looking it up on AMD/Nvidia’s web site.

I say “cheapest” because they’re likely to be the least demanding in terms of power consumption and space, and you shouldn’t need anything more for visualisation.