Video Card or GPU Edit
by Raya Cox EditThe video card of a computer, also known as the graphics card or the GPU, is what allows us to see images on the monitor. It takes the data from the CPU (central processing unit) and turns it into pixels and pictures that can be displayed. The CPU sends information to the GPU about the image that is wanted. Next, the GPU takes the information and works it into pixels. It then decides or figures out how to arrange the given image in a coherent way. Once that is done, the information is sent to the monitor through a cable and the image can be displayed. However, this is quite complicated. The GPU must also add lighting and fill in extra space with more pixels so as to make the image 3-dimensional. The GPU has many parts and does many important things. It is almost like a mini motherboard; it has a processor as well as a BIOS (basic input/output system) chip and RAM (random access memory) called vRAM. The GPU, however, most closely resembles the CPU. The GPU deals with difficult, complicated math and does many calculations. In doing so, it generates a lot of heat and therefore it needs to be located near a heat sink and/or a fan to ensure that it does not overheat and fry itself. For a more in depth picture of the GPU, click here.
vRAM is Video Card Random Access Memory and the more vRAM that a given GPU has, the more complicated the images it can create. If a very high definition image is needed, than you need a lot of vRAM. For high speed gaming, a good amount of vRAM is necessary as well. If the vRAM gets overloaded, then the regular RAM gets involved. When this happens, things slow down immensely.
The GPU first began to become prominent in the mid to late 1970s. Jay Miner, a circuit designer, began working on the TIA circuit. This allowed gaming consoles to display images for the first time. Then, in 1991, the first actual single chip GPU was created. It was all 2-dimensional at this point, but this was when GPUs really began to become more and more common. In 1999, GPUs were created by Nvidia that had Transform and Lighting engines. This helped take pressure off of the CPU to create complicated graphic effects. At first, GPUs were very small. Over the years, however, they have been becoming larger and larger, getting fancier and fancier all the time. For a more complete and deeper history of the GPU, click here.