by Erina O'Brien


Graphics (Video) Card

The Video Card, or Graphics Card, is an expansion card within the computer that specializes in display functions. The video card is a printed circuit board that generates a feed of output images to a display, such as a computer monitor. It translates data sent from the motherboard to the monitor. The video card can be integrated into the computer's hardware through a chipset on the motherboard, plug-in cards, or as a part of the CPU. The processor of the Video Card is the GPU, the Graphics Processing Unit. The GPU is equipped with parallel processing architecture, which allows the processor to use and decode multiple calculations at once. GPU's are not only used for 2D data and the zooming and panning of screen displays, they are also used in the decoding of 3D data so as to render animations and videos as swiftly as possible to the computer screen. The video card responded to the issue of slowing CPU's,

Accurate representations of GPU and CPU

which have higher clock speeds than GPU's (meaning they can respond to individual commands from the computer faster than the GPU) but do not have the parallel processing architecture of the GPU. The more sophisticated, and often more expensive, the Video Card and its GPU, the higher the resolution and the swifter the motion within movies and games. There are different ways in which the video card can connect to the Motherboard. The PCle (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is the connector that is found in the majority of modern computers video cards.   AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) and  PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) are two methods of connections that no longer are heavily used, for their connection speed is slower than that of the PCle.

Higher vs. Lower Resolution

The first video cards, created in the 1980s, used are greatly inferior in power in comparison to the ones found in most computers today. One of the first video cards was the Video Graphics Array (VGA) was simply created to display graphics at a resolution of 640x480. In comparison, the average computer is equipped with a resolution of 1024x768. The VGA rarely had a video memory that surpassed 512k. Video cards drew a lot of attention from video game developers towards PCs. At the time of the video cards creation, gaming consoles ruled the market of video games. The video card did not only push the video game industry forwards but also paved the way for GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating systems like Microsoft Windows and the realms of full-featured word processors and spreadsheets.

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