graphics-card-5.jpg
(Vybihal, 2007).

The Graphics Card is the translator device that takes binary data from the CPU and decides what to portray on the million little pixels on your computer screen in order to make an image. Some computers come equipped with a Graphics translator built-in to the Motherboard.

Definition: "circuit board enabling screen display: a circuit board that enables a computer to display screen information." (Msn Encarta, 2009).


Standard Specifications: There are three main types of Graphics Cards:

  1. Top end / Heavy graphics / Game usage: these high specification graphics cards are equipped with plenty of memory and fast processors; the best choice of Graphics Card for the latest video games; comes with HDMI DVI outputs; often comes with multiple outputs for multiple displays; and may come equipped with TV/Video In/Video Out or tuners; most expensive cards.

  2. Mainstream / Occasional Gamer: used for general applications and the occasional gamer; includes multiple VGA or DVI outputs for two displays; some come with S-Video/TV Out connectors.

  3. Value / Onboard Cards: the best choice of graphics card if your computer use is limited to general office and internet applications; some come with onboard graphics and these systems use the memory (RAM) to run the onboard graphics; not able to run intensive games or high display sizes; lower end pricing.

(PC Hardware, 2011).

  • Onboard Video: this is a graphics card that is built into the motherboad of PCs that are budget and entry level

  • Multi-Head Cards: cards that display to more than one monitor at a time; used in business and development environments

(Graham, 2011).

Function: The Graphics Card recieves information from the CPU, working along with software applications, and decides which image to portray on the monitor. Once the Graphics Card has decided how to display the pixels, in order to make a recognizable image, this information is then sent via cable to the monitor. The Graphics Card initially creates a wire frame from straight lines and then rasterizes the image or fills in the remaining pixels, which prepares the image not only for the monitor but also for printing. This rasterizing includes adding lighting, texture and colour to the image. For more advanced, fast-paced games the graphics card must run this process 60 times per second. The Graphics Card utilizes four main components or devices within the computer to run each cycle. The Motherboard provides connection for data and power, the Processor decides what to do with each pixel, the computer's Memory (RAM) retains information about each pixel and completed images, and finally the Monitor displays the final result after retrieving the information from the Graphics Card.


graphics_cards.jpg
(techno23, 2008).

How it Affects the End User: The Graphics Card is what allows the computer user to actually see anything on the screen! Without a Graphics Card, when you turned on your computer, nothing would show up... literally nothing. Having a computer without a Graphics Card would be the most useless piece of technology that would eventually gather dust. As a computer owner and frequent user it is important to acknowledge the different types and speeds of Graphics Cards and it is also important to know that Graphics Cards can be changed and upgraded. If I became a gaming freak tomorrow I would be able to update my Graphics Card to a card with a higher speed capacity.

The video below shows a computer user how to upgrade the Graphics Card


(AMDUnprocessed, 2009).

Fun Fact!: I had no idea what a Graphics Card was until I researched for this wikipage!


Resources Utilized for this Page:
Vybihal, J. (2007). The Parts of a Graphics Card [image]. Retrieved from http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~jvybihal/Courses/CS308/index.html
Msn Encarta. (2009). Graphics Card. Retrieved from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_701706351/graphics_card.html
PC Hardware. (2011). Video and Graphic Cards Explained. Retrieved from http://www.pchardware.co.uk/graphiccards.php
Graham, AJ. (2011). What are the different types of video cards? Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5415516_different-types-video-cards.html
Tyson, J., Wilson, T. V. (2001). How Graphic Cards Work. Retrieved from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/graphics-card.htm
techno23. (2008). Graphics Cards [image]. Retrieved from http://www.techfuels.com/graphic-displays/19-graphics-cards.html
AMDUnprocessed. (2009, December 17). How to Install A Graphics Card [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9x097QRXeA