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Graphics Accelerator Card
Video Display Adapter
Video Graphics Adapter
What Is a Video Card?
A video card is an expansion card that is located inside your computer case. The video card plugs directly onto your motherboard (it’s also inside your computer). Some video cards are built right onto the motherboard itself. This type of video card is referred to as “integrated video”.
There is generally a cable that attaches to the video card connector and to a similar connector on a computer (screen) monitor. The video card connector is located in the back of desktop computers and usually on the left side of most laptops. Even though all laptops come with a built-in computer screen, they also have a connector to allow the laptop to connect to a larger monitor or other video output devices, such as a LCD projector.
What Does a Video Card Do?
When you turn on your computer, the video card is the device that is responsible for showing images (pictures) on your computer screen. The video card receives instructions in the form of electronic signals from your central processing unit (CPU) which it interprets and passes on to your computer screen.
The video card controls most of the monitor’s output. Your monitor now knows what image to draw on the screen and what colors to use. The process is the same whether you’re working with a word processor (e.g. MS Word) or watching a YouTube video on your web browser.
How Do Video Cards work?
Video cards are designed with the following parts: GPU, Video BIOS, Video RAM. Each of these components plays a roll in projecting the image you want to see on your computer screen.
Components of the video card:
- Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) – The GPU is much like the CPU on your computer, accept that it is located on your video card and is dedicated vied only. Its performs complex mathematical and geometric calculations that are used to paint the image on your computer screen.
- Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter (RAMDAC) – Is a chip on located on the video card that converts digital signals into analog signals that are used by your computer (if needed). RAMDAC only comes into play when you have a video card connected to an analog connector, such as VGA.
- Video RAM – Holds (stores) the information that needs to be shown on your computer screen. It stores the data such as pixels, colors, location on the screen that each pixel be located, etc.
- Video BIOS – Is a small program that sits on a chip on the video card. It provides instructions to enable your computer and software programs to communicate with the card.
The Most Common Types of Video output connections:
- Video Graphics Array (VGA) – An old Analog-based connector that was created back in the 1980’s. It can still be found on today’s monitors.
- Digital Visual Interface (DVI) – The first digital-based connection that was designed for displays such as flat-panel displays (LCDs, plasma screens, wide high-definition television displays) and video projectors.
- High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) – The current day standard for connecting computers to monitors and televisions. It is needed for displaying Blu Ray high definition images. It can transfer both video and audio signals through the same cable.
The image below shows a video card with all three connections:
History of Video card Yesterday and Today!
Five (5) Most Popular Video card Interface Type (Bus Standards) of their Day.
- ISA – Industry Standard Architecture – First introduced in 1981
- VLB – VESA Local Bus (usually abbreviated to VL-Bus or VLB) (Video Electronics Standards Association) – First introduced in 1992, but was short-lived. Eventually replaced by the PCI bus
- PCI – Peripheral Component Interconnect – First introduced around 1993
- AGP – Accelerated Graphics Port – First introduced in 1997
- PCIe – PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) – First introduced in 2004. PCIe is the current standard, at least for now.
Who Makes Them?
Click Here to View a List of Video Card Manufacturers
Note: The 2 top competitor Video card Chip-set Makers are ATI and NVIDIA.