There are many things today that we use but do not fully understand. Few people know of computer graphics cards and how they work, as technological advances are made quicker than normal users care to follow. We will discuss graphics cards and how they function.
With the understanding of what the video card does exactly it is easy to see why it is so important. It is easy to understand that it makes pictures appear for us on our computer, but how that is done is something we will look at. Everything you view on the monitor is constructed of small dots that are called pixels. The way that they are arranged on the screen is how images are created.
In order to display images on the monitor, the graphics card must translate information into pictures. While the process is simple to understand it is very demanding and complex for the graphics card. The information from the computer, in binary form, is translated by the video card into images and displayed for us to see.
To start out the card will construct a wireframe version of the image to be created, afterward filling it in with pixels. Rasterizing is the name for the process of filling in the wireframe with pixels. After the image is constructed color, textures, and lighting effects are added to give the image a normal look. After you finish reading this try navigating to a brand new webpage and admiring how fast all of this work is done!
The graphics card contains all the tools necessary to create images. The card’s processor is most important because it does all of the mathematical and geometric work necessary to create images. This processor is known as the GPU, a short version for Graphics Processor Unit. Random Access Memory, RAM, is the next important tool in the process. The RAM is responsible for holding all the information and finalized images, as well as their place on the screen. If your usage is really graphic intensive you will want to have a card with a good GPU and additional RAM to process everything in a timely manner.
A slot on your computer’s motherboard is how the card is connected to your computer. The card gets information, and possibly even power, from the computer via this slot. However, some more advanced graphics cards consume more power and have their own connection directly to the power supply of the computer.
You can only use a video card if the motherboard has a matching connection type, which can be any one of 3 versions. If your video card is made for one of the three it will not fit in a slot for the other two. The oldest connection type is known as Peripheral Component Interconnect or the more commonly used PCI. This slot can be used for video, audio, or other devices however the newer types are quicker. Advanced Graphics Port, known by the term AGP, was the second type of connection. Because it was designed to have a more direct connection to the computer processor and memory it is quicker than PCI. The most recent type is PCI Express, which is the quickest of the three. It will also support more than one video card in use.