Probably, every computer user orthe laptop once heard the word "video card", as well as its analogues - "graphics accelerator", "graphics card", "GPU", etc. However, very few people actually understand what a video card is and how it works.
Let's try to understand this issue.
What is a video card?
A video card is a device that convertsa graphic image from the memory of the PC or the card itself into a form adapted for its demonstration on the monitor screen. That is, simply put, everything that you see on the monitor is the work of the video card.
There are many classifications of video cards, howeverregardless of other characteristics, they can all be divided into two groups - integrated (built-in) and discrete. The first are part of the motherboard or CPU, the latter are implemented as a separate board, which is installed in a special slot of the motherboard.
Integrated graphics cards are good because theyAvailable and do not require a lot of power from the PC. However, they, of course, have a serious disadvantage - they are not very powerful, and you can meet them in computers and laptops of a budget class.
A discrete graphics card is more expensive and consumes a lot of energy, but it is characterized by high performance, which is very important for those who often play "heavy" 3D games.
How does the video card work?
A video card is a very complex device, but it is not difficult to understand the general meaning of its operation. We have already mentioned the fact that the task of the video card is image adaptation. How does it happen?
The central processor of the PC using a specialThe software sends the video card information about how the image should look, after which it decides in which order it is necessary to arrange the pixels, so that the image is correct. To create a 3D image, first a structure is formed from straight lines, which is then filled with pixels, and the texture, color and brightness of the image are formed at the last stage. When the image is formed, the video card sends it to the monitor.
In words, this algorithm is quite long, but init is realized with very high speed. The more powerful the video card, the higher the speed, but the power of the video card, in turn, is determined by the parameters that we will describe below.
Main parameters of video cards
The interface of the video card is used for data exchangebetween a 3D accelerator and a central processor. Today the main standard of exchange is the PCI Express bus. Previously, the AGP standard was used, however, in some models it still occurs. AGP and PCI-E - are incompatible, even physical slots for their installation in the motherboard have different sizes. But different versions of PCI-E are compatible, with the older version, the more bandwidth it has.
The clock speed of the video card is the determining factorperformance characteristic of the video card. The higher the frequency, the more powerful it is, and the more powerful the video card, the more smooth and pleasant the user gets. Insufficient power of the video card is especially evident during the passage of 3D games.
Video memory capacity
The amount of video memory is also an important performance characteristic. The more memory, the better. However, there is a certain limit, after which the memory size does not affect the performance.
Video Memory Type
Currently, there are several typesvideo memory. The more modern the standard, the higher the memory performance. The fastest standard for today is GDDR5, but the memory of this standard is very expensive, and therefore the most popular GDDR3 is more in demand. It's worth mentioning that, despite availability, the video card with GDDR3 memory is also very fast.
Memory bus width
This parameter affects theability and overall performance of the video card. It is measured by the bit / cycle value, in video cards of the middle price segment this value is 128 bits / cycle, in the top 256 bit / cycle and higher.
Direct X version
Direct X is the programming interfaceapplications, whose task - to ensure the interaction of the computer and programs. Also, the higher the version of DirectX, the more interesting game modes are available to the user.
Another very important characteristic - connectorsvideo cards that use monitors, TVs, projectors, etc. to connect to it. All the connectors are divided into analog and digital, while digital is more preferable, since the image obtained with analog connection is influenced by a mass of factors that often very spoil its quality.
What video card is on my PC?
To find out which video card is installed on theyour computer, it is not necessary to disassemble it, just go to "Device Manager" (Control Panel) and view the information about the video adapters. Having understood what kind of graphics card you have, you can learn the values of its main characteristics and assess the level of its performance.
Read also: How computers work.