what is graphic card in computer

what is graphic card in computer

what is graphic card in computer

what is graphic card in computer, you ask? Graphics processing units (GPUs), also sometimes called visual processing units (VPUs), are specialized electronic circuits that manipulate and alter memory in an efficient manner, accelerating the generation of images in the frame buffer, which are then displayed by the computer. Considering how complex such a task can be programmable, modern graphics cards are themselves computers.

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How Does a Graphics Card Work: what is graphic card in computer? 

Images on a computer display are rendered by the graphics card, whether they are pictures, videos, games, documents, your regular desktop environment, a file folder, or anything else. There are many things that need a graphics card, from video games to simple tasks like opening a new text document, all of which require tremendous computing power.

You can expand on this by describing how your graphics card converts the instructions from other programs on your computer into visual renderings. Modern graphics cards, however, can process a tremendous amount of instructions at once, drawing and redrawing images hundreds or even thousands of times every second to ensure that whatever task you are performing remains smooth, no matter what you are looking at. Read more on   Best graphics cards for every multi–monitor setup


Graphic cards are instructed by the CPU what to display on screen. As soon as the graphics card’s onboard memory (referred to as VRAM) needs to be updated, the graphics card’s own processing unit runs those instructions. Using a cable, your graphics card transmits this information from your computer to your monitor. This alters the images, lines, textures, lighting, shading, and other elements.

A good graphic card can make it appear as if it was magic if it is not pushed to do things beyond its capabilities, and it does not look like magic if not done well. Basically, the above description is a very, very basic explanation of how a graphics card functions. It goes on much more than that, but that is a rough explanation of how it works.

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Who Makes Graphics Cards : what is graphic card in computer?

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT 8GB

AMD and Nvidia are two of the biggest names in graphics cards. Although Intel stepped into the market with its Arc Alchemist graphics cards, these two GPU powerhouses have held the market for decades. However, the names that ring out are AMD and Nvidia. However, technically, AMD and Nvidia do not produce graphics cards. Then they either manufacture them themselves or license them to other brands, like MSI, ASUS, Zotac, Palit, and so forth, who manufacture them themselves.

In this conversation, we’ll focus on AMD and Nvidia since they are the only two GPU manufacturers you can choose from when purchasing a new graphics card. So, is the GPU you buy really that important? Read more on Best GPU For Intel Core i7-13700K in 2023


How to Choose a Graphics Card

Global chip shortages contributed to rocketing GPU (and PC hardware) prices at the time of writing, and the world is still recovering. Although prices are slowly falling back to reasonable levels (don’t hold your breath!) you may wonder what to do when it comes to choosing a graphics card.

It is important to keep the following things in mind:


It is always going to be a matter of price when you purchase a new graphics card. What’s your budget for your new GPU? Taking into consideration the inflated prices of Nvidia and AMD RTX 3070s, you’re still going to be looking at $500 for an Nvidia RTX 3070 or $580 for an AMD RX 6800 XT. The GPUs mentioned above are in the middle and high end of their respective generations.

Availability:    You will also need to consider whether your preferred GPU is available.


If you’re looking to check your emails, go on social media, and watch YouTube, you don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a high-end GPU. Decide whether you need to splash a lot of cash on a high-end GPU or if a more budget-friendly GPU will be sufficient. You should, however, consider a top-end model if you want to play games in 1440p or even 4K.

what is graphic card in computer
Nvidia Graphics cards

  It is crucial that whenever you think about adding a GPU, you make sure it is compatible with your hardware. Does it fit into your motherboard with the other components on it? Is there enough power on your motherboard? Do you not want your system to get overwhelmed?



The VRAM found in discrete graphics cards is separate from the RAM on your computer. Integrated graphics, on the other hand, do share memory with the RAM on your computer. Users need at least 4GB of video memory for the latest big-budget games, but how much you’ll need depends on the game and your PC’s resolution. Video memory is important on a graphics card because it lets users run games with ultra-sharp textures and high resolutions like 4K.

It is generally recommended that you use 8GB of video memory on a 4K monitor, though there are discrete graphics cards with as much as 12GB of video memory.

Parts of graphics: what is graphic card in computer? 

Heat sink

what is graphic card in computer

what is graphic card in computer

Almost every modern graphics card comes with a heat sink installed. Heat sinks are essentially used to spread out the heat produced by the graphics processing unit evenly throughout the heat sink and graphics processor itself. Heat sinks are typically fitted with fans that will keep the heat sink and graphics processor cool.

There are some cards that don’t have heat sinks; for example, there are cards that are liquid-cooled and use a water block rather than a heat sink; in addition, there were cards in the early 1990s that produced very little heat, and therefore didn’t need heat sinks. It is imperative for the proper thermal performance of modern graphics cards. They can be water-cooled or be cooled through heat sinks that are connected to additional copper heat pipes to achieve the best thermal conductivity.

Video BIOS

An image BIOS contains a minimal program for setting up the graphics card in the initial setup process. It also provides information about the memory, operating voltages and speeds of the graphics processor. It may also provide information on the types of memory used.

Graphics cards are not fully supported by modern video BIOSes.  They are only capable of identifying and initializing them in a few frames buffer or text display settings. Software drivers must be used to access all other 2D and 3D features of the graphics card, such as YUV to RGB translation, video scaling, pixel copying, and compositing.

Video memory

Generally speaking, the graphics cards in modern days have a memory capacity ranging from 2 GB to 24 GB. Nevertheless, as of the last decade, the memory capacity of graphics cards was up to 32 GB. This meant that the graphics application market was becoming more powerful and widespread as a result. Typically, video memory is accessed by the GPU and display circuitry, so the video memory is often made up of a special type of high-speed memory, such as VRAM, WRAM, SGRAM, etc.

In 2003, video memory was mostly DDR-based. After the market shift towards DDR, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, GDDR5X, and GDDR6 memory in the late 1990s and early 2010s, manufacturers began to use DDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, and GDDR6 memory. Memory clock rates are currently between 2 GHz and 15 GHz in modern video cards.

As well as storing the screen image, video memory is also used to store other types of data, such as the Z-buffer, which manages the depth coordinates in 3D graphics and textures, buffers for vertex data, and programs called by shaders.


For displays that use analog inputs, such as cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays, the RAMDAC converts digital signals to analog signals so they can be used by the computer display. RAMDACs are RAM chips that regulate the function of graphics cards. The converter will support a wide range of refresh rates depending on the number of bits used and the RAMDAC-data-transfer rate. Flickering should be minimized by working over 75 Hz with CRT displays.

 As LCD displays are more popular and the RAMDAC has been integrated on the GPU die, flicker has mostly disappeared as a discrete component. (With LCD and plasma displays, flicker is not a problem. This component has mostly disappeared as a discrete component. LCDs and plasma monitors, as well as TVs and projectors, all of which have only digital connections, do not require a RAMDAC. A number of displays are only compatible with analog inputs (VGA, component, SCART, etc.).

 In addition to requiring a RAMDAC, these devices reconvert analog signals back to digital before they can display them, resulting in an unavoidable loss of quality as a result. RAMDACs are becoming increasingly scarce with the elimination of VGA standards in favor of digital.

Output interfaces: what is graphic card in computer? 

The most common connection systems between the graphics card and the computer display are:

Video Graphics Array (VGA) (DE-15)

what is graphic card in computer

In the late 1980s, VGA connectors were used for CRT displays, and they were primarily identified by analog signals. One of its main drawbacks is electrical noise, image distortion, and sampling errors when evaluating pixels.

High-definition video, including 1080p and higher, is now being presented via the VGA analog interface. Although the bandwidth of the VGA connection is high enough to support even higher resolution playback, the picture quality can degrade depending on the cable quality and length, which can degrade the picture quality.

It is important to understand that quality degradation is often a clear indication of the individual’s eyesight and the display.  When using a DVI or HDMI connection quality degradation can be a prominent part of the viewing experience. This is especially true  on LCD/LED monitors or TVs of larger sizes. In the case of Blu-ray discs that do not contain an Image Constraint Token (ICT), playback at 1080p is also possible via the VGA analog interface.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI)

what is graphic card in computer


Essentially, a digital-based standard like the Digital Visual Interface is a way of displaying flat-panel displays. Such includes LCD screens, plasma screens and high-definition televisions as well as video projectors. There are, in some rare cases, high-end CRT monitors also use DVI. They do so in order to prevent image distortion and electrical noise.

By using the native resolution of the computer, it ensures that every pixel on the screen is the same as a pixel on the display. It is worth making note that most manufacturers include a DVI-I connector, which is capable of connecting a new LCD monitor with a VGA input to an old CRT monitor with a DVI-I connector (through the use of an adapter).

Video In Video Out (VIVO) for S-Video, Composite video and Component video

Besides being able to connect to televisions, DVD players, video recorders, and video game consoles, these connectors also allow the users to connect to other devices as well. It is common to find VIVO splitter cables in two different variants of 10-pin mini-DIN connectors. They are usually equipped with either 4 connectors (S-Video input and output, composite video input and output) or 6 connectors (S-Video input and output, component PB output, component PR output, component Y output [also composite out] + composite in).

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High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)

what is graphic card in computer

From an HDMI-compliant device (“the source device”) to a compatible digital audio device, computer monitor, video projector, or digital television, HDMI is a compact audio/video interface that transfers uncompressed video data and compressed/uncompressed digital audio data. Digital video standards are being replaced by HDMI, which offers copy protection through HDCP. HDMI is an ideal replacement for analog video standards.


The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has developed a digital display interface called DisplayPort, which is intended to provide a direct connection between a video source and a monitor, or display device, but it can also be used to transmit audio, USB, and other forms of data as well. VESA is a royalty-free specification for connecting a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor.

In order to replace VGA, DVI, and LVDS, VESA developed the VESA specification. Using adapter dongles to make VGA or DVI video sources compatible with DisplayPort allows consumers to use their existing video sources without having to replace them with new ones. The DisplayPort has a higher throughput of the same functionality as HDMI. However, it is still expected to complement HDMI instead of replacing it.

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Final thoughts on what is graphic card in computer

Now that you know what is graphic card in computer, we shall conclude our discussion. Desktop computers aren’t the only devices that use graphics cards and GPUs. They are also found in smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, PS5, Xbox Series X, and more. Almost everything with a screen needs a way to display information, even when the technology isn’t quite as advanced. Now you know where it comes from.