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Video Card

Video Card

It is the expansion card which sends the graphical information to the display devices such as monitor and projector. A video card can be integrated in the motherboard or it can be attached externally to the motherboard. Most of the motherboards provide slots for attaching the video card. It is also known as video controller or graphics controller. Popular video card manufacturers ar ATI, NVIDIA , AMD and MATROX.

Video Card


Graphics cards were introduced by IBM in 1981. These were known as Monochrome Display Adapter, these were able to provide display of white text on black screen. Since then, they have passed through some radical changes. Now, a common video card has ability of providing the 256 color display. The most modern graphic cards known as Quantum extended graphics array, have ability of providing the several million color display with very high resolution.


A video card has many components, but it accomplishes its work by using four main components:

  • It has a motherboard connection for the supply of power and data.
  • It has its own processor which decides that how a pixel of an image will be displayed on the screen of the device attached to it.
  • It has its own memory to store data about pixels and it also stores the information about image, temporarily.
  • It also has external ports, to which we can attach different devices to have an image.

Some of its major components are following:

  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU):

It is similar to CPU but it is specialized for performing the mathematical and geometric calculations related to graphics. It is also known as visual processing unit. It can have more transistors as compared to computer's CPU for performing the calculations more faster. In order to improve the quality of an image, following two are used by a video card processor:

  • Full Scene Anti Aliasing: This property makes the edges of a 3-D objects, smooth.
  • Anistropic Filtering: It improves the quality of an image by making it look more smoother.


  • Heat Sink:

A heat sink is also mounted on video cards, because these cards generate a lot of heats which is absorbed by heat sink (mounted on it) and is dissipated into the surrounding. A video card can also have a fan to keep it cool.

  • Video BIOS:

It contains the basic program which regulates the operations of a video card. It also enables the computer and different software to interact with the card. It contains the information about the memory, operating speed and GPU.

  • Video Memory:

It stores the information about the image being displayed. Different video cards have different memory, which ranges from 128 MB to 8 GB.

  • RAM-DAC:

It is random access memory digital to analogue converter. It converts the digital video signals into analogue video signal to be used by a computer display device such as monitor. Now trend is shifting toward the digital input device, thus these are being integrated on the video card so that they cannot be visible.

  • Output Ports:

All the video cards have following common ports:

  1. Video Graphics Array (VGA): It is also known as VGA connector. It is used to connect display devices that require analogue input, for example monitors. It causes problems like image distortion and electrical noise.
  2. Digital Visual Interface (DVI): It is used to connect display devices that require digital input, for example LCD and plasma displays. It avoids image distortion and electrical noise.
  3. High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI): It is used to connect game consoles and DVD player.

A special kind of port is also available in some video cards which is known as DMS-59. It provides VGA and DVI connectors on a single port.


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