IBM was the first who invented interchangeable PC hardware. The first IBM PC 5150 was introduced in August 1981 and since then we have seen so many computers with interchangeable hardware. That hardware was a motherboard, SSD, CPU, RAM, and Graphics Card.
A computer is a combination of different components that works together to perform different tasks. Every component has its own function and that’s why they are used for that particular purpose.
Similarly, a graphics card is a component of a PC that is used to generate any kind of visuals. Without a graphics card, you can not see anything on your monitor.
What is a Graphics Card?
A graphics card is a PCB that delivers graphics rendering. They are often referred to as video cards or graphics accelerator cards. GPUs were first used in desktop computers in the 1980s. The term “GPU” was first used in 1999 by Steve Jobs when he introduced the original iMac.
The first GPUs were used to accelerate the drawing of vector graphics. Today, GPUs are used to render both 2D and 3D images. They can also be used for video processing and image processing.
GPUs are usually combined with a CPU to form a complete system. However, there are some PCs that use a GPU for processors as well.
These are typically used for specific applications such as gaming or video editing.
Types of the Graphics Card
There are two major types of graphics cards.
- Integrated GPU
- Discrete GPU
We often call graphics cards GPU but in reality, GPU is a component that is located on the PCB of a graphics card. The Graphics card is just like a mini motherboard that has its own RAM, and other things that work with it.
However, you can not compare the performance of a discrete GPU with an integrated one. It is because the discrete GPU uses its own RAM and other things to work whereas an Integrated GPU uses the system’s RAM and other things to work.
1. Integrated GPU
The “integrated graphics” is a type of GPU that is integrated into the CPU. This type of GPU is usually found in laptops and other small form factor computers, as well as some ultra-portable devices.
One advantage of an integrated GPU is that it doesn’t require a separate graphics card, which can save space and power.
You will also get a more cost-effective option to produce than a discrete GPU. However, the main downside of an integrated GPU is that it usually has slower performance than a discrete GPU.
This is because the integrated GPU has to share resources with the CPU, which can impact its performance. For this reason, gamers and other users who require high-end graphics usually opt for a discrete GPU.
2. Discrete GPU
A discrete GPU is a stand-alone chipset in a computer that only works for rendering graphics.
It is usually used in gaming laptops and high-end workstations because it can provide a significant boost in graphics performance.
The benefits of using a discrete GPU are numerous, but the most important one is that it can greatly improve the visuals of games and other graphics-intensive applications. In addition, a discrete GPU can also improve the performance of other demanding tasks, such as video editing and 3D rendering.
However, the downside to using a discrete GPU is that it typically requires its own power supply and cooling system, which can add to the overall cost of the computer.
Components of a Graphics Card
A graphics card is based on the following components:
- Power Connectors
This is the main part of any graphics card or you can say it is the heart of a graphics card. It is a silicon wafer that contains millions of tiny transistors. Also, GPU and graphics card are two different things.
The GPU is responsible for all the graphical calculations and it is also responsible for sending the visuals to the monitor through the interface. The performance of a graphics card depends on the type of GPU and its clock speed.
A graphics card also has its own RAM or you can say video memory. This memory is used by the GPU to store the data that it needs for processing the graphical calculations.
The size of this memory can range from 4GB to 16GB. The type of memory used in a graphics card is usually GDDR5 or GDDR6. The higher the size of the video memory, the more improved visuals you will get.
To power up the GPU and the memory, a graphics card needs one or more power connectors. The most common type of power connector is the PCI Express (PCIe) connector.
Graphics cards can also use other types of power connectors, such as the 6-pin or 8-pin connector. The number of power connectors varies from one graphics card to another.
The BIOS is a type of firmware that is used to store all the information related to the graphics card. This information includes the GPU clock speed, memory size, and power consumption.
The BIOS is stored on a chip on the graphics card and it can be updated by the manufacturer to improve the performance of the card.
The interface is used to connect the GPU device to the motherboard. The most common type of interface is the PCI Express (PCIe) interface.
Graphics cards can also use other types of interfaces, such as the AGP or PCI interface. The type of interface used by a graphics card depends on the type of motherboard.
To keep the GPU and the memory cool, a graphics card uses a heatsink and one or more fans. The heatsink is a metal plate that is used to conduct the heat away from the GPU and the memory.
The function of the fan is to dissipate the heat around the heatsink with the flow of air. The number of fans varies from one graphics card to another.
Graphics cards can also use other types of cooling systems, such as water cooling or liquid cooling.
How Does a Graphics Card Work?
A graphics card works by processing the graphical calculations and sending the visuals to the monitor through the interface. The visuals processed by the graphics card include 3D images, 2D images, and vector graphics. The processor on the graphics card is called GPU. The GPU is a chip that renders graphical calculations.
The GPU consists of two main parts: the shader and the rasterizer. The shader is responsible for processing the mathematical equations that create the visual effect.
The rasterizer is responsible for converting the processed image into a format that is able to be viewed on the monitor. The graphics card also has its own memory, which is used to store processed images. This memory is called VRAM (Video Random Access Memory).
The interface between the graphics card and the monitor is known as the VGA (Video Graphics Array) or DVI (Digital Visual Interface). The VGA is an older interface, while the DVI is newer.
Both interfaces use a cable to connect with the monitor.
The graphics card also needs a power supply in order to function. The power supply provides power to the GPU and the VRAM.
In order to function, a graphics card needs drivers. Drivers are pieces of software that allow the graphics card to work with the operating system and other software on the computer. Drivers are available for free from the official website.
A sound card is not required for a graphics card to function, but it may be required for certain features, such as 3D audio.
A graphics card can be installed in a computer in one of two ways: using an expansion slot on the motherboard or using a PCI Express (PCI-E) slot. Motherboards typically have one or two expansion slots for graphics cards. PCI-E slots are found on the motherboard, but they are not as common as expansion slots.
Form Factors of a Graphics Card
The size of a graphics card is called the form factor. However, in desktop computers, only ATX form factor GPU is used. The other form factor is mini-ITX, which is used in small computers and laptops.
There are also two versions of graphics cards: desiccated and integrated. Integrated graphics cards are embedded on the motherboard and it uses the same RAM as the CPU.
Dedicated graphics cards have their own RAM and are not sharing it with anything else.
What are Cores and CUDA Cores?
GPUs are far more powerful than a Central Processing Unit (CPU) because they can handle thousands of threads simultaneously while CPUs are only able to process a few threads at once.
GPUs also have their own dedicated memory called Video RAM (VRAM) to help them process information much faster than a CPU.
A core is a single processing unit within a CPU or GPU. A CUDA core is a type of core that is designed to handle vector operations, which are common in many scientific and engineering applications. Many of today’s GPUs have hundreds or even thousands of CUDA cores.
What is the Normal Temperature of a Graphics Card?
The normal range is between 65° to 85° Celsius. If your GPU is running above that range, it might be thermal throttling. To avoid this, you can use a fan speed controller to lower the temperature of your GPU.
What is Overclocking?
Overclocking is the process of speeding up hardware forcefully to its maximum stock frequency. When overclocking a CPU or GPU, you can increase its clock speed, which will make it run faster.
Overclocking can be dangerous, however, as it can lead to hardware damage if done improperly. Always do proper research when you are going to do overclocking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the uses of a graphics card?
Graphics cards are used for gaming, video editing, 3D animation making, and making 3D designs.
Do I need a graphics card for a PC?
No, this is not necessary to use a graphics card with a PC. However, a graphics card is required for certain features, such as 3D gaming or watching movies in HD.
What is a graphics card (short answer)?
A Graphics card is hardware that produces, improves, and renders all kinds of visuals on a computer.
Do I need a graphics card for gaming?
Yes, you will definitely need a graphics card for gaming.
I hope my research will help you to know more about graphics cards. I have tried to explain all the necessary and important things in my article. However, you can ask any questions if you have any.
For gaming and video editing, the importance of the graphics card is the same as the CPU. It is the most important factor for a good gaming experience. If you want to be a professional gamer or video editor, then you should definitely get a powerful graphics card.
Thanks for reading!