Graphics Cards: What are They and What are They Used For?

Did you know that the screen resolution is not the only component responsible for creating a clear picture on a screen? Another component that can make the screen nicer to look at is a graphics card.

A graphics card is a computer hardware component responsible for rendering an image to a monitor. It converts data into a signal that a monitor can understand. There are two main types of graphics cards:  integrated and discrete graphics cards. Integrated graphics cards are built into the motherboard and are found on most computers. They are cost-effective but are not easily upgradeable and are not intended for more complicated image processing. Discrete graphics cards are an extra component installed on a motherboard; they are often used to speed up the image processing time and are ideal for modifying a system. There are many components associated with a graphics card. 

The graphics processing unit (GPU) creates the visuals displayed on the screen. It takes data from the central processing unit (CPU Board) and converts it into imagery. Expansion slots allow users to add additional cards. Graphics expansion slots have changed from peripheral component interconnect (PCI), accelerated graphics port (AGP), to the PCI-express: the PCI-E offers the best bandwidth with higher frames per second (FPS) to support more intense graphics such as 3D action and photoshop realism.

Higher random-access memory (RAM) configurations can also support higher resolutions. A graphics card’s RAM contains only the graphics memory and is separate from the system's main RAM Modules. Most modern graphics cards have a capacity somewhere between 512 MB and 8 GB; the most popular formats are DDR3 and GDDR5.

Graphics cards can be connected to the computer display through different output options. Video graphics array (VGA) is a 15-pin analog connection; it’s also probably the least efficient option. The digital visual interface is useful between cards and screen. The DVI-I carries analog and digital signals while the DVI-D carries only digital signals. HDMI carries both video and audio signals and is common due to its speed and versatility. A DisplayPort can carry video, audio, and other forms of data and is becoming more common.

Graphics cards are common in gaming systems but can help speed up image rendering in photo and video editing programs too. So, you don’t need to be an intense gamer to appreciate better quality graphics. 

At Aviation Orbit, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the computer hardware parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-509-449-7700. 


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