Graphics Card vs Video Card
In a computer, one of the main output methods is the display. Therefore, the capability to provide a display output is integrated onto the motherboard (main component of the system). This allows computers to provide visual output. But often the quality of the video output is low with this onboard video hardware, often called the graphics chipset. Also, when rendering 3D graphics and other demanding graphics operation, the computer performance becomes slow and the images unclear and faulty.
To enhance the quality of the graphics of a computer, additional hardware, specifically designed for this purpose, can be connected through the expansion slots. These hardware devices are known as the graphics card, video card, graphics accelerator, video accelerator, etc. In fact, the graphics card and the video card are one and the same. They can be connected to the computer motherboard through ISA, MCA, VLB, PCI, AGP, PCI-X, and PCI Express interfaces of the motherboard.
The main components of a video card and their operation are briefly outlined below.
• Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) –
GPU is a specialized processor with advanced image processing capabilities, especially supports 3D graphics. It also processes images based on the encoding used in the visual.
• Video Bios
Contains the graphics card’s settings, and governs the basic behavior of the graphics card.
• Video Memory
Stores the images processed by the GPU before being displayed on the display device.
• RAMDAC (Random Access Memory Digital-Analog Converter)
Converts the digital output from the GPU into analog signals, later to be displayed on the monitors; The refresh rate of the graphics card is determined by the frequency of the RAMDAC.
• Output Interface
The output interface provides the connector interfaces for output signals to be transmitted to the display device. The output interfaces can be any of it from VGA, Digital Visual Interface (DVI), S-Video, HDMI, DMS-59, to DisplayPort and other proprietor interfaces.
A graphics card consumes energy at a high rate and, therefore, it dissipates a lot of thermal energy. Therefore, adequate power supply and heat sinks are required for proper functionality of the graphics card. Often the heat sink and the fans are mounted onto the graphics card itself.