Graphics cards control the process of rendering information from your computer into pixels that translate onto the monitor. Graphics cards are equipped with processors that handle image rendering, as well as RAM which allows the graphics card to process the information faster. Graphics cards fit into expansion slots located on the computer motherboard and can be PCI, AGP or PCIe. The type of graphics card used is dependant on the capabilities of the motherboard installed in the computer.
The function of the graphics card is to handle image rendering from your computer to the monitor. By utilizing the graphics processor unit (GPU) that is built into the graphics card, the central processing unit (CPU) of the computer is free to handle other computer functions.
Graphics cards are classified as being either PCI cards, AGP cards or PCIe cards. Each of these types of graphics cards respectively exhibit changes in technology which allows the graphics card to function faster, the most current type being the PCIe graphics card. In order to establish the type of graphics card needed, it is necessary to consult with the operating manual for your computer system, or inspect the motherboard of the computer for available expansion slots.
Graphics cards come in a varying degree of RAM capabilities, ranging anywhere from 256MB of RAM to a gigabyte or more. The amount of RAM determines the speed in which the graphics card processes the information from the computer to the monitor. By utilizing on board RAM from the graphics card, less strain is put on the RAM of the computer system.
Consideration should be given to the amount of graphic processing power that is needed when evaluating the need for a graphics card. While graphics cards with faster processors and high amounts of RAM are necessary for applications such as computer gaming, average users have far less demanding requirements for a graphics card. Consideration must also be given to the type of computer motherboard to determine the type of graphics card compatible with the computer system.
The benefits of graphics cards are their ability to decrease the amount of processing that the central processing unit (CPU) of the computer is required to do. This decrease allows for the CPU to handle other system resources and run computer applications more smoothly. Graphics cards also provide the ability for higher resolutions on newer type monitors and the ability to render 3D graphics.