How Does A Graphics Card Work?

The images you see in your monitor are made of tiny dots called pixel. At commonest decision settings, a screen displays over a million pixels, and the computer has to decide what to do with each one in order to create an image. To do this, it wants a translator — something to take binary data from the CPU and turn it into an image you can see. Unless a computer has graphics capability built into the motherboard, that translation takes place on the graphics card.

A graphics card’s job is complex, however its rules and elements are easy to understand. In this article, we will look at the primary parts of a video card and what they do. We’ll also look at the factors that work collectively to make a fast, environment friendly graphics card.


Think of a computer as a company with its own art department. When individuals in the firm desire a piece of artworkwork, they send a request to the artwork department. The art department decides find out how to create the image and then places it on paper. The end result’s that somebody’s thought becomes an precise, viewable picture.

A graphics card works alongside the same principles. The CPU, working in conjunction with software applications, sends information about the image to the graphics card. The graphics card decides how to use the pixels on the screen to create the image. It then sends that information to the monitor by a cable. ­

Creating an image out of binary data is a demanding process. To make a three-D image, the graphics card first creates a wire frame out of straight lines. Then, it rasterizes the image (fills within the remaining pixels). It additionally adds lighting, texture and color. For fast-paced games, the computer has to undergo this process about sixty occasions per second. Without a graphics card to perform the required calculations, the workload could be an excessive amount of for the computer to handle.

The graphics card accomplishes this task utilizing four major elements:

A processor to determine what to do with every pixel on the screen

Memory to hold information about every pixel and to quickly store accomplished pictures

A monitor connection so you can see the final end result

Next, we’ll look at the processor and memory in more detail.

Like a motherboard, a graphics card is a printed circuit board that houses a processor and RAM. It also has an enter/output system (BIOS) chip, which stores the card’s settings and performs diagnostics on the memory, input and output at startup. A graphics card’s processor, called a graphics processing unit (GPU), is much like a computer’s CPU. A GPU, nevertheless, is designed specifically for performing the advanced mathematical and geometric calculations which might be obligatory for graphics rendering. A number of the fastest GPUs have more transistors than the average CPU. A GPU produces loads of heat, so it is normally situated under a heat sink or a fan.

In addition to its processing power, a GPU uses special programming to help it analyze and use data. ATI and nVidia produce the huge majority of GPUs on the market, and both firms have developed their own enhancements for GPU performance. To improve image quality, the processors use:

Full scene anti aliasing (FSAA), which smoothes the sides of 3-D objects

Anisotropic filtering (AF), which makes images look crisper

­ Each company has additionally developed particular techniques to assist the GPU apply colours, shading, textures and patterns.

­ Because the GPU creates images, it needs somewhere to hold information and accomplished pictures. It makes use of the card’s RAM for this goal, storing data about each pixel, its coloration and its location on the screen. Part of the RAM can also act as a frame buffer, that means that it holds accomplished images until it is time to display them. Typically, video RAM operates at very high speeds and is twin ported, that means that the system can read from it and write to it at the same time.

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