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Encyclopedia > Graphics card

A graphics/video/display card/board/adapter is a computer component designed to convert the logical representation of visual information into a signal that can be used as input for a display medium. Displays are most often a monitor, but use of LCD TV, HDTVs, and projectors is growing increasingly common with the growth of the media center computer concept. The graphics card and display medium are able to communicate utilizing a variety of display standards. Graphics cards are both integrated into motherboards, and sold as expansion cards. The IBM ThinkCentre A Series is a popular line of computers. ... Signal processing is the processing, amplification and interpretation of signals and deals with the analysis and manipulation of signals. ... Nineteen inch (48 cm) CRT computer monitor A computer display, monitor or screen is a computer peripheral device capable of showing characters and/or still or moving images generated by a computer and processed by a graphics card. ... Liquid crystal display television is, as indicated by its name, a television using LCD technology (generally TFT), as opposed to cathode ray or plasma for its visual output. ... High-definition television (HDTV) means broadcast of television signals with a higher resolution than traditional formats (NTSC, SECAM, PAL) allow. ... Projectors are used for displaying an image on a projection screen or similar surface for the view of an audience. ... It has been suggested that Media Server be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that Display standard be merged into this article or section. ... An old Octek Jaguar V main board with an AMD 386DX-40 processor. ... Fitting an expansion card into a motherboard An expansion card in computing is a printed circuit board that can be inserted into an expansion slot of a computer motherboard to add additional functionality to a computer system. ...


One of the major players in graphics card history was the Hercules Graphics Adapter (HGC). It offered text mode of 80x25 and high quality monochromatic images of up to 720x348.


Currently ATI and Nvidia dominate the video card industry. The 2 current top video cards for Integrated graphics displays have gradually become more common in pre-built computer systems since the mid 1990s as computer manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell look for ways to cut costs while still providing basic video support. In terms of office tasks, web-browsing, email and similar computer activities, integrated graphics displays are a more practical solution than high-powered 3D graphics cards. First person shooter games like DOOM relied on high-performance cards at the time the game was introduced. The 1990s decade refers to the years from 1990 to 1999, inclusive. ... A first-person shooter (FPS) is a computer or video game where the players on-screen view of the game world simulates that of the character, and there is some element of shooting involved. ... Doom (or DOOM)[1] is a 1993 computer game by id Software that is among the landmark titles in the first-person shooter genre. ...

Contents


Expansion

The most powerful graphics hardware, usually geared towards 3D graphics for games, is typically found on expansion cards. Their processing engines are sometimes called GPUs (graphics processing units), or, most commonly used by ATI Technologies, VPU's (Visual Processing Units). The longterm goal of graphics cards manufacturers (and game developers) appears to be realtime photorealistic rendering. New products and technologies are often touted to provide "Hollywood quality" - 3dfx used claims of movie-quality effects to promote their Voodoo 5 cards with T-Buffer technology, allowing motion blur, depth of field and full screen anti-aliasing effects. nVIDIA talked about "the dawn of cinematic computing" when introducing its GeForce FX chip with the Dawn technology demo. Others use the new technology for more stylised and unique but unrealistic rendering, such as cel shading. The rewrite of this article is being devised at Talk:3D computer graphics/Temp. ... A computer game is a game composed of a computer-controlled virtual universe that players interact with in order to achieve a defined goal or set of goals. ... It has been suggested that Video Display Processor be merged into this article or section. ... ATI Technologies Inc. ... 3dfx Interactive was a company which specialized in the manufacturing of cutting-edge 3D graphics processing units and, later, graphics cards. ... The Voodoo 5 was the last and most powerful graphics card line that 3dfx ever released. ... This section needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... An example of very shallow depth of field in a macro photograph. ... In digital signal processing, anti-aliasing is the technique of minimizing aliasing (jagged or blocky patterns) when representing a high-resolution signal at a lower resolution. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) is a major supplier of graphics processors (graphics processing units, GPUs), graphics cards, and media and communications devices for PCs and game consoles such as the original Xbox and the new upcoming next generation Playstation 3. ... NVIDIA GeForce FX logo The famous Dawn demo was released by NVIDIA to showcase pixel and vertex shaders effects of the GeForce FX Series The GeForce FX (codenamed NV30) is a graphics card in the GeForce line, from the manufacturer NVIDIA. // Overview NVIDIAs GeForce FX series is the fifth... A technology demo is a prototype or an incomplete version of a product, with the primary purpose of showcasing the performance, methods or features of a particular technology. ... Categories: Computer and video game stubs | Computer graphics ...


The most common connection for video cards for current mainboards is PCI Express, which is taking over from the previous Accelerated Graphics Port, or AGP. Older video cards used PCI which was more limited on bandwidth than AGP or PCI Express. The ABIT KT7, an ATX format motherboard A motherboard is a printed circuit board used in a personal computer. ... PCI Express (formerly known as 3GIO for 3rd Generation I/O, not to be mistaken with PCI-X) is an implementation of the PCI computer bus that uses existing PCI programming concepts and communications standards, but bases it on a much faster serial communications system. ... AGP slot (maroon), although the color is usually brown. ... 32-bit PCI expansion slots on a motherboard 64-bit PCI expansion slots inside a Power Macintosh G4 The Peripheral Component Interconnect standard (in practice almost always shortened to PCI) specifies a computer bus for attaching peripheral devices to a computer motherboard. ... Bandwidth is a measure of frequency range, measured in hertz, of a function of a frequency variable. ...


AGP is only allowed to send up to 35 watts of power to the video card using it, and therefore some higher end cards required a separate power connection. This was supposed to be fixed when PCI Express was designed, with a maximum power raised to 75 watts. However, modern cards have now eclipsed that barrier, and therefore still require a separate power connection.


What makes it fast?

Modern 3D graphics cards rely on the values of many variables in order to determine their speed. The most important of these variables are; clock speed, memory speed, and pixel processing volume.


The clock speed is the frequency with which the GPU or VPU operates at. This can be anywhere in a large range and can be compared to the operating frequency of a CPU. The memory clock is another way of determining how fast a card will operate. The memory clock is also measured in Mhz (megahertz), but will sometimes have a theoretical multiplier associated with it. If your video card is operating with SDRAM then the effective speed is the same at the clock speed. If you have DDR-SDRAM then the effective frequency is twice that of the clock speed. For example, if you have an NVIDIA 6800gs with a 525Mhz memory clock, it effectively operates at 1050Mhz. GPU may stand for: Graphics processing unit, a special stream processor used in computer graphics hardware Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie (Главное Политическое Управление, or Main Political Directorate) of the Red Army, responsible for troops morale and propaganda. ... A Graphics Processing Unit or GPU, also called Visual Processing Unit or VPU is the microprocessor of a graphics card (or graphics accelerator). ... CPU can stand for: in computing: Central processing unit in journalism: Commonwealth Press Union in law enforcement: Crime prevention unit in software: Critical patch update, a type of software patch distributed by Oracle Corporation in Macleans College is often known as Ash Lim. ... DRAM is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) is a major supplier of graphics processors (graphics processing units, GPUs), graphics cards, and media and communications devices for PCs and game consoles such as the original Xbox and the new upcoming next generation Playstation 3. ...


One very important card specification that is often overlooked is the number of pixel pipelines. If a card has 8 pixel pipelines, a clock speed of 400Mhz, and a memory clock of 1000Mhz, it is often slower than a card with 16 pipelines and lower clock and memory clock values. This is one of the main ways a consumer can tell where their card falls in the spectrum of end-user graphics cards. Manufacturers can overclock their cards without a problem; but they cannot add pixel pipelines, and therefore higher end cards almost always have a higher pipeline count, allowing for higher volumes of data to be processed and rendered quickly.


Although, the NV 6800 can open 4 more pipelines. It's basic architecture is 325, 325 (700 effective) and 12 pipelines. This can be overclocked close to 6800GT speeds, by adding 4 more pipes and by raising the clocks by 75 each. This is a save in $90, and therefor the 6800 is a far better bargain than the 6800GT. This is because, during manufacturing, the NV company accidently made the wrong video card chip. They were shooting for the 6800GT, but ended making a less powerfull chip by accident. Since this chip was now in mass production, and that millions of dollars were put into it, the NV company decided not to waste them, but to make a less powerless card. Also, during manufacturing, the company secretely closed 4 more pipes (aka quads) Now, since its older brother is the 6800GT, and that it is supposed to be that, it can BE Overclocked to it. If you have a NV6800, and u want to overclock it, just google it.


BUYERS BEWARE Overclocking your video card VOIDS YOUR WARRANTY!


There are other variables like memory architecture, and memory technology. Memory architecture is normally a value of 128-bit, or 256-bit with the latter being on the higher end, higher performance cards. Memory technology refers to the type of DDR-SDRAM or SDRAM available. The highest end gaming graphics cards are using GDDR3 which stands for Graphics Dual Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM, Generation 3. GDDR3 (Graphics Double Data Rate, version 3) is a graphics card-specific memory technology, designed by ATI Technologies. ...


A formula that some experts use to measure cards that run on different bitrates and clock rates is to take the memory clock and multiply it by the bits per clock and divide by 8. A card that has 400 mhz memory and a 64-bits would appear to be faster then a 250 mhz memory and 128 bit. However using the formula, the first card has a rate of 3.2 gigs compared to 4.0 gigs for the second.


Uses

Conventional 2D

Conversely, sometimes 3D graphics capabilities are not relevant to the choice of high-performance graphics card. The current generation of desktop software and operating systems works exclusively with 2D graphics. Specialised niches in areas such as medical imaging also require 2D graphics and fine visual-quality. 2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models, text, and digital images) and by techniques specific to them. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Radiology. ... 2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models, text, and digital images) and by techniques specific to them. ...


With the upcoming Windows Vista operating system, the images in the Windows OS will be rendered by using vector graphics instead of bitmap graphics, or raster graphics. Currently, this is a task that the CPU or Central Processing Unit of your pc is assigned to complete. This new operating system will require that its main 2D graphics processing will be taken over by the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit. Example showing effect of vector graphics on scale: (a) original vector-based illustration; (b) illustration magnified 8x as a vector image; (c) illustration magnified 8x as a raster image. ... Suppose the smiley face in the top left corner is an RGB bitmap image. ... CPU can stand for: in computing: Central processing unit in journalism: Commonwealth Press Union in law enforcement: Crime prevention unit in software: Critical patch update, a type of software patch distributed by Oracle Corporation in Macleans College is often known as Ash Lim. ... CPU redirects here. ... GPU may stand for: Graphics processing unit, a special stream processor used in computer graphics hardware Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie (Главное Политическое Управление, or Main Political Directorate) of the Red Army, responsible for troops morale and propaganda. ... It has been suggested that Video Display Processor be merged into this article or section. ...


3D gaming and rendering

3D cards for model rendering in art and animation are different from those intended for games. While they may have similar hardware, their drivers and firmware are optimized for the specific task. Rendering cards are tuned for high precision, and gaming cards provide high performance. A digital or analog monitor may be connected to the graphics card via a DVI connector or VGA connector respectively. Increasingly, the higher end cards offer dual DVI outputs for use with two or more digital displays, while maintaining analog compatibility by bundling DVI-VGA converter dongles with the cards. Modern games like F.E.A.R. and Bethesda Softworks:The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have fairly high system requirements that require a computer with a competent graphics card, enough RAM, and a fast enough CPU. A device driver, often called a driver for short, is a computer program that enables another program (typically, an operating system) to interact with a hardware device. ... In computing, firmware is software that is embedded in a hardware device. ... DVI Connector A DVI connector is a cable connector used to send Digital visual interface signals to a computer monitor or HDTV. Key: (D) = DVI-D (DVI digital) (A) = DVI-A (DVI analogue) (DVI-I has both sets of pins) External links DVI Electrical Pinouts Categories: Computer hardware ... VGA Connector There are at least four versions of VGA connector, the three-row 15 pin DE-15 (also called mini sub D15) in originaland DDC2pinouts, and a less featureful and far less common 9-pin VGA, plus a Mini-VGA used for laptops. ... A dongle is a small hardware device that connects to a computer to authenticate some piece of software. ... The acronym F.E.A.R. may refer to: F.E.A.R. (single), a single by British musician Ian Brown. ... Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media Company, is a developer and publisher of computer and video games. ... The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a game currently under development by Bethesda Softworks for the PC, Xbox 2, and Playstation 3. ...


Manufacturers

Major chipset producers and products

3Dlabs is a graphics card vendor that develops high-end graphics chip technology and markets its Wildcat computer graphics solutions to design professionals in the CAD and content creation industries. ... ATI Technologies Inc. ... Radeon is a brand of graphics processing units (GPU) that has been manufactured by ATI Technologies since 2000 and the successor to their Rage line. ... For more background on this topic, see Radeon. ... // Radeon X1000 Series The Radeon X1000 series was introduced on October 5th, 2005 along with ATis X850 crossfire edition cards. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is a U.S.-based multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) is a major supplier of graphics processors (graphics processing units, GPUs), graphics cards, and media and communications devices for PCs and game consoles (Xbox). ... The logo for the GeForce 6800, one of Nvidias flagship video cards. ... A GeForce 4 (codenames below) is a fourth-generation graphics processing unit (GPU) manufactured by NVIDIA which forms the basis of many computer graphics cards. ... NVIDIA GeForce FX logo The famous Dawn demo was released by NVIDIA to showcase pixel and vertex shaders effects of the GeForce FX Series The GeForce FX (codenamed NV30) is a graphics card in the GeForce line, from the manufacturer NVIDIA. // Overview NVIDIAs GeForce FX series is the fifth... The GeForce 6 Series is nVidias newest series of graphics processors. ... The GeForce 7 Series is the seventh generation of NVIDIAs GeForce graphics cards. ... The GeForce 8 Series, or G80, will be the eighth generation of NVIDIAs GeForce graphics cards. ...

Specialty graphics card producers and products

Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd is a Canadian company based in Dorval, Quebec, which produces video card components and equipment for personal computers. ... Matrox Parhelia The Parhelia-512 GPU was 512-bit chip with full support for DirectX 8. ... The P Series pistols are the line of centerfire semiautomatic pistols made by Sturm, Ruger. ...

Minor chipset producers and products

Also see the list of defunct graphics chips and card companies. S3 Graphics, Ltd design graphics chipsets for PCs. ... XGI Technology Inc. ... Volari may refer to: Volari, a line of graphics cards produced by XGI Volari, a prominent human race in The EA Cycle series of books written by David Zindell This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... This is a list of defunct graphics chips and card vendors. ...


External links

NVIDIA.com Graphics

ATI Graphics

  • ATI Products Page

Power Consumption of Modern Graphics Cards

  • X-bit labs - Articles - The Grand Clash for Watts

Benchmarks for many of the latest Graphics cards can be found here.

  • Desktop and Mobile Graphics Reviews

There are also guides that provide speed and specifications comparison between different graphics cards.

  • Toms Hardware VGA Charts
  • Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide
  • Mobile GPU Comparison Guide
  • Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide

  Results from FactBites:
 
Graphics card - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1386 words)
The graphics card and display medium are able to communicate utilizing a variety of display standards.
Graphics cards are both integrated into motherboards, and sold as expansion cards.
A digital or analog monitor may be connected to the graphics card via a DVI connector or VGA connector respectively.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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