What Can Buying a Better Graphics or Video Card Do for Your Computer?

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What Can Buying a Better Graphics or Video Card Do for Your Computer?
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What Can Buying a Better Graphics or Video Card Do for Your Computer?

There are plenty of good reasons to do a periodic check on a computer's peripherals and internal components. The rate of development of technology is ever increasing, so buyers who like to be on the cutting edge can keep up by making sure that their computer is up to scratch. One way not to miss out on the daring visuals a computer can provide is to have an up to date graphics or video card.. Some buyers may be somewhat uncertain about tinkering with the tower of their computer, but the graphics or video card can be replaced using a plug and play method. Changing the graphics card can allow buyers to use more than one monitor, as well as other benefits, including an improvement in the frame rate and colour scheme on a computer.

New graphics and video cards can be bought at computer hardware shops or large electronics shops. For buyers shopping online, eBay is an excellent marketplace. The site has graphics and video cards that are compatible with every type of computer.

Components of a Graphics Card

A graphics card is the part of the computer that generates output images that are sent to the display. Among the tasks that it performs are accelerated rendering of 3D scenes and 2D graphics, decoding of MPEG movie files, television output, and the ability to connect to more than one monitor. The graphics card can also be known as the video card, display card, video adapter, graphics board, or graphic adapter. Graphics cards have a printed circuit board with the following components.

Component of Graphics Card

Function

Graphics processing unit (GPU)

Manipulates computer memory to accelerate the building of images in a frame buffer

Heat sink

Distributes heat produced by the GPU, usually via a fan

Video BIOS (firmware)

Software for control of the graphics card

Video memory

Memory that is accessed by GPU and display circuitry

Random-access memory digital-to-analogue converter (RAMDAC)

Converts digital signals to analogue signals

Outputs

Connects the video card and computer display

Motherboard interface

Connects the video card and motherboard

All modern graphics cards have the above components, but there are a number of variables that allow the graphics card to be more powerful. Graphics cards take over the graphics processing for the motherboard, which usually has a limited graphics chipset.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Graphics or Video Card

When considering a new graphics or video card, or a complete computer with the card installed, there are a number of factors to consider. Buyers should know the various uses of the computer and set a budget. Most high-end graphics cards are aimed at gamers, but graphics cards can also provide smoother video playback and transcoding.

Memory Type

There are a number of memory types that a graphics or video card can employ. The main types are DDR, DDR2, and GDDR5 (Graphics Double Data Rate, version 5). The main differences in the types of memory are the potential clock rate and bandwidth. For DDR, the clock rate ranges from 166 to 950 MHz, while the bandwidth is 1.2 to 3.04 GB. The more powerful GDDR5 has a clock rate from 900 to 5700 MHz and a bandwidth of 130 to 230 GB. GDDR5 was introduced in 2008 and is to be used in the PlayStation 4.

Memory Size

Memory size or capacity of graphics or video cards ranges from 128 MB to 8 GB. The video memory is used for storing screen images, but it can also be used for Z-buffer, which provides depth coordinates in 3D graphics, textures, vertex buffers, and compiled shader programs.

Outputs

Graphics cards include the outputs used to connect monitors or other display devices that connect to the computer. These include a 24-pin digital visual interface (DVI) that can be used for high-definition television (HDTV) and the video graphics array (VGA). The VGA is usually blue and the DVI is white. Other outputs include the video in video out (VIVO) for connection with televisions and game consoles, and the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) for transferring uncompressed video data and digital audio data to a digital device.

Compatible Platforms

Most graphics and video cards are made for PCs using Microsoft Windows, but there are also cards that are developed for PCs that use Linux as well as UNIX. There are also graphics cards designed specifically for Apple Mac computers, so buyers should ensure that they are buying a card that is compatible with their operating system.

Benefits of Upgrading a Graphics or Video Card

The main benefit to upgrading a graphics or video card is to get faster, smoother graphics. This is often an issue for gamers, but an improved graphics card can also allow for better visuals when watching high-definition video, looking at photorealistic 3D graphics, and programs that allow for the editing of pictures and video with high resolution graphics. Many graphics cards have two outputs to allow for multi-monitor use. Make sure that the ports on the graphics card match the monitor connections, for example, HDMI ports for HDTV.

Graphics and video cards have their own memory, so the use of an improved graphics card can free up computer memory for other tasks. The memory of the graphics card is generally faster than the memory of the computer, so the new graphics card can give the computer a good performance boost.

How to Install a New Graphics or Video Card

Although, many buyers may not be comfortable opening their computers and looking inside, it is easy to install a new graphics or video card. So trying to manipulate the innards of the machine is one of the functions that even a novice computer fixer can perform.

Disabling and Removing the Old Graphics or Video Card

While the computer is still on, locate the device manager. Uninstall the current graphics card using the process on the machine. Turn off the PC and unplug it from the wall. Find the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slot, which is a brown plastic slot usually found above the white plastic PCI slots. Remove the small screw attached to the back plate before taking out the old card. This is a good time to make sure that a nasty electric shock is not generated, so users should either use an anti-static wrist strap or ground themselves.

Installing a New Graphics or Video Card and Drivers

Slide the new graphics card into the AGP slot in the motherboard.. Even pressure should be applied to the card to ensure that it is in place securely. If the card is not all the way in, the computer cannot start. Replace the backplate and the screw, then close the tower. After turning on the PC, the drivers for the new graphics card can be installed. Windows detects the new card and an installation wizard should pop up. Check the graphics card's manufacturer website to get the latest drivers.

Manufacturers of Graphics and Video Cards

The graphics and video card industry is dominated by AMD and NVIDIA. Another manufacturer to consider is Matrox, although the company has shifted focus towards industrial applications.

AMD

AMD stands for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. It is a company that was founded in 1969 and makes processors along with a number of different chipsets. In 2006, AMD acquired ATI to compete better with NVIDIA in the production of graphics cards. The difference between AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards is largely dependent on the user. Hardcore gamers can sometimes tell the difference between the two products, but most users cannot. Most AMD graphics cards for home computers fall under the Radeon line, which have 3D accelerator add-in cards.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA&'s product line of GPUs is called GeForce,, which provides graphics for games, along with other processes. The company also makes graphics cards for computer-aided design products, mobile devices, high-end scientific fields, and motherboard chipsets. The newer graphics cards produced by NVIDIA allow for scalable link interface (SLI), and PureVideo, which is a video decoding process.

Matrox

Matrox is a Canadian company that is most well known for making video card components. The company produced its first card in 1978 and was known for producing graphics cards with sharp images throughout the 1990s. However, AMD and NVIDIA took over the market in the late 1990s, which caused Matrox to go through a transformation. Matrox supports UNIX and Linux systems.

How to Buy Better Graphics or Video Cards on eBay

Once you know that your current computer's graphics capabilities are not powerful enough for your needs, it is time to visit eBay and find a new graphics or video card to boost the computer's performance. Finding graphics cards is easy. Simply type "graphics card&" into the text box found on most pages on the site. You can narrow your search further by adding terms such as the manufacturer of the graphics card, the chipset or GPU model number, or the memory type and size. The more keywords you add, the more precise your search results are. Make sure that you spell all of the search terms correctly because eBay only has a limited ability to correct misspellings.

Using Advanced Search on eBay

When searching for a graphics or video card, if you would prefer to let eBay do some of the search work, you can use the advanced search option. This option allows you to change the parameters of the word search order and exclude words. Therefore, if you did not want NVIDIA graphics cards, you could exclude NVIDIA from the search. Other options on the advanced search page include searching completed listings and only showing graphics cards of a specified price range.

Conclusion

Having a slow or choppy display can impact the performance of a computer. A smooth display is very important for having a better and more immersive experience, especially when playing games. Therefore, computer users should ensure that they have an appropriate graphics card. Buyers can shop for graphics cards with a greater memory size and appropriate outputs to provide for dual monitor use. The benefits of using two monitors are manifold. Computer users can multitask more easily and do not have to worry about switching from one window to another repeatedly. Adding a new graphics card can also make a computer run more smoothly because the card's memory allows the computer's memory to be used for other tasks.

NVIDIA and AMD are the major players in the graphics and video card market, and both companies have solid reputations among those with advanced graphics needs. When shopping for a graphics card, visit eBay because it has a huge selection of products and can often provide pleasant cost savings.

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