What is a Video Card
And How It Works

You may be wondering what is a video card exactly? And how does it work to display everything on the screen? Without a video card in your computer, all you would see on your screen would be a blank screen. It is a vital part of any computer system.

This article will answer some questions for you and hopefully after reading it you will know more about this very important computer component.

So what is a video card? Put simply, a video card is the device or circuit board that transfers information to the monitor to be displayed.

Video cards come in different variations. In a basic computer system where graphics isn't of high importance, the video card is integrated into the motherboard. This setup is known as "integrated graphics".

With an integrated graphics card you are very limited because your computer can't produce high quality 3D images and effects that is needed by the latest computer games.

But if gaming, 3D graphics, video editing etc isn't your thing, then you don't really need a separate graphics card. On the other hand, if you're doing any sort of gaming at all you will need a dedicated video card.

Even a basic, cheap video card will do better than an integrated card. The more you are into your gaming, the more you will have to spend on a card. If you want to play the very latest 3D games on PC then you will need a decent graphics card would could set you back a few hundred dollars.

An important detail to keep in mind with video cards is how much memory they have. Video cards have their own Random Access Memory (RAM) which helps speed up the whole rendering process. The more RAM you have on-board your card, the faster your games and other graphic applications will run.

As an example, let's pretend you are playing a PC game and inside your PC is a video card with 512MB of RAM. If you were playing the same game with a 256MB video card or even a 128MB card then your game wouldn't run as "smooth". By smooth I mean the action in the game may seem jerky or "glitchy".

If you notice this during your game then you should try to lower the resolution and turn down some of the game's video settings. If that still makes the game un-smooth then your video card probably can't handle that game. And guess what, it's time for a video card update if you ask me!

Anyway, hope this article has opened your eyes about video cards a little bit and you won't be asking the question "what is a video card" ever again!

If you want a more detailed article on choosing a great gaming video card, check out our article How to Choose a Gaming Video Card.

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