Tips, Tricks & Resources For MEP Detailers

Things to Know about Video Graphics Cards

Posted by Rob W on July 6, 2010

  1. Integrated and plug-in graphics accelerators. Most computers have video acceleration built into the main processor, but they are typically not as fast as plug-in graphics cards. They also don’t have their own memory and must use your main computer resources to run video games and movies. A video graphics card has its own memory and processor, freeing up your computer’s resources for other tasks and speeding up performance. Video graphics cards are also at the front of special effects technology development, so they’re constantly improving. A card more than a few years old will quickly become obsolete. One feature which has been advanced is the type of slot that a video graphics card will fit into.When looking for graphics cards, you’ll see labels like PCI (peripheral component interconnect), AGP (advanced graphics port) and PCIe (PCI Express). These terms describe the type of motherboard slot that the graphics card requires for connection. PCIe is the most recent advancement. So, if you look for a graphics card labeled PCIe, you will be pretty much up to date.
  2. Processor speed and memory. Every video graphics card has a graphics processing unit, which is similar to the central processing unit on your computer’s motherboard. The GPU processes the images for your computer monitor. Developers have programmed GPUs with abilities such as full-scene anti aliasing (FSAA) and anisotropic filtering, which help make cleaner and more realistic 3-D objects. How fast your video graphics card can perform these tasks depends on its processor speed and how much memory it has. Processor speed is measured in megahertz (MHz). Usually, you will find video graphics cards with memory in the 128 MB to 512 MB range. High-end video games generally require at least 128 MB and recommend 256 MB of video card memory.
  3. Frames per second (FPS). Each frame is one full-screen image that your video card processes. Your eye can process about 25 frames per second, but a good video graphics card will operate at 60 FPS or higher to produce a clean image with no blurring or pixilation. A video card with more memory can save more images in a memory buffer until they are needed, increasing FPS.
  4. Pixel fill rate. How many pixels your video card’s GPU can process per second will determine how quickly it can process images. A good video card will have a high pixel fill rate, but it isn’t the main factor to consider.
  5. Triangles per second. 3-D images rendered by computers are made up of millions of tiny polygons. The more of these shapes a video graphics card can process per second, the less blurring you will see when playing videos or playing video games.

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