A graphics card is basically an external expansion card that produces a continuously-running feed of output visuals to an electronic display unit. These are more popularly marketed as dedicated or discrete graphics cards, highlighting the major difference between them and integrated graphics. Integrated graphics, on the other hand, are the primary input devices into your computer system. In essence, the graphics card is the brain of any graphics-intensive software, rendering the output image in real time. The integrated graphics card is the primary graphics card in your computer used for video games and applications requiring a lot of dedicated graphic-intensive processing power.

There are two main types of graphics cards available in the market: single-link and multi-link. A single-link card refers to one graphics card integrated into a PC motherboard. On the other hand, multi-link cards can have more than one graphics card connected into a PC motherboard. These are more expensive than single-link cards, though they provide greater performance and faster performance.

Some video cards also have what we call PCIe that stands for Passive HDMI port, that allows users to connect their multimedia devices like DVD players and Blu-Ray players through a local area network cable without the need for additional hardware such as video cards. Another type of connection is the USB 2.0 that can be universally used to communicate with external peripheral devices. One advantage of using USB 2.0 is that it can transfer files at a faster speed than conventional USB ports. However, with the increasing popularity of the Wi-Fi technology in mobile phones, WiMax becomes a great competitor of USB 2.0, hence, the emergence of Wiofer cards.

There are several varieties of video cards available for your desktop PC today, depending on your needs and requirements. Basically, a graphics card is a chip that sits on the CPU and provides outputs to the LCD or plasma TV. There are different types of video cards in the market today depending on the specification you need.

Integrated graphics card. These are generally integrated into a CPU and the most common type is the AGP format. It offers low power consumption, excellent image quality but are generally limited to support only a single display port. Integrated display card (IGP) on the other hand offers better performance but consumes more power. These cards can also use separate slots for input and output.

Dual-port video card. These cards come in two formats – one for direct RAM access (D RAM) and another for onboard memory (IMD). Direct RAM access allows the use of the graphics processing unit’s (GRU) processor for input and output purposes. On the other hand, an IMD format card draws its video signal and then converts it into data that can be displayed on the television. Since both are similar in function, they share the same video port.

PCI Express cards. The PCI Express (PCIe) card is very similar to the AGP format except that it uses a different type of bus. Like AGP, they use a PCI slot on the motherboard and provide two output connectors. One connector is connected to the graphics card directly and the other is connected to a compatible PCI-E card on the computer.

Extended-port or universal serial bus (USB) card. The Extended-port type of video cards connects to the computer using USB ports. This kind of card requires additional peripheral devices such as monitors, keyboards, scanners and cameras in order to work properly. In addition, this type of graphics card under 5000 requires special features like UART and SATA controllers which are found on the motherboard.

Mini PCI bus. The mini PCI bus was introduced in 1998. This bus was designed for the IBM PC but soon afterwards, other manufacturers started using this bus for their personal computers. This particular type of video card has an installed port for a USB flash drive, audio interface, and an integrated video port. Some also include a USB port for connecting external devices.

DVI. Digital Video Interface or DVI is a newer technology than the earlier modes of video cards. It was made possible by the adoption of the new digital computer architecture, which is faster and more efficient than the earlier modes.

Video RAM. It refers to the non-volatile memory that holds the data that is needed to run applications. Without this, the computer display cannot be seen. There are three types of video memory to choose from; DVI, DDR and NV RAM. DVI produces better colors; the maximum colors allowed by the motherboard are limited to the maximum colors per frame are fixed.

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