Thegraphics card, also called a video card, is the hardware that displays 2D and3D graphics on a connected screen – this is done by taking the binary data fromthe CPU to turn pixels into a picture. Most modern motherboards featureintegrated graphics built onto the board which can easily handle the creationof 2D images, but using a separate graphics card will override the integratedgraphics and should be much more powerful for 3D graphics. The graphics card issimilar to a motherboard as it is also a PCB with its own BIOS, RAM, andprocessor – the graphical processing unit (GPU), which is like a CPU but it isdesigned to complete complex calculations to render graphics. A graphics cardis usually located near a heatsink or fan or has its own individual heatsink/fanbuilt on.
After taking the binary data from the CPU, the GPU decideswhat to with each pixel while the RAM holds the data for the colour and itslocation it will be on the screen, and temporarily stores created pictures; theRAM can be written to and read from simultaneously to support very highprocessing speeds and is connected to a digital-to-analogue converter,shortened to DAC/RAMDAC. For 3D-imaging, a wireframe is created with straightlines then rasterized (filled with pixels), the processor then creates thecolour, texture, and lighting as it is stored in the memory. It then sends thisdata to the screen/monitor with a cable. Components of a graphics card aremeasure by their clock speed, including the GPU, memory, and RAMDAC speed, whichare all measure in MHz or GHz (megahertz or gigahertz)– this is the operatingspeed of the hardware, the cycles per second. The overall performance of a graphics card is determined byits frame rate, which is the vertices/triangles per second and the pixel fillrate; these speeds measure how fast it can build a wireframe and how manypixels are processed per second.
When it comes to video games, they requirethis process every second and most games are expected to run at 60fps (framesper second). The majority of the graphics card market is dominated by AMD andNVidia, for example, the PS4 Pro uses a custom AMD Radeon GPU that runs at 2.13GHz, with 4.12 Teraflops (floating-point operations per second), and thegraphics card RAM is the GDDR5 with 8GB of memory running at 218 GB/s.