Video Cards - General Information | Tech Info Home Page |
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The video card is used to connect the video monitor to the computer. They are produced by multiple manufacturers and have exist in the following forms: Monochrome (MGA), Color Graphics Array (CGA), Enhanced Graphics Array (EGA), Video Graphics Array (VGA), and more recently VGA with 2D and 3D graphics as well as numerous Windows accelerator functions. Some even have the ability to display TV and VCR pictures as well as video conferencing. They come in the standard connector types of the older ISA and the newer PCI slots. The VESA style has by 1997 become extinct.
The cards use a 15-pin HD15 style connector which extends from the back of the computer.
The typical measurements are :
- Refresh rate
- Resolution in horizontal and vertical pixels that can be displayed
- VGA (640x480) - With VGA, the screen is composed of 640 horizontal and 480 vertical pixels.
- Super VGA - The next resolution is the Super VGA which has 800x600 pixels.
- XGA - Next is the XGA at 1024x768 pixels. This mode should only be considered for 19" monitors or higher.
- The number of colors that can be displayed simultaneously. Sixteen (16) is the minimum, 256 is almost required for games and movies, 32k and 65k are pretty good at displaying color photos, and 16.7million (true color) is a must for true color pictures. There are also 24-bit, 30-bit and 32-bit modes used by high end photographic programs.
The prices vary from about $10 to the hundreds. A very good video card can be bough for about $180.
There are also Video Capture Cards that can perform video capturing from a VCR or camcorder of from a special video camera.
There are also TV Tuner video cards that can connect to a video card through a special internal cable to allow viewing of television shows. A cable connection is provided on the back of these cards.
Some cards also provide NTSC output signals which allow the video monitor screen to be outputted to a regular television.
Type of memory used on Video Cards
- VRAM - Video Random Access Memory
- dual-ported VRAM (Video Random Access Memory). This memory is specially designed for the most demanding graphics tasks. As data enters one port, data can be flowing to the monitor via another.
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