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Lesson 4- Video card component - explains what a video card is with definitions of features

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In lesson 4 we'll explain what a video card is with definitions of features to look for when shopping for a video card and how much you can expect to pay.


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The video card is responsible for creating all that you see on your computer monitor. Up until about 8 years ago, video cards were advancing in the acceleration and quality of 2 dimensional images. Since that time, video cards have reached a point where they are all equal in their ability to show 2D images and no further acceleration is possible.

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Video card development now focuses on 3 dimensional acceleration and 3D image quality, 3D games and 3D modeling software, for instance.

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Direct X is the system that 3D acceleration is based on. The latest version, Direct X11 which comes with Windows 7 and Windows 8 and be installed on Windows Vista, provides the best image quality and fastest 3D graphics available. For the best 3D performance, look for Direct X 11 support in your video card.

The amount of memory a video card has plays a big role in the speed and quality of 3D graphics. The higher the resolution you run your games at and the higher the quality settings you enable in your games, the more memory the video card will need to keep the games running fast. Look for a card with at least 1GB of memory.


The video card will attach through a PCI Express 2.0 16x or 3.0 16x slot on the motherboard . Make sure the video card you buy supports PCI Express 2.0 16x or 3.0 16x. PCI Express 3.0 doubles the available bandwidth for sending data between the motherboard and the card compared to the older 2.0 spec and both the 2.0 and 3.0 specs are forward and backward compatible with each other. Keep in mind that even this years highest performing video cards don't use more bandwidth that the 2.0 spec provides. 3.0 will better support future video cards, but is not a necessity today.To watch all of our complete video lessons with full written instructions you will need to purchase a login for the site. Buy Now..

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+1 # SpaceBoy 2010-04-25 15:55
im bying a new video-card for my Computer but it says:
ProcessorCPU Clock Speed380 MHz

and my bios says CPU Clock Speed 200MHz
will it work in my computer?
+1 # admin2 2010-04-25 19:20
On AMD systems in the BIOS there is a setting for CPU Clock Speed and the default is 200MHz. This is actually the reference clock setting. The reference clock is then multiplied by a number (16 for example) to give you the actual CPU frequency. 200x16 is 3200 or 3.2GHz. Now the video card mentioning 380MHz, that is probably the speed of the graphics processor on the video card. If that is the case it will probably working with your system but you need to find more information. The most important things to look at when buying a video card are the slot type, PCI Express 2.0 16x which is the standard right now and the amount of power the video card needs. Your motherboard needs to have a PCI Express 2.0 16x slot and you have to check your power supply to make sure it has enough power to support the video card.
+1 # ???? 2010-05-31 11:49
What is the meaning or used of FX in video cards?? ex. FX9800
+1 # admin2 2010-06-01 01:47
FX is just part of the model name. It's just branding.
+1 # Chocolately Chi 2011-01-23 11:15
I recently purchased a motherboard that had 2 PCI Express x16 slots. However, it says one runs at x16 mode and one at x4 mode. How is the x4 different? Will it affect trying to Crossfire? And can I change it to run at x16 mode?
+1 # admin2 2012-06-06 09:14
Most motherboards will have one 16x and one 4x PCI Express slot. If you put two video cards in in Crossfire or SLI mode the two slots will switch to 8x mode. This is still plenty fast enough to handle the two cards.
+1 # erasor101 2012-02-18 19:46
in regards to video cards, you mentioned that having mutiple video cards has a depreciating return on investment. therefore, you suggested buying a "good" primary card and then cheaper cards with similar specs to do "crossfire" or "sli" with. How will minor changes between card effect the output? and which specs are most inportant to keep equal?
+1 # admin2 2012-06-06 09:16
As long as the two cards have the same graphics chip and amount of video memory you shouldn't have any problems. To avoid any potential problems I would match the same model number of video cards.
+1 # PhantomRedRose 2012-03-22 18:03
Is a PCI 3.0 x16 port compatible with a PCI 2.0 x16 video card?
+1 # admin2 2012-06-06 09:18
Yes, PCI Express 3.0 and 2.0 are forward and backward compatible with each other. However to get the extra bandwidth of 3.0 both the slot and the card have to support 3.0.

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