If you are a gamer, there are certain things that you cannot do without such as a good CPU and a Graphics card which is probably the most important thing since it contributes immensely to the performance of your rig. More so, it is important if you are into anything that has to do with video editing and rendering.
Because of the way it is widely used, there are many people that think they really understand what it is, but do they?
What is a Graphics Card?
If you have ever heard of the GPU (which you must have if you are a gamer), it is the same thing as the graphics card (the actual chip of the graphics card). It is that component of your computer that serves to generate the visuals you see on your screen. It is mostly used carelessly as the video card or the GPU of your computer but as noted, it is only the chip.
The main distinction between the GPU and the graphics card is that even when you can have entirely two different cards, the chip (GPU) they use may actually be the same. Also, it is not impossible for your card to have more than one GPU when you are looking to get massive graphics horsepower. However, there is a need to understand that it is not every game that supports a card that features more than one GPU.
In the cards business, there are a number of manufacturers but the most popular are Nvidia and AMD. Both of these cards also come with multiple GPU connections with Nvidia’s as SLI while AMD’s is known as Crossfire.
As time progresses, we get to see graphics that are developed based on new architectures (GPU). For the two major manufacturers, AMD and Nvidia, they come up with cards based on new architectures at almost every two years at most or even a year. These new cards are coming with better processors and other components because they are shrunk to accommodate more useful components to deliver more advanced graphics performance. More so, these upgrades on the architecture make it possible for the cards to use less power compared to previous ones that have high power requirements.
Components that make up your card
There are various components that your card is made of. Some of which include:
1. Graphics Processing Unit
As already stated, the GPU is a chip on your graphics card that serves to render the various images on the computer screen whether it is 2D or 3D. Also, you can have a single GPU on your card or more than one as already pointed out.
2. The Video RAM
Also referred to as the Video Memory, this component works in the same way as the RAM of your system but in this case, it temporarily holds the data that the GPU accesses including the images and textures you see on your screen. The VRAM (Video RAM) is very important because it affects performance if you are running at a higher resolution. What this means is that if the VRAM is not high enough, it may affect the frames you get.
A higher VRAM is needed as you would expect when you are running games with higher resolution so that the rendering can be smooth.
It is important to know that it does not directly connect to the RAM of your system as they are two separate components. For gaming, video editing, and other things, you will have anything from 2 GB to 64 GB VRAM.
How To See The Specs of Graphics Card You Have
When you are set for gaming or any other thing that may require the use of your graphic card, you may want to check to see what card you are using or when you are having a problem with the graphic display, here are the simple ways to see what card you are using:
1. Go to the Start menu of your computer and then right-click
2. Next click on the Control Panel
3. In the panel, open the System and Security
4. Under the System in the next window that opens, you will find Device Manager. Click on it.
5. You will see the Display Adapters. Click on it and you will see the graphics card you are using. If you need to update the drivers, simply right-click on it and select Update Drivers Software.
6. If you have downloaded the drivers already, simply select Browse my computer for drivers and then locate it. Make sure it is the right driver from either Nvidia or AMD, based on the driver you are using.
7. If, on the other hand, you do not have it on your computer, click on Search automatically for updated driver software and it will find and update your driver.
If you are using a Linux system, here are the steps you will want to follow:
1. Hold down the Alt, Ctrl, and T keys to open the Terminal Window.
2. You will want to type the following: sudo update-pciids to update your PCI items.
3. Next, enter your password and then hit on the enter key to confirm the action above.
4. To bring up your PCI items, type the following: lspci -v | less and then hit on Enter.
5. Look for Video controller”, “VGA compatible”, “3D”, or “Integrated graphics”
6. Look for the Graphics card ID number that should mostly be in the format: 00:00.0
7. Open your Terminal Window again and then type the information: sudo lspci -v -s 00:00.0 (the number 00:00.0 should be replaced with the number of your card) and then press the enter key.
If you are using a Mac system, here are the steps you will want to follow:
1. Click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of the screen to open the Apple menu.
2. Select About This Mac
3. Next, you will want to click on the System Report button
4. Expand the Hardware which you will find at the left side of the system
5. After that, you will want to click on Graphics/Display next.
6. Now, you can see the Graphics Card you are using.