Alternatively known as a display adapter, graphics card, video adapter, video board, or video controller, a video card is an expansion card that connects to a computer motherboard. It is used to creates a picture on a display; without a video card, you would not be able to see this page. More plainly, it is a piece of hardware inside of your computer that deals with processing images and video, along with some of the tasks normally handled by the CPU. Video cards are used by gamers in place of integrated graphics due to their extra processing power and video ram.
A visual overview of a computer video card
Below are to visual examples of what a video card may look like inside of a computer. First, is a picture of an AGP video card to help give an overview of an earlier video card with multiple types of connections and the components on the card. Next, is an example of a more modern PCI Express video card that you would use with today's gaming computers.
Video card ports
The above pictures also help illustrate the types video ports that are used with video cards. For more information about any of these ports, click on the links below.
Video card expansion slots (connections)
A video card expansion slot it where the card connects to the motherboard. In the picture above, the video card is inserted into the AGP expansion slot on the computer motherboard. Over the development of computers, there have been several types of expansion slots used for video cards. Today, the most common expansion slot for video cards is PCIe, which replaced AGP, which replaced PCI, which replaced ISA.
- How do I know if I have an onboard (integrated) graphics?
- Can't add video card to a computer that has on-board video.