Video card

Updated: 06/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Examples of video cards.

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.


Some motherboards may also use an onboard video card, which means the video card is not a separate expansion card like those shown below.

Video card

A PCIe video card.

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.

In the past, VGA or SVGA was the most popular connection used with computer monitors. Today, most flat panel displays utilize DVI or HDMI connectors.

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.


Some OEM computers and motherboards may have a video card onboard or integrated into the motherboard.

Can I install more than one video card?

Yes. Both AMD Radeon (utilizing CrossFire) and NVIDIA GeForce (utilizing SLI) cards are capable of running two or more video cards together.

Adapter, Connection, CUDA, GPU, Hardware terms, Output device, Processing device, Video accelerator, Video card terms