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Video Card


Photo of an XFX AMD Radeon HD 5450 1GB GDDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI Low Profile PCI-Express Video Card (ONXFX1PLS2)

XFX AMD Radeon HD 5450 Video Card

© XFX Inc.

What is a Video Card?

The video card is an expansion card that allows the computer to send graphical information to a video display device such as a monitor, TV, or projector.

The Video Card is Also Known As

graphics card, graphics adapter, video adapter

Important Video Card Facts

Each motherboard supports only a limited range of video card formats so always check with your motherboard manufacturer before making a purchase.

Many modern computers do not have video expansion cards but instead have GPUs integrated directly onto the motherboard. This allows for a less expensive computer but also for a less powerful graphics system. This option is wise for the average business and home user not interested in advanced graphics capabilities or the latest games.

Popular Video Card Manufacturers

NVIDIA Corporation, AMD, Matrox

Note: These companies actually manufacture the processors, called graphics processing units (GPUs), that operate the video card. Many other companies utilize these processors in their particular brands of video cards.

Video Card Description

A video card is a piece of computer hardware that's rectangular in shape with numerous contacts on the bottom of the card and one or more ports on the side for connection to video displays and other devices.

The video card installs in an expansion slot on the motherboard. While most video cards are of the PCIe format, video cards come in other formats as well, including PCI and AGP. These additional formats are older standards and don't communicate with the CPU and other components as quickly as PCIe.

Since the motherboard, case, and expansion cards are designed with compatibility in mind, the side of the video card fits just outside the back of the case when installed, making its ports available for use.

Some video cards have only one port for connection to a standard monitor or projector while more advanced cards may have ports for connections to multiple output sources including additional monitors and televisions. Still other cards may have inputs for video editing and other advanced tasks.

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