Graphics Card: what you should know about them
by Samuel López
January 1, 1970
If you are looking to play video games in your computer, you should think in changing your graphic card. Most of our PCs comes with an integrated device to make the graphics; however, they are very inefficient and can even burn themselves them if you force your computer to run heavy games.
I am about to show the most important information you should handle to understand how the graphics memory work and which one is the best for you.
PARTS OF THE GRAPHIC CARD:
- Connector: allows inserting the card into the main card slot – Motherboard.
- Memory: this is RAM memory responsible for storing information exclusively for video, releasing the main RAM of your pc.
- Microprocessor: it is in charge of the process of the information exclusively for video.
- Plastic board: is the structure in which the parts of the card are mounted.
- DVI port: transmits video signal with high definition.
- Support: Allows you to attach the card to the cabinet chassis.
- PCIe power connector: receives power directly from the ATX source.
Heatsink: passive device (without moving parts); Composed of a very conductive metal of heat, extracting it from the card. Its efficiency depends on the structure and the surface, so that the greater the cooling demand, the greater the surface of the heatsink.
Ventilator: active device (with moving parts); Removes the heat emanating from the card as the nearby air moves. It is less efficient than a heatsink and produces noise because of the moving parts.
Watercooling is a cooling technique that uses water instead of heatsinks or fans (inside the chassis), thus achieving excellent results in terms of temperatures, and with enormous possibilities in overclocking. It is done with watertight circuits.
Ranges of Graphics Card:
Low range: These graphic cards will allow us to enjoy our video games to acceptable graphics quality and 1080p resolution. You cannot put the graphics to the maximum or put many filters to improve the image quality but the gaming experience can be even better than the videogame consoles of the present generation (Xbox One and PS4).
Mid-range: these will allow us to play with an excellent level of detail and moderate filters to improve the quality and the gaming experience. In this range we will see a clearly and more superior experience that the offered by the new generation consoles. I recommend them with at least 4 GB of GDDR5 video memory although I have also seen some 8 GB model for an excellent price.
High range: they are the most powerful cards. Assure us an excellent performance playing at high or very high graphic detail levels with aggressive filters to improve image quality like the MSAA, it will also allow us to play at high resolutions like 2K or 4K
Most Important Brands:
After completing the ATI purchase in 2006, AMD was restructure as the only company in the world that provides the wider range of solutions in all branches of microprocessors, graphics cards and chipsets. It also becomes the world’s largest producer of TV chips, consoles and mobile phones in the world. AMD is Intel’s biggest rival in terms of semiconductor solutions.
Nvidia Corporation is a multinational company specializing in the development of graphics processing units and integrated circuit technologies for workstations, PCs and phones. Its Headquartered is in Santa Clara, California. The company has become one of the leading providers of integrated circuits (ICs) such as GPU graphics processing units and chip sets used in graphics cards on game consoles and personal computer motherboards.
INTERCONNECTION BETWEEN CARDS:
Crossfire is the name given to the ATI / AMD Multi GPU system that was design as a counterpart to the nVidia SLI. This system allows, using a certified Crossfire board, to couple up to four graphics cards that support this technology in PCIe x16 slots. The total bandwidth that each card receives depends on the configuration of PCIe transmission lines.
Scalable Link Interfaz (SLI)
The NVIDIA implementation requires at least one motherboard with two PCIe x16 ports. A small printed circuit board connector interconnects the two cards. The software distributes the load in two possible ways. The first, known as Split Frame Rendering (SFR) analyzes the image to be displayed in a frame and divides the load evenly between the two GPUs. The second form is called Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) and each frame is processed by a GPU alternately, one frame is processed by the first GPU and the next by the second.
When a frame is displayed, the image is sent through the SLI connection to the main GPU, which sends it to the output. Ideally, this would reduce processing time by half; however, the actual time is a little higher. NVIDIA says that the performance of the system increases by a factor of 1.9 x with this configuration. Identical video cards are usually used.
The chipset is the set of circuits that are on the motherboard of your PC. Its most important function is to connect the different elements that are inside the box of the equipment although it is not the only one.
Its functionality has been changing over time, mainly due to changes that have occurred in the processors themselves. These, integrate more and more elements that we previously found on the motherboard. In addition, certain cards that had to be discrete, like the sound or the network are supported by the chipset itself.
For you to understand it in a simple way: you go from having a discrete device that performs a function such as a graphics card to integrate it into the chipset on the motherboard and then thanks to improvements in manufacturing technologies to include it in the Inside the of the processor.
This leads to certain computers having duplicities. That is, several elements that can be used to perform the same work each with their own benefits.
However, there are things that do not change; for example, the chipset will always be in charge of giving us the connection to the outside. It is not useful to have a graphics card integrated in the CPU, as we have in the APUs if in the end the chipset that is mounted on your plate does not have an output to connect it to a monitor.
With this little information, you are ready to go. Now you can make a wise decision in the selection of graphic card for your new gaming computer or if you think this is too difficult, you may have to expend a lot of money in a factory made gaming computer or buy a console. I am looking forward to hear from you on the comments.