What is a graphics card? Its types, components, and selection method

Today’s tutorial will tell you everything you need about graphics cards. It doesn’t matter if you just bought a computer or want to get more out of your smartphone; In any case, getting to know the graphics card and its functions will be helpful for you.

What is a GPU?

GPU, or graphics processing unit, is a part of the computer responsible for creating screen images. All devices with a screen, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, have a GPU.

Without a GPU, your device cannot display images on the screen, which will be practically useless.

What does the GPU do?

The task of the GPU or the graphics processing unit is to display images, scenes, and animations on different devices. The more powerful the GPU, the faster the rendering of 3D graphic images and the possibility of using these images for various tasks.

Although smartphones, tablets, and laptops all have GPUs, the GPUs in these devices are primarily designed for gaming. Because a powerful GPU is usually needed to run games smoothly and quickly, the powerful GPU of phones can display several animations within a few milliseconds, just like computers.

A GPU is required to render multiple complex animations simultaneously on your device’s screen. A powerful GPU is not only beneficial for gaming but also useful for creative people who are looking to render 3D models or edit videos. For example, the GPU used in the MacBook Pro laptop is more powerful and robust compared to many laptops because this laptop is made for digital artists and designers.

GPUs are also used in data centers that enable similar things, such as cloud gaming, video encoding, streaming, and Bitcoin mining.

In general, the GPU affects everything your screen displays. One of the most significant differences between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops is the quality of the GPU used in them.

What is an iGPU?

There are two types of GPU and one type of iGPU (integrated graphics processing unit), all located inside the system’s central processor and are not separate. iGPUs are less potent than discrete graphics processing units or dGPUs and are usually used for basic rendering and general tasks.

Companies such as AMD and Intel have focused on increasing the performance of their iGPUs. Apple surprised everyone by presenting its silicon graphics cards, mainly because the MacBook M1 Max has a powerful GPU that can compete with robust and advanced graphics cards.

If you want to buy a laptop that does not have a dedicated GPU, check and see if the device in question has a GPU or integrated graphics card. If not, you need an iGPU or dGPU to work with the laptop.

GPU stands for Discrete Graphics Processing Unit and means discrete graphics processing unit. Usually, dGPU in desktop computers is inside the graphics card itself, but in high-end laptops, dGPU is installed as a dedicated chipset on the motherboard.

dGPU is more potent than iGPU because they are made for displaying advanced graphics and for people who specialize in games or content production.

In constructing gaming laptops, they use powerful dGPU to display images and game scenes with high resolution and quality. Currently, the largest manufacturers of graphics processing units are AMD and Nvidia. Of course, Intel recently launched its dedicated laptop GPU in the form of Intel Arc and planned to start supplying computer graphics cards.

It should also be said that dGPUs need a dedicated cooling system to achieve the best performance and prevent overheating. That’s why gaming laptops are much heavier than standard laptops.

In addition, dGPU has a higher energy consumption, meaning gaming laptops drain faster than other laptops with iGPU. On the other hand, the presence of dGPU also increases the laptop’s price, so usually, only those who intend to play professionally or create content buy this type of laptop.

Although GPU and graphics card are often used interchangeably, these terms differ. GPU is a chip placed inside the graphics card and responsible for creating and displaying images. But the graphics card is an expansion card that connects the GPU to the motherboard. The graphics card has dedicated RAM and cooling fans that cool the GPU when necessary.

In simple words, the graphics card is the platform on which the GPU is placed and connects the GPU to the rest of the computer. The relationship between these two is similar to the connection between the CPU and motherboard; The CPU provides the system’s processing power, and the motherboard supplies the necessary platform to give this power.

What are the components of a graphics card?

Different graphics card models have their hardware, but most graphics cards are made of the following components:

  • GPU: A GPU is a piece of hardware similar to a CPU.
  •  Memory: The graphics card is equipped with a dedicated memory, which is also called VRAM.
  •  Interface: Most GPUs use PCI Express as an interface at the bottom of the graphics card.
  •  Output: A graphics card has a variety of video outputs, often including HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, or VGA.
  •  Heat sink: All GPUs have a fan and heat sink to dissipate heat.
  •  Power connectors: Newer GPUs require a six- or eight-pin power connector and sometimes a two- or three-pin connector.
  •  BIOS: Program information and basic GPU settings are stored in the BIOS. This part protects voltage, memory, and other data when the device turns off.

What companies make graphics cards?

Regarding graphics cards, the names of two big companies shine, AMD and Nvidia. These two companies have dominated the graphics processor market for decades, and even though another giant named Intel entered the field with the Arc Alchemist graphics card, AMD and Nvidia are still the most famous card manufacturing companies. They are considered graphics.

Of course, these companies do not technically make graphics cards but design them and then send them to a chip foundry for manufacturing, or they license their designs to other brands such as MSI, ASUS, and Zotac. , they give Palit to do this.

How to choose a graphics card

Consider the following points to buy a graphics card:

  • Price: usually, the first thing that comes to mind when buying a new graphics card is its price. Unfortunately, the graphics card cost is not low, and if you want to buy an Nvidia RTX 3070 or AMD RX 6800 XT graphics card, you have to pay around 500 to 580 dollars. These models are medium to high graphics processors from the latest generation of GPUs.
  •  Availability: whether the graphics card you want is available in the market and whether it is easy to get affects the decision to buy a graphics card.
  •  Specifications: Before buying a graphics card, you must know precisely what you will do with it. If you want to check your e-mails, surf the web, and watch YouTube videos, you don’t need to spend much money on an expensive graphics card because a mid-range graphics card will get you started. But if you plan to play at 1440p or even 4k, you should look for a high-end graphics card.
  •  Compatibility: The graphics card you buy must be compatible with your device. So before buying, check if the model you are looking for fits the computer motherboard and do you have enough power connectors.

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