The below contents including what does a graphics card do as well as the components of a common graphics card. To learn more about graphics card, you can visit MiniTool Partition Wizard website.

What does a graphics card do for your computer? Literally, you can know that it is related to the graphics on the PC screen. Is it necessary to know the answer? Yes, it is helpful to know what does a good graphics card do, especially for gamers. Then, you can make full use of your graphics cards.

What Is a Graphics Card?

According to Wikipedia, a graphic card, also known as a video card, a graphics adapter, a display card or a display adapter, is an expansion card that produces a feed of output images to a display device like a computer monitor. Its core is the GPU (graphics processing unit), which is the main part that carries out the real computations.

Tip: An expansion card (also called expansion board, adapter card or accessory card), in computing, is a printed circuit board which can be inserted into an expansion slot or electrical connector on the motherboard, backplate or riser card of a computer to add functionality to an operating system (OS) via the expansion bus.

Is a GPU a Graphic Card?

GPU is a specialized electronic circuit designed to change memory as well as quickly manipulate to accelerate images creation in a frame buffer, which is intended to output to a display device. For a personal computer, the GPU can be embedded on the motherboard. Or, it can be present on a graphics card. In some CPUs (central processing units), the GPUs are embedded on the CPU die.

GeForce RTX 3090 Graphics Card

Although GPU is usually used to refer to graphics card in our daily life, they are not the same thing. And, we should not confuse them with each other.

Related article: CPU VS GPU: What’s the Difference Between Them?

What Does a Graphics Card Do in a Computer?

The work of a graphics card is complex. In general, a graphics card renders images to the monitor by converting data into signals that the monitor can understand, no matter for desktop or laptop. The better the graphics card is, the better image can be generated.

In detail, the image you see on the monitor is made of dots known as pixels. A monitor displays more than one million pixels in the same time. So, the computer has to determine what to do with every pixel to produce an image. To help the computer make the decision, a translator is necessary for taking the binary data from the CPU and turning it into an image that people can see. And, the graphics card is the translator.

Specially, a great many of people add a dedicated graphics card to their desktop for gaming. And, many others get one for using dual monitors or multiple monitors.

What Does a Graphics Card Do for Gaming?

For playing a game, a graphic card also works to generate a feed of output images. Compared to common usage, the difference is that the performance of the graphics card is specially optimized for gaming.

While gaming, we usually encounter large, high-resolution/high-definition or even 3D graphics. To render a better image, graphics card manufacturers make use of a multi-card scaling technology to link several cards together. This skill allows scaling of the graphics processing across multiple cards.

Also, to render a crisp game, your machine should be able to deliver image data at an acceptable frame rate (the number of times that a game can refresh the image). It is counted by frames per second (FPS). If the frame rate of your graphics card is very low, it won’t be able to display you with smooth game actions.

Some graphics cards are customized for gaming, including:

  • AMD Radeon HD
  • AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 and RX series
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX
  • NVIDIA Titan

For cloud gaming, there are:

  • AMD Radeon Sky
  • NVIDIA Grid

What Are the Components of a Graphics Card?

As mentioned in the above, a graphics card is just an expansion card which generates a feed of pictures. And, the expansion card is a kind of printed circuit board on which certain components are mounted.


Just introduced in the above, it is designed for rapidly manipulate and alter memory.

Video Memory

Video memory capacity varies from 2 GB to 32 GB and even larger in modern times. Since the video memory needs to be accessed by the display circuitry and the GPU, it usually make use of high-speed or multi-port memory like VRAM (video RAM), WRAM (Windows RAM) and SGRAM (synchronous graphics RAM).   

Video BIOS

Video BIOS contains a minimal program for the initial setup as well as control of the graphics card. It might also contain info on the operating speeds, memory timing and voltages of the RAM (random access memory), graphics processor and other information which can be changed.

RAMDAC (RAM digital-to-analog converter)

The RAMDAC is a kind of RAM chip which regulates the functioning of the graphics card. It converts digital signals to analog signals for computer displays which adopt analog inputs like CRT (cathode ray tube) displays. Since digital computer displays become more and more popular, the RAMDACs are beginning to disappear from video cards.

Motherboard Interface

Motherboard interface is a connection system between motherboard and video card. With the time goes by, there are many different motherboard interfaces, such as S-100 bus, PCI, USB, PCI-X and PCI Express.

Output Interfaces

The following are the common connection systems between the graphics card and the display device.

1. VGA (video graphics array) (DE-15)

VGA is also called D-sub or VGA Connector. It is an analog-based standard for CRT displays.

2. DVI (digital visual interface)

DVI is a digital-based standard special for displays like flat-panel displays (LCDs, HD TV displays and plasma screens) and video projectors.

3. VIVO (video in video out) for S-Video, composite video & Component video

4. HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface)

HDMI is a compact video/audio interface. It can transfer compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant device (source device) to compatible digital audio devices, digital TVs, computer monitors or video projectors. It can also do the same transmission to the uncompressed video data. Actually, HDMI is a digital replacement to the analog video standards.

5. DisplayPort

DisplayPort is a digital display interface to connect a video source to a display device. It can also transfer audio, USB and other sort of data. The DisplayPort is designed to replace VGA, but finally it is compatible with VGA to complement it instead of replacing it.

Heat Sink

A heat sink is a copper pipe used to dissipate the heat which is produced by the GUP. Usually, there is a fan equipped to cool the sink as well as the GPU. Not all graphics cards get rid of the heat by heat sink. For instance, some old cards use liquid (water) to cool themselves. Yet, most modern graphics cards have heat sinks.

After reading the above contents, do you have a brief understanding of what does a graphics card do now? If not, or if you have some questions, please feel free to write them down in below comment part and our support team will get back to you soon.

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