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Definition: graphics card


The plug-in card in a desktop computer that creates the electronic signals required by the monitor. For PC gamers, this is always called a "graphics card," "video card" or "graphics processing unit" (GPU), the latter having become the norm as more and more graphics rendering circuits are built onto the card. See GPU.

However, because of Microsoft's influence, a graphics card is also called a "display adapter," and it is the term used in the Windows control panels. The terms "graphics card," "video card" and "display adapter" are synonymous in purpose.

A Gamer's Primary Component
In the PC gaming world, the graphics card is the most important peripheral component, and it can cost more than the computer. The more computational cores, the faster games can be rendered in a realistic manner. For more details, see display adapter.




All Shapes and Sizes
Graphics cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes from the basic unit on the left to the 3D Vision card on the right (see 3D Vision).






A PC Gamer's Dream Card
Introduced in 2018, the NVIDIA TITAN RTX has 24GB of RAM, 4,608 CUDA cores and performs more than 100 trillion floating point operations per second. (Image courtesy of NVIDIA Corporation.)