How to Upgrade Your PC's Graphics Card
By Stephen Bucaro
Almost every motherboard has integrated video circuitry, and some high-end motherboards
even have high-performance integrated video, but that's usually not sufficient for today's
power 3D game enthusiast. They always replace the on-board video circuitry with the latest
high-performance video graphics card.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460|
|Core Clock: ||650 MHz |
|Memory Type:||GDDR5 |
|Video Memory:||1GB |
|Memory Clock:||3400 MHz |
One of the main features of a graphics card is its graphics processing unit (GPU). The GPU
is a custom graphics CPU optimized for accelerating graphics which offloads all the graphics
tasks from the motherboard's CPU.
The main attributes of the GPU are the clock frequency, which typically ranges from 250 MHz
to 4 GHz and the number of pipelines (vertex and fragment shaders), which translate a 3D
image into a 2D image formed by pixels. Most graphics cards use NVIDI GPUs. NVIDIA invented
the GPU in 1999, and today all NVIDIA cards can support up to 3 GPUs.
Another important attributes of a video graphics card is the amount of memory housed on the
card. The memory capacity of most modern video cards ranges from 128 MB to 4 GB. Since
video memory needs to be accessed by the GPU and the display circuitry, it uses special
high-speed or memory. GDDR5 (Graphics Double Data Rate, version 5) is a type of high bandwidth
memory which has double the data lines and 8-bit wide prefetch buffers.
Installing the Graphics Card
1. Before you buy a video graphics card, check your motherboard's expansion card slots.
There are three types of card slots currently available: PCI, AGP, and PCI Express (PCIe 2.0
is compatible with PCIe slot). Make sure you purchase the correct card slot type.
2. Make sure that your computer's power supply can handle the extra power requirement
of a high-performance video graphics card. Compare the power consumption of the new
video card with your existing card. You may need to upgrade to a beefier power supply before
you can install a new high-performance video graphics card.