The Four Primary Types Of Graphics Cards

by Troy M. Howe
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A graphic card (carte graphique) is a computer tool to convert data to useful information images shown on the monitor. These tools are also known as video cards, and they are an essential element of any computer. Graphic cards come in a wide range of models. In this post, we look at the main types of graphic cards.

Types of graphics cards

Below are the four primary types of graphics cards;

1. Integrated graphic cards

Integrated graphic cards are the common most type of graphic cards. They are found in most, if not all, store-bought computers. They are known as integrated graphics cards because of their relationship with the computer’s motherboard. Also known as onboard graphics cards, integrated video cards are the default model that comes with all standard motherboards, hence their popularity. Most of the time, they do not need to be upgraded.

However, this does not mean that you cannot upgrade them. If you choose to do this, you will require to plug it into the motherboard to stop using the old one. While they are very common, integrated graphic cards are also the least powerful. This means that you have to upgrade them if you wish to use your computer to play the latest video games and other purposes with high demands.

2. PCI graphic cards

These video cards use PCI slots on the computer’s motherboard to link to the computer. This graphics card model is a bit outdated since most modern motherboards do not have PCI slots. This means that you can use them on older motherboards and not most of the new ones. However, this element does not make them obsolete since old motherboards are still highly in use.

3. AGP graphics cards

These are not that different from PCI cards since they connect to the motherboard through AGP; the difference between the two is that AGP graphics cards have 4 speeds setting, that is (8X, (which is the highest) 4X, 2X, and the least one 1X). It is worth mentioning that not all motherboards support all four speeds. Some only support the first three. These cards are limited because they are not as easy and fast to connect as their counterparts. However, they are the most widely compatible graphic card model.

4. PCI-express graphics cards

These are the most advanced model. They connect to the motherboard via a PCI-Express slot. They are known as express cards because they can be accelerated to X16 speed. Depending on your computer’s type of motherboard, you can have more than one PCI-E card on your computer.

How to choose between the various types of graphics cards

When choosing the best graphic card for your machine, you need to as yourself the following questions;

  • How do I want to use the card? (for instance, for gaming purposes, you will need the strongest model)
  • What type of computer do I own?
  • Which are the best types and the most popular in the market?
  • What do other users have to say?

Final word

Next to the CPU, the GPU (Graphics processing unit) is the most important computer component, especially for gaming purposes. This is because it impacts the performance of a gaming computer significantly. Therefore, if you love gaming, you may want to look into your machine’s GPU for better performance.

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