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A Graphics Card Speaks: The basics

A Graphics Card Speaks: The basics - PCSTATS
Abstract: The pixels you're now reading on your computer monitor are being refreshed at rates of 30 to 70 times per second. All these impressive figures are attributable to the graphics card.
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: none Aug 08 2000   S. Dennis  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > none

Going further...

The next step involves converting that binary data to analog info. This is performed by the RAMDAC (RAM digital-to-analog converter). Once conversion takes place, the analog signal is whizzed directly through to the monitor, where it (hopefully) appears in the form of an image you recognize. This process occurs constantly, allowing your screen to maintain a dynamic reflection of what you're doing on your PC.

The whole process is complex enough when you're dealing with two-dimensional images; but many games and multi-media applications these days demand 3-D capabilities. In these cases, the graphics card must call upon its more high-tech functionalities. Instead of using only two axes on which to plot the geometrical equations that produce images on your screen, the graphics card adds a third axis. It must keep track of how all three axes affect each other; what part of the picture overlaps what other part of the picture; and how to shade shapes that are supposed to look like they're warping the surface of your screen.

Yep, it's a heavy workload for one little card to bear. But graphics cards are upping their capacities and speeds at rates that exceed most users' requirements. When all you're doing is creating spreadsheets or writing reports on your PC, the graphics card works at its minimum level. It's when you start playing video games and downloading multi-media applications from the internet that things start to get interesting. The graphics card finally gets to shine; and chances are you'll like what you see.

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