The best graphics card for gaming (in English graphic adaptation ), sometimes called graphics card or graphics accelerator , is the computer component designed to convert digital data to be displayed in graphic data usable by a display device . This card can either be integrated directly into the motherboard or an additional card.
The role of the graphics card was initially sending pixels graphic to a screen, as well as a set of simple graphical manipulations:
- moving blocks (mouse cursor for example);
- line drawing;
- polygon plot etc.
The latest graphics cards are now equipped with processors specializing in the calculation of complex 3D graphics scenes!
The main components of a graphics card are:
A graphics processor (called GPU, for Graphical Processing Unit ), constituting the heart of the best graphics card for gaming and responsible for processing images according to the resolution and the selected coding depth . The GPU is a specialized processor with advanced image processing instructions, including 3D. Because of the temperature that the graphics processor can reach, it is often surmounted by a radiator and a fan.
The video memory responsible for keeping the images processed by the graphics processor before the display. The larger the amount of video memory, the more best graphics card for gaming can handle textures when viewing scenes in 3D. We usually talk about frame buffer
The video BIOS contains the graphics card settings, including the graphics modes that it supports.
The interface : This is the type of bus used to connect the graphics card to the motherboard . The current PCI Express bus has been around since 2004. Several versions have succeeded one another, happily compatible with each other, the latest being v3.0.
There are 2 families of connectors:
- analog (VGA, S-Video), endangered,
- digital (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort), the most common currently.
The standard VGA interface: Best graphics card for gaming are mostly equipped with a 15-pin VGA connector (Mini Sub-D, consisting of 3 sets of 5 pins), usually blue, allowing the connection of a monitor to the same standard.
The S-Video interface: Some cards are equipped with an S-Video socket for displaying on a television, which is why it is often called a TV socket (” TV-out “).
The interface DVI (Digital Video Interface ), present on all the graphic cards, makes it possible to send, to the supporting screens, numerical data. This avoids unnecessary digital-to-analog and then digital-to-analog conversions.
There are 3 types: DVI-D (purely digital), DVI-A (analog only) and DVI-I (combining analog and digital outputs)
The most common interface on graphics cards is DVI-I, to allow operation with a VGA-only monitor, with an adapter.
The High-Definition Multimedia Interface ( HDMI ) brings together video and audio signals on one connector at a time. These are transmitted numerically and can be encrypted (protection of the content against copying). It can interconnect an audio / video source – such as an HD DVD or Blu-ray player, a computer, a game console or an HDTV. It aims to replace SCART cables , coaxial, S-Video , and supports both standard video and high definition. It is based on the DVI interface that it extends widely. There are indeed several versions of the HDMI standard(1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 …) according to the needs and possibilities of the device to be connected. Version 1.3 allows you to connect very high definition devices (3840 x 2400), up to 8 voices can be used. The HDMI Type A connector has 19 pins and is used in most cases. There is an extended connector with 29 pins for very high definition devices. Finally, a reduced-size C-type connector that also has 19 pins is for portable devices.
DisplayPort is a digital screen interface set up by the VESA consortium. Based on a micro-packet protocol, it is more scalable than DVI, and allows multiple video streams on a single physical connection. It is easily recognizable on a graphics card with its ‘cut’ corner rectangle interface.
3D accelerator cards
Calculating a 3D scene is a process that roughly breaks down into four steps:
- the script : setting up elements
- the geometry : creating simple objects
- the setup : cutting into 2D triangles
- the rendering : This is made, that is to say the plating textures
Thus, the more the 3D accelerator card calculates itself these steps, the more the central processor is released from this task and therefore the display is faster. The first chips did rendering only, leaving the processor to do the rest. Since then, the cards have a “setup engine” that supports the last two steps. For example, a 266 Mhz Pentium II that calculates the first three steps can calculate 350,000 polygons per second, when it calculates only two, it reaches 750,000 polygons per second. This shows how much these cards are unloading the processor.
The type of bus is also decisive. While the bus AGP does not bring any improvement in the field of 2D, the cards using this bus rather than the PCI bus are much more efficient. This is because the AGP bus is directly connected to the RAM, which gives it a much larger bandwidth than the PCI bus. These high-tech products now require the same manufacturing quality as the processors, as well as etchings ranging from 0.35 μm to 0.25 μm. In order to further increase the 3D calculation speed, it is possible to place several graphics cards in the same computer. This is called multi-GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The cards are connected by a specific bus, in addition to PCI Express. The architecture proposed by NVIDIA is called SLI while ATI calls it crossfire . The two architectures are obviously not compatible.