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Video Cards Glossary

Video Card Definitions

GPU

Graphical Processing Unit. The component found on a video card dedicated to rendering graphics that are seen on the screen. It is the heart of the video graphics Card.

Shaders

A set of software instructions that is used to create rendering effects. Shaders help provide an application with nice visuals without having to do more coding than necessary

Shader Clock

Sets the clock speed of individual shader processors

Stream Processors

Processors that support parallel processing, letting more instructions be carried out simultaneously

Memory Bandwidth

is the rate at which data can be read from or stored into a semiconductor memory by a processor

DDR SDRAM

double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory. A class of memory that came after the SDR SDRAM used by video cards and computers.

Core Clock

core clock is the speed at which the graphics processor on the video card operates

Video RAM

The RAM that is used by a video card. Video cards are not dependent on computer ram like integrated graphics accelerators.

Drivers

A program that interacts with hardware like video cards. Updated drivers usually help improve the performance of the hardware it was made for.

Heatsink

A metal object that absorbs the heat and dissipates it from the GPU of the video card.

Fan

A device that usually sits on top of the video card GPU and heatsink to cool down the temperature.

PCI

Peripheral Component Interconnect. Slots on a motherboard used to connect peripheral devices with. Slower and older Nvidia video cards use PCI

AGP

Accelerated Graphics Port. A port dedicated to video cards. Video Cards designed for AGP have access to more data bandwidth than normal PCI slots allowing for speedier performance. AGP has been replaced with PCI Express on newer computers.

PCI Express

A computer expansion card interface format that has replaced AGP. Video cards using PCI Express has a transfer rate of more than a couple of gigatransfers as opposed to AGP’s maximum transfer rate of 2133 MB/s

Pipeline

architecture mapped onto a video card that allows information to be broken down to smaller stages and be processed quickly. Shaders are used to program pipelines on video cards for a variety of rendering effects.

DirectX

An industry standard application programming interface created by Microsoft for handling tasks related to multimedia, game programming and video on Microsoft platforms.

DVI

Digital Visual Interface that allows for maximum visual quality to be displayed on LCD screens. Video cards connected to a screen with DVI will have a sharper picture than one connected to with analog.

HDMI

A fast interface that transfers both audio and video through uncompressed data streams giving digital audio/video sources the best possible combination of picture and sound.

SLI

Scalable Link Interface. Nvidia’s solution for linking multiple video cards together to increase the graphical processing power by parallel processing.

Texture Fill Rate

a measure of the speed with which a particular card can perform texture mapping.

Nvidia

An american company best known for developing graphics processors for use in video devices like video graphics cards for computer gaming. Nvidia Control Panel.

TV-Out

A port on a video card that allows for an analog signal from a television, allowing a user to view television from their computer.

Memory Bus

A set of wires on the video card that transfers information between the GPU and the CPU.

RAMDAC

Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter. A portion of a video card that converts the digital data to an analog signal.

CardBus Connector

The pins on the bottom of the video card that connects to a slot on the computer motherboard.

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