The difference between graphics cards and video cards can be confusing. They are two very similar types of hardware used for very similar purposes. In modern computers, these two are defined as their usage in different places. Both of them are silicone-based microprocessors mounted to printable circuit boards (PCB). In this article, we will point out exactly which aspects made them unique.
How Graphics Card and Video Card Work
The processor of a computer is a piece of hardware that manages versatile applications in real-time. But the GPU, or graphics processing unit of a computer is needed for displaying high-quality media by doing the same specific tasks and calculations very efficiently.
Graphics cards consist of their own processor, memory, and even personal cooling systems to achieve this goal. It is connected to the motherboard with the help of PCI slots. It is an independent system that doesn’t require additional processing power from the CPU and can render high-quality textures or 3d animations more smoothly by itself. If you want, you can even check the graphics card in an easy way.
On the other hand, video cards use the same technology but to achieve slightly different goals. It connects the monitor to the motherboard and its job is to display any output to the monitor. It creates the basic frames and delivers them to the screen for users to see. Without a video card, the monitor would be blank with no outputs to show.
Graphics Card Vs Video Card
Video Quality Vs Graphics Quality
To understand the basic difference, we need to understand that ‘video’ and ‘graphics’ quality aren’t really the same things. While video quality often refers to the processed frames per second and the delivery of frames to the monitor, graphics quality is denoted by the overall detail and characteristics of a frame.
For example, the texture detail of pixels on a frame is a graphics property. A 60fps video looks smoother than a 24fps video. On the other hand, a graphically enriched scene looks a lot better and have more structural details than a normal scene. It may not look smoother, but it looks more pleasing and defined.
Why Video Cards Aren’t Enough
A computer can run completely fine without an external graphics card. The video adapter can display basic operating system outputs fine, but it will face difficulties in rendering higher quality objects or complex details. As a result, the user will encounter lagging or poor performance.
Graphics card is very handy for tasks like gaming, 3d design or graphics design, and many other multimedia-based experiences. It improves the quality of frames and takes the load for rendering scenarios on its own built-in processor, freeing the resources to be used on other tasks.
Cost and Upgradability
Graphics cards can handle better resolutions and deliver improved animations. These can be replaced and upgraded. Due to the complex architecture, more powerful features, and higher speed, a graphics card is expensive hardware. Based on the performance, there are many versions of graphics cards with low to a very high-cost range.
A higher-quality graphics card can handle heavier outputs and render them faster due to their extra memory and processor clock speed. The two very popular GPU production companies are the NVidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) that produces various quality graphics cards for average to high-end users worldwide. For android smartphones, the Adreno series is the most popular GPU choice.
Video cards, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be changed. In the past computers, they were separately attached but in modern ones they are integrated to the motherboard by default, with the monitor plugged in on the other side, and can be changed if damaged, but they are cheap.
Video cards depend on the main processor and memory of the computer and take up additional resources from the system. So a relatively low load on video cards can affect computer performance significantly. For this reason, almost any entry-level graphics card can outperform a video card in action.
Video cards and graphics card both rely on the specific driver software to run. Video card driver is by default installed on the computer, for example, the Microsoft basic display adapter driver. These drivers are non-removable. But drivers for the graphics cards come with the cards themselves which can be installed or uninstalled.
To sum up, these are the main differences between video cards and graphics cards,
- Video cards are built-in on modern computers whereas graphics cards need to be bought and attached externally to the motherboard.
- Video cards use the existing resources of a computer to run, but the graphics card has independent systems to run the tasks.
- Video cards deliver the basic output frames from the motherboard to the monitor, but the graphics cards deliver complex and high-quality display information.
- Video cards deal with frames delivered per second to ensure smoothness, but graphics card improves the structural quality of frames for a better-looking scene.
- Video cards are slower than the graphics card and can affect system performance negatively.
- Graphics card is an optional choice, but video cards are compulsorily present in all systems. A computer can’t operate without a video card but can run without a graphics card.
- Video cards can handle basic operations like watching movies, whereas graphics cards can execute complex operations like 3d animations, graphics design, and high-end gaming.
- Graphics cards are much costlier and powerful than video cards and consume more power.
So, these are the main features of the difference in graphics cards vs video cards. The video card is compulsory hardware for a system, but the usage of the graphics card is really depending on the user requirements, and the choice is plentiful. GPU can be an expensive, power-intensive option to go for instead of dedicated video cards, but for specialized heavy usage, the graphics cards can be the only choice left.