VGA cards, display adapters

VGA cards, display adapters, drivers.

Every PC computer comes with a VGA card or display adapter since this is what sends the display data to the monitor. Depending on the computer use, you may need a simple VGA card or one specialized at doing more precise tasks. Someone using just data entry or text editors do not have the same needs as people making 3D drawings using AutoCad for example.

Computer games software need a faster and more 3D handling capabilities from the VGA card. 3D games have lots of textures to load and have to calculate the shape of those textures according to your position within the virtual world you move in and how it should look. Most VGA cards will have basic 3D capabilities, but a serious gamer will look for high-end VGA adapter to have the best 3D game experience possible.

Nvidia and ATI are some of the big 3D VGA card manufacturer that offer many different models for different users. Some will come with more DRAM (display ram), TV in and TV out capabilities and even the possibility to connect 2 monitors to the same display adapter.

Serious 3D game players will usually try to have as much dram as possible to be able to have the smoothest motions while playing their games. This is because more textures can be loaded into the VGA adapter dram and have less standard RAM access to get those in memory.

Picture of a computer VGA display card

Some will like to have a TV-in option to be able to record TV shows. The TV-out will allow to have the computer display on a TV set and can be fun to play games on a giant screen. The display results of your desktop will not be as good on a TV than on a monitor, because the TV resolution is not as high. You may have to use a lower display resolution like 800x600 on your PC to be able to read it properly on the TV set.

Most VGA cards fit in the AGP slot of the PC computer but there is also PCI VGA cards. There is only one AGP slot on the computer main board and is just for VGA adapters to give them a straight access to RAM. PCI VGA cards have to go through the PCI bus that is shared with the other PCI devices and will have a much lower performance than an AGP VGA card.

You can have more than one VGA card in a computer to be able to have more than one monitor and have a bigger desktop to work on. You can have an AGP adapter for full screen 3D drawings and a slower PCI card to display the drawing software menus for example. This is very useful for design and software conception.

VGA adapters are usually Plug&Play, can easily be replaced and will install the proper display drivers from the installation CD supplied with the VGA card. You just have to remove the actual VGA card in Windows's device manager, shut down, replace the VGA adapter in the PC, boot the computer and let Windows detect the new device. It will install a default driver ad/or ask for the display adapter's driver CD to set up the new driver for the device.