Video Cards - aka: Graphics Processor Unit (GPU)

Before you purchase a new video card (GPU) you need to know what your Motherboard will accept. You also should check to see if you have On-Board Video, that is where the Video output connector is part of the Motherboard itself. Take a look at my webpage on identifying the connectors on the rear of your PC.

Video Cards have some major differences that you must understand. They are PCI cards, AGP cards and PCI Express cards, which fit into a different type of slot as show in the picture below:

Do You Need a GPU?

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Next there is the type of connector that connects the Video card to the Monitor. There are five types used on modern computers: VGA, DVI-D, HDMIk, Display Port and USB-C Thunderbolt. Check your Monitor and your Computer to see which connecter(s) they have. You can not plug HDMI into a DVI-D unless you have a adapter.

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PCI was developed first and is the most limited in terms of performance.

AGP offers as much as 8X improvement over PCI in terms of performance. There are several different versions of the AGP slot. AGP 1.0 is an older standard that is no longer used. Most AGP video cards are designed to work only with the newer AGP 2.0 and 3.0 versions.

PCI Express is a expansion slot that is becoming the new standard for high speed internal devices for computers such as graphics cards. PCI Express slots come in several types defined by the number of lanes the slot has to communicate with described as x1, x4, x8, x12, x16 and x32. The most commonly found types inside current computers are the x1 and x16. Graphics cards are available that will run on both x1 and x16 cards. However, all high performance graphics cards use the x16 slot.

This shows five PCI slots (white) which take various type of cards; video, modem, USB expansion and so on. At the far left is an AGP video card slot (black).

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PCI Express Card with both VGA and DVI connectors:

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slotPCI Express Slot X16 (black)

 

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