1. On-board video cards
2. Stand Alone Video Cards
3. Multiple Video Cards (SLI Mode)
Below, we will take a few moments to describe each of the above setups - and why you might need it.
On-Board Video Cards:
This type of setups is for the everyday user - someone who uses their computer to surf the web, word processing and light gaming. This describes likely 75% of the population. It used to be that onboard video was about as crummy as it could get, but these days, computer manufacturers have taken notice of an overall need for more video processing power. As a side note, onboard video is not something to fear. If you decide at a later time that you want to get into gaming or graphics, you can always add a stand alone video card to boost your performance. Below is a picture of what an onboard video card looks like.
Stand Alone Video Cards:
Stand alone video cards are the next step up on performance. They typically have more memory and more processing power than onboard video cards do, so they can handle more complex video. The people that need stand-alone video cards are ususally people who enjoy gaming, play a little more advanced gaming than the standard user, as well as someone using complex image and video processing applications (like Photoshop, CAD, or other drawing tools). You will always want to check the requirements of any game or software you buy to see what they recommend for a video card, and then make sure you have a little more than what they recommend. Below is a picture of what a typical stand alone video card would look like.
Multiple Video Cards:
The third and most rare configuration would be using duel video cards. This is recommended for maybe 10% of the population, and would be the next level above a stand alone video card. It would be for only the most serious of gamers and top level graphic designers/CAD designers. This is typically an optional thing for onewho wants the top level of performance available. Most standalone cards should be able to handle almost anything - but on the rare ocassions where they don’t, going to duel video cards or running SLI mode will get you the absoloute top performance. Below is a picture of what the configuration looks like.
Hopefully this helps you understand a little more about video cards. There is a lot to learn, and we will likely need a whole additional lesson to get through the more advanced information. This lesson is a good introduction to video card setups, but keep an eye out for further lessons covering things like specific video card features.
If you have any questions at all, shoot on over to our forum and ask away.
Thanks so much for joining us in Lesson 9: Video Card Basics. Please submit any and all