Computer Buying
Computer Building
The Webcast
The Forum
Monthly Broadcast
Why Widescreen?
HDTV Images
What do graphics and capture cards do?
In order to work on your computer, you need to be able to see what you're doing. For gaming and other 3D work, you need a device that can take some of the load off the rest of the system. Also, to get video from an analog source (like a VCR) into your computer, you need something to receive and convert it into a digital format. This is where graphics and capture cards come in.

A graphics card's job is to do exactly what it sounds like. It sends the graphics elements from the computer to your computer monitor. These graphics can be your programs, pictures or even video. Inside the computer it is all 1's and 0's. The graphics card translates these into a picture your monitor can display. How powerful the card is will determine it's capabilities. This really comes into play with gaming, CAD or other graphics rendering, particularily 3D elements.

The best cards out there make short work of even the most intense graphic elements. Most users, though, don't need that kind of performance. This is why so many lower end systems include less robust "on-board" graphics chips. These differ from graphics cards (which can be removed and upgraded to a better model) in that they are built into the motherboard. Many of these chips share memory with the main system, so they aren't suitable for advanced 3D gaming use.

A capture card allows you to digitize analog video into your computer. It has analog video connections on it so you can connect a VCR or analog camcorder. Many newer capture cards also include firewire ports so you can connect your digital devices, too. Some cards, such as the ATI All-In-Wonder series of cards, also have 3D processors on them so they are good for moderate gaming, as well. These cards even include TV recording capabilities with DVR software.

©Copyright 2003-2007 Kimberlite Productions and GadgetFAQs.com
No part of this site may be reproduced or redistributed without written permission.

Some of the tips and advice may void your equipment or service warranty. When in doubt, consult your owners manual and/or seek professional assistance. GadgetFAQs.com does not recommend performing any task that may damage your equipment, void your warranty or violate applicable laws. The use of certain software may violate DMCA or other copyright laws. Since laws vary, depending upon your location, check local regulations regarding any activities you choose to engage in.

Apple, Ipod, ITunes, Windows, DirecTV, Dish Network, Dell, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and other product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Use of those names is for review or demonstation purposes only. No infringement is intended or should be implied. In addition, no endorsement should be inferred.

GadgetFAQs.com is not responsible for the content of any outside site it may be linked to. In addition, GadgetFAQs.com is not responsible for any innaccurate or deceptive claims made by any outside web site. Links from GadgetFAQs.com to other sites does not imply our endorsement of those sites.