What Are Graphics Cards and How Do They Work?

A graphics card is a powerful processor that accelerates the real-time rendering of 2D and 3D computer graphics. They’re best known for their role in PC gaming, allowing for smooth and high-quality images to be displayed on the screen. However, the processing power of GPUs allows them to take on a number of tasks that go beyond traditional graphics rendering and have become an integral part of today’s machine learning and AI workloads.

Consumer-grade GPUs are made by two companies, Nvidia and AMD. They come in a variety of models with price points that start at around $100 and go up from there. For most consumers, a mid-range card will provide more than enough processing power for their computer needs.

How much a GPU costs depends on the amount of graphics power you need, whether you want to run ray-tracing games or need to process thousands of images at once for an AI project. The CPU and motherboard also play a role in GPU performance, as they need to deliver data quickly for the GPU to process.

Using multiple GPUs in the same computer can significantly improve performance. This is called scalar computing and can be done with cards from both Nvidia and AMD, although not all games and applications support it. You’ll need a compatible motherboard with multiple peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) slots and power connectors to use SLI or Crossfire. You’ll also need dedicated cooling to keep the card’s temperature low. Graphics cards