3. Install Graphics card
Many systems are purchased with a basic graphics chip installed on the motherboard. Whilst this is fine for every-day use, it may not have the processing power for specialist applications such as video games or 3D graphics
To improve the system performance, the basic graphics card can be replaced with a specialist one containing a Graphics Processing Unit (or GPU).
A GPU is designed specifically to handle graphics and video much faster than the CPU can manage.
Instead, the CPU will send any graphics related tasks directly to the GPU while it continues to process other tasks.
The photo below shows a typical graphics card installed in a desktop computer
Many graphics tasks can be broken down into smaller tasks and run in parallel.
For example setting the colour of independent pixels on a screen. To take advantage of this, the GPU can issue a single instruction and act on many pixels at the same time. This is an example of 'Single Instruction Multiple Data' processing.
- Graphics cards can be expensive. Recent popularity of 'cryptocurrency mining' has increased the price even more.
- Graphics cards do not improve CPU performance on all tasks, only ones related to graphics and video.
- Graphics cards use a lot of power and this might mean that the computer also needs to be fitted with a more powerful power supply. The larger power supply will add further cost.
- Because graphics cards use a lot of power, they need a cooling fan. The cooling fans are noisy so they make the computer sound louder than they were before the graphics card was installed.
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