A video card, Graphics Card, or Graphics adapter is an expansion card which generates output images to a display. Most video cards offer various functions such as accelerated rendering of 3D scenes and 2D graphics, MPEG-2/MPEG-4 decoding, TV output, or the ability to connect multiple monitors (multi-monitor). Other modern high performance video cards are used for more graphically demanding purposes, such as PC games.
Video hardware is often integrated into the motherboard, however all modern motherboards provide expansion ports to which a video card can be attached. In this configuration it is sometimes referred to as a video controller or graphics controller. Modern low-end to mid-range motherboards often include a graphics chipset manufactured by the developer of the northbridge (i.e. an nForce chipset with Nvidia graphics or an Intel chipset with Intel graphics) on the motherboard. This graphics chip usually has a small quantity of embedded memory and takes some of the system's main RAM, reducing the total RAM available. This is usually called integrated graphics or on-board graphics, and is low-performance and undesirable for those wishing to run 3D applications. A dedicated graphics card on the other hand has its own RAM and Processor specifically for processing video images, and thus offloads this work from the CPU and system RAM. Almost all of these motherboards allow the disabling of the integrated graphics chip in BIOS, and have an AGP, PCI, or PCI Express slot for adding a higher-performance graphics card in place of the integrated graphics.
Graphics Processing Unit:
A GPU is a dedicated processor optimized for accelerating graphics. The processor is designed specifically to perform floating-point calculations, which are fundamental to 3D graphics rendering and 2D picture drawing. The main attributes of the GPU are the core clock frequency, which typically ranges from 250 MHz to 4 GHz and the number of pipelines (vertex and fragment shaders), which translate a 3D image characterized by vertices and lines into a 2D image formed by pixels.
Modern GPUs are massively parallel, and fully programmable. Their computing power in orders of magnitude are higher than that of CPUs. As consequence, they challenge CPUs in high performance computing, and push leading manufacturers on processors.