What does the graphics card do?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jackc, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. jackc macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    I don't know if this is the right forum, but I figure it's a good noob question.

    I know the graphics card is for gaming, video editing, etc. But in my ignorance I was wondering, does it have any impact on just watching video?
  2. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia

    put simply....you need a graphics card (or onboard graphics) to actually produce an image on the screen

    as for movie watching...i'm pretty sure that all macs can handle it without a problem (unless you running an external HD TV)

    you may only notice the Intel GMA950 slowing down if you have a few movies up and are using expose and spaces and something else:p
  3. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Yeah the graphics card or GPU is a processor which performs best with certain types of calculations, which are everything from 3d, 2d graphics or video playback.
  4. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    I could have explained, but MacRumors did a better job already... So I stole from them:

    Advantages to using a graphics card

    The math involved in altering images is very similar to what is already used in 3D acceleration. Therefore, there are ways of using the graphics card to process two dimensional images and do it incredibly quickly because the graphics chip is built to handle that kind of math. Whereas your CPU (G3, G4, or G5) is a general purpose processor, the graphics chip (often called a GPU) is designed to do very high level math functions very quickly; in some cases a GPU can perform an operation several times faster than a general purpose processor (even with Velocity Engine). The use of the GPU in such a way began in Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), when Apple introduced Quartz Extreme. Quartz Extreme uses the graphics card to handle window composition and also powers Exposé in Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther).

  5. jellomizer macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    Upstate NY
    The Graphic Card Does a few things. First it holds some RAM Memory deticated for Graphics Processing Older Models has 32 Megs Newer ones are 128 Megs-around 512 Megs. Having to Little Video RAM will cause you problems when attaching aditional Displays or using High Resolution or very Large Displays... Also if you don't have enough RAM there won't be room for the card to do some extra effect...

    Next the the GPU this is a second processor (like the Intel Core 2 Dou) but normally more specialized for graphics processing. So on your Mac you see transparancies, 3d effects such as zooming in and out of dashboard, and Games all this and more the GPU handles. It saves your main processor from doing the work. Making the system run faster.

    The Final Job is to take the information in memory and the calculations and display it on your screen.

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