Computer Graphics/Video Cards
All of the images you see on your screen are produced by the video card in your computer. The card contains the graphics processing unit, or GPU, which is a parallel processor designed for producing images. Anything with a screen needs some kind of graphics processor, whether it be a desktop, laptop, or even mobile phone.
What's the difference between integrated and dedicated cards?
An integrated card is built directly into the computer itself; either in the motherboard or the CPU. This allows the GPU to share resources with the rest of the computer. An integrated card is smaller, and consumes less power. A dedicated graphics card contains an independent GPU that mostly relies on its own resources. A dedicated graphics card has its own memory and power supply so it can be more powerful than integrated graphics. High-quality graphics and video editing are both computation and memory intensive. Modern gaming systems or video editing software can easily require gigabytes of dedicated video RAM. An integrated card is sufficient for most basic tasks such as web-browsing, but uses like playing cutting edge games and mining cryptocurrency require more processing power.
What can I use graphics cards for?
In addition to gaming and video editing, graphics cards have also become very popular for bitcoin mining. It's all about the parallel architecture. All forms of cryptocurrency mining, such as bitcoin mining, require a lot of similar calculations. More powerful graphics cards can do these calculations in parallel, where your CPU would do them sequentially. This makes graphics cards much better suited to cryptocurrency mining than any CPU.
Can I use multiple graphics cards at the same time?
Yes, depending on the card; this technology is known as SLI in NVIDIA cards and Crossfire in AMD cards. Running multiple cards simultaneously provides more performance, but you need a compatible motherboard as well as the appropriate video cards. You also need sufficient power and cooling for all your cards. Check with the manufacturer to ensure that your cards are compatible.