A graphics card (also video card) is a piece of hardware installed in a computer that is responsible for rendering the image on the computerís monitor or display screen. Graphics cards come in many varieties with varying features that allow for a price range that extends from about $20 US Dollars (USD) to $2,400 USD or more.
The first consideration when buying a graphics card is to be sure it is capable of displaying the best resolution the monitor can support. For Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors this means supporting the native resolution. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors do not have a native resolution. In this case, ensure the graphics card is capable of supporting the highest resolution, even if the CRT monitor will be frequently used at lower resolutions.
The second consideration is on-board memory. A graphics card must work very hard to render images to the screen. Unlike text files, graphics images are much larger files consisting of great amounts of data that must be processed by the graphics or video card. A faster graphics card has its own resident memory chips to perform this function so as not to impinge upon the systemís random access memory (RAM). Less robust graphics cards have less resident memory and require sharing system RAM to process images.