For Immediate Release
Computer Related Article by: Will Claney
Graphics, Not Just for Professionals Anymore
Do you know what a graphics card is and how it affects your computer choices? Certainly you get the idea that graphics hardware, i.e. chips and cards, push images to your monitor, screen or display. Usually one associates graphics with computer aided design (CAD), commercial graphic art and high intensity games and not with everyday displays like the Internet and movies.
The TV and movie industry have gone way past Hi-Def, past Blu-Ray and is quickly adopting a format called 4k. If you’ve seen a football game in regular definition, and seen the same game in hi-def you know there is an amazing difference. 4k takes it a step further, now not only can you actually see the players, you can see them sweat.
Graphics cards called GPUs, graphic processor units or just call them the graphic chips, are just like your CPU except they handle the images displayed on your screen or monitor. The CPU handles the programs and applications, the GPU displays the images they produce.
In the old days (I believe that was last week) the GPU was part of a “chipset”. That means it was one piece in a set of chips that make up the core of the computer. Today we have SoC or whole Systems on a Chip that are reducing the total number of chips down to one or two chips. So what? So, all this progress and miniaturization is great because we can pack more power into smaller spaces. Tablets and laptops have been the big benefactor of integrated GPUs and image detail has been enhanced. In other words, it looks better.
One might think that’s the end of this story. Well, hold on to your hats. I get the question frequently that if graphic chips have made so much progress for laptops then they should be good for games and other displays. If the game is Tetris or cards, or the application is QuickBooks then you’re okay. If the game you play is Final Fantasy, WarGameing, Call of Duty, Fallout 4, or other high end games or you edit photos, video, etc. then the graphic performance in a tablet/laptop will not measure up. All popular new games require high end graphic cards because of the detail now demanded by the users. The Internet and other applications now need higher graphic power as well.
“I don’t play games,” is usually the response I get. Well, yes you do in a way. The same graphics resource requirements for games are now needed for high end video and movies. This means that even though tablet/laptop graphics has improved greatly, it isn’t enough.
That’s why CAD users, high end gamers and graphic artists use desktops. The development of GPUs (discrete graphic cards – meaning not integrated into the chipset) has been as robust as the improvements for tablets/laptops. The difference is the desktop versions are physically large because they contain 3 to 10 times the display ability of the tablet/desktop. Discrete graphic cards (plug in card) take up space in your desktop so they can dissipate the heat created by such graphic power. This space isn’t available in a tablet/laptop.
In summation, graphics displays have made incredible progress over the years and smaller devices like tablets and laptops have benefited greatly. Evermore demand for detail, crispness and clarity in TV, Internet and games applications will stress a tablet or laptop, whereas a desktop can follow the trends by adding the latest innovations with a plug in card, but the tablet/laptop can not.
Try making that out of a cola nut.