dcsimg
Main » TERM » G »

graphics accelerator

A type of video adapter that contains its own processor to boost performance levels. These processors are specialized for computing graphical transformations, so they achieve better results than the general-purpose CPU used by the computer. In addition, they free up the computer's CPU to execute other commands while the graphics accelerator is handling graphicscomputations.

The popularity of graphical applications, and especially multimedia applications, has made graphics accelerators not only a common enhancement, but a necessity. Most computer manufacturers now bundle a graphics accelerator with their mid-range and high-end systems.

Aside from the graphics processor used, the other characteristics that differentiate graphics accelerators are:

  • memory : Graphics accelerators have their own memory, which is reserved for storing graphical representations. The amount of memory determines how much resolution and how many colors can be displayed. Some accelerators use conventional DRAM, but others use a special type of video RAM (VRAM), which enables both the video circuitry and the processor to simultaneously accessthe memory.
  • bus : Each graphics accelerator is designed for a particular type of video bus. As of 1995, most are designed for the PCIbus.
  • register width: The wider the register, the more data the processor can manipulate with each instruction. 64-bit accelerators are already becoming common, and we can expect 128-bit accelerators in the near future.
  • Also see Understanding Video and Graphics Adapters  in Webopedia's "Did You Know...?" section.










    LATEST ARTICLES
    Texting & Chat Abbreviations

    From A3 to ZZZ this guide lists 1,500 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Read More »

    List of Well-Known TCP Port Numbers

    Port numbers 0 to 1024 are reserved for privileged services and designated as well-known ports. This list of port numbers  are specified in... Read More »

    STUDY GUIDES
    Computer Architecture Study Guide

    Computer architecture provides an introduction to system design basics for most computer science students. Read More »

    Network Fundamentals Study Guide

    Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »

    The Five Generations of Computers

    Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that we use... Read More »