(n.) Refers to any computer device or program that makes a computer capable of displaying and manipulating pictures. The term also refers to the images themselves. For example, laser printers and plotters are graphics devices because they permit the computer to output pictures. A graphics monitor is a display monitor that can display pictures. A graphics board (or graphics card) is a printed circuit board that, when installed in a computer, permits the computer to display pictures.
Many software applications include graphics components. Such programs are said to support graphics. For example, certain word processors support graphics because they let you draw or import pictures. All CAD/CAM systems support graphics. Some database management systems and spreadsheet programs support graphics because they let you display data in the form of graphs and charts. Such applications are often referred to as business graphics.
Types of Graphics Applications
The following are also considered graphics applications:
CPU and Memory Requirements
In general, applications that support graphics require a powerful CPU and a large amount of memory. Many graphics applications-for example, computer animation systems-require more computing power than is available on personal computers and will run only on powerful workstations or specially designed graphics computers. This is true of all three-dimensional computer graphics applications.
In addition to the CPU and memory, graphics software requires a graphics monitor and support for one of the many graphics standards. Most PC programs, for instance, require VGA graphics. If your computer does not have built-in support for a specific graphics system, you can insert a video adapter card.
The quality of most graphics devices is determined by their resolution-how many points per square inch they can represent-and their color capabilities.