John Curl, Joe Hetherington, Brad Lewis, and Michael Hsing Wu. Understanding Video Cards & Monitors. Agenda. History of Video Cards ATI vs. Nvidia How Video Cards Work Outputs and Inputs Dual Graphics Card HD Graphics Cards Monitors Review Questions. Video Cards.
John Curl, Joe Hetherington, Brad Lewis, and Michael Hsing Wu Understanding Video Cards & Monitors
Agenda • History of Video Cards • ATI vs. Nvidia • How Video Cards Work • Outputs and Inputs • Dual Graphics Card • HD Graphics Cards • Monitors • Review Questions
Video Cards • To generate a graphic and video interface. • Transmits Images to a Display • Video cards connect to the motherboard usually through PCI or PCI Express interface. • They output the signals through composite video, S-video, VGA, and DVI.
Brad Lewis History of Video Cards
History of Video Cards • The first video card was the MDA(Monochrome Display Adapter) released in 1981 by IBM. • Could only show 80 columns and 25 lines of text in one color. • Had 4KB of memory.
History of Video Cards • MDA(Monochrome Display Adapter • Did not have any graphics mode • Only displayed monochrome text mode • Used a printer port output
History of Video Cards • VGA(Video Graphics Array) • Released in 1987 • Improved resolution and colors used by many corporations • Memory improved from 4KB(MDA) to 256KB(MDA)
History of Video Cards • VGA led to the SVGA(Super VGA) • Developed in 1989 • Reached 2MB of memory and resolution of 1024X768 at 256 color mode • Set the tone for 2D/3D cards
History of Video Cards • 2D/3D cards • In 1997 3dfx introduced the Voodoo graphics card which had new 3D effects such as • Mip mapping-pre-calculated collection of images that increase speed • Z-buffering-the management of image depth coordinates • Anti-aliasing-the technique of minimizing the distortion artifacts known as aliasing when representing a high-resolution signal at a lower resolution • Voodoo 2 followed from 3dfx, and TNT and TNT2 from NVIDIA
Michael Wu ATI vs. Nvidia
ATI • ATI Technologies Inc. founded in 1985 • Acquired by AMD in 2006 and renamed AMD Graphics Product Group • ATI brand still on graphics cards • Developed the first integrated graphics chip with TV tuner card • First combination of 2D and 3D accelerator known as 3D Rage
ATI Main Product • Radeon started up in 2000 • Successor to Rage • Brand for their consumer 3D accelerator add-in cards
Nvidia • Founded in 1993 • Company of the Year for 2007 by Forbes • Developed the RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’ GPU used for Playstation 3
Nvidia Main Product • GeForce first produced in 1999 • As of 2009, there are 11 iterations of the design • Intended for PC gaming market
Joe Hetherington How Video Cards Work
How Video Cards Work • This setup only works with Analog Video Cards and Monitors
How Video Cards Work • The images you see on your monitor are made up of tiny dots called pixels. Most screens will display over 1 million pixels, so the computer needs to decide what to do with every one of them • This is where a translator comes in- something that takes binary data from the CPU and turns it into the images you see.
How Video Cards Work • Think of a computer as a company with an art department. • The company wants a piece of artwork • The art department decides of to create the picture and then puts it on paper • The end result is an idea turns into a viewable picture
How Video Cards Work • Creating an image out of binary data is a complicated process. To make a 3-D image, the graphics card first creates a wire frame out of straight lines. Then, it restripes the image (fills in the remaining pixels). It also adds lighting, texture and color. For fast-paced games, the computer has to go through this process about sixty times per second. Without a graphics card to perform the necessary calculations, the workload would be too much for the computer to handle. • The graphics card accomplishes this task using four main components: • A motherboard connection for data and power • A processor to decide what to do with each pixel on the screen • Memory to hold information about each pixel and to temporarily store completed pictures • A monitor connection so you can see the final result
Types of Output • DVI • VGA • S-Video • Composite • HDMI
Types of Input • PCI • AGP(Accelerated Graphics Port) • PCI-X • PCI-Express
AGP vs. PCI Video Cards http://www.ehow.com/video_5112695_difference-agp-pci-video-cards_.html
Graphics Processor Unit • Similar to CPU • Requires most cooling • Most specifications refer to GPU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLLI0vKYM4o Graphics Processor Unit
Video Memory • Memory chips (2-4) • Close proximity to GPU for better performance • Commonly use 128, 256, 512 MB locally • DDR2 + GDDR3
Video Memory • Image from GPU sent to memory (frame buffer) – bit map • More video memory = less burden on computer RAM • Memory bus – typically 128-256 bit wide • Determines how much data can be transferred per cycle
Cooling Devices • Applied to GPU/GPU + memory • Passive vs. Active Cooling • Passive • Heatsinks • Heat pipes
Cooling Devices - Active • Fans • Single-slot vs. Dual-slot Coolers • Expansion slots in case • Cover both GPU + memory • Dual – designed to push hot air out of the back of the case
Michael Wu Dual Graphics Cards
Dual Video Cards • Increases performance • Performance increase of 30-50% • Primarily for 3D applications • Generally used when running 2 or more monitors • Splits the graphic load between the two cards • Improves frame rates
Dual Video Cards • Shared duties will cause • Improved rendering 3D images • Higher frame rates • Higher resolutions • Additional filters • Improve quality of the graphics
Disadvantages • Running dual video cards is costly • Not all applications benefit from multiple graphics cards • Some applications may show a slight decrease in performance • Low end processor can only throttle the amount of data the system can provide to the graphics cards • Dual video cards is recommended for higher end systems
Dual Video Cards • For average consumer, dual video cards are not necessary • Costs are too high for: • Capable motherboard • video cards • Core hardware
Installing Dual Video Cards • Ensure all parts are SLI (Scalable Link Interface) or Crossfire capable • ATI’s graphic solution is CrossFire • NVIDIA graphic solution is SLI • Ensure that motherboard has appropriate chipset. • 2 PCIe x16 slots allow users to install 2 video cards
Installing Dual Video Cards • Install updated video card drivers • User may need to enable in BIOS
Michael Wu HD Video Cards
HD Video Card • With the introduction of Aero and DirectX 10, a new generation of video cards have been developed • Higher end graphics cards support onboard decoding of the H.264 spec • Required to display high def DVDs • Some video cards have HDCP • High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection • Required to display Blu-ray DVD playback
HD Video Cards • Allows for video display in 720p, 1080p, or 1080i • Higher quality video display • When used to display on a HDTV, the HDMI cable will carry over audio and video at the same time
John Curl Monitors
Monitors • Also called the Visual Display Unit • Displays information from the computer to the user • Two main types are CRT(Cathode Ray Tube) and TFT-LCD(Thin Film Transitory Liquid Crystal Display)
CRT Monitors • Vacuum tube with an electron gun • Three electron guns(Red, Green, and Blue) • A florescent screen • Internal ways to reflect or deflect the electron beams in order to create a picture.
CRT Monitors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnl1vuwjHto
LCD Monitors • Holds millions of pixels • Each pixel is a layer of molecules between two electrodes. • Electricity is applied and the liquid crystals twist to let more or less light out.
LCD Monitors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAZKICHWGnA&feature=fvw
CRT vs. LCD • CRT • Pros: • High dynamic range (up to around 15,000:1 ,) excellent color, wide gamut and low black level. • Can display natively in almost any resolution and refresh rate • No input lag • Sub-millisecond response times • Near zero color, saturation, contrast or brightness distortion. Excellent viewing angle. • Cons: • Large size and weight, especially for bigger screens (a 20" unit weighs about 50lbs or 22kg) • High power consumption • Geometric distortion in non-flat CRTs • Older CRTs are prone to screen burn-in • Produces noticeable flicker at low refresh rates
CRT vs. LCD • LCD • Pros: • Very compact and light • Low power consumption • No geometric distortion • Rugged • Little or no flicker depending on backlight technology • Cons: • Limited viewing angle, causing color, saturation, contrast and brightness to vary, even within the intended viewing angle, by variations in posture. • Bleeding and uneven backlighting in some monitors, causing brightness distortion, especially toward the edges. • Slow response times, which cause smearing and ghosting artifacts. Modern LCDs have response times of 8ms or less. • Only one native resolution. Displaying other resolutions requires a video scaler, which degrades image quality at lower resolutions. • Fixed bit depth, many cheaper LCDs are incapable of true color. • Input lag • Dead pixels are possible during manufacturing
John Curl & Brad Lewis Questions
You switch on your PC and get no display. You are sure the monitor is ok. Which order would you follow for troubleshooting this problem? • Replace the video card, replace the monitor, replace the power supply, replace the system board, try a different monitor. • Check that PC and monitor are plugged in, check that monitor brightness is turned up, check that PC fan is running. • Check PC supply voltages, replace video card, replace CPU. • Check that everything is plugged in, replace system board.