Video card

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A video card, also commonly referred to as a "graphics adapter" is a replaceable variant of the graphics processing unit commonly found in computer and electronics stores.

Purpose

While motherboards virtually always include their own "on board" equivalent; the GPU, video cards are preferred in gaming and 3D modeling applications because of their superior ability to meet increasingly demanding system requirements of PC games released in the past several years.

One particular event that stimulated the sales of high-end video cards was the now infamous PC release of Grand Theft Auto IV on December 2 of 2008. While it's PC version predecessor; Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas only required a 64MB DirectX 9 compatible video card at the minimum, Grand Theft Auto IV required a 256MB Nvidia 7900 or ATI X1900. By March 2009, the Rockstar Games Social Club; the online gaming community for various Grand Theft Auto games and other PC games released by Rockstar had became heavily populated and gameplay videos of the PC version flooded the internet.

It is not uncommon for PC games nowadays to demand middle-of-the-line to high-end video cards.

Cost

Obsolete video cards that have become outpaced by the obsolescence cycle are commonly sold by online retailers for as little as 29.99. Extremely outdated cards intended to be used to repair extremely obsolete PCs can sell for as little as $6.99, this is called "legacy hardware". Low end models intended for just displaying videos are often just under $100. Video cards that cost more than $700 are generally intended for special uses such as render farms for the production of video games and 3D animated movies.

Overclocking

On the other hand, high end video cards that often come overclocked out of the box beyond factory specs can cost as much as $1400, although the average price for your high-end video card is usually $300 to $500. Many video cards are designed to be overclocked beyond factory specifications more or less. Some come overclocked out of the box, while some include software on a bundled CD-ROM for the user to do so.

References