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Why computer graphics matter

By Jean-Claude Elias - Feb 16,2017 - Last updated at Feb 16,2017

To say that computer graphics matter is an understatement. They actually have become a critical part of any computer-based device, from smartphones all the way up to server machines, including smart TVs that in a way can also be considered today as computer-based hardware.

The demand for intensive, high quality graphics is unabated, covering all fields of application, from entertainment to medical imaging and everything in between. Image is everywhere. Regardless of the quality of the music, can you imagine a pop song to sell and be successful without a great video clip to go with it?

WhatsApp and similar applications are so popular because of their ability to channel photos. Smartphones are essentially judged by the size of their screen and the quality of the images they can display, be it still or moving images. As for YouTube and its planetary impact, it goes without saying…

Why does the consumer have to keep this in mind? Isn’t it enough just owning and using the devices?

The question matters a lot when it comes to buying a device, deciding on the amount and size of the memory it features, and whether it has a dedicated or an integrated graphics card, or adapter, or controller (different terms that mean the same thing).

You can cut corners on the various aspects and components of a computer-based machine, but not on graphics memory. Besides, we need more than just to display images; we often need to process them too. Did I say Photoshop?

Images use up, eat up, should I say, memory from your device — a lot of it. If your hardware does not have ample memory size, the part that will be taken for graphics will leave only a little to run applications, to retrieve data, to browse the web, to send emails, and so forth.

To address the question, the consumer has two options. The first is to get a machine with extra memory. If you think you need 4GB, get 8GB, if you think you need 8GB, get 12GB, etc... In short, make sure you have memory to spare. This will ensure that whatever the graphics part takes, there will always be enough left for the other “tasks” the machine is running.

A better solution, however, is to ensure you have a dedicated graphics card. This comes with memory that will be exclusively dedicated to images and will not affect the “main” memory or interfere in any way with it. There is an added advantage to this method. The type of memory that the graphics card would come with is also faster than the “main” memory and will perform much better.

There was a time when having a dedicated graphics card was a luxury, a feature that only hardcore gamers or graphic designers would use. It is not anymore the case. We all need good, dedicated graphics.

Such cards have become common staples and for JD40 to JD80, one can get a good graphics card, sporting 2GB or 4GB of dedicated memory. At the top of the range, prices can reach up to JD500, but few of us would really need such sophisticated, expensive hardware.

 

As for devices that come with built-in graphics controllers, and that leave you with few options to add hardware, just be sure to select equipment that has powerful graphics from the very start. This is the case for smartphones and tablets in particular. In general, buying a top-of-the-line iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone will do the trick, sparing you the trouble to search and make tough decisions.

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