Video / Graphics Cards

Graphics/video card device drivers

All of the components of a computer (desktop, laptop, tablet), except the processor (CPU) and the RAM memory, require a software device driver in order to be able to run. A computer’s components are listed in the Windows Device Manager from where they can be uninstalled, disabled, enabled or updated. If a component is uninstalled, Windows will reinstall it the next time it is booted during startup.

Graphics cards also use a video BIOS similar to the system BIOS that provides the configuration information of the system’s hardware components for the operating system (Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, etc.). Both the device drivers and the video BIOS are updated. Every time new versions of Windows are released (Windows 7, 8.1, 10), so are the updated device drivers for the existing components made available. Windows 10 Home and Pro are currently the latest versions for the home user (released on July 29, 2015). If a device driver for a  for Windows 10 is not available for a computer’s graphics card, or chip if it uses onboard graphics provided by the PC’s motherboard or processor, Windows Update won’t allow the computer to be upgraded to Windows 10 from .

When the operating system is installed, which is usually a version of Windows, the device drivers for all of the hardware components are also  installed automatically, but they can be updated. Windows Update can update device drivers but can install the wrong drivers, causing problems, so it is always better to get drivers directly from the hardware components’ websites.

Device driver development is now being exclusively handled by the manufacturer’s of the graphics chips (AMD, NVIDIA, etc.) used in graphics cards and chips, not by the manufacturers of the entire video/graphics cards (Sapphire, ZOTAC, etc.), but the latest drivers and BIOS are also made available from the third-party manufacturers’ websites.

The drivers on the CD/DVD that comes with a new graphics card (or new computer) will probably already be out of date by the time you buy it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to download the latest drivers from the card manufacturer’s or the graphics chipset manufacturer’s website. Newer games tend to have problems with older drivers. The same is true for Microsoft’s DirectX, which you should also keep up to date. Newer games often ship with the runtime installer of the current version of DirectX, which you run while online to install the latest version.

DirectX and OpenGL

“Microsoft DirectX is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming and video, on Microsoft platforms.” – Most PC games require DirectX; some games require OpenGL. The Fusion APU processors support the latest DirectX 12; Intel’s Core processors with onboard graphics only support DirectX 11 and 11.1 (graphics support information is provided on the Intel Graphics page linked to above). The Fusion processors are capable of playing the latest games.

DirectX – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectX#DirectX_1

OpenGL – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenGL

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