The next step involves converting that binary data to analog info. This is
performed by the RAMDAC (RAM digital-to-analog converter). Once conversion takes
place, the analog signal is whizzed directly through to the monitor, where it
(hopefully) appears in the form of an image you recognize. This process occurs
constantly, allowing your screen to maintain a dynamic reflection of what you're
doing on your PC.
The whole process is complex enough when you're dealing with two-dimensional
images; but many games and multi-media applications these days demand 3-D
capabilities. In these cases, the graphics card must call upon its more
high-tech functionalities. Instead of using only two axes on which to plot the
geometrical equations that produce images on your screen, the graphics card adds
a third axis. It must keep track of how all three axes affect each other; what
part of the picture overlaps what other part of the picture; and how to shade
shapes that are supposed to look like they're warping the surface of your
Yep, it's a heavy workload for one little card to bear. But graphics cards
are upping their capacities and speeds at rates that exceed most users'
requirements. When all you're doing is creating spreadsheets or writing reports
on your PC, the graphics card works at its minimum level. It's when you start
playing video games and downloading multi-media applications from the internet
that things start to get interesting. The graphics card finally gets to shine;
and chances are you'll like what you see.