Video Cards vs. Graphics Cards

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written by:

Updated February 7, 2023

If you have been shopping for a gaming monitor, you may be considering video cards vs graphics cards. The best gaming monitors tend to feature one or the other. What are they and how do they differ? Keep reading to find out.


  • Many people conflate the terms video cards and graphics cards, though there are some significant differences.
  • Graphics cards tend to be used for gaming, thanks to the heavy graphical load required, while video cards tend to be used for creative tasks like video editing.
  • Modern graphics and video cards tend to include their own CPU, RAM electronic circuit, and power supply.

Difference Between Video Cards and Graphics Cards

Video cards and graphics cards are both pieces of computer hardware that interpret the signal from the CPU and send it to your best 75Hz monitor. The major difference between the two is the types of computers they come with. Graphics cards tend to be used for the integrative graphics found in demanding computer games, so you’ll find them in gaming PCs. Video cards, while similar, are primarily designed for video signals, and not graphics. As such, you’ll find them with PCs aimed toward creative professionals, such as video editors and photo editors. These creative pros may also consider sRGB vs Adobe RGB.

Insider Tip

If you are planning on playing newly released computer games, opt for an expansion card with the latest specs.

Some modern computers, however, include hybrid chips that feature a video card and a graphics processing unit (GPU) that offer decent gaming performance and video memory performance. Here are some more differences between the two types of chips.

Power Draw

Both graphics cards and video cards draw power from the PC, though video cards tend to draw more power, occasionally requiring their own dedicated power supply. High-end video cards will typically include their own power supply and power cable, the latter plugging into the card itself. Some ultra-high-end graphics cards also draw a lot of power and may also include their own power supply and cable.

System Resources

Old-school video-based cards and graphics cards are used to pull resources directly from the PC, straining the CPU and taxing the RAM in the process. Modern cards, however, have fixed this problem by including integrated CPUs and even some RAM right on the card itself. This helps the card remain self-sufficient so your computer’s resources can be used elsewhere, making for a great piece of hardware. Also, many modern cards include integrated cooling systems and fans.

Onboard Cards

If a graphics card is built into the CPU, it is known as an integrated graphics card or onboard card. However, many graphics cards are made to fit into an expansion slot, via a PCI express slot. Generally speaking, an expansion card will be more powerful than an integrated graphics card. Also, a video-based card is usually integrated and not available in an expansion format.

STAT: As of the second quarter of 2021, Intel was the biggest vendor in the PC GPU market worldwide, occupying 68.3 percent of the market. AMD, which has shipped over 500 hundred million GPUs since 2013, occupied 16.5 percent of the market, whilst Nvidia took a market share of 15.2 percent. (source)


Port and preferences: what connections should my graphics card have?

When it comes to connections on modern graphics cards, look for a decent amount of processing power, a dedicated central processing unit, and decent overall specs.

What is the difference between a GPU and a graphic card?

The main difference is semantics. A GPU is the part of a graphics card that performs the actual processing.

So, which graphics card should I buy?

You should buy whatever graphics card is right for your needs. Look for a dedicated graphics card that can handle the demands of your chosen display device. Beware, as high-end cards are expensive.

Lawrence Bonk Profile image