When you buy a new personal computer or even a secondhand one, you must check out what the installed hardware components are. You also need to know the hardware specifications sometimes, when you are running applications that require specific configurations.
Many graphic intensive games require a video card with high-performance features. If you buy such a game, without checking out its compatibility with your computer, it may not function properly. Checking helps in determining if you need an upgrade. To know what graphic card is installed in your computer, you do not need to check the motherboard physically. Checking the card and other hardware specifications is easy, due to the inbuilt software, present in most operating systems.
Without graphics cards, none of the modern features on a computer, that make it 'User-Friendly', would have been possible. Modern graphic cards are powerful processors, even capable of handling 3D graphic intensive applications very easily.
On Windows Vista
To check the video card on Vista, you can go ahead in the following manner. Press the 'Windows' key on your keyboard, along with the 'R' letter key, simultaneously. The 'Run' window will open up.
In that window, type 'devmgmt.msc' and you'll get a window saying 'Windows Needs Your Permission to Continue'. Say continue and a 'Device Manager' window will open up on the screen. In the list of devices, double click on 'Display Adapters'. You will see the name of your card under it. Double clicking on that name, will open up properties of the card, listed in detail. Knowing the name of the graphics card and its number, you can get all the information about it, on the manufacturer's site.
Another method is typing 'dxdiag' in the 'Run' window. A window will open up, which is the 'DirectX Diagnostic Tool'. Click on the 'Display' tab and you will get all the information you need, about your video card.
On a Mac
To check the card configuration on a Mac operating system, click on the Apple icon, which appears by default in the top right corner and select the 'About this Mac' option.
Then, click again on 'More Info' from the list and select 'Graphics/Displays' option. As soon as you do that, a text box will open, along with the required information about the card.
On Linux ( Especially, In the Ubuntu version), type the following commands in the X terminal in the given order:
- $ lspci
- $ lspci -v
- $ lspci -v | less
The technique of checking card temperature can be gleaned from the OEM software, provided by the manufacturer. There are some downloadable freeware programs too, that can give you all this information quite easily.
Knowing these simple techniques is easy, if you decide to fiddle around a bit with the operating system and explore the hardware control facilities it offers.