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graphics accelerator

A graphics accelerator (a chipset attached to a video board ) is a computer microelectronics component to which a computer program can offload the sending and refreshing of images to the display monitor and the computation of special effects common to 2-D and 3-D images. Graphics accelerators speed up the displaying of images on the monitor making it possible to achieve effects not otherwise possible - for example, the presentation of very large images or of interactive games in which images need to change quickly in response to user input. Many new personal computers are now sold with a graphics accelerator built in. The power of a graphics accelerator can be extended further if the personal computer is equipped with the Accelerated Graphics Port ( AGP ), a bus (data path) interface between the computer components involved in image display.

Each graphics accelerator provides an application program interface ( API ). Some support more than one API. Among the most popular API's are the industry standard OpenGL and Microsoft's DirectX and Direct3D.

This was last updated in September 2005
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