What does a graphics card do exactly?

A graphics card to represent an article about what does a graphics card do?
(Image credit: Bruno Yamazaky via Unsplash)

So what does a graphics card do exactly? If you have even a vague interest in 3D work, video production or gaming, you probably know that they're important and can make for a much more enjoyable experience. You might also be thinking that you need one (or need a better one), but you may have doubts about exactly what their role is and how much difference the best graphics cards can make.

In the overview below, I've attempted to summarise what graphic cards do, why they're important and why you might need to buy one. Since Black Friday is fast approaching, I've also included some tips on where to find a deal since Black Friday is one of the best times of the year to buy a graphics card for less (see our own roundup of the best Black Friday graphics card deals).

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Joe Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news, features and buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment and software for creatives, from video editing programs to monitors and accessories. A veteran news writer and photographer, he now works as a project manager at the London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives. There he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing visual content and design assets for the hospitality sector. He also dances Argentine tango.