Video hardware is required by every computer to process and format the specific video
data that is put out by the CPU into the rastered image you see on the monitor's screen.
As our primary system for receiving and interacting with computer data, it is therefore
safe to say that the video card is one of the most important parts of the overall computer
system. The quality of it's output is directly related productive as well as the
entertainment value of human/computer interaction.
The image quality of the graphical user interface or GUI is very important. Poor picture quality can cause eye strain and headaches and severely limits our ability to comfortably use the machine for extended periods of time. There are several factors to take into account when judging picture quality. These include:
- Screen resolution
- Color depth
- Image stability
- Refresh Rate
Before we get to far we need to speak briefly about monitors. The monitor is a very important part of the human/computer interface. If you are upgrading to or already have a super 7 system we highly recommend you think about upgrading your monitor if it is more than two years old. We suggest at the minimum you have a 17" or larger screen, capable of providing at least a 1280x1024 maximum screen resolution and a .28 dot pitch. The reasoning behind this is simple; no matter how fast or expensive your video hardware is, if your monitor is junk you won't see much improvement.
Video Cards and 2D performance
A year or so ago this was the standard for performance testing. The speed at which your graphics card could open and close windows, create and scroll text and render simple bitmaps indicated it's level of performance. This is all well and good and is still part of many video benchmarking tools and adequate for office applications, web surfing and for the most part image creation and editing software. All video cards released in the past six month or so are more than up to par in the area of 2D performance with benchmark scores all within a few points of one another. That being said we won't dwell too long on the subject...
A 3D Primer