'Graphic Card' vs 'Video Card': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on September 19, 2023

‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’: What’s the difference? Writing doesn’t just teach us how to communicate — it helps us explore new content that we may not have worked with before. Let’s dive into the world of technology and learn to distinguish ‘Graphic’ vs ‘Video Card.’

Are you in a rush? Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come:

  • ‘Graphic Card’ is a term that refers to a piece of hardware that produces images
  • ‘Video Card’ is a term that refers to a circuit that displays video on a screen

What’s the Difference Between ‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’?

There are a handful of differences between the functions of ‘Graphic Cards’ vs ‘Video Cards’, but let’s first get a basic understanding of what they are. 

  • ‘Graphic Cards’ and ‘Video Cards’ are pieces of computer software that are printed circuits that connect to the motherboard of a computer. They produce images or video on the screen. 

Now, more specifically, a ‘Graphic Card’ shows a picture on the screen with a better resolution and can support 3D animation. Meanwhile, a ‘Video Card’ is used to display any visual item on the screen, thus making it a much simpler piece of hardware.

Here is a list of some of the other main differences:

  • ‘Graphic Cards’ move at a higher speed than ‘Video Cards’
  • A ‘Video Card’ is always automatically built into a computer, but a ‘Graphic Card’ may need to be separately installed
  • A ‘Graphic Card’ is used for gaming purposes, while a ‘Video Card’ is used in multimedia projects and video editing. 
  • ‘Graphic Cards’ help improve the picture, video, and other features, while ‘Video Cards’ control resolution and color

As you can see, each type of card deals with different parts of the computer and the screen’s displays. Note that their names don’t mean they are exclusively attached to videos or graphics.

  • Graphic Cards’ have just as much effect on the display of videos as ‘Video Cards’ influence the graphics in the images or videos they display. 

Now that we have a feel for the differences between these two types of cards let’s get a better understanding of how they work individually, including where they get their names from.

Definition of ‘Graphic’: What Does it Mean? 

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Graphic’ is an adjective that means:

  • Relating to visual art, especially involving drawing, engraving, or lettering
  • (computing) relating to or denoting a visual image
    • “Graphic information such as charts and diagrams.”
  • Giving a vivid picture with explicit detail
    • “He gave a graphic description of the event.”
  • Of or in the form of a graph

As a noun, the word ‘Graphic’ can also mean:

  • A graphical item displayed on a screen or stored as data

The word ‘Graphic’ comes from the Greek origins ‘graphē’ and ‘graphikos’ which meant “drawing” or “writing.” We can see how this translates into the idea of images through words like ‘photograph’.

Synonyms of ‘Graphic’

  • Concrete
  • Visual
  • Pictorial
  • Symbolic
  • Vivid
  • Expressive
  • Detailed

Antonyms of ‘Graphic’ 

  • Implicit
  • Obscure
  • Vague
  • Unclear
  • Invisible

Phrases with ‘Graphic’

  • Graphic design
  • Graphic novel
  • Graphic description

Definition of ‘Graphic Card’: What Does it Mean? 

According to the Tech Dictionary, ‘Graphic Card’ is a noun that refers to:

  • A hardware used to increase the video memory of a computer and make its display quality more high-definition 

A ‘Graphic Card’ generally provides a high-quality visual display by processing graphical data using advanced techniques. They help in controlling and improving the pictures, videos, animations, and other features displayed on-screen. ‘Graphic Cards’ also have their own cooling systems so as not to overheat the computer when plugged in. 

Synonyms for ‘Graphic Card’

  • Video adapter
  • Display adapter
  • Graphic accelerator 
  • Graphics board

Definition of ‘Video’: What Does it Mean? 

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Video’ is a noun that means:

  • The recording, reproducing, or broadcasting of moving visual images
    • “She recorded a video presentation.”
  • A recording of moving visual images made digitally or on videotape
    • “They sat down to watch a video.”

As a verb, ‘Video’ can also mean:

  • Record on videotape
    • “He declined to be videoed.”

The word ‘Video’ comes from the Latin ‘videre’ which means “to see,” which connects to how video is displayed today. 

Synonyms of ‘Video’

  • Broadcast
  • Recording
  • Program
  • Television
  • Tape

Antonyms of ‘Video’

  • Audio
  • Blank screen

Phrases with ‘Video’

  • Music video
  • Video processing
  • Live video
  • Video store
  • Animated video

Definition of ‘Video Card’: What Does it Mean?

According to the Tech Dictionary, ‘Video Card’ is a noun that refers to:

  • A printed circuit board controlling output to a display screen
  • A PC component that is used to enhance the quality of images on a display; it is a device used to connect the motherboard to the computing system

A ‘Video Card’ is equipped to handle encoding, decoding, capturing, and outputting video without slowing down the rest of the computer. This type of card helps maintain resolution in images and video while other things are running. 

  • Note that sometimes ‘Video Cards’ are confused for ‘Graphic Cards’ or GPU’s but they are all separate things. To confirm that, refer back to the first section of this article. 

Synonyms for 'Video Card'

  • Display card
  • Graphic adapter

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’

Although these terms deal heavily with computers, you won’t just be writing about them online. To feel comfortable talking about these terms aloud, use the guides below as a reference to make sure you know how to properly pronounce them. 

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Graphic Card’ as a guide:

  • ‘Gra-fik Kar-d’ (remember that the ‘ph’ makes an ‘f’ sound, and the ‘a’ in ‘Graphic’ is wide as in “apple” while the ‘a’ in ‘Card’ is round like “jar”)

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Video Card’ as a guide:

  • ‘Vih-dee-oh Kar-d’ (the ‘e’ makes a wide sound like “see,” and the ‘o’ is rounded like “go”)

How to Use ‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’ in a Sentence

The final step to truly learning new vocabulary is being able to use the words on your own terms. Below, you’ll find some sample sentences that you can use to reference the context in which our new terms may appear. You can then use them to write your own sentences. 

‘Graphic Card’ Example Sentences

  • He liked the graphic card he bought because it came with its own cooling system, so his computer didn’t overheat when he plugged it in. 
  • There was a notable difference in the image quality after the graphic card was added to the computer. 
  • She originally couldn’t find the graphic card she needed until she realized it was labeled under ‘display adapter.’

‘Video Card’ Example Sentences

  • The video card that came with the computer had started to glitch, so it was time to buy a new one. 
  • She needed a computer with a video card that had better encoding speed and didn’t make the audio lag. 
  • Some people think only PCs have video cards, but laptops have them as well. 

‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’ Example Sentences

  • Graphic cards are a great purchase if you play a lot of video games, but if you only do editing and multimedia work, then a video card will do. 
  • She hesitated to buy a graphic card because it was much more expensive than a video card

Final Advice on ‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’

Learning new vocabulary can be a great way to explore topics you’re unfamiliar with, and can also help you make decisions about products. It’s also great to explore the words within terms separately to get a better understanding of how terms like ‘Graphic Card’ vs ‘Video Card’ can differ from each other. 

Need a recap? Here’s a quick review of what we covered:

  • ‘Graphic Card’ is a noun that refers to a piece of hardware used to increase definition in computer graphic imaging. 
  • Meanwhile, ‘Video Card’ is a noun that refers to a circuit board that controls resolution and color on a computer screen. 

Want to learn about more interesting topics while expanding your vocabulary? Be sure to check out other confusing word articles that will help you explore new content while giving you the foundational words to discuss the topics further in your own writing.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.