What Is the Function of a VGA Card?

Video Graphics Array cards offer 640 x 480 resolution for PCs with 16 colors and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. They also offer a secondary resolution at 320 x 200 with 256 colors. They attach to the motherboard with a port on the side that connects to monitors or projectors. Although the VGA card is considered outdated or obsolete, it is still useful for troubleshooting in Safe Mode.

Many computers and laptops come with a graphics processing unit, or GPU, pre-installed. While convenient and inexpensive, this option usually results in a machine with a less powerful graphics system, suitable for casual users. Artists, gamers and anyone else interested in high-end graphics usually upgrade or modify their machines to reflect their personal needs.

In 1987, IBM introduced VGA cards as replacements for the digital CGA and EGA interfaces. The VGA cards offered higher resolution and more colors. Competitors and third-party vendors introduced the "Super VGA," which boosted resolution and colors. The VGA cards were later replaced by the DVI connector and cables, though standard VGA cables and connectors are still integrated into many computers and laptops as of 2014. However, they are slowly being phased out, and newer machines only offer DVI or DisplayPort outputs.