Introduction: GPU Instructable

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This instructable informs the reader on what a GPU is and how it works.

Step 1: What Is a GPU?

GPU is an acronym for the Graphical Processing Unit. The GPU handles rendering and displaying different 2-D and 3-D images onto your monitor, this allows the Central Processing Unit (CPU) to have a much smaller work load and focus on other tasks. GPU's are what allows your computer monitor to change textures and colors so quickly while in video games.

Step 2: Parts of a GPU

Picture of Parts of a GPU

A GPU has many parts that allow it to render and display textures onto your monitor. Some of the major components are shown here.

1: This is a Digital User Interface(DVI) port that allows connection between your GPU and the display output itself. Consider this the bridge of the GPU.

2: This is a specific chip only to some GPU's that allow for faster rendering of textures, all new video cards have no need for this anymore as it is all built into one central chip.

3: This is a Scalable Link Interface(SLI) port. This allows for multiple GPU's to work together and output more frames per second (FPS). AMD has something similar to this but called Crossfire.

4: This is your Dynamic Random-Access Memory(DRAM) is a type of system memory that used for data or program code, this is required for the GPU to work. DRAM is very similar to RAM.

5: This is your main graphical processing chip, this is where all the heavy lifting is done and is the most expensive part of the GPU, be sure to reapply thermal paste to this often to ensure longevity of the device.

6: This is a Capacitor that allows for the storage of energy on the GPU. Don't mess with these as they are not easy to replace.

7: This is a MOSFET and its purpose is to help regulate voltage similar to the capacitor. Don't mess with this as well.

8: This is just a simple light indicator that lets you know if the GPU is receiving power or not.

Step 3: Maintenance on a GPU

As with everything in life, a GPU needs regular cleaning to keep top performance. Here is a quick video demonstrating how remove a cooler from a GPU and how to clean the fans.

Make sure you have a anti static material under the card to prevent ESD.

(Not all GPU's will come apart like this, by watching this you will understand the concept of performing maintenance on one)

Step 4: Troubleshooting a GPU

As with all things in life, sometimes things just don't work. Graphics Cards are no different. Here are couple of the most common errors and how to troubleshoot them.

Q:Horrible performance in Video Games and in rendering videos, brand new GPU but very slow.

A: Potentially the display connection from the monitor is plugged into the Motherboard and not the actual GPU itself, this means that the GPU is not be utilized to its fullest extent. Just plug the cord into the GPU.

A: Another problem could be that the GPU is thermal throttling due to poor ventilation, in this case you should clean out your case and follow the steps maintenance section.

A: The most likely issue is that the GPU does not have the newest drivers, just go on your GPU manufacturer's website and download the drivers.

Q: GPU fans won't spin and the card won't turn on

A: The most likely issue here is an error on how it was installed, make sure that you always have the required amount of 6-8 pin connectors powering the card,

A: Sadly with a GPU if the card won't turn on and you have tried everything, it most likely cannot be repaired. At this point it is best to return the card to your retailer if it is still under warranty.

Step 5: To Conclude

Hopefully by reading this you have a deeper understanding of the GPU and its vital role in the modern computer, Thank you for reading.

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