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graphics-card interview questions

Top graphics-card frequently asked interview questions

How do I prepare Windows 7 for a graphics card update?

I'm about to upgrade my graphics card from a Radeon HD 3650 to a Radeon HD 6770.

Prior experience of upgrading graphics cards under all other versions of Windows (but not 7) has been the following:

  1. Back up contents of the hard drive.
  2. Power off computer, replace graphics card and power on computer.
  3. Watch as Windows blue screens.
  4. Reboot computer and boot in safe mode.
  5. Watch as Windows blue screens again.
  6. Swear.
  7. Re-install Windows from scratch.

This seems to be completely at odds to my Google searches which suggest that it's just a case of swapping out the cards and Windows will "magically" sort itself out.

Given that I'd rather that than my previous 7-step disasters - what things can I do to Windows 7 in order to "prepare" for receiving a replacement graphics card before I power it off?


Source: (StackOverflow)

What is the difference between a GPU and a graphics card in a pc?

What is the difference between both these things? Are they same? Is there a difference between their capabilities?


Source: (StackOverflow)

How can I use a DVI splitter cable on 1 DVI port?

I have a GTX 275 video card with 2 DVI ports. I already run 2 monitors, but I've seen cables that plug into one DVI port and split into 2 more connectors.

Is there some special trick to getting this to work with my card so I could have up to 4 monitors running? I don't really want to buy the adapter until I know that it will work (or not work as it may be).


Source: (StackOverflow)

Multiple monitors broken with Windows 10 upgrade

I have a HP ENVY 17-3200 (switchable graphics: Intel HD 4000 + AMD Radeon HD 7800M) with a triple monitor setup:

  • Laptop's builtin LVDS 1080p display
  • DisplayPort WQXGA display
  • DisplayPort 1080p display

This configuration worked under Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. After upgrading to Windows 10, only 2 displays work. I have the latest drivers.

  • Intel driver 10.18.10.4252
  • AMD driver 15.7.1 (15.200.1062.1002)

I suspect this may have something to do with the fact the 4000's drivers only support WDDM 1.3 and the AMD drivers support WDDM 2.0.

How do I get all 3 monitors working again?


Source: (StackOverflow)

In video card specs, does “maximum resolution” mean the resolution for EACH monitor?

In video card specs on Nvidia or AMD’s web sites they often list maximum display resolution.

If a card has two DVI ports or two DisplayPorts, and has a maximum resolution of 2560×1600, does that mean I can hook up two monitors, each up to 2560×1600? Or does it mean that the combined resolution of both monitors together cannot exceed 2560×1600?


Source: (StackOverflow)

How to identify what slot type a particular PC card is?

Is there a good place to go to identify what kind of slot my spare video card uses?

A site that shows pictures of the various slot types so I can identify this one?


Source: (StackOverflow)

Connecting a 2560x1440 display to a laptop?

Having read Jeff Atwood's blog post on Korean 27" IPS LCDs, I've been wondering to what extent these are useful in a notebook + large display situation.

I own a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E320 with 2nd gen. integrated Intel graphics. According to the spec from Intel, this should support HDMI version 1.4, and, using DisplayPort, resolutions up to 2560x1600. HDMI version 1.4 supports resolutions up to 4096×2160, however, according to c't (German), the HDMI interface used with Intel chips only supports 1920x1200. The same goes for the DVI output - dual-link DVI-D, apparently, is not supported by Intel.

It would appear that my laptop cannot digitally drive this kind of resolution. Now what about other laptops?

According to the article in c't above, AMD's integrated graphics chips have the same limitation as Intel's.

NVIDIA graphics cards, apparently, only offer resolutions up to 1900x1200 over HDMI out of the box, but it's possible, when using Linux at least, to trick the driver into enabling higher resolutions. Is this still true? What's the situation on Windows and OSX?

I found no information on whether discrete AMD chips support ultra-high resolutions over HDMI.

Owners of laptops with (Mini) DisplayPort / Thunderbolt won't have any issues with displays this large, but if you're planning to go for a display with dual-link DVI-D input only (like the Korean ones), you're going to need an adapter, which will set you back something like €70-€100 (since the protocols are incompatible).

The big question mark in this equation is VGA: a lot of laptops have it, and I don't see any reason to think this resolution is not supported by the hardware (an oft-quoted figure appears to be 2048x1536@75Hz, so 2560x1440@60Hz should be possible, right?), but are the drivers likely to cause problems?

Perhaps more critically, you'd need a VGA to dual-link DVI-D adapter that converts analog to digital signals. Do these exist? How good are they? How expensive are they? Is there a performance penalty involved?

Please correct me if I'm wrong on any points.

In summary, what are the requirements on a laptop to drive an external LCD at 2560x1440, in particular one that supports dual-link DVI-D only, and what tools and adapters can be used to lower the bar?


Source: (StackOverflow)

How much power do video cards use after Windows turns your display off?

Modern video cards seem to use 150-200 Watts at idle. Does this mean that this is the minimum power the video card will ever draw while your computer is on? It's clear that if you are sitting at the Windows desktop and not doing much, this is the power you'll be drawing. If you're playing a game, you'll draw more power. But what about when your computer is idle long enough to trigger Windows' "Turn off the display" event? Will the video card use negligible power during this time, or still use idle power?

To be clear, I am not talking about the entire computer entering sleep or standby mode. I'm also not talking about simply pushing the power button on the monitor. I'm talking about the computer being on, visible on the network, possibly performing background or server tasks, but with the display off as a result of Windows power settings.


Source: (StackOverflow)

How can I determine and set my primary graphics card?

I have a Lenovo W520 laptop with two graphics cards:

Device Manager showing "Intel(R) HD Graphics Family" and "NVIDIA Quadro 1000M"

I think Windows 7 (64 bit) is using my Intel graphics card ₃ which I think is integrated — because I have a low graphics rating in the Windows Experience Index. Also, the Intel card has 750MB of RAM while the NVIDIA has 2GB.

  1. How do I know for certain which card is Windows 7 really using?
  2. How do I change it?
  3. Since this is a laptop and the display is built in, how would changing the graphics card affect the built in display?

Source: (StackOverflow)

Screen fuzzes/zig zags on a custom build

Recently, I built my first computer:

After confirming the computer boots/POSTs fine, I attempted to install Windows 8 Dev Preview, x64 via USB, and it was extremely slow (i.e. taking many, many hours to install). I tried a number of things, eventually taking out all but 1 stick of RAM, and Windows Setup proceeded much faster - however, when Windows went to logon, the screen starts to fuzz/zig zag*, it only happens when the resolution is above 800 x 600 resolution; the monitor is set to use 1024 x 768 pixels. I first used the drivers from the CD, then went and downloaded AMD's latest drivers specifically for Windows 8. Nothing helped, not even uninstalling completely and then reinstalling the drivers.

Next, I decide to install Windows 7 Home Premium on a different partition. Same scenario with the RAM, had to take out all but one stick. Installed quickly with no issues, I even booted into Windows with no fuzzing/zig zagging issues, but couldn't use Aero, since there were no drivers installed for the graphics card - so I downloaded the latest drivers for Windows 7 x64 and rebooted, and got the exact same problem, the fuzzing/zig zagging.

I've tried all kinds of things, from installing all the latest updates in Windows (including SP1), unplugging different devices (such as the IDE DVD/CD drive), double-checking the GPU PSU connection, etc.

My question: Why is this happening at resolutions higher than 800 x 600 and what can I do about it?

*By fuzzing/zig zagging, I mean this, but vertical, and you can still see the image the entire time, it just blurs/fuzzes quickly, and then clears, and then fuzzes again.


Update (12-29): I swapped out my Corsair 400w PSU for a Corsair 650w, and when I boot Windows 7, the fuzzing/zig zagging is still present.I'm suspicious of my DisplayPort -> VGA adapter, should I try a DVI -> VGA?

Message received from XFX Support:

Why are you using Displayport to VGA adapters? A DVI to VGA adapter is much more natural since it isn`t really adapting anything. I think that the fuzziness is being cause by the adapter that you are using. Most 6770s ship with one DVI to VGA adapter. The power supply that you are using is fine for this card and that computer. Thank you.

Is this true, that a DVI -> VGA is more natural? Should I try a DVI -> VGA next?


Source: (StackOverflow)

Why did my graphics card explode?

How did my graphics card "explode" like it did in the picture I have here? And if I was just plugging into my on-board graphics, why wouldn't the PC boot up like it normally would? It wouldn't come up until I opened the cover and removed the card, that's when I found it like this.

enter image description here

EDIT: If the card was trying to still operate like this for a while, did it run the risk of damaging the PCI-E slot?


Source: (StackOverflow)

Why are graphics cards upside-down?

This is something that has always bugged me - when I install a card into a desktop (ie mini tower) case, the fan is always facing down. Surely, making the card so the components and fan is on the top would help a lot with cooling, allowing those whiney fans to spin a little slower.

I know some card manufacturers tried to mitigate this by adding heat pipes and big heatsinks on the back of the card.. but they still put the bits on the same way as everyone else!

So, does anyone know why they're all upside-down?


Source: (StackOverflow)

Does a USB Monitor require VGA Card?

Does a portable USB monitor require a VGA Card?

For example this monitor:

If I buy a PC without any GPU capability (processor without integrated GPU + motherboard without D-Sub/DVI/HDMI ports and without any discrete graphics card at all), would the BIOS detect this kind of monitor at start?

Note: I'm a Linux user.


Source: (StackOverflow)

Is it possible to connect an external GPU via Ethernet?

I have laptop which has working Ethernet port but I always use WiFi . I am wondering if it is possible to run and use a graphics card (with external power supply) connected to the Ethernet port (with some kind of PCI emulation to emulate the Ethernet GPU as a PCI one).

A Cat6 cable can do 10 Gbps, which should be enough for a GPU to run and play games.

Could this be possible?


Source: (StackOverflow)

PC with 32 screen matrix freaks

I've just finished building a new control room at work. It has 32 monitors and the plan was to have a single computer powering it. The old room had a few computers with odd screens keyboards/mice everywhere and decided it was time to simply things and have a single pc - with it been a single operator most of the time.

Theres not an awful lot of demanding stuff running on the machine, some scada packages, IP camera viewing software, office etc.

The issue that im having isnt down to performance. At least I don't think, the computer is of a fairly high spec. It's a HP Z840 with 2 Intel Xeon E5-2670's 4 nvidia nvs810s, 256GB of ram and a 500GB SSD. The operating system is windows 10 enterprise 64bit. The screens are all HP Z24n.

My slots are used as follows.

  1. PCIe3x4 - None
  2. PCIe3x16 - NVS 810 1
  3. PCIe3x8 - None
  4. PCIe3x16 - NVS 810 2
  5. PCIe3x8 - NVS 810 3
  6. PCIe3x16 - NVS 810 4
  7. PCIe2x4 - None

I've realised after looking at the manual 1 that I should have gpu 3 in slot 3. However the behavior of the machine is strange, I connected all 32 at first and most came on with the windows background and task bar. about 10 had no background but had the taskbar. The mouse moved at a snails pace and I was unable to postion the screens in nvidia control panel as it would crash/freeze. I unpluged the cables from gpus 1 and 2 and managed to get 16 screens on from cards 3 and 4. When I got to screen 21, 5th screen on gpu 2 the machine when crazy again. The mouse started to lag again, and some screens were showing as duplicates of each other.

I've had a look in task manager, I've not seen the cpu or ram go any higher than 4% when it locks up its just nvidia control panel that is not responding.

I'm thinking it must be some sort of bandwidth problem but not sure how to prove this or fix it.

Should I be able to get 32 1920x1200 screens of this hardware?

Is this behavior normal? I will try moving NVS 810 3 to slot 3 and see what difference that makes, any other ideas would be appreciated.

The screens are arranged in a 8 by 4 matrix.

screens pc

update from 30/07/16

There had been questions about whether I had reached the max horizontal limit for windows so I wanted to give this a test and prove it.

So I uninstalled the video card driver and removed 1 card so I only had cards in slots 2, 4 and 6. I connected up 16 screens in a 8 by 2 matrix to the cards in slots 2 and 6 and it worked ok. The pc was still struggling when usings windows display settings and nvidia control panel. After applying the video settings it took at least a minute to settle and allow me to accept the config. I stretched a window across the whole screen matrix.

16 screens working ok

I then tried to put a 17th screen on and all hell broke loose again. So as you can see below I added the 17th screen in the middle of the two rows. And applied the settings. The pc took ages to settle and allow me to accept again.

nvidia control

So at this point it the newly added screen is duplicated off the bottom left and windows display settings is showing some freaky 6|17 instead of what the nvidia control panel is showing.

17th screen freakout

I had a go at building the matrix up 4 x 4 and adding more in. Again I made it to 16 screens with no great shakes still a little struggle waiting for it to settle and apply the config but nothing major.

I connected them to the card as follows

NVS 810 1 - top 2 rows of 4 NVS 810 2 - bottom 2 rows of 4 (dont worry about the white screen,it was just an explore window) 4 by 4 ok

I moved the right side top four and connect 2 of them.

They worked 'ok' however they had black wall papers not like the others. Also when you did like a left click drag to select things it wouldn't clear off. So I could draw blue boxes all over so I knew at this point something was up. For the heck of it I connected the next 2 and it threw all the toys out the pram again. It merged/duplicated the top 2 middle screens.

4x4 +4 duplicate

8/1/16

Ordering 6 x AMD Firepro W600 hopefully will have them for the end of the week and will feed back!

8/4/16

Installed 3 x AMD Firepro W600 and hit the same wall at 16 screens, however it was less flaky to setup compared to the nvidia settings, the amd display settings never crashed and allowed windows display settings to control the screen layout.


Source: (StackOverflow)