Accelerated vs. Unaccelerated
As we stated earlier, the original concept of the video card had the PC simply act as a middleman between the processor and the monitor.
The card would take digital instructions from the processor and convert them into analog signals that were sent to the monitor.
This was accomplished with the use of a special circuit called a Digital to Analog Converter, or DAC. This of course was perfectly fine when all you are displaying on the monitor was simple text.
With the advent of the Windows operating system, the poor CPU found itself bearing the extra burden of moving and re-sizing windows, dragging and dropping icons, and managing a large palette of colors.
This quickly became a major bottleneck in system performance and was a contributing factor in many people's perception of the Windows operating system as a "resource pig and a performance nightmare."
To relieve the burden from the processor, video card manufacturers introduced what came to be known as accelerated video cards (as a matter of fact some companies even marketed them as Windows accelerators).
These new video cards took over the responsibility of re-calculating any changes in the display. Now if the user moved an icon on their desktop, the processor would simply send an instruction to the video card to move that particular graphic element from point A to point B.
The video card, using its own on-board processor and memory, would crunch all the numbers necessary to make that interaction occur on the screen.
Virtually all in modern PCs come equipped with the accelerated video cards.
This technology has been developed even further with the advent of 3D Accelerated video cards. These video cards take the enormous burden of performing 3D to 2D conversion mathematics.
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