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What is a VGA Chipset?

H. Bliss
Updated May 17, 2024
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In computers, video graphics array (VGA) is a standard set of specifications used for color resolution in video display hardware. A VGA chipset is a piece of display hardware that features one or more VGA connectors, which use VGA specifications. VGA technology connects most computer monitors to many video cards, because standard video cards are equipped with VGA capabilities. This type of connector is usually easy to identify by its appearance. A VGA connector has 15 connector points known as pins arranged in three rows, and the female connector is usually blue.

Though many computer users use the term "chipset" to refer to a complete device like a VGA-enabled video card, a chipset is technically only a part of a hardware device, usually one that contains two or more chips. A VGA chipset is a VGA-capable chip board, with usually two or more chips making up the chipset assembly. When it is in use, a VGA chipset is either installed inside a computer or contained inside an external VGA device. Connecting a monitor or video device to a VGA chipset requires a VGA cable, which is sometimes included with or attached to a computer monitor.

A video card is the hardware in a computer that configures it to show graphics, like the picture in the monitor. Video cards have a wide range of picture quality ratings and diverse features. Some motherboards are made with built-in VGA graphics capabilities. The mainboard chip is a large chip inside a computer that houses the processor and handles most of the commands that go through the computer. When a VGA chipset is built into the motherboard, the computer is considered to have an onboard video card. This type of hardware can help lower the cost of building a computer and save room in the computer case for air flow or other hardware.

Like other types of graphics specifications, VGA rules give manufacturers specifications that make VGA hardware connectors the same no matter who manufactures them. While most monitors and many high definition televisions (HDTVs) have VGA connectors, some older televisions have only Radio Corporation of America (RCA) connectors. A VGA chipset adapter can offer a means to bridge between a VGA chipset and a television with RCA cables, enabling the user to employ a standard RCA television as a monitor. Adapters can also be used to make a VGA chipset compatible with other input types like digital video interface (DVI) or Separate Video (S-Video).

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H. Bliss
By H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her work. With a relevant degree, she crafts compelling content that informs and inspires, showcasing her unique perspective and her commitment to making a difference.

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Discussion Comments
By SkyWhisperer — On Aug 31, 2011

@Charred - The short answer is no; the display chipset is on the motherboard and consumes a portion of the computer’s RAM.

As far as I know, there is nothing you can do in that situation besides upgrading to a completely new computer.

By Charred — On Aug 30, 2011

@nony - If I get a laptop with an integrated graphics chipset, like you described, would I be able to easily upgrade the laptop to a powerful unit if later I wanted to do some serious gaming on it?

By nony — On Aug 30, 2011

@David09 - I agree but even nowadays it’s possible to scale back some of the video hardware, depending on your needs.

For example, if you just want a computer that does simple business applications, then you can buy a system where the graphics are integrated onto the motherboard. These systems will not offer powerful graphics capabilities, but they will allow you to do basic word processing, spreadsheet and email applications with ease.

If you’re going to need to do graphics or gaming applications, then you will need a different configuration; this will be a separate video card or VGA controller that will offer you the added performance boost that you need.

These dedicated cards are practically computers in their own right, in my opinion, with their own chip, board and bus. In that situation, you would do well to use the fan that you referred to.

By David09 — On Aug 29, 2011

Computer video hardware these days is far more advanced than it was twenty years ago. I remember when I got started in computing we had very low resolution monitors and the graphics applications were not that demanding.

Nowadays we have virtual HD quality monitors and high end graphics and gaming applications. The VGA hardware can get hot pretty fast as it processes all of these applications, and for this reason I recommend that you get a VGA chipset fan.

This is not the regular fan that is meant to cool your CPU, but a separate unit attached near the chipset unit to keep it running cool as well. It is very cheap, and has very simple connectors that you use to interface it to your computer. It’s small, but well worth the investment to protect your video hardware.

H. Bliss
H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her...
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