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How to Find Out What Kind of Graphics Card You Have

written by: •edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 1/11/2010

Knowing what hardware your computer contains is essential for keeping drivers up to date and for when it comes time to upgrade. This article contains the easiest way to find out what kind of graphics card your Windows, Mac and Linux computer has.

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    If you are one of the thousands of computer users the world over, like me, who has asked themselves this question, then I'm glad to provide the answer. The graphics card in any computer is a major component and integral to how the machine performs. If you don't know the make and model of the card in your computer, here are several ways of finding out.

    The first way is to take the computer apart and check things out physically. While this is a valid way of doing it, there are much easier ways of finding out what kind of video card I have. If I plan on upgrading the card, I'll get to play with the internals of the computer soon enough anyway.

    Keeping graphics drivers updated is one of the most important tasks a computer owner can do, whether they play games or not. The newest drivers will have bug fixes, enhancements and usability advantages that the old ones may not, so it pays to keep them current.


    In a Windows computer, the Device Manager is the best place to find that information. I can access it either through Control Panel, System, Device Manager or right click on My Computer, Properties, Device Manager. Under Display Adapters we should see the model of our card.

    If I want a more detailed view of the graphics capabilities of your system, type dxdiag into the Run menu. This will compile a comprehensive report on the card, the drivers, DirectX capabilities and much more. The application queries the hardware, the device drivers, DirectX and Windows itself to gather information about the device. It's often a good place to start if you're having problems with a graphics card too.

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    Graphics Card Dxdiag 


    If you own a Mac then it's just as simple. Click Finder, Application, Utilities then System Profiler. There will be a tab on the left called Graphics/Display. This will open up a tab with all the graphics card information you could possibly need.


    Linux users, Ubuntu anyway, can either type the command lspci in an xterminal or use the GUI method. The lspci command will create an output which you need to scroll through looking for VGA compatible controller. Beside that will be the manufacturer and model of the card.

    If that line is blank, type sudo update-pciids. That will update the hardware information then retry lspci.

    To use the GUI, navigate to System, Preferences, Hardware Information and look for references to a VGA device or graphics device.

    There are three methods I can use if I want to find out what video card I have. There are plenty of others, including variations on the Windows method depending on which version of Windows you're running.