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Apple Wiki

A video card (also referred to as a graphics card, graphics adapter, or video adapter) is circuitry with video RAM that can output a video signal from a computer to a display. Many modern cards also contain their own processors for graphics acceleration and are refered to a graphics processing units (GPUs).


The first Apple II and compact Mac computers contained built-in video circuitry and dedicated a small portion of RAM for use by video memory. 3rd party expansion cards for the Apple II series added capabilities such as 80-column text until the Apple IIe was released in 1983 with such updated video circuitry built-in.[1] The first Macintosh video cards from Apple Computer were developed for the NuBus expansion slots of the Macintosh II series, first released in 1987.[2] In subsequent Macs, NuBus video cards were succeeded by Peripheral Component Interconnect, AGP, PCI eXtended (PCI-X), and PCI Express (PCIe). In some cases, processor direct slots with direct access to the CPU were used.[3][4] For more recent Macs and mobile devices, Apple designs its own graphics circuitry into its ARM-based processors.[5]

IBM's early Video Graphics Array board for their PC led to the establishment of the VGA standard for personal computers.[6] Current graphics cards and GPUs presently operate over the PCIe standard.[4]


  1. Peripherals: Video cards, Apple II History. 2011-12-04.
  2. Guide to NuBus Video Cards, Low End Mac. Accessed 2021-06-26.
  3. Expanding Your Mac - A Rundown of Macintosh Slots by BDub, Applefritter. 2004-01-23.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Expansion Slots by Ray White, The White Files. 2006.
  5. Apple has built its own Mac graphics processors by Jonny Evans, Computerworld. 2020-06-07.
  6. Video Graphics Array at the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing. 1995-01-12.

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