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Video Chipset / Acceleration Features
The video chipset is the brains of the video card and determines what its capabilities are. Better chipsets are more efficient, include more acceleration features, and also include extended capabilities such as 3D acceleration or MPEG decoding. The chipset is one of the most important determining factors of overall video performance, if not the most important.
Many of the big name video cards on the market actually use third party chipsets from companies like S3 or Cirrus. They of course do add value to the chipset, and not all cards using a given chipset are identical. However, in many cases generic cards using the same chipset will get you very similar performance for much less money. In many cases what you lose is optimized driver support (which can be important, but sometimes is not) or bells and whistles included with the more expensive card.
Next: Bit Width