Does Your Computer Need a Graphics Card?

Not everyone builds a computer to play games; sometimes, all you need is a decent PC to surf the web and do some schoolwork or work. But, does every computer need a graphics card? Could you live without one?

I have some excellent news for you. Not all computers need a graphics card, and it is pretty feasible to function without one – mainly if you are not gaming. However, there are certain restrictions. Because you’ll still require a CPU with an Integrated Graphics Processing Unit to produce what you see on your display, you’ll need one (or iGPU for short).

Fortunately, obtaining a processor (we’ll refer to it as a CPU – or an APU – from now on) with an iGPU isn’t as tricky as it sounds, and utilizing it is even simpler!

What exactly is an iGPU?

Before we go too far ahead of ourselves, let’s define an iGPU and explain why you need one.

In a nutshell, an iGPU is a chip in your CPU that is solely responsible for converting data into pictures — in other words, everything you see on your display. Modern GPUs are more than capable of playing 4K video and doing ALL fundamental functions — they can even handle light gaming.

You won’t see anything on your display unless you have a GPU, whether integrated or dedicated. That is to say; if you want to avoid purchasing a separate graphics card, you must ensure that your CPU has an iGPU. If you don’t want to spend too much money on a graphics card, several are around $300.

Where an iGPU falls short, a separate graphics card comes into play. However, you only need a dGPU (dedicated graphics processor) if you’re doing stuff like rendering video, 3D modeling, gaming, and so on. If you discover that an iGPU isn’t cutting it for your requirements, you may easily add a dedicated graphics card to any setup.

What exactly is a dGPU?

A GPU is the second kind of GPU (Discrete Graphics Processing Unit). This is a component found in desktop graphics cards or as a specialized chip in high-end laptops. The separate GPU is often much more potent than an iGPU, specializing in generating sophisticated visuals for gaming and content production applications.

A strong dGPU is required if you want to build a gaming PC. They may also support technologies like ray tracing, which allows for sophisticated lighting and shadow effects for added realism. AMD and Nvidia are currently the leading suppliers of GPUs, although Intel has launched its own Xe Max GPU (found within the Acer Swift 3X) and intends to release more in the future.

However, discrete GPUs have a drawback: they need a specialized cooling system to maximize performance and avoid overheating. As a result, gaming laptops are often heavier than regular laptops with just an iGPU. Discrete GPUs also use a lot of power, which means they have much lower battery life.

Discrete GPUs also raise the cost of a laptop, while high-end desktop GPUs are often the most costly component when assembling a PC — the absolute cheapest graphics card in Nvidia’s current 30-Series series is £299/$329. As a result, a separate GPU is only advised if you require it for gaming, content production, or other intensive tasks.

Which CPUs include iGPUs?

AMD and Intel have processors with iGPUs in their lineups, although not all are referred to as CPUs.

On Intel’s side, it’s simple to tell which CPUs have an iGPU since they all do, except for some of their older chips. However, all CPUs from the fourth through the eighth generation will have integrated graphics — including Pentium models.

On the AMD side, your choices are a bit more limited; you’ll need to look at their APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) like the R5 2400G and R3 2200G; on the other hand, AMD’s CPUs like the R5 2600 and R7 2700 do not have iGPUs.

How to use an iGPU

It’s even simpler to use an iGPU-equipped CPU/APU than it is to locate one.

There is just one step here: connect your monitor to your motherboard’s display output. Yes, it’s genuinely that easy!

The only thing you’d have to alter if you added a dedicated graphics card to your setup is the position of your display connection. Instead of connecting to your motherboard, you’d link to your graphics card.

It couldn’t be simpler!