If you are a desktop computer user, you must have some general knowledge about the graphics card. But if you are a laptop user, then you may or may not have a lot of ideas about the graphics card. Before buying a computer especially a laptop, it is the hardest part to choose the graphics for your PC. In the computer description, you will see whether the laptop has a dedicated graphics card or integrated graphics card. There can be a written discrete graphics card. Don’t bother. Because of discrete or dedicated means the same.
You may face difficulty before choosing the best graphics card for you. It actually depends on your use. Dedicated vs Integrated graphics card, which one is better for you? Go through this article. You will surely gather a lot of knowledge about the graphics card and you will be able to choose the best one for you.
What is Graphics Card
Graphics card is also known as a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). It is the card that allows the computer for creating a series of graphics or images which are basically needed for any almost all tasks that are conducted on the computer. The tasks can be word processing as well as intensive gaming. You can also check the graphics card of your computer before installing an intensive gaming software to know whether it is capable to run the game software with good speed and smoothness.
The computer has many components like processor, ram, hard-disk etc. But the Graphics card lets you see on the monitor what’s going on. Anything you see on the monitor of your computer is possible for the graphics card. For different purposes, there are two types of Graphics card: Dedicated or Discrete graphics card and Integrated or built-in graphics card.
Integrated Graphics Card
An integrated graphics card is also known as a shared graphics card. An integrated graphics card generally built into the motherboard or the CPU. This kind of graphics processing unit doesn’t have its own RAM rather it uses the system’s memory for different tasks. Suppose you have a computer with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, the integrated GPU can use mostly between one and five percent of the available free memory for processing graphical things. But this percentage varies depending on the task. You can do multitasking or gaming. Again, you can watch a video or picture. The graphics card will use much memory when you do multitasking or gaming.
Today, integrated graphics cards are not lackluster like before. They can perform full HD and even 4K rendering. They can perform on an external full HD display without breaking much of a sweat. Nowadays, most of the modern laptops which are powered by an Intel Core I-series processors have integrated Intel HD Graphics 620. If you want to do general office work, surfing the internet, or streaming YouTube videos, these chips capable enough for performing those tasks.
The benefit of an integrated graphics card is that it is cheaper, you don’t have to pay money to have one. An integrated graphics card generates less heat and consumes less power, which improves the battery life of your PC. Integrated GPU is perfect for doing everyday graphics processing like watching or editing videos, 2D or 3D gaming, and general word processing. Such activities do not need an intensive graphic, so an integrated graphics card is well enough to perform these tasks. But this kind of GPU cannot perform heavy gaming or Video or picture editing or animation. For performing these tasks perfectly, you will have to go for a Dedicated graphics card.
Dedicated Graphics Card
The dedicated graphics card is also known as a discrete graphics card. It is an additional chip like processor or ram. A dedicated GPU has an independent source of video memory of its own. That means it doesn’t consume any memory from RAM for performing different tasks. Suppose you have an Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics card with 4GB of video memory and an 8GB RAM. That means the memory is completely separate from your RAM memory. These Dedicated GPUs are perfect for doing serious gaming or for a professional graphic designer.
Nvidia and AMD are companies that manufacture dedicated graphics card. As the processor comes with dual or quad cores, the dedicated graphics card has many cores for parallel processing of visual data. NVIDIA calls the cores as CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) cores while AMD calls them Stream Processors. A GPU generally contains a lot of cores like hundreds or thousands of CUDA cores or Stream Processors.
For using an external graphics card, you must have a good cooling system for the GPU. Because external graphics cards produce a lot of heat. They consume a lot of power with respect to the integrated graphics card. For this reason, it will decrease the battery life. This type of card is costly too. For highly powerful GPU, you may have to often pay a lot of money that can buy a laptop having an integrated graphics card.
Dedicated Vs Integrated Graphics Card
Description: Dedicated graphics card Is an external card that is connected to the motherboard whereas integrated graphics card is an internal card that is integrated into the motherboard or processor.
Power Consumption: As dedicated GPU can perform high graphical things with respect to integrated GPU, it consumes much power than integrated GPU. For this reason, it produces a lot of heat too.
GPU: A dedicated graphics card has its own Graphics processing unit. But in the integrated graphics card, the graphics system is built into the chip like the processor.
RAM: Dedicated graphics card has its own memory whereas the integrated graphics card uses the system’s memory.
Processing Power: Dedicated graphics card perform high-quality graphical things. So, it must have high processing power than the integrated graphics card.
Cost Comparison: Dedicated graphics cards are costly. For highly powerful dedicated GPU, you may have to often pay a lot of money that can buy a laptop having an integrated graphics card.
Suitable Users: Integrated graphics are perfect for casual users. But for a serious gamer or professional graphics designer or the people who use software that requires intensive graphics, the dedicated graphics card is a must.
Switchable graphics are best. It is called switchable because they let you use the integrated graphics card as well as the dedicated graphics card. For basic tasks, they let you use the integrated card and can automatically switch to the dedicated GPU if needed. This technology is called Optimus by NVIDIA and AMD calls it Enduro. This idea was introduced to maximize battery life as well as less heat produce when your PC is not running graphics-intensive software. You may check if the laptop comes with Optimus or enduro enabled. In this case, the integrated graphics becomes the main display controller. In that case, the dedicated graphics card has no direct access to the display. Powerful gaming laptops that come with switchable graphics generally come with a hardware switch which is called the multiplexer (MUX). It lets you switch from integrated to dedicated graphics or vice versa. But some laptops’ monitor is directly connected to the dedicated graphics card.
Is External GPUs Best?
You cannot tell that the dedicated graphics cards are best over the integrated graphics card. It depends on your use. You may be a casual user who prefers surfing the internet, streaming youtube videos, or often streaming 4k high-resolution videos. Then, the integrated GPU is well- enough to perform your desired tasks. But if you are a serious gamer or a professional graphics designer who uses heavy software like photoshop, solid work, then you must use dedicated GPU for a visual experience.
A Graphics card is a must for visualizing anything through the computer display. You may have an external card which is known as the dedicated or discrete graphics card or a built-in card into the motherboard or CPU which is known as an integrated graphics card. Dedicated vs integrated graphics card, this term means different types of tasks that can be performed perfectly by integrated GPU or there is any need for dedicated GPU. After reading this article, you must have gathered almost all the knowledge that you should know before buying a desktop computer or a laptop computer.