What is an Integrated Graphics Card? Its Pros & Cons

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Just like the name suggests, Integrated Graphics card or Integrated Graphics Processing Units are integrated within your motherboard or Central Processing Unit. It has a lot less image rendering capability than that of the Dedicated Graphics Processing Units otherwise known as the Discrete Graphics Processing Units. In this article, we’ll discuss what is an integrated graphics card.

What is the Graphics Card?

The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) otherwise known as the Graphics Card is a programmable Logic Chip. It can be embedded within your Central Processing Unit or not depending upon its type. The two types of Graphics Processing Units are the Dedicated Graphics Processing Units or Discrete Graphics Processing Units and the Integrated Graphics Processing Units.

The function of Graphics Processing Units is to render graphics i.e. image, video, animations, etc. to the computer’s screen. As you might already comprehend the fact that not having a well-performing Graphics Processing Unit will create problems to play high-resolution games and movies. You can enable hardware acceleration on this.

The Graphics Processing Units perform various operations simultaneously i.e, it performs its operations in parallel. The Graphics Processing Units are used to process 2D and 3D data. The more the Graphics Processing Units are sophisticated the higher-performing it is. The higher-performing it is the smoother will be your gameplay. You can check your GPU for more info on its capabilities.

Different Parts of Graphics Card:

In this era Graphics card comes with four main components the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), the Random-Access Memory Digital to Analog Converter (RAMDAC), the video memory, and the Output Interface. Besides these, it also has a bunch of other mandatory peripherals which I will discuss along the way.

  1. Graphics Processing Unit: Just any other electronic device Graphics Card has to have a processing unit that will call the shots. It is a special-purpose electric circuit for rendering images. It is mandatory for devices of visual output. Day by day GPUs is getting better at image processing and computer graphics. Their capability of multitasking or doing multiple calculations in parallel gives more efficiency than everyday CPUs. Integrated GPUs are embedded within motherboards or CPUs. GPUs were first produced by Nvidia and the term was also introduced by them. The world’s first GPU is the GeForce 256.
  2. Video BIOS: BIOS as many of you might already know stands for Basic Input Output System. It creates an interface for the interaction between the hardware and the software. It comes with a lot of built-in functions that enable the software to access the hardware.  The operator always needs to see what is going on with this device so the Graphics Card has to activate earlier than much other hardware. It even has to be activated than before the Operating System. So, it is activated by the system BIOS. The Video BIOS contains a minimum amount of information required for the GPU to get started. It contains information such as Voltage Level, Operating Speed, and what can be overclocked and what can’t.
  3. Video Memory (VRAM): This is exactly what the name itself refers to. The video memory contains the video image and is integrated within the Graphics Card. In the early stage of the development of the Graphics Card, the Video Memory was hosted in an everyday Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) which depended upon the supplied voltage. Since it depends on the supplied voltage it was difficult to refresh these things which Graphics Card Frequently needed. So, nowadays a special type of dual-ported  Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) is used which enables constant refreshing.
  4. Random Access Memory Digital to Analog Converter (RAMDAC): It is what the name means. A Digital to Analog converter which is used by display systems such as the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) display but not in the modern-day Liquid Crystal Display. Nowadays the display system requires digital inputs so RAMDAC is starting to phase out from the Graphics Cards. All the modern display systems such as plasma, LCD, LED, TVs require digital inputs. There are some that take analog inputs but they reconvert them into digital. Which causes some redundant steps to happen and slows the process overall.
  5. Output interface: The connection between the Graphics card and the Display systems are the Output Interface of the Graphics Card. Some of the popular Output interface for the Graphics Card are Video Graphics Array (VGA), Digital Visual Interface (DVI), Video In Video Out (VIVO), High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), Display Port, and many others.
  6. High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI): There are several versions of HDMI but all use the same principle. These cause no loss of video quality. This can transmit uncompressed video data and compressed into uncompressed digital audio. Nowadays almost everything is HDMI compatible starting from TVs to projectors. HDMI abides by the EIA/CEA-861 standard for data transmission. Newer versions of HDMI support 3D and Ethernet also. Its production primarily started in Europe.
  7. Display port: The display port was an innovation of the Video Electronics Standard Association (VESA). It is used to transfer the video image or in other words, the data processed by the GPU to a display device such as computer monitor projectors and many others. No royalties have to be paid if you use the VESA specification. VSI, LVDS, and DVI were replaced by VESA. Need to replace the previously used display devices having VGI or DVI port was met by adapter dongles.

 Integrated Graphics Card

The integrated Graphics Processing Unit is often mistaken as the Integrated Graphics card is integrated on the motherboard or within the CPU. As you might have been acknowledged if you have read the previous portions of the article that a usual Graphics Card has several parts like the Output Interface, VRAM, RAMDAC, GPU, and many others. In the case of the IGPU, it uses the parts already present within the computer and gets the job done. It comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Features of Integrated Graphics Card

The integrated Graphics Card is placed within the CPU or the motherboard as it has been mentioned several times earlier. Thus, it shares various components of the CPU making it a more economical choice. The integrated graphics card can be programmable or nonprogrammable depending on its type. If you have 4GB the graphics card might end up using 250MB of the memory. You can also increase the VRAM of your integrated graphics.

Pros and Cons of Using an Integrated Graphics Card:

The advantages and disadvantages of the Integrated Graphics Card have it’s depending on who is using it and what is he using it for. For Gamers or Graphics Designers Integrated GPU is of no use whereas for a programmer or a journalist it is perfect. You can easily run a GPU stress test too.

  1.  Pros: The Integrated Graphics Card is more economical than the Dedicated Graphics Card. It uses a lot less power than the dedicated graphics increasing battery life. Using this one can do low-end graphics processing like watching movies, editing videos, playing 2D games.
  2. Cons: Using this you can’t play high-resolution games. High-end graphics designing is also quite impossible. Yes, you can play 3D games but you will have to tune the graphics down a little.

Summing up

Graphics Card is logic chips that can render images to the output display. The integrated graphics card is one of the types of Graphics card which is integrated into the motherboard or the CPU. We have discussed briefly the different parts of the graphics card. Integrated Graphics Card features low battery life and is more economical. It has both pros and cons.

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0 thoughts on “What is an Integrated Graphics Card? Its Pros & Cons”

  1. I have a HP Slimline Desktop – 410-010 ,
    the -integrated-graphics-card has gone out ‘I
    want to keep it as an backup computer,
    could you possibly refer me to the hardware
    that needs to be replaced.. could I just install
    a stand alone graphic card?
    or do i have to replace the -integrated-graphics-card?
    thanks for any info… Bobbi

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