If you are familiar with the world of gaming or video editing, you will know that the graphics card is a determining component of your computer so that it gives you optimal and adequate performance for what you need to do.
As you probably know, there are dedicated and integrated graphics cards, but you may not be so sure if one or the other is suitable for what you want to do.
In this article I am going to explain what a dedicated graphics card is, the differences with an integrated one, in what situations and for what type of users one or the other is recommended.
Let’s start with the basics first:
What is a Graphics Card? (to dry)
It is a card dedicated to the management of data in relation to the video and images of the computer, laptop or mobile devices
Every image you see on your computer or device screen, from the operating system interface to the games or apps you open, must be processed by hardware .
The video card is a GPU, which stands for Graphics Processing Unit. It transforms data from the processor into visual information , thus converting bits to images.
What is a dedicated graphics card?
A dedicated graphics card is a separate piece of hardware specifically designed to handle graphics tasks.
Dedicated graphics cards are typically much more powerful than the integrated graphics chips in most motherboards, and can dramatically improve the performance of the most demanding games and other graphics-intensive applications .
Disadvantages of having an integrated graphics card
One of the main drawbacks of an integrated graphics card is that it can be quite a bit slower than a dedicated card.
This is because the integrated card shares resources with the CPU, which can slow down both the card and the overall system . Also, integrated graphics cards don’t usually have their own dedicated memory, which means they have to borrow system RAM .
The biggest downside to integrated graphics is that by combining a CPU and GPU on the same chip, one (or both) of the processors will be restricted. Although most modern processors have built-in graphics, the integrated GPU is often turned off so as not to affect CPU performance .
A dedicated card, on the other hand, has its own printed circuit board, VRAM memory and cooling system, so it is not as limited in terms of power.
Other disadvantages of an integrated graphics card
– Limited upgrade options : Since the graphics processor is integrated into the CPU, it is not possible to upgrade to a better graphics card without replacing the entire CPU
– Lower performance : integrated graphics cards are not as powerful as dedicated ones, so they cannot run demanding tasks like gaming or video editing
– Use system RAM – Integrated graphics cards use part of the system RAM as their own VRAM, which can overload the system and lead to lower overall performance.
In conclusion, an integrated graphics card has several disadvantages that can affect the overall performance of a computer. These include slower speed, limited upgrade options, and lower overall power.
However, they are still a good choice for basic computing tasks .
Disadvantages of dedicated graphics cards
Dedicated graphics cards also have some disadvantages. One is that they can be expensive , especially if you want a higher-end card.
Another potential issue is that they require their own power supply , which means your computer will need more than one power cord connected.
Plus, they take up a lot of space inside your computer case, and they generate a lot of heat, which means you’ll need to make sure your computer has good airflow to avoid overheating.
Battery life in laptops
Since these dedicated graphics chips consume a significant amount of electricity, using a laptop with this type of GPU will reduce battery life on laptops .
Graphics cards: hybrid solution
Some video cards are switchable , which means that the GPU is made up of an integrated and a dedicated graphics processor.
The benefit is that the card consumes less power when you’re not gaming or running other graphics-intensive applications, which can save battery life on laptops.
The disadvantages are that the hybrid solution is usually not as powerful as a dedicated card, and it still takes up space inside the computer.
How to choose graphics card?
Below I show you a brief guide with the questions you can ask yourself when determining if you need a dedicated graphics card .. or not ..
What programs and applications do you plan to use?
The first and most essential thing is to think about how you are going to use your graphics card. You will need a dedicated GPU for demanding gaming, video editing, and cryptocurrency mining, for example.
For the simplest of tasks like Internet browsing, most office work, and less intensive gaming, you can get by with CPUs with integrated graphics.
If you think that you are going to use both programs and applications that have a greater graphic load, as well as other less intensive ones, you can opt for the hybrid option. In this case, you will use the GPU switching feature to switch between the integrated graphics card and the dedicated graphics card.
What budget do you have?
Another key consideration when deciding whether to invest in a dedicated graphics card or stick with a CPU with integrated graphics is budget. Dedicated graphics cards are more expensive and require the use of a higher performing CPU for optimal results.
Remember to take into account in your budget other basic components of your PC , such as the monitor (a good GPU will be useless without a monitor capable of displaying a good resolution), the processor and other components that you may need.
How relevant are graphics to your work or gaming tasks?
With an integrated graphics card, you can play a wide variety of modern titles and applications at lower settings. This includes notable games like Overwatch or Grand Theft Auto.
If you are a gamer who wants to enjoy all the splendor of games like Assassin Creed Valhalla or Cyberpunk 2077, you will need a dedicated graphics card.
Battery Life and Power Usage
An independent graphics card consumes more power and drains a laptop’s battery faster. This point is crucial if you play games outside the home, so keep it in mind.
It will also consume more electricity on your desktop PC… and we already know how the price of electricity is today, so keep that in mind.
You will have to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your laptop because a dedicated graphics card could raise it. Therefore, you may want to use an external fan or a cooling pad.
If you use a desktop computer, you could invest in a more powerful internal fan or a liquid cooling system for the more powerful cards, if you want to keep your computer in optimal condition all the time.
Conclusion: When to choose a dedicated graphics card
Here are my recommendations on in which situations it is better to choose a dedicated graphics card or GPU:
-You’re a power user who needs the extra graphics processing power for things like video editing or gaming .
-Your budget can cover the cost of a dedicated graphics card.
-You are willing to take the time to ensure that your dedicated graphics card is well cooled .
-You have a good gaming monitor that can take advantage of the increased graphics power.
-You are a user who needs the extra power for things like cryptocurrency mining.
-You are a video editor who needs extra power for demanding tasks.
-You want to play the latest and greatest (and upcoming) games on high settings.