There is an ongoing change in the climate of GPU availability vs pricing. The argument between having integrated vs dedicated graphics has become more prominent in recent years due to improvements in discrete graphics processors within CPU’s. Not to mention, when it comes to the ever-evolving demands in games, understanding which provides the best performance makes a huge difference when building custom gaming PCs.
Integrated Graphics vs Dedicated GPU
Due to the versatility and benefits of GPUs, most players prefer dedicated graphics for gaming.
Integrated graphics don't have their own source of RAM or processing, using the system RAM and CPU. On the other hand, Dedicated graphics have their own processing unit, called the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), and RAM for greater power.
Ryzen’s APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) line and Intel's continual support for integrated graphics have created an array of price to performance processors that function as great solutions for minimum specs on games and power consumption.
What Are Dedicated Graphics?
Dedicated and discrete graphics are fancy ways of saying “GPU” (Graphics processing unit), an individual component in a PC. Even to people unsavvy in tech, “GPU” is a pretty common term when classifying a PC on its specs.
Let's look at the benefits and drawbacks of GPUs.
Benefits of Dedicated Graphics
- Display ports ranging between three to six on the back of the cards that support a multitude of display types.
- Designed to co-process with the CPU, putting the PC in a position to distribute most of the load as opposed to processing alone
- Graphic cards come with a slew of in-house features and settings depending on your card manufacturer. (AMD or NVIDIA)
- Dedicated video memory draws from and produces higher quality images than Integrated graphics.
Drawbacks of Dedicated Graphics
- Requires more power to operate
- Generates more heat within a system
- Requires frequent firmware updates for gaming
- Depending on the GPU, card sag eventually affects the wellness and operation of the card
Overall, having a dedicated graphics card in a system adds a lot more options, especially when it comes to gaming. Modern day games often require a majority of cards to have at least 2GB of video memory for the lowest rung of 3D intensive titles.
What Are Integrated Graphics?
Integrated graphics refers to the graphic processing unit built within a CPU. You usually find these types of graphics processors in Intel variants that have no letter and or CPUs with no “F” designation. In the AMD variants, they mark their integrated graphics line with “G” or call them APUs instead of CPUs.
Integrated graphics are a good addition to a system that plans to not use a graphics card for a multitude of reasons. Those range from GPU prices, system support for a GPU, or other reasons. That said, don't dismiss the potential for playing some games on an integrated CPU!
Let's discuss the benefits and drawbacks
Benefits of Integrated Graphics
- Still run older games (1990s early 2000s) with little to no effort due to system requirements
- Uses less power due to no GPU in system
- Creates a more cost effective system
- Provide entry level access to legacy PC Gaming
- Perfect for web browsing and occasional video streaming
Drawbacks of Integrated Graphics
- The more intense the game the harder it is to run
- Expected frame lagging in intensive games
- Performs better at lower resolutions
Final Thoughts on Integrated vs Dedicated Graphics for Gaming
As stated earlier, dedicated graphics are the superior option to integrated graphics.
That said, splitting the workload between an entry level graphics card and CPU/APU is possible in our Apex Silver option assuring low to medium settings on most triple A games in the past 5 years. Even with a lower end graphics card, the workload becomes greatly reduced on the CPU allowing more playable frame rates and better resolutions. Whatever hardware you decide for your system, we hope to supply them at Apex Gaming PCs!
Written by William Wilson