Are Integrated Graphics Good For Gaming? Whether integrated graphics are good for gaming depends on a number of factors. First, it depends on what kind of games you want to play. If you’re looking to play triple-A titles that require a lot of processing power, then you’re going to need a dedicated graphics card. However, if you’re more interested in casual or indie games, then integrated graphics may be sufficient. Secondly, it depends on the quality of the integrated graphics.
Are Integrated Graphics Good For Gaming?
All CPUs launched in the previous four years can output video to a 4K monitor. However, this does not automatically qualify your Intel HD or AMD Radeon GPU for 4K gaming. Playing 4K movies is simple with integrated graphics since the videos have already been produced. To process a game in 4K, a GPU must generate sequences of individual high-resolution pictures at highly rapid rates and send them to the screen in the same cycle.
Only high-end dedicated graphics cards can yet ensure smooth 4K gaming. The alternatives become ever more limited with virtual reality, so if you have low-budget gaming equipment, it’s probably better to keep your expectations in check. You’re fortunate if your integrated graphics can provide excellent framerates at 1080p.
Graphics integration has gone a long way. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a specialized graphics card to play your favorite game these days. It would help if you had a decent CPU, some RAM, and less demand for visual candy. A well-integrated chip won’t bring you to the stars but will get you to the moon.
Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics Card
1. What Exactly Is Integrated Graphics?
A computer with integrated graphics is one in which the graphics processing unit (GPU) is built on the same chip as the CPU.
This has several advantages. It’s compact, uses less energy, and costs less than a specialized graphics card.
Integrated graphics have a terrible stigma, but that has changed dramatically in recent years.
It’s now more than enough for everyday computing, including some casual gaming and 4K movie viewing, although it still falls short in a few areas. It is not appropriate for use with graphically heavy applications. While playing the newest high-end games is also available, there are a few fantastic games with integrated graphics that you may enjoy.
Another thing to keep in mind is that integrated graphics share a memory with the rest of the system. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as shared graphics. If your computer has 4GB of RAM and 1GB of shared graphics memory, you’ll only have 3GB accessible for basic computing operations.
The majority of current CPUs have an integrated GPU. In PCs with a dedicated graphics card, the software will automatically switch between the two. It attempts to strike a balance between performance and efficiency.
Shared graphics are often the only choice for devices where compactness is required, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It is also available on low-cost desktop PCs.
2. What Is the Definition of a Dedicated Graphics Card?
A dedicated graphics card is a piece of hardware that manages a computer’s graphics performance. They are also known as video cards or discrete graphics.
There are several graphics cards, but they all include a GPU, some RAM, and a fan to keep them cool.
The advantages of graphics cards are that you may select one that is strong enough for any job. They do not share system memory and are simple to update in most systems. On the downside, they are more costly, more extensive, and produce much heat.
Dedicated graphics cards are often found in mid-range or higher desktop PCs. They are also available on particular higher-end laptops.
3. Dedicated Graphics Means Better Graphics
The most current dedicated graphics cards will outperform an integrated system in graphics performance. However, it is just half of the tale. Which option you should choose is determined by your priorities.
It should be no surprise that specialized hardware outperforms an integrated system, but how much?
The most excellent dedicated graphics performance is found in Intel Core i7 CPUs from the 8th generation. AMD Radeon RX Vega M GPUs are used in these.
According to the testing site videobenchmark.net, the Vega M performs similarly to the dedicated RX 570, a mid-range graphics card that costs roughly $199.
Other i7, i5, and lesser CPUs have integrated Intel graphics under the Iris Pro and Intel HD names. The most acceptable Iris Pro graphics system outperforms the Vega M by less than a third.
The top specialized graphics cards, such as the Nvidia Titan Xp line, provide more than double the performance. They are also more than a thousand bucks.
4. Dedicated graphics use more power as well
Dedicated graphics cards have built-in fans: they become quite hot.
Under extreme stress, the Titan Xp may reach temperatures of 185 degrees Fahrenheit or more, according to tests. This is in addition to the heat created by the CPU and other components inside the computer. It is critical to keep your laptop from overheating.
In contrast, an Intel Core M CPU with integrated graphics may reach a maximum temperature of roughly 160 degrees Celsius when gaming. There is no fan, and it consumes much less electricity.
Benchmarks demonstrate that this setup’s graphics performance is comparable to a dedicated card that is many years old. However, it’s probably a better option if you’re not a gamer and value energy efficiency.
5. Dedicated Graphics Laptops Are Available
Laptops with dedicated graphics cards are available, but your selections are more restricted. The trade-offs include increased size and increased cost.
Laptops with integrated graphics, such as the Dell XPS 13 or Acer Swift 7, are less than half an inch thick. A similar Dell model increases the depth by about a quarter of an inch. The Asus ZenBook 13 is the thinnest notebook with dedicated graphics, measuring 0.55 inches.
Most laptops with discrete graphics are either gaming laptops or high-end devices designed for professionals. Because of the greater size, 13-inch devices are uncommon, with 15-inch variants being more frequent.
6. Integrated Graphics Is Less Expensive
Computers with integrated graphics are less expensive than standalone graphics cards with comparable specifications. That doesn’t imply they’re the cheapest choice. Except for the 15″ MacBook Pro, Apple employs integrated graphics. These are the priciest laptops in their price category.
The iMac desktop line has integrated graphics in what is referred to as the “entry-level” variant. It is still more than a thousand bucks.
Shared graphics is unquestionably the most cost-effective choice on desktop computers from other manufacturers, where you have much more flexibility to customize and update the system. Adding a solid mid-range card, such as the Radeon RX 580, will raise the price by a few hundred dollars.
7. Gaming Requires Dedicated Graphics
Is it true that since shared graphics are less powerful, they cannot be used for gaming? No, not always.
The online gaming platform Steam conducts a monthly survey of its 125 million members’ hardware. Dedicated graphics cards dominate the August 2018 list. However, more than 10% of users are gaming using Intel’s integrated graphics.
If you follow this way, you will have to make some sacrifices. You won’t be able to play every game, and you’ll have to reduce the detail settings. In most circumstances, 4K gaming is out of the question.
Who Should Purchase A Dedicated Graphics Card?
The two most important variables in deciding whether or not to purchase a dedicated graphics card are:
What is your entire budget for the system you want to buy?
The kind of jobs and applications you want to execute on your system
So, with those two considerations in mind, let’s look at who could benefit from a dedicated graphics card…
1. Serious Gamers With a Reasonable Budget Who Want A Desktop (Either To Buy Or Build)
Suppose you’re a serious gamer who wants to play your favorite games at the highest settings possible with the highest framerate possible. You’ll probably want to either buy a pre-built gaming desktop with a dedicated graphics card inside of it or build a new computer with a dedicated graphics card in your part list.
The good news is that you can construct a gaming PC for as little as $400-$500 that can contain a dedicated graphics card and outperform a system that depends on integrated graphics for 1080P gaming.
Alternatively, you may get a pre-built gaming PC for about $500-600 (or above) to provide comparable performance.
However, if gaming performance is your primary priority and you have at least $400-$500 to invest in a PC, you should go for a dedicated graphics card.
2. Serious Gamers With a Moderate Budget Who Want A Gaming Laptop
Most low-cost gaming laptops use integrated graphics because laptops are more costly than desktop computers per spec. Furthermore, integrated graphics on a laptop might be enough if you don’t have a lot of money to invest and aren’t playing more demanding games.
However, if you require a laptop and want it to handle your favorite games at higher settings and framerates, you should look for a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
Fortunately, you can buy a great gaming laptop for around $1,000 with a dedicated graphics card and can play most of today’s top games at medium settings with a respectable framerate.
3. Professionals Who Work in Graphics
If you’re a professional who performs graphics-related work (graphics design, animation, video editing, etc.), or if you do it for enjoyment, you’ll probably want to acquire a dedicated graphics card as well since those sorts of jobs and applications may be tough to carry out on integrated graphics.
Who Is Appropriate for Using Integrated Graphics?
Integrated graphics may now be strong enough for certain people. The following are some situations and use-cases where integrated graphics makes sense:
1. Non-Gamers Seeking a New System for Basic Computing
If all you need is a computer or laptop to browse the internet, write emails, and view movies, going with a system that uses integrated graphics is a good choice. If that is all you want from your system, you will pay more money than required by opting for a plan with a dedicated graphics card.
2. Budget-conscious gamers that want a desktop yet have a limited budget
If you’re a gamer but don’t have a lot of money to spend on a new desktop system, you may not be able to buy a dedicated graphics card, in which case you’ll have to rely on the integrated graphics that come with your CPU.
If you’re ready to construct your computer, you can put together a machine for approximately $300-400 that has a CPU with integrated graphics strong enough for entry-level gaming. This means you’ll be able to play games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Rocket League, and others without issue. Furthermore, for more demanding games, you will be able to play some of them on lower settings.
If you don’t want to construct your computer, you can still purchase a reasonably priced pre-built desktop with comparable integrated graphics.
3. Gamers Who Want A Laptop But Do Not Have A Moderate Budget
If you need a laptop for gaming but don’t have a lot of money, integrated graphics will be your only alternative. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t anticipate outstanding gaming performance on a low-cost laptop with integrated graphics.
Suppose all you want to do is play non-demanding games like League of Legends, Dota 2, or Rocket League. In that case, you can get away with an extreme budget laptop with integrated graphics until you can afford a higher-end alternative.
Choosing the Right Graphics Card
It’s simple to discover which option is best for you when comparing integrated vs. dedicated graphics cards.
You’ll need a dedicated graphics card for real gaming and VR, preferably one with CUDA cores. You’ll also need one if you work professionally with graphical applications, such as animation, CAD, and video editing. Programs like Photoshop and Lightroom support modern graphics cards. These are necessary for jobs such as 3D work and will aid in the speeding up of RAW picture processing.
Surprisingly, a firm dedicated GPU is also utilized for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining.
Everyone else can get by with integrated graphics. It is suitable for casual gaming. It’s more than enough for most Adobe applications. And it will be able to handle 4K video as long as you have a sufficiently current CPU.
In reality, unless you have special requirements, the advantages of integrated graphics, such as smaller device size and longer battery life, are likely to exceed the advantages of separate graphics.
Best games you can play on Intel integrated graphics
Overwatch’s type of MOBA-inspired first-person shooter warfare, as beautiful as it is, is a highly inclusive game in terms of its prerequisites. Although you should have at least 4GB of RAM, an Intel HD 4400 will suffice to match the specified minimum specs. That will only bring you to the lowest graphics settings, but it is playable.
There are videos online of individuals getting Overwatch to operate on even less powerful gear. However, this usually necessitates significant-resolution reductions. This will most likely end when Overwatch 2 is out.
Blizzard is frequently respectful to players with entry-level hardware, and Hearthstone, like Overwatch, is no exception. Being a collectible card game, Hearthstone is a considerably more leisurely experience. Hence its specs are lower than those of its famous FPS counterpart. Although the published specs do not include Intel HD graphics, there is plenty of proof that the game can be played on integrated Intel graphics processors. In rare circumstances, you may be able to choose medium-detail settings.
3. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
The most significant breakthrough success of 2017, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has been praised by many as the apex of “battle royale” gaming. It would never have achieved such heights if players with less powerful PCs could not play it. While the minimal system requirements indicate at least a low-level graphics card, some have managed to get it to operate without one. If you’re prepared to put up with drained colors and a blocky resolution, Battlegrounds is fully playable on Intel HD graphics processors. Check out our PUBG beginner’s guide to get started right now.
4. Grand Theft Auto V
The Grand Theft Auto series of anarchy simulations is one of gaming’s most successful franchises. Its most recent edition, GTA V, is often held up as an example of magnificent world construction, and it still looks as impressive now as it did when it was released in 2013. But it doesn’t mean you can’t play it with integrated graphics. Depending on your tastes, you may have to compromise detail levels and frame rate smoothness, but many people have made this game function without a graphics card.
5. League of Legends
League of Legends, perhaps the most popular competitive PC game globally and the poster child for the MOBA’s domination of online gaming, is simple to install on a range of hardware. You’ll want to make sure you’re achieving a reasonable frame rate since low frames per second might put you at a disadvantage in online play, but this isn’t difficult to do, even with outdated Intel HD graphics.
Riot Games is constantly refining the aesthetics of their games to ensure that they appear friendly while also supporting lower-end and older technology. Its lowest requirements hardly hint at the necessity for a graphics card.
6. Dota 2
Dota 2, the game’s other famous MOBA moniker, is a touch more demanding on a system than League of Legends, but it’s still playable on entry-level hardware. You may need to alter the settings and lose some visual clarity to get it working correctly, but there’s no reason to believe you can’t compete online even if you’re using integrated graphics.
7. Portal series
The two Portal games are regarded classics by practically everyone who has played them as part of one of the most revered series in gaming history. They are not just charming, unexpectedly dark action puzzlers, but they are also quite simple to operate on a variety of hardware. This is maybe unsurprising given that Buy at Amazon and its sequel is older games than some of the others on this list, but it doesn’t detract from their well-deserved place on this list.