Integrated Graphics Vs. Dedicated Video Card

When purchasing a new computer, an important decision you have to make is whether to buy a dedicated or integrated graphics solution for your system. A quick look at the key differences can help you make the right decision for your new computer.

Graphics solutions for computers can either be dedicated components, or built into the motherboard.

The Physical Difference

The main difference between integrated graphics and dedicated video cards is the physical hardware. An integrated graphics card is built as a part of the motherboard, while a dedicated video card is a separate component to the computer that is plugged into an expansion slot on the motherboard.


Because of the differences in the nature of these two types of graphics cards, dedicated graphics cards serve as a more flexible and easily serviced solution. If either the motherboard or the video card fails on an integrated graphics solution, both components must be replaced. With a dedicated graphics card, you can easily replace a failed graphics card without having to replace any extra parts.


Although integrated graphics solutions are not as serviceable, they are much more affordable. Because the component is built directly into the motherboard, integrated graphics cards cost less than dedicated cards. Dedicated cards have a wide price range, with some costing as much as the price of a low-end computer.


Dedicated video cards perform much stronger than integrated graphics systems. Because dedicated cards have their own memory and processing power, they are able to take on much more demanding processes than an integrated graphics system. Integrated systems tend to use the system RAM to help compute graphic processes, thereby making the system less efficient.

Choosing the Right Solution

When building a new computer, it is important to keep in mind what you are looking to build it for. If you are putting together a simple computer to handle word processing, email and web browsing, then most likely you will not need to spend extra money on a dedicated graphics card. However, if you are looking to use the computer for graphically intense software such as video games, a dedicated video card is almost a must for most programs on the market.