When we buy a computer and do not want to spend too much, we often resort to the essential components that any current motherboard integrates. We talk about elements such as sound cards, network connectivity, or graphics card, to name a few. Removing the storage, processor, and RAM, we practically do not need anything else to have a complete computer without spending too much.
However, this primary computer may not be what we need if we want to demand a little more performance. As an example, in case we want to surf the net, use it as a video player or multimedia center, or only as a base for our home office and other office work, we probably have no problems. However, if we want to devote ourselves to tasks of video processing and photos at an intensive level or to play at the highest quality, it is evident that the equipment will fall short.
This approach leads us to the question that serves as the basis for this article: is an additional graphics card necessary to play? We will move slowly towards the answer.
What is an integrated card?
An integrated graphics card is a device that is placed inside the motherboard of our computer, and that performs the essential tasks of an independent card. The main models of integrated cards that we currently have are the graphics cards of Intel and AMD, as corresponds to the two leading manufacturers not so much of boards, but of the processors that we mount in them. Therefore, any committee of any manufacturer will include the visual system of the processor socket that corresponds to it.
Despite what it may seem, there are also classes in this regard. It does not have the same characteristics as a graphics card integrated into a motherboard for a Celeron processor than for an i7. Nor is it the same one we found on a desktop motherboard or a laptop. In general, the quality of the images and what the card can do is always better as we go up in the power of the device or the corresponding board.
What can these graphics cards do
Without being large graphics cards, at least compared to the independent ones, the truth is that the functions that include them are more than enough to achieve excellent performance. As an example, these cards are capable of playing the video with good quality, even at the Full HD level such as that generated by a DVD or specific YouTube broadcasts. The most advanced can also broadcast video in 4K format, although we talk about the most current and mid-range and advanced.
Regarding the games, the truth is that there are many options we have to play. Virtually any game that is already at least 5 or 6 years old works without too much trouble on your computer with the integrated graphics card. So we do not talk about cards with which it is impossible to play unless it is of the lowest range within its motherboard scope. What is certain is that for the most demanding games for the graphic level, we will need external help or pull the graphics and their quality entirely down. Still, we can say that it is possible to play with an integrated graphics card.
What can we play and what not
Going a little in detail, there are many games to which we will be able to devote time with an integrated graphics card. So, if you want to try your luck with League of Legends or versions III and IV of Grand Theft Auto, you will be able to do it directly with the integrated board. Yes, it is true that, in some cases, it will be necessary to lower resolutions and quality to obtain better performance and adequate fluidity in operation.
A problem that you will not have if what you like is the abandonware games or with a lot of history behind them, which yield without issues in this type of plates. Something similar happens with some current games, especially those of “indie” cut, in which the story weighs more than the extreme quality of its graphics.
However, if what you want is to shoot yourself in Fornite or PUBG or run in any racing simulator with the graphics at the highest level, it is evident that the card integrated into the board will be insufficient. Something similar happens in case we want to play anything with a Full HD quality. And is that the power of the card is sufficient for video playback in this quality, since it has been previously rendered, but not so much to perform such work on the graphics generated by the game.
Two more notes
To close this article, we want to point out a couple of aspects more related to these integrated graphics and what they can or cannot do. One of these aspects has to do with external connectivity. Today, integrated graphics cards usually include a VGA port and an HDMI port, so that we can connect two monitors in parallel but not always with the highest image quality. So, if we need to obtain a quality signal in both, we are likely to have to use an external or independent card. You can find a list of various types of graphics cards here.
Something similar happens in case we need to keep the processing capacity at a reasonable level. Since the integrated graphics card uses the computer’s resources, this places an additional burden on issues such as RAM or computer processing. This can result in a slowdown of other tasks, in case of a high load on the graphic part. However, indeed, the design of the plates is usually balanced to avoid these inconveniences, although it is not strange that sometimes undesirable effects occur in the face of high graphic demands.