Can You Replace an Integrated Graphics Card (with a Dedicated GPU)?

If you have to ask this question then for starters know that you are thoroughly confused between the two. Hence, the simple answer to the question “can you replace an integrated graphics card?” is a simple no.

Integrated Graphics Cards, aka iGPUs, cannot be replaced due to the nature of what they are. Integrated Graphics Cards, as the name suggests, are graphics cards that built-INTO the CPU itself. 

As such, unlike dedicated graphics cards, integrated graphics cards not a separate standalone component. You cannot remove them or replace them.

The only way to change or upgrade an integrated graphics card is to change the CPU itself. That, however, is a very costly endeavor.

In the following text I will clarify why you cannot upgrade or replace an integrated graphics card with a dedicated graphics cards. 

A primer on what an integrated graphics card and a dedicated graphics card is will help you further understand the gist of this topic.

What is an Integrated Graphics Card?

An integrated graphics cards, shortened as iGPU, is a graphics card that is built-into the CPU chip.

can you replace an integrated graphics card
CPU die chart with integrated graphics card

Take for instance the CPU die chart of a quad core CU above. You can see how on the left-hand side, there is an entire section of the CPU chip dedicated just for the integrated graphics card.

CPU’s internal subcomponents such as the cores, the cache memory and the iGPU are NOT modular subcomponents. In other words, they cannot be removed out of the CPU to be replaced or changed.

Why CPUs Have Integrated Graphics Cards?

Integrated graphics cards play a very critical role for many PCs and they have a slightly different role for laptops and desktops.

For starters, know that NOT ALL desktop CPUs feature an integrated graphics cards.

With Intel, for instance, CPUs with the “F” suffix do NOT feature an integrated graphics. With AMD, however, the opposite is true in the sense that only the CPUs with the “G” suffix feature an integrated graphics card the rest do not.

You need the integrated graphics card in order to run the video output ports located on your desktop motherboard’s back I/O panel. Let me reiterate this, if your desktop CPU does NOT have an iGPU, then the video output ports on your motherboard will NOT work.

CPU Case PC graphics card dedicated
Desktop with HDMI port on motherboard I/O panel and on the dedicated graphics card.

Laptops CPUs almost always have an integrated graphics card.

Also Read:

Integrated Graphics Cards are NOT intended for Gaming or Graphic Intensive Work

It goes without saying here that integrated graphics cards are NOT intended for gaming or for graphics intensive work such as 3D modeling, 3D game designing etc.

What are Dedicated Graphics Cards?

Dedicated graphics cards are a completely different ball game.

Dedicated graphics cards, also known as discrete graphics cards, are a separate standalone component on desktop PCs or a separate chip on your laptop’s motherboard.

Dedicated Graphics Cards on a Desktop

On a desktop, dedicated graphics cards are a separate expansion cards that plug into the PCIe slots on the motherboard.

Graphics Card
A dedicated graphics card is an add-in card that is installed on motherboard PCIe slots.
NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti
A mid range NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti dedicated graphics card. Source: ASUS

Desktop dedicated graphics cards plug into the PCIe x16 slot on your motherboard.

PCIe slots labelled
Graphics card plug into the x16 slots (as shown above – the blue colored slot).

The best part about dedicated graphics cards on desktops is that they can be replaced, unlike integrated graphics cards.

Compared to integrated graphics cards, dedicated graphics cards are profoundly more powerful.

The following table shows how the different integrated graphics cards compare with dedicated graphics cards using the G3D Mark scores. 

GPU G3D
Mark
Notes
Intel UHD 630 1395 As found on 8-10th Gen
Intel CPUs
Nvidia GeForce
GT 740
(MSRP $79)
1543 Dedicated GPU
Basic
Intel UHD 750 1684 As found on 11th Gen+
Intel CPUs
AMD Radeon
Vega 3
(2018 Version)
1071 AMD 2000 Series APU
AMD Radeon
Vega 6
(2018 Version)
1274 AMD 2000 Series APU
AMD Radeon
Vega 8
(2018 Version)
1704 AMD 2000 Series APU
Intel UHD 770 1928 As Found on 12th Gen Intel CPUs.
Intel Iris Pro 580 2044 Found on premium laptops.
AMD Radeon
Vega 11
(2018 Version)
2139 AMD 2000 Series APU
Nvidia GeForce
GT 1030
($79)
2613 Dedicated GPU
Entry Level
AMD Ryzen 5
5600G
Vega 7 Graphics
2639 Integrated as found on the Ryzen 5600G
AMD Ryzen 7
5700G
Vega 8 Graphics
2708 Integrated as found on the Ryzen 5700G
AMD Radeon
RX 550
($79)
2764 Dedicated GPU
Entry Level
NVIDIA
RTX 3090Ti 
30,064 One of the most powerful dedicated graphics cards

Also Read: Do All CPUs Have Integrated Graphics Card?

Dedicated Graphics Card on a Laptop

GPU soldered onto the motherboard 2
Shows both CPU and GPU soldered onto the motherboard.

There are many gaming and professional laptops out there that also feature a dedicated graphics card.

However, on laptops, a dedicated graphics is SOLDERED onto the motherboard itself and hence cannot be replaced either.

Therefore, if you have a laptop, then there is, unfortunately, no way of changing your GPU as both the integrated and dedicated GPU are built-into the system.

This brings us back to our original question:

Can You Replace an Integrated Graphics Card?

As already established, integrated graphics cards are built-into the CPU and hence cannot be replaced.

If you want to upgrade your integrated graphics card, then essentially you will need to purchase a new and an improved CPU.

This often entails that you will need to change your motherboard as well. 

But still in the end, replacing your CPU just to upgrade the integrated graphics card is not the way to go. If you want improved graphics processing, then investing in a dedicated graphics card should be the primary course of action.

Also Read: How to Switch to Integrated Graphics?

FAQ

Can You Replace an Integrated Graphics Card with a Dedicated Graphics Cards?

People who are new to graphics cards often ask this question. This question is often asked by those who are confused between what an integrated graphics card and a dedicated graphics card are and hence the entire premise of the question is incorrect.

Replacing and integrated graphics card with a dedicated graphics card would entail plugging a huge expansion card into the CPU itself, which is basically impossible.

So basically, the answer is a resounding no. You cannot replace your integrated graphics card with a dedicated graphics card.

You CAN however, have a dedicated graphics card installed in your desktop PC that also has an iGPU. In this scenario, your desktop PC will use the dedicated graphics card as the primary graphics processing unit and would disable your integrated graphics card.

Can Integrated Graphics Be Changed in Laptop?

No, it cannot be changed. If you want better graphics processing on your laptop, the best, if not the only, course of action would be to change your laptop altogether.

Is Integrated Graphics Good for Gaming?

No, integrated graphics cards are NOT good for gaming.

Read in Detail: Are integrated graphics good enough?

Final Words

TL;DR Can you replace an integrated graphics card with a dedicated graphics card perhaps? No, you cannot.

iGPUs and dedicated graphics cards are completely different entity and physically they are not interchangeable

Photo of author

Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

Leave a Comment