League of Legends is one of the lightest games that you can ever play on a PC. As such, the system and the PC hardware you require in order to run this game are also among the weakest.
In other words, the game is designed to be played even on a simple potato PC. As far as the question of needing a graphics card for League of Legends goes, the simple answer is NO, you do no need to have a DEDICATED graphics card in order to run this game.
Any good INTEGRATED graphics card released within the last decade or so would be fairly sufficient in running this game without any hiccups.
This makes sense because League of Legends, being a popular MOBA game, is designed to be played by the masses. Since not everyone can afford to have top of the line gaming specs, League of Legends has purposefully been designed to be supported by most systems that do not even have a dedicated graphics card.
In the following text I will explain in detail the graphics card requirements of League of Legends. However, first let us talk about the difference between an integrated and a dedicated graphics card.
Integrated vs Dedicated Graphics Cards
It is important you understand the difference between the two. While they share the same basic purpose, they vastly differ in terms of price and performance.
Basically, all PCs need a graphics processing unit (GPU) in order for basic display functionality. No GPU = no display.
Integrated graphics cards, as the name suggests, are GPUs that are found built-into the CPU chip itself. These are the cheaper alternative and are designed for basic computing.
Dedicated graphics cards are powerful standalone components that significantly raise the graphics processing prowess of your PC. These are designed for professionals in general and gamers in particular.
When we ask whether a certain game like League of Legends requires a graphics card or not, we are in fact referring to the dedicated graphics card.
So Do You Need a Graphics Card for League of Legends?
In order to gauge whether League of Legends requires a dedicated graphics card or not, we first have to see what the system requirements of the game are:
According to the official system requirements, the game requires:
|Minimum GPU Requirements||Shader version 2.0b-capable|
|Recommended GPU Requirements||Nvidia GeForce 8800
AMD Radeon HD 5670
While the minimum requirements may seem confusing, they basically point out to the fact that this game can be played on almost any PC under the sun.
But even if you take the recommended requirements as the baseline, it basically entails that a PC more than half a decade old would still be sufficient for supporting this game WITHOUT a dedicated graphics card.
The recommended dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 8800, now obsolete, was released all the way back in 2007; the Radeon HD 5670 was released in 2010. Meaning, if more than decade old hardware is sufficient to run the game at recommended levels, then the hardware TODAY would far exceed its requirements.
This leads us to the obvious next question:
Can You Run League of Legends on an Integrated Graphics Card?
We can put this in a different way: are integrated graphics card today as powerful as the specified recommended GPUs released more than a decade ago?
The answer is certainly affirmative as the following table proves:
|Nvidia GeForce 8800 (GTX) – as per recommended specs
||2007||604||Obsolete High End GPU of Its Time
|AMD Radeon HD 5670 –as per recommended specs||2010||783||Obsolete budget GPU of its time
|2016||637||Entry-Level Dedicated Graphics Card
|Intel HD 630||2016||1148||iGPU – found on 7th Gen Intel CPUs.|
|Intel UHD 630||2017||1386||iGPU – as found on 8th – 10th Gen Intel CPUs|
|Intel UHD 750||2020||1684||iGPU – as found on Intel 11th Gen CPUs|
|Intel UHD 770||2020||2428||iGPU – as found on Intel 12th and 13th Gen CPUs|
|2022||39,009||Top of the Line
(MSRP 1599.99 USD)
The table above uses the G3DMark scores obtained from videocardbenchmark.net to compare the LoL recommended graphics cards with the current gen iGPUs and dedicated graphics cards.
For starters, you can see how far the recent top of the line graphics cards have come. The flagship RTX 4090 is about 65 times as powerful as the recommended GTX 8800. Hence using an RTX 4090 for mere League of Legends is completely out of the question.
In fact, even the lowest category of the recently released dedicated graphics card would far exceed the recommended requirements of the game.
Therefore, the more interesting, and useful, point to take note of is that even the integrated GPUs released more than half a decade ago exceed the recommended requirements of the game.
Take the Intel HD 630 iGPU released with the Intel 7th Gen CPUs in 2016 as an example. Even an Intel HD 630 iGPU, a seemingly inferior and neglected iGPU, is twice as powerful as the recommended GeForce 8800 or the AMD HD 5670.
This all points to the fact that you DO NOT need to have a dedicated graphics card in order to enjoy League of Legends at high graphics.
Testing League of Legends on Intel HD 630 iGPU
To further prove that League of Legends does NOT require a dedicated graphics card, I went ahead and tested the game on an Intel HD 630 iGPU (with Intel Core i7-7700HQ and 16GB DDR4 RAM).
I tested the game on Full HD resolution, Quad HD Resolution and 4K resolution while maintaining VERY HIGH graphics settings.
The results were typical as you’d expect. The game works perfectly on FHD and Quad HD resolution. Here are the results in detail:
Full HD and Very High Graphics Settings
The game was able to maintain higher than 60 FPS while playing the game at Full HD and Very High graphics settings.
We can therefore fairly confidently conclude that even an Intel HD 630 suffices for Full HD League of Legends gaming.
For majority of the gamers, this would be sufficient.
Quad HD and Very High Graphics Settings
Few gaming enthusiasts out there want something crisper than FHD resolution such as QHD. It goes without saying that the higher the resolution, the more taxing the graphics processing is and the more powerful a GPU you need.
Quad HD refers to 2560 x 1440 resolution and QHD+ refers to 2560 x 1600. I tested the game on the latter.
Fortunately, even at this resolution the game was able to maintain about 50 FPS, which is still very respectable.
4K/UHD and Very High Graphics Settings
4K/UHD is a very demanding resolution. This has four times as many pixels as compared to Full HD resolution. Unfortunately, at 4K the Intel HD 630 reached it’s performance threshold and could only maintain 30FPS.
Dialing down the graphics settings could improve the FPS, but if you are an enthusiast wanting to play LoL at 4K resolution, you may have to go up a notch for your choice of GPU.
The more recent Intel UHD 750 or the UHD 770 integrated graphics cards would be sufficient to support this game at 4K again proving that you DO NOT need to have a dedicated graphics card in order to play this game.
The Bottom Line
The gist of the discussion is that League of Legends CAN be played WITHOUT a dedicated graphics card; and NO, you do need to have a gaming PC in order to enjoy this game.
Any average PC intended for basic home use, school work or office work that typically does not feature a dedicated GPU should be sufficient for supporting this game.