“Do you need a graphics card for Minecraft?” refers to whether you need a DEDICATED graphics card. In other words, is an integrated graphics card good enough for Minecraft?
The simple answer to the question is, No! You DO NOT need a dedicated graphics card for Minecraft to work. Minecraft isn’t very demanding; therefore, even a potato PC with a decent integrated GPU should suffice for Minecraft.
However, you will undoubtedly need a sound-dedicated graphics card when playing at max settings, high resolution, draw distance, and using graphics-enhancing mods.
In the following text, I will discuss whether you need a graphics card for Minecraft by looking at the system requirements, game testing, and benchmark comparisons.
Also Read: Minecraft PC Build Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
For Starters: What is the Difference Between Integrated vs. Dedicated GPU?
People often confuse the fact that if they do not have a standalone graphics card installed on their motherboard, they do not have a GPU.
That is hardly the case. All PCs require a graphics card to display stuff on the screen. No GPU means no display.
The question concerns whether you need a dedicated (standalone) or is integrated (built into the CPU) is sufficient for your running tasks.
Integrated GPUs include Intel HD, Intel UHD series graphics, and AMD Vega series GPUs.
The integrated graphics card are far weaker than NVIDIA’s and AMD’s dedicated GPUs. The table below explains this further:
|Intel UHD 630||1395||Integrated; As found on 8-10th Gen Intel CPUs|
|Intel UHD 750||1684||Integrated; As found on 11th Gen+ Intel CPUs|
|AMD Radeon Vega 8 (2018 Version)||1704||Integrated; AMD 2000 Series APU|
|Intel UHD 770||1928||Integrated; As Found on 12th Gen Intel CPUs.|
|Intel Iris Pro 580||2044||Integrated; Found on premium laptops.|
|AMD Radeon Vega 11 (2018 Version)||2139||Integrated; 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 GeForce RTX 3080Ti||26,677||Dedicated, High End|
- Scores are taken from G3D Benchmark.
You can see from the table above that even the best-integrated GPU, the AMD Vega 8, as found on the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, is far weaker compared to the High-End NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080Ti (2708 vs. 26,677 points).
Even some of the cheapest and entry-level dedicated GPUs, such as the AMD RX 550, perform better than the current best iGPU, i.e., the Vega 8.
With the established performance difference between an iGPU and a dedicated GPU, we will gauge whether Minecraft needs a dedicated GPU or if the integrated GPU would suffice.
Also Read: Is Integrated Graphics Card Good Enough?
Integrated or Dedicated GPU for Minecraft
To check whether an integrated GPU is sufficient for Minecraft or if you need a separate dedicated graphics card, we need to look at some case studies.
People have even played this game on almost every GPU possible ranging from the weaker Intel UHD 610 as well as the super expensive RTX 3090/
Here are the results:
Case Study: iGPU Intel UHD 610 (G3D Mark Score 732)
On “Fast” graphics settings and the eight chunks of Render Distance, he achieved frames per second well above the 60 mark, even under intensive conditions like rain.
The following image is a screenshot from the video.
As such, this here forms the minimum benchmark. A game that can be played on an Intel UHD 610 can be played on almost ALL PCs without buying a separate dedicated graphics card.
Case Study: iGPU Intel HD 630 (G3D Mark Score 1128)
I tested the game on my Intel HD 630 graphics with an Intel Core i7 7700HQ.
The graphics setting was set at “Fast,” 1920×1080 Resolution, Smooth Lighting set to OFF, Render Distance of 12, and Biome Blend set to 5×5.
The game was easily playable. If the game world was generated, the game easily maintained 60 FPS. However, as you moved around and the game world loaded, I did experience a drop in frames.
Case Study: Dedicated AMD R9 270 (G3D Mark Score 4306)
RandomGaminginHD is another user on YouTube who tested Minecraft on a dedicated AMD R9 270, which happens to be one of the GPUs that meets the recommended system requirements for the game.
In this case, the graphics settings were set to Fancy, Maximum Lighting with a resolution of 1920×1080. At a render distance of 32 Chunks, the game was consistently able to run at 200 FPS.
This indicates that for the vanilla game (without any third-party mods installed), AMD R9 270, or any other dedicated graphics card close to its performance score, is way too powerful.
You may as well play the game on 4K settings with these graphics cards and still maintain a decent frame rate.
Case Study: Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (G3D Mark Score 26283)
Modding knows no bounds. Even the heaviest and most powerful graphics cards can feel underwhelming when modding Minecraft despite being a seemingly straightforward game.
A user that goes by the name of DMIIITRIEV on YouTube did just that.
He tested the game with some of the heaviest mods, including extreme texture resolution, PTGI 12 Shaders, Stratum, AND Ray Tracing on a gaming PC with an RTX 3090.
The game looks fantastic, to say the least; however, even with the behemoth of a graphics card that is the RTX 3090, the game dips below 60 FPS!
This is quite the surprise for a game that is playable on a potato Intel UHD 610 iGPU.
So the point being made here is that the vanilla game itself doesn’t require a dedicated graphics card at all; however, if you are an enthusiast and a modder, then a dedicated graphics card is a must.
Depending on how heavily you mod the game, the sky could be the limit for you.
Does Minecraft Support Ray Tracing; Do You Need a GeForce RTX Card for Minecraft?
Yes, Minecraft started supporting Ray Tracing after the release of version 1.16.200.
So in case you cannot see the ray tracing option in the settings, then either your graphics card does not support ray tracing or your game is not updated.
It should be noted that a select few graphics cards only support ray tracing, including NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 and GeForce RTX 3000 series GPUs and AMD 6000 series GPUs.
Also Read: Do You Need a Graphics Card for Fortnite?
So Do You Need a Graphics Card for Minecraft?
The short answer is no, and I have already established this by looking at the case studies above.
However, the System Requirements show us what kind of GPU Minecraft needs.
Minecraft System Requirements
The following are the official minimum system requirements:
|CPU||Intel Core i3-3210 / AMD A8-7600 APU|
|GPU||Intel HD 4000 / AMD Radeon R5|
|Hard Drive||1 GB|
The following are the officially recommended requirements:
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4690 / AMD A10-7800 APU|
|GPU||GeForce 700 Series / AMD Radeon RX 200|
|Hard Drive||4 GB (SSD Recommended)|
- System requirements are taken from Mincraft.net
- Note the system requirements above are for the Minecraft JAVA (original) edition.
If you are well versed with PC hardware, you can tell at first glance that Minecraft DOES NOT require a powerful GPU.
After all, this game was released more than a decade ago, and although there have been significant updates, the game remains exceptionally light and playable even on a potato PC.
Minimum Requirements: Intel HD 4000 / AMD Radeon R5
Intel HD 4000 is an iGPU that was released back in 2012. It is more or less obsolete.
AMD Radeon R5 is also a relatively old obsolete iGPU released in 2014.
As far as their G3D mark scores go, they are nowhere close to the performance that even the weakest iGPUs today can give:
|Intel HD 4000||333||Minecraft Minimum Requirements|
|AMD Radeon R5 M335||549||Minecraft Minimum Requirements|
|Intel UHD 610||732||iGPU found on newer Intel Pentium CPUs|
|Intel HD 630||1128||iGPU found in 7th gen Intel CPUs|
|Intel UHD 630||1315||A popular iGPU found in 8th-10th Gen Intel CPUs.|
|Vega 8 Graphics||2708||The most potent iGPU is currently on AMD Ryzen 7 5700G CPU.|
|AMD R9 270||4308||Low-End Dedicated GPU; Minecraft Recommended Requirements|
|GeForce RTX 3090||26283||High-End Dedicated GPU|
The point I am making here is that even if you have an older 7th gen Intel CPU with an Intel HD 630 GPU (or something close to it), you far exceed the minimum requirements of Minecraft.
In other words, it is difficult not to have a PC with a graphics card that is not capable of playing Minecraft today at the minimum level.
Recommended Graphics Card Requirements for Minecraft
The officially recommended requirements of graphics cards for Minecraft are the GeForce 700 Series / AMD Radeon RX 200.
Unfortunately, this is a bit vague as it does not point you to a model but tells you to an entire series.
Every series has several graphics cards, from low-end to high-end. For instance, the NVIDIA GeForce 700 series has the GT 720 as the entry-level graphics card, GTX 760 as the midrange, and GTX 780 as the high-end dedicated GPU.
Here are the scores for different GPUs from the GeForce 700 and RX 200 lines:
|NVIDIA GeForce GT 720||597|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760||4780|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780||8013|
|AMD R5 230||242|
|AMD R7 260X||2892|
|AMD R9 280||5608|
Source of the Benchmark Scores
The following chart shows how Minecraft’s minimum and recommended stipulated GPUs compare with the newer and popular iGPUs and dedicated graphics cards.
A few observations can be made here. For starters, the GT 720 and the AMD R5 230 dedicated GPUs are a no-go, and it would not make sense for you to buy them as they are even weaker than the iGPUs.
The mid-range AMD R7 260X is almost as powerful as the AMD Vega 11 iGPU as found on the Ryzen 5 3400G.
The high-end GTX 780 and its contemporary equivalent, the AMD RX 5500, are excellent choices for a dedicated GPU.
Since the GTX 780 is obsolete, the RX 5500 is a great contemporary choice if you want a high-end GPU for modding the game.
So, in conclusion, the answer to the question “do you need a graphics card for Minecraft?” is a resounding No! You do not need a dedicated GPU to enjoy the game.
However, you may need a decent low-end dedicated graphics card to meet the higher graphics settings and resolution.
And finally, a high-end graphics card is unnecessary. You only need a high-end graphics card if you are an enthusiast and want to go beyond the vanilla game with heavy graphics-enhancing mods installed.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Can integrated graphics on a CPU handle Minecraft, or is a separate graphics card required?
Integrated graphics on a CPU can handle Minecraft, but the performance may not be optimal. Minecraft can be played with integrated graphics, but for a smooth and lag-free experience, it is recommended to use a dedicated graphics card.
2. Can a lower-end graphics card cause issues or slowdowns while playing Minecraft?
Yes, a lower-end graphics card can cause issues or slowdowns while playing Minecraft. If the graphics card does not meet the minimum requirements, it can result in low FPS, graphical glitches, and other performance issues.
3. Is it worth investing in a high-end graphics card solely for playing Minecraft?
Investing in a high-end graphics card solely for playing Minecraft may not be necessary, as Minecraft is not a graphically intensive game.
However, if you want to run Minecraft with high-resolution texture packs, shaders, and mods, a high-end graphics card can significantly improve the game’s performance and graphical quality.
4. Can playing Minecraft without a graphics card lead to any performance or graphical issues?
Playing Minecraft without a graphics card can lead to performance issues, especially if the CPU does not have integrated graphics or the integrated graphics do not meet the minimum requirements.
The game may run slowly or lag, and there may be graphical glitches or low-quality textures.
Therefore, it is recommended to use a graphics card to ensure a smooth and enjoyable Minecraft experience.