Is Integrated Graphics Card Good Enough?

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Whether integrated graphics card is good enough for you or not depends upon the nature of your work and your requirements.

If you use your PC for casual and office tasks like browsing, word processing, casual photo and video editing etc, then an integrated graphics card is good enough.

If you are a professional photo and video editor, then you will find an iGPU to be lacking.

If you are a professional, or an enthusiast gamer, then you may find an iGPU seriously lacking in power.

In the following text I will talk in detail about whether integrated graphics card is good enough for casual use, gaming and for editing work.

Integrated GPU is Good for Adding Basic Video Output Capability

An integrated GPU basically serves the purpose of adding video output and basic graphics rendering capability to your PC.

In the absence of a dedicated graphics card, the video output ports that you find in the back I/O panel of a motherboard, or on your laptop, are powered by the Integrated GPU.

Do Motherboards have Integrated Graphics
The back I/O ports on any motherboard are powered by the iGPU as the motherboard itself does not have any graphics processing chip. Image: Asrock AMD A320M-HDV R4.0

If your CPU lacks an iGPU, the video output ports on the back I/O panel of your motherboard will NOT work.

Hence for adding basic video output capability to your PC, an iGPU is not just good enough, it is ESSENTIAL.

iGPU CAN Support Multiple Displays and 4K

Most of the newer integrated GPUs can also support multiple displays as well as 4K resolution.

Take the specs for the Intel UHD 750 for instance. This iGPU is found on the 11th Gen Core series CPUs.

Intel UHD 750 Specs
Intel UHD 750 Specs as found on Intel Core i7-11700. Source: Intel

It clearly mentions that this iGPU can support 3 displays, as well as 4K resolution at 60Hz.

Also Read: How to Check What Integrated Graphics Do I Have?

iGPU Are Great For Basic Work

If your work involves day to day home use, office work, casual use of photo and video editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere and casual gaming, then an iGPU is great.

In fact, in this case it is recommended that you do not waste your hard earned money on an expensive dedicated graphics card that you will not use to its full potential.

Is Integrated Graphics Card Good Enough for Gaming?

This is a very common question asked by those who want to make a very basic gaming PC build.

There is good news and bad news for you.

The bad news is that iGPUs are NOT really built for gaming in mind. They are great for very light gaming, but if you are an enthusiast gamer then you would want to look into dedicated graphics card.

The good news is that in the recent years, integrated graphics cards have come a long way in terms of their prowess.

So much so that most of the popular online games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Dota 2, CS:GO, FIFA etc can easily work on an iGPU (albeit on low graphics).

The top of the line iGPUs such as Vega 8 graphics found on the AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs can even allow you to play AAA games such as Days Gone, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Far Cry New Dawn, GTA V etc (at low graphics).

The following chart shows how some of the popular and recent iGPUs stack up against each other in G3D benchmark scores.

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

As you can see, the top of line iGPUs can go head to head against the entry level dedicated GPUs such as the AMD RX 550.

I have created a dedicated build guide for building a gaming PC with an iGPU, which I recommend that you read. 

Performance of Popular iGPUs

The following charts show how the iGPUs perform in select AAA and online games.

Intel UHD 630

This iGPU is very popular and is is found on 8th-10th gen Intel Core series CPUs. It is generally considered a fairly weak iGPU in today’s terms.

Is Integrated Graphics Card Good Enough
Intel UHD 630 Game FPS benchmarks. Source; Notebookcheck

AMD RX Vega 7 (4000/5000)

This is one of the top of the line iGPUs found on CPUs. It is found in AMD 4000 and 5000 series APUs.

AMD RX Vega 7 4000-5000
AMD RX Vega 7 (4000-5000 series CPUs). Source: Notebookcheck

You can see that on most popular online games. the iGPUs seem to perform quite well. However, the same cannot be said for the AAA titles.

Also Read: Does Ryzen Have Integrated Graphics?

iGPUs are NOT a Substitute for Dedicated Graphics Cards

It goes without saying that iGPUs are certainly not a substitute for dedicated graphics cards that cost multiple grands.

Take for instance the G3DMark scores. Whereas the top of the line AMD RX Vega 8 (5000 series) iGPU scores a cool 2764, a high end dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3080Ti scores a whopping 26,639!

The RTX 3080Ti can support almost all of the AAA titles at ultra graphics and 4k resolution while maintaining 60 FPS.

So while an iGPU is GOOD ENOUGH for light and casual gaming, it is no way near the power of a good mid-high end dedicated graphics card.

Is iGPU Good for Photo Editing and Video Editing?

As mentioned earlier, a graphics is not just needed for gaming, but also for using professional photo and video editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro.

For majority of the cases, an iGPU should be good enough. This is particularly true if you are a casual photo / video editor.

However, a few 3D features can get disabled if you lack a dedicated graphics card. For instance, on Adobe Photoshop you may notice the entire 3D menu get disabled along with a few filters that use 3D rendering.

As for video editing, most software like Adobe Premiere Pro, are  increasingly making use of the GPU for playback as well as for encoding.

If you have GPU accelerated effects and if you are particularly interested in using Hardware based encoding, then a good GPU is instrumental.

pudget systems hardware encoding
Image: Performance gains when exporting to H.264/H.265 using GPU-Based Hardware Encoding. Source: Pudget Systems

Again for casual video editing an iGPU should suffice.

I have made a dedicated guide on how to build a budget PC for video editing:

 Build Guide for Budget Desktops for Video Editing

Multiple Monitors and 4K Resolution Almost Certainly Demands a Powerful Graphics Card

The larger the file that you work on and the more pixels it has, the more you will benefit from a GPU with a higher VRAM.

An iGPU simply does not have sufficient VRAM to comfortably perform editing on a single 4K monitor let alone multiple of them.

Hence, if you are working on large images and videos on a 4K monitor, I would again recommend having a dedicated graphics card.

Not All CPUs Have Integrated Graphics

Both Intel and AMD have CPUs that do not feature an integrated graphics.

If you happen to have a CPU lacking an iGPU, then you will have to invest in a dedicated GPU to add basic video output support to your PC.

Also Read: Does Your PC Need A Graphics Card If Its Not for Gaming?

  • With Intel CPUs, those with the “F” suffix such as the Intel Core i7-11700KF LACK an iGPU.
  • With AMD CPUs, those with the “G” suffix such as AMD Ryzen 7 5700G OFFER an iGPU

Final Words

So is integrated graphics card good enough? Again, it depends upon your use case. For AAA and high level gaming, iGPUs are certainly not sufficient. Neither are they good for professional designing and editing work.

However, for day to day use, casual gaming (gaming on popular online games at low graphics) and casual editing, an integrated graphics card is more than sufficient.

At the same time, it should also be noted that not all iGPUs are created equally. While recent iGPUs are great for casual gaming, some of the older iGPUs such Intel HD 5000 and 4000 should not be used for gaming at all.

Categories GPU
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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.

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