An integrated graphics card is an essential component required to send the video signals to the display from the motherboard’s video output ports.
In case if your PC does not have an integrated graphics card, you will most certainly need to invest in a dedicated graphics card for connecting your monitor display.
So as far as the question, do motherboards have integrated graphics card goes, the answer is No! Modern commercial motherboards DO NOT feature an integrated graphics card or any onboard graphics processing chip.
Instead, on modern computers, the integrated graphics card is found on a CPU NOT the motherboard.
Therefore, motherboards now rely on the CPU to power up its video output function. However, not all CPUs feature an integrated graphics card either. In case if your CPU lacks an iGPU, again, the video output ports on your motherboard will not work!
The Importance of an Integrated Graphics Card
One of the most important functions of an integrated graphics card is that it powers the rear video output ports that you find on the back I/O panel of your motherboard.
Without an integrated graphics card, the DVI, VGA and HDMI ports found on the motherboard, as labelled above for instance, would simply not work.
If you were to connect your monitor to any of these ports on a PC without an integrated graphics card, you would see nothing on the monitor display.
Hence, on a PC without an integrated graphics, you would be compelled to invest on a dedicated graphics card instead for video output.
Can be Used for Gaming
Other than powering up the video output ports, a good integrated graphics card can also be used for casual gaming.
Do Motherboards have Integrated Graphics?
So as mentioned earlier, motherboards these days DO NOT feature an integrated graphics card.
There was a time when old motherboards did feature an onboard graphics processing chip. ASRock 985-GS3 FX, for instance with an AM3+ socket is an example of a motherboard that does feature an integrated AMD Radeon HD 4200 graphics.
However, newer motherboards, particularly those that support AMD Ryzen CPUs and newer gen Intel Core series processor lack an onboard graphics processing chip.
Confusion with the Term “Onboard Graphics”
Often when you read the specification sheet for a certain motherboard, it can have a specific section for “onboard graphics”.
This is one of the root cause of the confusion as it can lead a normal person to believe that the motherboard actually has a graphics processing chip.
However, if you read further into details of the specsheet, it would certainly mention that the onboard graphics is supported only by the CPU.
Which CPUs Offer an Integrated Graphics Card?
Both Intel and AMD have CPU models that do and do not feature an integrated graphics cards.
Again, to emphasis the critical point here, if your CPU does not have an integrated graphics, then the video output ports on your motherboard will NOT work.
Intel CPUs with Integrated Graphics Cards
With Intel, things are a bit simple as MOST of their CPUs do feature an iGPU.
Only the CPUs with an ‘F’ suffix LACK an integrated graphics card. Examples include, Intel Core i7-11700KF, Intel Core i5-10400F etc. Hence, make sure you are on the lookout for these processors if you value the onboard graphics processing.
The ‘F’ series Intel processor have more or less the same performance as their non ‘F’ series counterparts; they just lack an iGPU.
Newer Intel CPUs feature the Intel UHD 610, 620, 630, and 750 (in the more recent ones) iGPUs. The Iris Pro 580, however, remains to be the most powerful Intel iGPU despite being fairly old. It is often found in premium notebooks.
AMD CPUs with Integrated Graphics Cards
With AMD, the opposite is the case. Here, only a handful of CPUs DO feature an integrated graphics card.
The AMD CPUs that do feature an integrated graphics card are commonly just referred to as APUs or Accelerated Processing Units.
The AMD CPUs with an iGPU have the ‘G’ suffix in their name. Examples include, AMD Athlon 3000G, AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, AMD Ryzen 7 5600G etc.
AMD ‘G’ series processors offer the popular Vega series CPUs and in any given generation, the Vega graphics cards perform much better than their Intel iGPU counterparts.
Additionally, it should be noted that the ‘G’ series CPUs often have weaker performance compared to their non ‘G’ counterparts.
How do the CPU Integrated Graphics Cards Perform?
Generally, the integrated graphics card are comparable in performance to budget and basic dedicated graphics cards good enough only for video output and nothing intense.
However, with the newer AMD APUs, particularly from the 4000 and 5000 series, the graphics processing power of iGPUs have seriously been enhanced.
The Vega 8 iGPU found on the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G and the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G are as good as entry level dedicated graphics cards worth $80.
G3D Mark Scores
|Intel UHD 630||1395||As found on 8-10th Gen
|Intel UHD 750||1684||As found on 11th Gen+
|1071||AMD 2000 Series APU|
|1274||AMD 2000 Series APU|
|1704||AMD 2000 Series APU|
|Intel Iris Pro 580||2044||Found on premium laptops.|
|2139||AMD 2000 Series APU|
|AMD Ryzen 7
Vega 8 Graphics
|2639||Integrated as found on the Ryzen 5600G|
|AMD Ryzen 7
Vega 8 Graphics
|2708||Integrated as found on the Ryzen 5700G|
Hence, if you choose the right CPU with an integrated graphics, you can actually use it for casual gaming too without needing to invest on a dedicated graphics card.
Can a Computer Without an Integrated Graphics Turn On?
Yes, the computer will turn on, but you will see nothing on your monitor screen as your PC would not have any graphics processing capability.
If you have a beep code speaker or POST LED light indicators on your motherboard, then you may hear or see feedback highlighting that you are missing graphics processing.
Also Read: Will Motherboard Post Without CPU?
Do You Need a Dedicated Graphics Card if You Have an Integrated Graphics?
As far as basic video output goes, no! You do not need to have a dedicated graphics card if you have an integrated graphics card and video output ports on the motherboard.
A dedicated graphics card may only be warranted if you need a higher degree of graphical processing power for more strenuous tasks such as gaming, video editing etc.
Also Read: is Intel Core i7 Good for Gaming?
Can the Motherboard Support 4K Resolution?
In order to run a monitor at native 4k resolution from the motherboard video output ports, you not only need a CPU with an iGPU, but also the right ports.
4K resolution is supported only over HDMI, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3.0 ports.
Additionally, depending upon what port version your motherboard has, the refresh rate can differ.
For instance, an HDMI 1.4 port can support 4K resolution only at 30Hz refresh rate (30 frame per second max). On the other hand, the newer HDMI 2.0 port an support 4K resolution at 60Hz refresh rate (60 frames per second max).
Do All Motherboards Have Video Output Ports?
No, not all motherboard have video output ports. Some basic motherboards can lack video output ports.
If your motherboard lacks video output ports, then you will have to have a dedicated graphics card for connecting your monitor display to.