Should You Connect Monitor to GPU or Motherboard?

So you have just purchased a new monitor for your shiny new PC, but finding video out ports on both motherboard and the graphics card have left you confused. Should you connect monitor to GPU or motherboard?

Well, the simple answer to query is that you must connect your monitor to the GPU (dedicated). 

Why? Well, for starters, in most cases, the motherboard’s video output port get disabled when you have a dedicated graphics card installed.

Secondly, even if you manage to make the motherboard’s video output ports work despite having a dedicated graphics card (through BIOS or other methods), the monitor connected to the motherboard will have a poor performance since it will utilize the integrated graphics card which are far weaker compared to dedicated graphics cards.

So in the following text I will detail where you should connect your monitor, what to do if you have dual monitors, and why motherboard video output ports should not be used when you have a dedicated GPU installed.

A bit of a primer on integrated GPUs (iGPU) and dedicated GPUs.

How Motherboard Video Output Ports Get Powered

For starters know that motherboards do not have onboard graphics processing capability of their own.

The video output ports that you find on a motherboard get powered through the integrated graphics card found within the CPUs.

ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus
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: ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus

No Integrated Graphics Card = No Video Output From Motherboard

As such, in case if your PC does not have a CPU with an integrated graphics card, then your motherboard’s video output ports will simply not work. 

Intel F series CPUs such as the Intel Core i7-11700lack an integrated graphics card.

As far as AMD goes, only the G series CPUs such as the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G offer an iGPU. Those with no suffix, ‘x’ suffix or the ‘xt’ suffix do not feature an iGPU.

Hence, if you have a CPU that lacks an integrated graphics card, then straightaway you can tell that your monitor if plugged into the motherboard will NOT display anything. 

So in this case, you would have no option but to use the dedicated graphics card for your monitor.

But there are few more important reasons why the dedicated graphics card should be used for the monitor which I explain below.

So Should You Connect Monitor to GPU or Motherboard?

No, you should not. There are three main reasons for this:

1. Integrated Graphics Card Get Disabled When You Have a Dedicated Graphics Card Installed

In most cases on desktop PCs, if your CPU does have an integrated graphics card, it gets disabled when you have a working dedicated graphics card plugged in.

This is done automatically through the BIOS.

Hence plugging in the monitor in the motherboard may be futile.

2. More Importantly: Monitor Connected to Motherboard Would Have Horrible Performance

Secondly, and more importantly, even if you are successful in connecting a monitor to the motherboard and for some reasons the BIOS does not automatically disable the iGPU, it is still a very bad idea.

As explained earlier, the video output ports on the motherboard make use of the CPU’s integrated graphics card for graphics/visual processing.

An iGPU in most cases is far less capable than even the weakest dedicated graphics cards. Hence, your overall experience, particularly when gaming, would be horrible.

In other words, all tasks, including the games you play will be processed through the integrated graphics card NOT the dedicated graphics card if you have a monitor connected to the motherboard.

So basically, your dedicated graphics card would be sitting idle while your iGPU would strive hard just to end up giving you horrible performance. 

3. The Dedicated Graphics Card is There For a Reason, Make Use of It

And finally, you have bought a dedicated graphics card obviously for improving the graphics quality either for work or for gaming purposes.

Hence, it is only wise to connect your monitor to the dedicated graphics card. 

To Summarize
Should You Connect Monitor to GPU or Motherboard
Use the GPU, not the motherboard for monitor.

Plug your monitor into the GPU so that you get the best visual performance and frames per second.

If you plug your monitor into a motherboard then it will utilize the integrated graphics card, if your CPU has one, instead of the dedicated GPU, which would result in horrible visual performance and frames per second.

If your CPU has no iGPU, you will get no video out from the motherboard at all. 

Can You Use Both GPU and Motherboard For Multiple Monitors At The Same Time?

This question is often asked by those who want to build a dual or multiple monitor setup.

If your dedicated GPU does not have sufficient video output ports, then you may wonder whether you can connect your second monitor to the spare ports on the motherboard.

I have written a comprehensive article on this: How to Use Motherboard HDMI with Graphics Card?

Yes If Your BIOS Has the Option

But the short and simple is yes, you can IF your BIOS allows you to do so.

Generally, the iGPU and in turn the motherboard video ports get disabled when you have a dedicated GPU installed. 

However, if your BIOS has a setting that allows you to “Enable Multi-GPU Support” or something along these lines like “Enable iGPU” etc, then you can use your motherboard video output ports along with the graphics card. 

Unfortunately, in many cases, the BIOS versions are not comprehensive enough to provide you this functionality.

BIOS version Insyde
A BIOS that provides minimal control on system hardware.

Many BIOS versions are deliberately designed to have this option absent so that users do not tamper around much.

The Second Monitor Connected to Motherboard will have Abysmal Performance

Again, even if you are successful in enabling the motherboard video ports, you will be presented with the same problem as discussed above for your dual or multi monitor setup.

If you have one monitor connected to the dedicated GPU and the other connected to the motherboard, then the one connected to the dedicated GPU will have an excellent performance, while the other will suffer in quality and will experience frame drops when gaming.

Also Read: Does Dual Monitor Use More GPU?

Final Words

All in all the simple answer to question “should you connect monitor to GPU or motherboard?” is GPU. Plug your monitor to the dedicated graphics card and disregard the spare ports on the motherboard.

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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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