Integrated Graphics vs Dedicated Graphics : Which one to buy?

If you have recently purchased a laptop or a desktop computer it mostly would have come with Integrated Graphics if not dedicated graphics. Many branded laptops/desktops now days come with Integrated Graphics Processors such as “Intel HD Garphics 3000″ or “AMD’s Fusion IGPs”.
Dedicated graphics makes use of dedicated graphics card installed in your machine. This graphics card can be “on board” or might be removable. There will be a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) solely used for rendering HD videos and processing other graphics operations on your machine which in turn decreases load on your main processor. This is most suitable if you are looking to play high-end games such as battlefield 3, Crysis 2, COD or Dirt 2 and also want to use your system for multitasking.
Where as integrated graphics makes use of your system’s RAM . So if you have 8 GB of RAM installed in your machine and out of which 2 GB is used for graphics then only 6 GB of RAM will be available for other work and 2 GB of it will be solely used for graphical operations and will be locked down. And again it uses your main processor for processing the graphics and placing it in the RAM. So there will be extra load on your main processor as well. But if you have a powerful processor with good frequency which is underutilized then you can definitely go for integrated graphics. Other advantages are the cost and flexibility. A 2GB dedicated graphics card will cost you 6-8 times more than a 2GB RAM. Though the performance will be much better in case of dedicated graphics. Integrated graphics allows the user to define the amount of memory to be used and based on the reuqirement user can easily increase or decrease the amount of integrated memory. This memory is shown under shared system memory in Windows. See the screenshot below. To view this on your PC right click on your desktop. Select Screen Resolution -> Advanced Settings -> Adapter.
Now the question is whether you should go for Integrated graphics or dedicated graphics? Well the answer totally depends on what kind of processor you are going for and what you are going to use it for. If you are a gamer and looking to play high end games most of the time then you should go for dedicated graphics. Or else if you are going to use it mostly for rendering HD videos and a little gaming then you can opt for Integrated Graphics and save some money.

Dedicated Graphics -

  • Faster.
  • Better FPS while playing.
  • Produces more heat.
  • Costly.

 Integrated Graphics -

  • Cheaper than dedicated graphics.
  • Produces less heat.
  • Flexible. You can change its size anytime you want.
  • Much slower compared to dedicated graphics.
  • Low FPS.
  • Higher CPU usage.


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