The types of graphics cards. Discrete graphics card or integrated - which is better


2018-03-31 23:50:22




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Graphics have become an integral part of any home computer. They are used in phones, tablets, and other graphic devices. But, over time, lose its capacity, requiring replacement with a more fresh product. What are the different types of video cards, and how to make the right choice among the huge variety of models?

Radeon R9 watercooled

What is a GPU and what are they for?

Over time, the processor no longer cope with the tasks they and it took an additional means of processing a graphic stream. So the industry has reached a new level – manufacture of graphics cards. At the moment there are hundreds of models, discrete graphics, and a significant part of the processor has integrated graphics core.

Because in modern computer graphics is one of the most important qualities, you need a tool that is able to correctly and quickly process multiple graphics streams without taking up all the resources of the computer. Therefore, the graphics adapters are to complete their own memory, thus increasing the power several times.

Many believe that discrete graphics – a lot of gamers and settle for integrated video on old motherboards.

Discrete Radeon RX 390

Discrete video cards

This is the main type of powerful graphics cards that support multiple technologies and are able to cope with the supernatural challenges. In fact, these GPU's are own little computer because equipped with its own memory, processor, controllers, and even. Most have removable GPU's additional power connector.


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GPU NVidia

This kind of graphics is quite suitable for high-end games that work with 3D editors and just complex rendering. The main disadvantage of such GPU – the price. The cost of the top models is comparable with the cost of a computer of average level, and sometimes surpasses it.

You can use a video card if you want to get a powerful computer and forget about lags in the game, or put up with braking and try a more budget option. What do you mean, “integrated” video, and they are better than?

Integrated systems

In addition to digital adapters, desktop PCs can meet the integrated GPU. As the name implies, this map is fixed and sealed in the scheme at the factory. Video cards of this type found its place in the smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks and other devices that do not use active cooling. Integrated graphics built in several ways:

  1. In the motherboard as a separate chip. This type is deprecated, and is currently almost never used in domestic equipment.
  2. Crystal Central processing unit (APU). Quite popular in recent years, the kind of graphics that are used on many laptops and budget PCs.

In the case of using an APU, there is the possibility of replacing damaged graphics core along with a CPU, but such situations almost never occur.

Mobile Radeon chip

The Positive and negative sides

Built-in GPU is forced to use shared computer resources for computation. This means that the memory, processor, and power actively used. From the performance point of view – this is not good, because during maximum load, the GPU is going to a huge queue for processing by the CPU. The main disadvantage of this type of video card – performance.

However, these shortcomings do not mean that the integrated video card is bad. On the contrary, if we consider the positive side, everything becomes much brighter:

  • You do Not need the extra space in the hull for installation.
  • Powered via the module motherboard or processor.
  • Additional cooling is Not needed.
  • Serviced with the CPU.
  • Is several times cheaper than discrete counterparts.

The Integrated GPU is robust enough to serve a few years, if not to survive a hard drive or memory – to worry about their “attachment” to the motherboard is not worth it.

Also in case of using the APU it is possible to replace damaged graphics core along with a processor.

Radeon HD 3800 RX

And perhaps all-hybrid?

APU can be installed in laptop, and desktop PC. It is often confusing when studying the characteristics of the device, thereby provoking thought: ‘Wow! The CPU directly with the graphics card. Give me two!” Sometimes, this ignorance leads to disappointment. So which is better-discrete or integrated graphics card?

As a rule, all universal – worse than narrow things. This is true for APU. The final choice depends on your needs and capabilities.

For office tasks is enough one processor with integrated graphics core. Modern models enough to and video in high resolution to watch, and inundemanding games to play, and even SFII to collect. But while working in text editors and email you do not remember, that your processor of some kind of “hybrid”. To pay for a discrete graphics card for the sake of get-togethers on the Internet does not make sense.

video Outputs of the video card Radeon HD 3800 RX

Modern discrete cards

The First video card just recently, I had only a few megabytes of memory, but today, the volume of the most productive models of up to 12 GB! New graphics card for PC supports signal output in multiple ways:

  • DVI;
  • HDMI,
  • Display Port;
  • VGA, which gradually becomes obsolete.

Connectors can be interchanged via adapters. Thus, the output at the DVI can be done on the old monitor with VGA and Vice versa.

One top-end card GTX Titan X consumes up to 250 watts at maximum load, which requires a powerful power supply with special outputs for the graphics card. So the GPU needs cooling. Come down to the fact that the top models have started to equip turbines and water systems.

Technology and compatibility

There are systems that contain two graphics cards, for example, integrated and discrete, able to work in parallel with each other. Such well-developed with AMD (Dual Graphics technology). It allows you to combine resources with any APU models of AMD to deliver improved performance.

Jumper CrossFire

Similar technologies can be noted Cross Fire that allows you to sum the power of discrete graphics cards, and SLI - the same, only for NVidia. To apply this technology in practice, you must have a motherboard that supports one or both of these functions.

In most cases the motherboard and video card are compatible in all combinations, except for the graphics card with an old AGP that no longer meet. Modern GPUs are PCI-E port that has a number of advantages over AGP.

In the pursuit of innovation

Modern top-end discrete cards support a resolution of 8K and can work with a large number of monitors. Also in the top model of integrated support for virtual reality. We will not go into the details of the selection, but only consider the priority parameters for a discrete GPU.

Many believe that the higher the memory the more powerful the graphics card, but that's not entirely true. Performance determine all of the following:

  1. Video memory. Keep an selection rationally. Consider what you will use the computer as a soon to be replaced card, maybe SLI/Crossfire.
  2. Front side bus Frequency - the higher, the faster the memory.
  3. Process – the less the better.
  4. The Number of Shader units.
  5. Cooling System.
  6. Motherboard and CPU.

The most advanced games, as of 2017, it will be enough and 8 GB of video, and most of them will be enough and 6 GB.

nVidia GTX 1080 with turbine

The Types and characteristics of modern graphics cards is so varied that you can choose a specific set from the adapter and processor getting too complicated. But there is an optimal solution – buy iron in about the same year and class.

Usually it makes no sense to build a computer on top equipment only for the new games. Top machines can be considered a working tool for those who deal with video editing and other serious computing. Sometimes, additional GPUs can be used for conventional calculations of a large volume, paired with the CPU.

Replacing old maps

Maybe after 1-2 years after purchase mid-level, it will cease to hold you, and want something more. But not to replace it with the same, you must know the current model of discrete card:

  1. Open device Manager.
  2. Expand the “Video”. The map will indicate the name of the next item.
  3. If you want more, you can click on the map name right click and go Properties/Details. The model will be immediately listed in the window.
video Adapters in device Manager

Assume that your video card burned out and does not detected in device Manager, third party programs, and everything – her lifeless carcass. In this case, let's look at how to know the model of video appearance.

There are several ways:

  1. Unplug and remove the card from the PC case.
  2. On the reverse side of the Board is usually a sticker with a bar code and full name of the product.
  3. Chances are good that you will find the model and company logo on the radiator or the cooler.
  4. If no labels, then it's weird, but you can continue the search and try to find a model (or any other figures who are somehow connected with the model) is already on the Board.
  5. Try to search by the names of the controllers and label graphics chip (you have to remove the radiator). Searches are unlikely to succeed, but worth a try.
  6. If you do not mind your time, try to find a similar model at the photos.

At different firms, the same model can be radically different design, which significantly complicates the search.

Board IDs

Mobile platforms

Many people believe that the discrete graphics card is a removable item. But for parts of the laptop, this definition is not quite right. In fact, most laptops occur with two graphics cards of different types, only they are both soldered on the motherboard. It turns out that the discrete card is still present and even performs the lion's share of the work, but to remove it without a soldering iron is impossible. Anyway, they are classified as a removable GPU and perform all his duties.

What is better-discrete or integrated video card on the mobile platforms? Becoming increasingly difficult to find a laptop with only one graphics core. And the price of such models are often minimally different from the prototypes with discrete cards. Therefore, it makes sense to overpay for the extra Gigabyte of video memory is definitely there.

a laptop is Really a discrete map

Typically for cooling a discrete graphics card and the CPU is used a common radiator and only one cooler. So how can a single fan to the proper degree of cooling, for example, the system on AMD A10 and the graphics card 9ххх series? In the absence of physical maintenance of your notebook, so “hot” systems often have severe overheating, which greatly harm the equipment.


Choosing between the two types of cards in the first place, it is worth considering your needs and budget. If you're a hardened gamer, it is important for you will be the following items:

  • The Amount of video memory.
  • Architecture.
  • Frequency.
  • Cooling System.
  • Options of the second plan (other characteristics of the video card, computer).

Some of the maps high-level tuning often and the entire system unit, however. There are firms dealing with design of housings and individual components. There you can convert your GTX 1080TI in a work of art.

If the games is not attracted to you, and the choice fell on the APU, you should take into account the General characteristics of the computer and the CPU itself.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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