Do Motherboards Have Integrated Graphics?

Most computers and laptops will come with an integrated GPU for simple graphics processing, mainly to output visual information to the display. Without integrated graphics or a dedicated GPU, the PC will have no way of outputting a display, so in a way, all PCs require some sort of graphics processing unit, but where are integrated graphics located?

The same way the graphics cards will feature an output, motherboards will come with display outputs such as HDMI, so it’s normal for PC builders to think the integrated graphics unit is located on the motherboard. The motherboard’s only job is to connect and allow components to communicate with each other, not to process graphical information.

Answer: The motherboard does not process any graphical information therefore it does not have an integrated GPU. Integrated graphics are processing devices located on the CPU, so the integrated GPU is completely CPU-dependent. The Integrated graphics will actually share resources with the CPU which makes it quite efficient.

Why Don’t Motherboards Have Integrated Graphics

why don't motherboards have igpus

Motherboards do not feature integrated graphics because the motherboard isn’t a data processor. Devices that process data are CPUs, and GPUs, the motherboard’s main job is to allow these devices to communicate with each other. With that said, the iGPU/Integrated graphics is actually located on the CPU such as Intel and certain Ryzen processors.

Intel is known to supplement iGPUs with most of their CPUs, with an exception of a few units. Such units are the Intel CPUs that are denoted with an “F”, the F means you will need a discrete/Dedicated graphics card. Integrated graphics share resources with the CPU such as the RAM which can make them quite energy-efficient, this is why many laptops will come with them. With AMD, only certain CPUs feature an integrated graphics unit, the Ryzen CPUs denoted with a “G” will have an iGPU.

The motherboard provides an outlet for the integrated graphics, this is why there are display outputs on the motherboard. Note, the display output cannot be used to receive an output from the dedicated graphics, it’s only reserved for the iGPU. If your CPU does not have an iGPU, the display outputs on the motherboard won’t work.

Uses Of Integrated Graphics

pros and cons of ipgus

For a computer to be useful you will need to see something on the screen, integrated graphics perform this quite well and efficiently. The main purpose of integrated graphics is not to process heavy graphical information but to be a means to display information on a screen, this makes it great for laptops and PCs for light work.

Integrated graphics which are located on the CPUs have improved significantly over the years allowing for casual computer usage. You can even receive a 4K output from recent integrated graphics units allowing you to watch high detail 4K videos. When it comes to areas such as gaming, then you will require a dedicated GPU for effective gameplay.

If you’re a video editor, the iGPUs can actually be extremely helpful in the encoding and decoding process, this is because they feature amazing encoders and decoders. So, if you’re into video editing, purchasing a CPU with iGPUs can result in a huge performance boost, up to 40%. Integrated graphics such as Intel HD 770 are great for this, they’re featured in Intel GPUs.

What Types Of PCs Feature Integrated Graphics

laptops with igpus

Ryzen processors will not normally have an integrated GPU, but the Ryzen/AMD processors with a “G” will have an iGPU. As with Intel, most of the processors will have integrated graphics except for the processors with an “F” denoted. Most high-end Ryzen processors such as the X variants will not feature iGPUs therefore require you to purchase a dedicated GPU.

The most popular integrated graphics are the Intel HD Graphics 630 and 770, and for Ryzen it is the Radeon Vega graphics. Integrated graphics are popular among light laptops meant for casual work and browsing. Gaming laptops will feature a discrete graphics card as the integrated graphics won’t supplement enough performance for gaming.

Some PCs won’t feature a dedicated graphics card, these are also working/casual orientated PCs that are not meant for heavy graphics processing. They are power efficient due to the lack of a discrete graphics card, so you can usually get away with a small-sized power supply with these PCs. These types of PCs will also be in a small form factor such as Mini-ITX which makes them quite portable.

Why Would You Need A Dedicated GPU?

igpu vs dgpu

The first reason you will require a dedicated graphics card is for gaming, back in the day when web browser games were popular, you would be able to get away with an iGPU. But now, games are quite complex with complex geometry and terrain data which warrants a dedicated GPU. This is because most gamers would like at least 60 FPS when gaming, most iGPUs would suffer doing this.

Video editors can benefit from a dedicated graphics card as certain software will prioritize them over the CPU. Software such as Adobe After Effects and DaVinci Resolve use the GPU for shorter rendering times, an iGPU in such software won’t be as helpful. This software will offload a lot of the rendering on the graphics card, this will allow the CPU to focus on other intensive applications.

Due to the graphics cards’ ability to process vast amounts of data in parallel, it makes it the ideal option for applications such as AI machine learning. Graphics cards are essential for machine/deep learning for the way they work, the thousands of cores the GPU possesses can process matrix multiplication extremely quickly, better than the CPU could.

Integrated Graphics Vs Dedicated Graphics (Benchmarks)

Integrated and dedicated graphics cards serve very different purposes but they effectively work in the same way. Due to this, we can use benchmarking software to see how iGPUs compete with dedicated GPUs. Integrated graphics will obviously lose, but it gives you an idea of how they can perform in games, straight away iGPUs are already limited since they share resources with the GPU.

Integrated graphics units can compete with certain dedicated graphics cards, but the types of dedicated GPUs they compete with are extremely subpar. This puts integrated graphics in the same category, they even lose to low/budget tier graphics cards. The Intel UHD 770 and the RX Vega 11 can compete with the GT 1030 and still loses in the G3D Passmark benchmarks.

The only benefit integrated graphics have over dedicated graphics is that they’re practically free as they come with the CPU. It can serve as a budget option if you really do not need a dedicated graphics card but you’re interested in building a PC. This will save you money on multiple components such as the power supply, you will not need a powerful PSU running just an iGPU.

Graphics Processing UnitG3D Passmark Score (Higher Is Better)Year Released
RTX 3090(Dedicated)263072020
RTX 3080(Dedicated)247172020
RX 6800 XT(Dedicated)231852020
GT 103025492017
Intel UHD 770(Integrated)24322022
Radeon RX Vega 11 PRD(Integrated)24012018

Are Integrated Graphics Good For Gaming

igpu for gaming

Integrated graphics cards are not good for gaming, but this doesn’t make them bad devices, they’re just not built for games. They are purely made to output a display to a screen which is a means of using your system. Integrated graphics in games such as Minecraft can be fine, this is because Minecraft mainly uses the CPU so technically the integrated graphics plays a small role.

If you’re looking to build a gaming PC on a budget, you can purchase a budget graphics card that will outperform integrated graphic units, and if you’re really trying to save money, then Ryzen CPUs would be your best option. If you’re looking to play games such as Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, Far Cry, then you may require a decent dedicated GPU depending on the settings and resolution you’re playing at.

The Intel HD Graphics 770 competes directly with the GT 1030 which is a dedicated GPU, in gaming situations they can seem head to head but this isn’t the case. The Intel UHD 770 will appear to outperform the GT 1030 in games such as Forza Horizon 5 with similar average frame rates, but the gaming experience will still be far superior with the GT 1030. This is because the Integrated GPU will suffer when it comes to 1% and 0.1% lows giving the effect of lower FPS due to stuttering. Low 1% and 0.1% lows can be a direct result of the iGPU not having its own dedicated VRAM.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the motherboard does not come with the integrated graphics unit as the motherboard isn’t responsible for processing any information. All the motherboards does it output the display processed by the iGPU which is located on the CPU, but not all CPUs will come with iGPUs, so you must watch out.

Just remember, not all Intel CPUs will come with integrated GPUs, the ones denoted with an “F” will not have an iGPU. and Ryzen processors especially the high-end ones will not come with an iGPU, only the ones denoted with a “G”.