Do You Need a Graphics Card for a PC That’s Not for Gaming?

Every PC needs a graphics card in order to display images, but many come with an integrated graphics card built-in. In addition to gaming, tasks like graphic design, programming, video editing, and more can benefit from a dedicated graphics card.

If you are like most people and use your computer for browsing the internet, watching videos, word processing, and other light tasks, you should do just fine with the built-in integrated graphics card in your laptop or desktop PC.

But if you need to take on more intensive tasks (gaming or otherwise) your PC could benefit from something a little more powerful. Read on to learn more about when it makes sense to get a dedicated graphics card, how to choose the right one, and so much more.

Key Takeaways

  • Every PC needs a graphics solution of some kind, but whether or not that needs to be a dedicated graphics card is up for debate.
  • Many people will be fine with the integrated graphics card in their PC, but those who play games, edit photos or videos, or complete other intensive tasks may need something extra.
  • Do your homework to ensure you get the right graphics card for your needs.

Integrated Graphics Card vs. Dedicated Graphics Card

As mentioned in the introduction, every PC needs a graphics card (GPU). However, this doesn’t mean you need to rush out and spend a ton of money on one. This is because most PCs come with an integrated graphics card already.

An integrated graphics card is a chip in your processor that simply turns data into images, and is a budget-friendly choice found in many desktops and laptops.

This allows your computer to easily handle watching videos, browsing the internet, doing homework, writing documents, and various other (yet simple) tasks. So if you use your computer for these sorts of light tasks, you’re in the clear.

A dedicated graphics card, on the other hand, is for those who participate in more intensive tasks like gaming. Playing detailed games with stunning graphics and a lot happening on the screen can be a lot for an integrated graphics card to handle.

A dedicated graphics card is a component that plugs into your PC and provides it with the necessary power to handle even the most challenging and demanding tasks quickly and effectively.

Other Cases for a Dedicated Graphics Card

While we know that having a high-quality dedicated graphics card on your PC will improve the gaming experience, that isn’t the only use case. Dedicated graphics cards are also great for those who edit photos and videos.

Editing can slow down an integrated graphics card and ruin your productivity, and waiting for things to render can also be a nightmare. Other tasks like machine learning, modeling, graphic design, and even programming are generally better with a dedicated GPU.

Also, if you want to participate in cryptocurrency mining, a dedicated graphics card is a must. Any sort of task that requires a lot of data processing and detail will often benefit from having a dedicated graphics card over an integrated one.

Choosing the Right Graphics Card

Of course, before spending hundreds of dollars (or more) on a dedicated and high-end graphics card, do your research and make sure you find the right one. There is nothing worse than spending a fortune on a card, only to find out it doesn’t work for your needs.

You need to consider the things you are planning on using the card for, and research the specs recommended for those tasks. Interested buyers should also take a close look at the clock speed of the GPU, how much memory it has, and the power connectors.

Take time to make sure you find a graphics card that is compatible with your computer, as well. There are different form factors and sizes, so be aware of how much room you have in your case and the slots you have before making a purchase.


Here are a few commonly asked questions about graphics cards, along with their answers.

Do I need a dedicated graphics card in my laptop?

While some people would love to put a GPU in their laptop, this is generally not an option. Most laptops have their graphics card permanently attached to the motherboard, and it cannot be swapped out.

If you plan on using your laptop for gaming or other intensive tasks, make sure it comes complete with a GPU installed that is capable of completing these tasks, or is a laptop that allows for the GPU to be swapped.

How to see what graphics card is currently in my PC?

If you are curious about the type of graphics card that is in your PC, finding out is quite simple. Go to Settings > System > Display > Advanced display settings, and you will see the graphics card that your display is connected to.

Final Thoughts

While every computer requires a graphics card, the integrated graphics card that comes with your laptop or desktop is suitable for light tasks and general browsing. However, if you need your computer to run intensive tasks (gaming or otherwise) a dedicated GPU is nice to have.

If you do indeed decide to pick one up, make sure to put some time and effort into finding the right one for your needs.

Do you use a dedicated graphics card in your PC or simply an integrated graphics card? Let us know in the comment below!

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