When building a new computer, a key decision you must make is the choice of a graphics card. Dedicated and integrated graphics cards each have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, appealing to different types of users.
The Physical Difference
The key difference between a dedicated and integrated video card is the hardware specification. A dedicated video card is independent of the motherboard, and is plugged into an expansion slot. Integrated video cards, on the other hand, are built into the motherboard as a packaged solution.
Because they are different types of hardware, there is a significant difference between the costs of a dedicated and integrated video card. Dedicated video cards are a more expensive graphics solution, as they are independent components. Because an integrated video card is built in as one component with the motherboard, it costs less.
A major issue that arises with integrated graphics cards is the serviceability and flexibility of the system. Because they are built directly into the motherboard, if either the graphics card or the motherboard fails, both components must be replaced. Dedicated video cards, on the other hand, can be easily replaced if they fail, or if the user simply wants to upgrade the card.
Between dedicated and integrated video cards, dedicated cards perform faster and are able to handle larger computational loads. Because dedicated cards have their own memory and GPU, they do not need to rely on the system RAM to help compute graphical information. This results in a more efficient computer system.
Choosing the Right Card
Because this is a major component of a computer, it is important to make an informed decision on purchasing a video card solution. Some motherboards offer an integrated video card along with an expansion slot for a dedicated video card. This is a good idea for people who do not want to spend extra money initially on a dedicated video card, but may look to upgrade the computer in the future.
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