Do I Need a Graphics Card If I Don’t Play Games? (PC Without a GPU?)

Owning a desktop computer does not always equate to gaming. Sometimes, people buy a PC not for playing games but for various uses, such as work, school, web browsing, and other everyday tasks. Though some might question whether or not a graphics card is a necessary purchase if they’re not gaming.

So if you are wondering “do I need a graphics card if I don’t play games? The answer is no. Most computers can run without a dedicated graphics card. This is because many modern CPUs come with integrated graphics, which eliminates the need to buy a discrete graphics card.

In this article, we will guide you through how you can run your PC efficiently, even without a dedicated graphics card.

What is an iGPU

An iGPU, short for integrated graphics processing unit, is a graphics card built inside the CPU. It utilizes your system memory (RAM) along with the CPU as shared resources since it does not have its own VRAM.

integrated graphics flowchartiGPUs are also generally slower compared to their discrete graphics card counterparts. However, they can still perform basic functions similar to a dedicated GPU with less power, perfect for home and office use.

With the recent advancements in technology, CPU manufacturers are able to produce decent iGPUs capable of light gaming, which mainly benefits budget gamers. So even without a $300 dedicated graphics card, you can still enjoy gaming without spending your hard-earned money on additional hardware.

Do All CPUs Have iGPUs?

The presence of an iGPU is important if you’re not planning on buying a graphics card. Unfortunately, not all CPUs have an iGPU. These CPUs with no built-in graphics will require a discrete dedicated graphics card to run them, and it would be impossible to use your computer without it.

A good example are Intel’s CPUs with the “F” suffix after each model, which means that every Intel chip with the “F” suffix has no built-in graphics. (e.g., Intel Core i3 12100F, Intel Core i5 12400F, Intel Core i7 12700F).

Luckily, it is easy to determine which CPUs have iGPU and which CPUs don’t. With AMD, you can easily spot chips that have an iGPU if the model number has a “G” suffix in it (e.g., Ryzen 3 2200G, Ryzen 5 3600G, Ryzen 7 5700G).

AMD CPU on tableAMD is also popular for its low-budget APUs or Accelerated Processing Unit. Every processor within this budget-friendly lineup has iGPUs, good enough for home and office use. The A6, A8, and A10 families are some examples.

How to Use an iGPU?

Using an iGPU is pretty straightforward and does not require a deep understanding of computers. All you have to do is insert the processor into the motherboard’s socket, attach the cooler, plug the monitor’s cable into the appropriate HDMI/DisplayPort/DVI connector, turn on the PC, and you’re good to go.

Your operating system should automatically download and install the appropriate graphics driver. If you are using a computer with no Internet connection, you can download the graphics driver from the processors’ manufacturer’s website.

There are also lots of ways how you can improve and utilize your iGPU properly. You can look at this video to get a realistic idea on how an iGPU will perform.

What Happens if a Computer has no GPU?

Can you run a PC without a GPU? Technically, a computer can still work and function as it’s supposed to, provided that you are using a CPU with a built-in graphics unit. But you may experience poor performance on your PC when running graphically-intensive applications, such as modern AAA games and other software that relies heavily on 3D graphics.

AMD Ryzen 3 APUThis is because iGPUs are generally slower than most discrete graphics cards available on the market right now. However, running a computer with integrated graphics will consume less power and will produce less heat as a result.

Is a Graphics Card Necessary for Gaming?

Does a PC need a graphics card to play games? In most cases, yes. Since most games will rely heavily on a dedicated graphics card, having one on your PC is very important if gaming is your goal. This is especially the case if you plan on playing modern games with intensive graphics. With that said, playing games would be difficult on a PC running on an iGPU.

However, playing with decent framerates is still possible for some games that do not require powerful GPUs. Just make sure that you have the right configurations in order to game and get the most out of your PC.

What are the Uses of Graphics Card Other than Gaming?

Whenever we see a GPU, most of us think that it is a hardware designed specifically for gaming. In fact, most PC builders prioritize the GPU rather than the CPU. This is clear proof that most builders, specifically gamers, only think about gaming when purchasing or looking for a new graphics card.

However, a graphics card is more than just a gaming hardware. In fact, the GPU serves many functions other than gaming. Another point to consider when asking “does a PC need a graphics card if its not for gaming?” is the professional workspace.

Nvidia QuadroIn a professional environment, a graphics card is used in workstations and productivity that involves 3D applications and modeling. There are specific lineups of GPUs intended for these scenarios, such as the Nvidia Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro/FirePro.

These cards are designed to be more efficient in specific tasks like rendering and typically have more VRAM compared to their gaming graphics card counterpart.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I run video editing software without a graphics card?

Technically, you can still run video editing software without a video card. Even mobile graphics processors today can run these types of software. But don’t expect a smooth experience as you will surely need the rendering power of a graphics card.

2. Do I need a graphics card for 3D modeling and design?

The answer is yes. Although you can still run those 3D applications, the case would be similar to running video editing software in the absence of a GPU. Aside from the raw power, you will also need large amounts of VRAM usually found in professional graphics cards.

3. Can you start a PC without a graphics card?

Of course. It will run as usual, even without the graphics card. Just make sure that the processor you are using has an integrated graphics card.

4. Does your PC need a graphics card if it’s not for gaming?

It depends on what workload you’ll be using your PC for. If it’s just office work, spreadsheets, browsing, or general use, then you’ll be fine using a PC without a graphics card. However, if you intend to do video editing, rendering, number crunching, 3D modeling, CAD, scientific simulations, or Ray Tracing, you’ll definitely need a dedicated GPU.

I hope that you have found this article useful and now know the answer to the question “does a PC need a graphics card if it’s not for gaming”.

If you ever do decide to start gaming and want a new video card, have a read of this article that reviews the top GPUs for under 300 bucks.

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