When building a PC for gaming, you will need a device capable of processing graphical information, this can be a dedicated GPU, or an integrated GPU.
Dedicated GPU is what most gaming PC’s use, and they do their job really well, but integrated GPUs are different as they come packaged with a CPU.
Since they come packaged with a CPU, their purpose isn’t for gaming, but rather to send an output to a display, so integrated graphics technically aren’t good for gaming.
What Are Integrated Graphics Used For?
Integrated graphics are mainly used to send an output signal to a display, and allow the user to do casual tasks such as browsing the web, and watching videos.
They can also act as a temporary graphics card so you can use your computer whilst you wait to get a dedicated solution either from NVIDIA or AMD.
They basically can do everything a dedicated graphics card can do, but at a massively smaller scale which means it’s likely not going to perform to great expectations.
What Devices Have Integrated Graphics?
Integrated graphics is located on most Intel processors, and some Ryzen processors, you can usually tell which processor has integrated graphics via their suffix.
Most Intel processors will come shipped with integrated graphics installed except for CPU’s with the “F” suffix; this also includes “KF”.
Most Ryzen processors won’t come with integrated graphics, but the Ryzen processors with the “G” suffix will have integrated installed.
Laptops are popular with integrated GPUs as integrated graphics are power efficient, they don’t consume as much power as a dedicated GPU meaning it can save a ton of battery life.
Why Should You Use Integrated Graphics?
If you’re building a PC, the main reason anyone should be using integrated graphics is to be able to display an output in case they don’t have a discrete GPU already.
Otherwise, if you’re going to be gaming, then you probably want a discrete/dedicated GPU to be able to play triple-A games without lag.
However, some integrated GPUs are pretty decent at playing games, this is because overtime, integrated GPUs have been increasing in power.
From a financial perspective, you get a great bang for your buck going down the integrated GPU route because they’re pretty decent at casual games, and they’re practically free.
Many individuals looking to build a budget PC by spending as little money as possible can do perfectly fine with just an Integrated GPU.
Are Integrated Graphics Good For Games?
Due to their low processing power, you’re likely not going to be playing any triple-A games on an integrated GPU, even at lower settings.
So don’t expect to play games like Far Cry, GTA 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla without encountering any performance issues.
But, you can find some integrated graphics that are capable of light gaming, and they can play games like CSGO, League Of Legends, and more non-graphically intensive games pretty well.
You will likely need to play at a reasonable resolution such as 1080P, and at low settings to get competitive frame rates.
Best In Game Settings For Integrated Graphics
If your goal is playability, then you will want to turn down as many in-game settings as possible to get as much frame rate.
So this means setting the graphical settings to low which reduces the graphical intensity on the integrated graphics.
Also, playing on a reasonable resolution can massively boost the playability of a video game on an integrated GPU, we recommended 720P – 1080P.
Why Would Anyone Play Games On An Integrated GPU?
There are two reasons why integrated graphics cards are used for gaming even though they’re significantly less powerful than their dedicated counterparts.
Gaming On Laptops – Although many laptops have dedicated GPUs, the majority of them are made for lightweight computing.
Due to most laptops only containing an integrated GPU, and there’s no option to upgrade laptops, many people just deal with the fact they have an integrated GPU.
They will often carefully consider what type of games they can play, they understand that they can’t play AAA games, so they will stick with lightweight games.
Lack Of Dedicated GPU – It’s understandable why someone will game without a dedicated GPU even if they have a PC.
Graphics cards are becoming more of a hassle to find, they’re constantly out of stock, or massively overpriced which means many people have no choice but to use their integrated graphics.
Or it could be that their dedicated graphics card has failed on them, and the only option they have to game is an integrated solution.
Dedicated Graphics Cards Vs Integrated Graphics Cards
Integrated GPUs are definitely getting more powerful, they’re featuring more cores and higher clock speeds compared to their previous counterparts.
But in terms of raw power, it will take a long time for integrated graphics to reach the levels of performance of current dedicated GPUs.
At most, the best integrated GPU will compare with dedicated GPUs of 6-7 years ago which means they’re quite far behind in terms of performance.
The reason for the massive difference of performance is because dedicated GPUs are far larger, feature larger chips, and have their own dedicated hardware.
All dedicated GPUs will come with their own VRAM which is their own dedicated memory, integrated graphics cards will share main system memory(RAM) with the CPU.
Dedicated GPU’s also come with higher clock speeds, and more cores which means they possess more raw power.
Keep in mind, VRAM is significantly faster than RAM which means the dedicated GPU core has a far more efficient relationship with the VRAM compared to an iGPU with the RAM.
Dedicated GPUs have far more features too, with the release of the RTX series, and AMD 6000 series, they support Ray Tracing which integrated GPUs will most likely never support.
The downside to dedicated graphics cards is that they can consume a lot of power whereas the integrated GPU will consume negligible amounts of power.
Take the RTX 3070 for example, it consumes a massive 220W whereas the Intel UHD 770 consumes a small 15W of power.
So this means the power requirements for a dedicated GPU is higher, and the cooling requirements is much higher too.
Best/List Of Integrated Graphics Cards
At the moment, the best integrated graphics belong to the Ryzen 5600g/5700g processors which contain Radeon Vega graphics.
|Vega 11||Vega 8||Vega 7||Intel UHD Graphics 770|
|Base Clock Speed:||300 MHz||300 MHz||300 MHz||300 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed:||1240 MHz||1100 MHz||1900 MHz||1450 MHz|
|TDP:||65 W||65 W||45 W||15 W|
|CPU:||Ryzen 5 3400G||Ryzen 4000/5000||Ryzen 4000/5000||Intel 12th Gen|
Vega 11 – The Vega 11 integrated graphics solution comes shipped with the Ryzen 5 3400G, and it’s one of the best integrated graphics you can find on a processor.
The Vega 11 integrated graphics solution competes pretty closely to some dedicated GPU’s such as the GT 1030, and it competes next to the UHD 770 by Intel.
Vega 8 – The Vega 8 graphics contained within the 5700G falls slightly behind in performance to the GTX 1050 so it’s quite good for an integrated GPU, currently it’s the best IGPU.
The Vega 8 is primarily made for notebooks which means the power consumption will be pretty low to conserve battery life. The performance of the Vega 8 depends on the system’s RAM speed, and the TDP.
Vega 7 – Which is contained in the 5600G is the second best integrated GPU which is slightly weaker than the Vega 8 in performance.
The Vega 7 is also found in notebooks found in Ryzen 4000 and Ryzen 5000 CPUs, and the performance of the Vega 7 primarily depends on the TDP and the memory used in the system.
Intel UHD 770 – The Intel UHD 770 integrated GPU is present in most of Intel’s 12th generation processors except for the ‘F’ variants and it’s pretty strong for an integrated GPU.
The closest integrated GPU in terms of strength is the RX Vega 11 PRD from AMD, and it’s present in Ryzen processors with the ‘G’ suffix.
Integrated GPU Benchmarks
In Forza Horizon 5 at 1920x1080P low settings, the Intel UHD 770 generates 31 FPS on average, and 7 FPS for the 1% lows.
It’s very clear that this is unplayable, and due to the 1% lows, it will be extremely stuttery which is a bad thing for a racing game.
The Vega 11 gives a better experience with an average frame rate of 49 FPS, and a 1% low of 32 FPS which is still relatively bad.
But, it will be a much better experience due to it being smoother on average, and the 1% lows being higher making for a less stuttery gameplay.
A less graphically intensive game such as CSGO runs pretty well on integrated GPUs. The Intel UHD 770 will generate 62 FPS on average, and a 51 FPS 1% Low.
To some gamers, this is playable as some say you can’t see past 60 FPS, but since it’s an FPS game, you may want a bit more FPS.
This is where the Vega 11 comes in, and it has an average of 129 FPS, and a 101 FPS 1% low which will provide a far smoother experience.
And if you have a 120Hz monitor, you may be able to benefit from the competitive advantage it gives with the Vega 11 iGPU.
In conclusion, you can definitely game on integrated graphics, but that doesn’t mean the experience you will get will be worthwhile.
Some integrated graphics solutions are pretty strong like the Radeon Vega IGPUs, they can run non-intensive games pretty well.
And with Intel UHD graphics, they tend to be a bit weaker, but you can still get away with certain games with the settings set down to low.
If you’re serious about gaming, then you shouldn’t use an integrated GPU and go for a dedicated solution as they’re magnitudes more powerful, and they can play triple-A games well.