What is Discrete Graphics Card?

A graphics card is the most important system element after the processor since it handles all the loads related to the graphics. Within every graphics card, there is a graphics processing unit or GPU that does all the graphics-related calculations and processing. A GPU is a great way to share the load with the processor or CPU and keep everything flowing at its optimal pace. In short, if you’re building a custom rig for gaming or content creation, you have to invest in a good-quality card. This is the only way to enjoy the true essence of gaming and content creation. 

For your information, there are two types of graphics support: integrated graphics and discrete graphics. Some people are wondering, what is discrete graphics card and how is it different from an integrated one? In this post, we will discuss all the aspects of discrete graphics including benefits, downsides, uses, and more. After knowing all this stuff related to the discrete graphics, you will be able to better decide whether you go for this graphics support or not. In short, be with me until the post’s end to get a better idea about the topic.  

What is discrete graphics card?

A discrete graphics card is separate from the central processing unit or CPU hence it’s known as “discrete”. It’s an individual element of the computer with its own dedicated memory, structure, design, and cooling system. It’s connected to the motherboard via the given PCIe slot which is used to deliver 5x better speeds. At the same time, it consumes more power so it produces a reasonable amount of heat during the process. Most of the time, these graphics are found in desktop PCs but are also available in laptops or compact PCs as well. 

How are discrete graphics different from integrated graphics?

As I mentioned earlier, discrete graphics are an individual computer’s elements. In contrast, the integrated graphics are built into the processor so these are called “integrated” graphics. There is no dedicated memory bank or cooling system for these graphics, instead, it shares the memory with the CPU plus fetches power from it. In this way, the integrated graphics use less energy and produce less heat as well. Plus, you don’t need to buy a cooling system, rather you can work it out with the same CPU cooler.

Why choose discrete graphics?

The dedicated or discrete graphics are made to provide better performance than the integrated graphics support. But, can the integrated card beat the dedicated one? The answer is yes. At the same time, you have to consider what your usage is. Do you really need the top-tier performance of the discrete graphics or can you work out with the performance that the integrated graphics provide? Let’s look at some practical statistics to better understand the performance aspect. 

For instance, the Intel Iris Xe graphics that are given in the current-era Core i7 processor provides the same graphics output as the Nvidia GTX 560 discrete card. Since the GTX 560 is a mid-tier card, you can consider getting mediocre performance from the integrated graphics. For your information, the top-tier integrated graphics come in the AMD Ryzen 9 series processor. But still, cards like the RTX 3090 Ti are three times faster than these. In short, the dedicated cards perform better. 

Other factors to consider

Before heading further into the topic, you must consider some important factors when choosing dedicated or discrete graphics. These factors will help you easily find whether you really need discrete graphics or you can work out with the integrated graphics. Be with me until the end of the post and consider these factors as your priority. 

Budget: The budget is one of the important user-based factors in the process of purchasing something. You have to choose a good-quality graphics card without breaking the bank. For your information, integrated graphics are most of the time less expensive since it comes within the processor. So, you don’t have to spend money on buying dedicated graphics separately. In short, if you have no money left, you may work out with integrated ones. 

Your usage: Usage is another crucial user-based factor to consider while purchasing a graphics card. If you use your PC to do formal internet surfing or watch some multimedia, the integrated graphics are enough for you. In contrast, those users who play top-tier games on their system or do content creation must invest in a good-quality dedicated graphics card. But some integrated graphics are also there to enjoy stable gaming performance.

Performance: The graphics performance is another factor to help you decide between integrated and dedicated graphics. The integrated support isn’t comparatively that effective to provide ultra-edge performance in gaming and content creation, but still enough to deal with 1080p gaming or mid-tier content creation. In contrast, you can utilize even up to 4k/8k in-game graphics resolution or get peak productivity using discrete graphics.

Power usage and Cooling: As I mentioned earlier, integrated graphics use less power than discrete graphics so produce less heat. Therefore, integrated ones don’t need that much thermal management. In contrast, the dedicated card uses way more power to come up to the optimal performance level so they need a way better cooling system. When buying either dedicated or integrated graphics cards, make sure to consider this to get true output.

Conclusion

A graphics card is a necessity to play current-era games or create attractive illustrations via productive software. Out of its two types, dedicated and discrete graphics, the discrete graphics cards are getting popular. But, what is discrete graphics card? Well, we have tried our best to tell you some in-depth facts about these graphics together with their true usage. For instance, a discrete or dedicated graphics card is an individual computer component with its own VRAM memory, structure, and cooling design, unlike the integrated graphics that are embedded into the processor. 

At the same, you have to decide whether you really need a dedicated graphics card or you can put it together via the integrated graphics. Well, a dedicated graphics card provides a way better performance than integrated graphics. If you just use the computer for casual internet surfing or to watch multimedia, the integrated graphics card is more than enough for you. In contrast, those who play high-end games on their PC or do graphics designing must invest in a good-quality dedicated or discrete graphics card; even if you have an integrated one, you can pair a dedicated one.

Zohaib Hassan
Zohaib Hassan is a staunch tech enthusiast and has been writing about his interactions with computers for years. He has been serving the PCIdeaz, GamingSilk, and BesTechReview as a content writer and manager along with experimenting and testing numerous tech masterpieces. Indeed, he often forgets about eating his spicy snacks when has his head on the computer screen.