GPUs – or video cards, in good Portuguese – can be integrated or dedicated. Integrated calls are those that are built into the computer’s processor and offer versatility, efficiency, and lower costs — so they’re suitable for users who perform simpler tasks on the computer. Dedicated GPUs are specific graphics cards, present in both desktop and laptop computers, that stand out for offering better performance, even though they are more expensive — they are wanted by those who run heavy programs.
In a series, we highlight the positive points of each option so that you can better compare these types of graphics cards and decide which is the best investment for your upgrade or new computer.
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A video card is essential for games and allows you to save time when running heavy applications — Photo: Disclosure / Nvidia
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1. The computer has more performance for gaming or heavy work
Dedicated graphics cards are components that offer high processing power. They are suitable for computers that have to run a large amount of data at the same time. In general, video and image editing programs, 3D modeling software, applications used to simulate natural phenomena, engineering, and software that uses artificial intelligence are examples of heavier programs that require a dedicated GPU.
For players, this type of equipment is also very important. In addition to ensuring the performance of more difficult games, some video cards offer strategic features that will improve the gaming experience, such as Ray Tracing or DLSS — which we will talk about next.
2. Current video cards bring more features to the computer
State-of-the-art cards support real-time ray tracing — Photo: Disclosure / Nvidia
State-of-the-art graphics cards not only bring more performance, but also more resources to your computer. Newer GPUs rely on hardware H.265 video decoding technology, for example. In addition, some also have components that allow you to run mixed reality experiences – something relevant for those interested in the metaverse – or even AI processing to enhance video and images.
Game-conscious users can take advantage of technologies such as Ray Tracing, a technique for simulating lighting in games that ultimately provides more realistic situations. There are also artificial intelligence image reconstruction techniques such as DLSS and XESS, along with a number of resources for applying image filters and streaming tools.
3. It is possible to install external video cards in some laptops
Modules, such as Razer’s Core, enable the use of external graphics cards in laptops — Photo: Disclosure / Razer
In general, laptops offer weaker graphics cards than their desktop counterparts. In addition, laptops do not allow this type of hardware to be upgraded: the card built into a laptop cannot be swapped out for a higher-performance unit, unlike a desktop computer.
However, there are some laptop models that allow the use of external video cards. For that, the laptop must meet some criteria: it must have a Thunderbolt interface (or equivalent) and support via BIOS. With this guaranteed support, the user can invest in a dedicated graphics card case and use it externally, connected to a laptop, to access the ultimate graphics performance.
1. Computers with integrated graphics are often cheaper
An integrated graphics card is common in Intel and AMD processors — Photo: Disclosure / Intel
The video card is an additional component and, in general, optional: the vast majority of computers do not even need additional equipment for proper operation due to the offer of GPU integrated in the processor. Because of this, it’s only natural that machines with a dedicated graphics card end up costing more.
The same applies to notebooks. Laptops offered without a dedicated GPU have a more affordable price range, while units with a graphics card end up fitting into the premium or gaming tiers.
2. Ideal for less demanding work
Some integrated AMD card options are a cost-effective option even for gamers — Photo: Disclosure / AMD
A graphics card is useful for some scenarios where the user needs to access a higher level of system performance. Without a dedicated GPU, the computer will have a level of performance sufficient to satisfy those running less demanding applications, such as office and productivity applications, or those performing simple tasks such as browsing the web or enjoying more casual streaming and entertainment.
With laptops, this dichotomy is even more obvious, since in these computers the system does not even access the dedicated video card when performing simpler tasks.
3. You use less energy
In computers, there is a price to pay for increasing processing power: power consumption eventually goes up. How sensitive you are to this will depend on the type of video card – more powerful and expensive models cost more -, your budget and expected performance.
In any case, this problem is more pronounced when using laptops, which rely on battery power to escape from the outlet. Laptops with just over two hours of autonomy using a dedicated Nvidia or AMD card are common on the market. Therefore, it is necessary to consider whether it is worth buying the device for use near the outlet.
with information from TechGuided
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