On-Board v Dedicated: Which Is the Future for GPUs?
The world of graphics processing unit is changing. On-board graphics chips and CPU combinations are challenging the supremacy of the dedicated graphics card. Which direction will the future take for the GPU? Read on to find out.
What Is an On-Board GPU?
On-board or integrated graphics processing units are used predominantly in laptops but can also be used in desktops. Most smartphones, tablets, and smaller computers use an integrated GPU.
They come with a number of advantages, such as lower power consumption and lower price, but for a long time they could not compete with the power or potential of a dedicated GPU. The technology has come on in leaps and bounds since then, driven by the desire for more powerful laptops and smartphones. Now there are on-board graphic setups that can challenge dedicated graphics cards.
The Intel Arc GPU architecture covers both integrated and dedicated GPUs. Though some are more powerful than others they all provide a similar standard of graphics and video output. This is allowing laptops to finally compete with gaming PCs and provide similar gaming experiences to desktops.
What Is a Dedicated GPU?
This type of GPU is mostly found in gaming PCs and high-end systems. Integrated GPUs have taken over the low and mid-range PC market, reserving dedicated GPUs for high-end PCs for gaming or video processing.
GPUs are commonly called graphics cards, and the graphics processing unit is just one component. Many graphics cards have their own RAM to use, dedicated to holding graphic data. These cards are similar to a small computer, with their own motherboard-like card forming the foundation for a GPU, RAM, and other processing components to run on.
The bigger size and the extra help from dedicated RAM mean that dedicated GPUs have more power and potential than integrated GPU setups, but this comes at a cost. Graphics cards are power hungry, and the more powerful they are, the hungrier they become. Feeding these beasts often means more fans in the system and a more powerful power unit, all of which adds to the cost.
Which Is Better?
If you want absolute peak performance at the highest possible definitions at eye-water framerates you are going to have to use a graphics card, or dedicated GPU. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on one, as much as a whole mid-range laptop would cost to buy, plus accessories. To really push the envelope takes multiple graphics cards. You can spend thousands on graphics cards alone.
On-board GPUs are catching up. They are capable of providing great gaming experiences at a better price point. Pairing the right motherboard with a powerful and compatible CPU is often more than enough to play the latest games in crystal clarity. The framerates may not be quite as high, and the definition may be HD and not 4K, but only the most hardcore gamers would tell the difference.The future of GPUs is on-board. This is the most common setup across all computers when you add smartphones, tablets, and micro-computers like the Raspberry Pi. They will only become more powerful as time goes on and will eventually catch up to their dedicated GPU competition.