Integrated graphics card
An integrated video card (it is also often called an integrated or “onboard” video card) is part of the chipset system logic of the computer motherboard (part of the chipset). The integrated video card is usually located inside the chip of its “north bridge”.
Do not worry if you do not yet fully understand what is at stake (some kind of “bridges”, etc.) we will talk about the motherboard device in more detail in the following sections. So far, we are only interested in the integrated video card. The photo shows a typical example of integrated video on the motherboard.
Built-in graphics card
The number “1” here and designated this mysterious “north bridge”. As you can see, there is nothing special about it: a large microcircuit, under the cover of which is located (among other things) an integrated video card. The chipset labeling (inscriptions on it) can be completely different, depending on the manufacturer. In this case, we see that this chip was produced by the SIS company, the numbers below are its serial number and model.
Note: in modern computers, chipset chips are often covered with radiators to dissipate heat. So it’s not so easy to see the markings.
Under the number “2” in the photo above, we have a processor socket (all in holes for processor “legs”). The number “3” indicates two slots for RAM modules.
Now let’s see what are the features that distinguish the integrated video card. Let’s look at this point in more detail. What does two different types of video cards have and do not have: integrated and external (discrete)?
These differences: the external card can be replaced with a newer one. All modern external graphics cards have a powerful and productive graphics core, covered by a high-performance cooling system. They have their own memory (soldered on the video card itself), and the memory is faster than operational memory. Also – a high-speed data bus, the characteristics of which depend on the type of connector for connecting the video card to the motherboard (PCI, AGP, PCI-Express, etc.). Discrete solutions are also equipped with various outputs for connecting monitors and TVs.
The integrated video card is an integral part of the system logic set of the motherboard chipset, not subject to replacement (unless with the replacement of the chip itself). Embedded video, by definition, is much less productive than its discrete counterpart. The plot of these video cards is inexpensive office computers that do not require a powerful graphics processor.
The integrated video card does not have its own RAM, but uses the memory installed on the motherboard. Hence, an additional decrease in speed (data from the video card is transferred first to the RAM controller, then to the computer’s memory itself, and then it is sent to the central processor for processing). In short, a long story! 🙂 Yes, and they are transmitted not by a specialized data bus, but by a common system bus on the motherboard, which further reduces the speed of such systems.
The integrated solution has on the back of the system unit one standard VGA connector for connecting a monitor or TV (in modern models there are instances that also have a digital DVI / HDMI connector).
Connectors for integrated and external graphics cards Connectors for integrated and external graphics cards
In the photo above under the number “1” we see the video output with which the integrated video card is equipped. Under the number “2” – one of the video outputs of a discrete graphics card (made in the form of a separate expansion card).
As we already mentioned, the integrated video card is the lot of medium-power office computers. You cannot run a computer game on such a card with realistic three-dimensional graphics and complex effects. More precisely, this way: under certain circumstances, you can launch it, but here it will be “slow down” — godlessly! Do you need it? It’s better if you can’t live without games – get yourself a good graphics accelerator for 150-200 dollars and forget about this problem for several years 🙂
For example, good motherboards that, according to the manufacturer, will be used in multimedia game configurations do not even have integrated video cards installed (and rightly so, why are they needed if they are not used anyway?).
How to determine if your video is embedded or not? And – by eye 🙂 Once again, carefully look at the back wall of the system unit (photo above), notice how the connector is located under the number “1”, and how – under the number “2”? Now mentally imagine that the case is transparent and “see” how the motherboard is located in it (parallel to the side cover), respectively, and the VGA output of the integrated video is the same.
Now we look at the number “2” – the connector is oriented perpendicular to the motherboard – exactly as an external (discrete) video card is installed in the slot of the graphics accelerator.