Integrated video or dedicated video -- which performs faster?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Joseph R. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'd like to upgrade my computer and was contemplating which main board I should choose. I noticed one particular solution which sported an integrated nVidia MX 4 64MB video chipset; another main board I was looking at did not have the integrated video built in, which meant that I would most likely opt to purchase an nVidia GeForce FX 5200 128MB video card separately.

I've read that some integrated video cards actually 'steal' memory from the main board of the computer. So, for example: if your computer system has 512MB RAM of system memory, the video card might eat up 64 megabyte, leaving you with 448 megabytes of RAM to use for applications and Windows XP. As I understand, the more RAM a system has, the faster it is (the opposite is true for having less RAM).

My question, however, is based on performance: Is the 128MB video card answer slower, essentially the same, or faster overall, than the motherboard-based 64MB solution? Which turns out to be the 'best' overall, in terms of performance? "

My response:

The short-but-sweet answer is that a dedicated video card will almost always be faster than an integrated video card, simply because:

  • Dedicated cards have more dedicated parts for processing, rather than a "1 chip" solution.
  • Some integrated video cards borrow RAM from the main board; as you have pointed out, this steals from the overall system memory, resulting in less memory usable for application-processing.
  • With a dedicated card, you can upgrade to something faster, later.

As far as which video card will perform better: the answer is dependant upon the video card chipset, the type of video RAM used, the amount of RAM available to the video card, and the frequency of the video bus speed (also known as the "clock" speed).

To fully understand this, you will need to compare specifications side-by-side through research on the Internet. Based on my preliminary observations, certain models of the nVidia MX 4 perform slower than the FX-5500 (which, as far as I understand, based on the FX-5200 chipset).

Rate this article: 
No votes yet