Measuring Up with Modern Integrated Graphics

For any professional or enthusiast-level gamer, the thought of running titles on integrated graphics can be a non-starter. Even just the thought will be enough to send a chill down some readers’ spines, so long have these been maligned by the gaming public. There’s a little problem here, however, in that few of us pay attention to how far integrated graphics have come, as we see them as solutions we’ll never personally adopt. Taking a closer look at some of the best on the market, we can see that these can be great temporary or permanent solutions, depending on the person.

Why Would Anyone Use Integrated?

There are two potential reasons why a user would turn to integrated graphics over a discrete card. The first is that, while the GPU market has recovered somewhat since the recent decline in cryptocurrencies, GPUs still aren’t cheap. Still, if somebody wants to build a machine that is functional while waiting for a GPU, they can do that with integrated graphics. Any user taking this route will only be leveraging a fraction of a machine’s full potential, but it’s a viable stopgap approach.

AMD@7nm(12nmIOD)@Zen3@Vermeer@Ryzen_5_56 (Public Domain) by FritzchensFritz

The second reason for relying on integrated graphics is if a player sticks to low-demand titles, like online casino games. Free slot games like Sun of Fortune and Fire 88, for example, are professionally designed and feature cutting-edge visuals, sound, and gameplay. But they don’t require anything close to the amount of processing hardware that traditional video games do, meaning they can easily run at their highest settings on even a humble integrated graphics chip. In these instances, a discrete card would be a waste of money, so players of casino games shouldn’t bother.

Modern Gaming Performance

Before completely writing off integrated graphics for modern gaming, it’s necessary to take into account the varied nature of the modern gaming industry. While it’s true that many games continuously try to push the envelope to a level that will bring even Nvidia’s GeForce 30 series to its knees at higher settings, not all games adopt this route.

Esports titles are the biggest example of this because they are built around allowing high levels of performance over a wide range of systems. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, for example, manages to average well over 60 FPS on the Ryzen 5 5600G, easily within a playable state. While more demanding titles like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla might struggle to reach 30 FPS with its much higher requirements, there are still modern eSports games and thousands of indie and older titles that will run perfectly on integrated chips.

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Whatever your dream build for the future may be (and however large a power supply upgrade that requires), don’t underestimate the potential of modern-day integrated graphics chips. These can be great temporary fallbacks or even permanent solutions for low-demand family members and friends. Remember, they may be far below what discrete cards offer today, but eventually, integrated systems will always catch up.

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