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As I'm thinking about getting a new computer, I really only have one question: Do I really need a graphics card? The computer I'm making would just be a family computer (Note: Windows 7) with only occasional gaming. I've always thought integrated works just fine for most people, especially since most people don't do gaming.

With me jumping from XP to Win 7 though, is a graphics card really necessary in my case?

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You mean a discrete graphics card, right? An integrated graphics card is still a graphics card. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 21 '10 at 19:03
@Ignacio Sorry about that, I've always considered integrated not a graphics card. Habit –  TheLQ Nov 21 '10 at 19:24
@Ignacio - I agree with TheLQ. Integrated graphics are on the motherboard - not on a separate card. Then again, people call tape and floppy disk image files "ROMs", so language can be a funny thing. –  Steve314 Nov 21 '10 at 19:28
If you have the option to buy a motherboard that has an integrated graphics card plus a PCI-E slot which you can use for upgrading, that would be better. –  Isxek Nov 21 '10 at 21:56

4 Answers 4

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My view - these days, you worry about graphics performance in modern systems if you want to play games - and I don't mean "casual" games. But then again, I'm still using Windows XP. AFAIK, the Vista and Windows 7 pretties are well within the capabilities of any modern integrated graphics, ahem, card though. Unless you have a specific reason to be concerned about graphics performance, I say don't worry too much about it - but do check that your motherboard isn't a total dog for integrated graphics performance.

The worst that can happen - you buy a graphics card later.

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I wouldn't say a graphics card is necessary but it may make the glitter of Windows 7 (Aero effects) look a bit better. On board graphics have come a long way in the past few years, so I personally wouldn't be afraid of removing a GPU from my budget IF I had picked a suitable motherboard/CPU combo (I hear good graphics from the i5 processors).

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That depends on the quality of the onboard video chip.

I have seen Windows 7 computers with onboard video running Windows 7 and using Aero.

Although I don't believe that they would support a very demanding video game, for most games the video settings can be tweaked down.

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Onboard graphics card are not bad in these days. You will be forced to change it only if you care about 3d intensive game titles :)

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