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I'm wondering if Windows 7 or 8 (even dropped transparency!) is really using the power of a dedicated graphic card?

Is there any remarkable influence on the speed of daily windows usage (word processing, E-Mail, internet browsing etc.)?

I do not speak of the performance within Games, Graphic Programs etc. For that I find enough benchmarks

This would answer the question for many users that are looking for new computer with a integrated gaphics card or not.

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Is it using it? Sure. Will you notice a difference? Almost certainly not. –  Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 15:55
    
Interesting. More relevant as larger monitors, and more of them are being used on a single system. Especially important in realtime situations where CPU usage is critical like a Digital Audio Workstation. –  hydroparadise Oct 4 '12 at 15:57
    
So 90% of the users won't even notice a difference having a >300$ graphic card while using windows compared to a integrated graphics? Wow - don't tell ATI or nVidia! –  FiveO Oct 4 '12 at 16:01
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@FiveO No, there won't be a noticeable difference anything with a video card > $50 installed for 90% of users. –  hydroparadise Oct 4 '12 at 16:07
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@hydroparadise - I might expand on that even further and say that not only do most people not need a $300 graphics card for "word processing, E-Mail, internet browsing etc.", they could probably manage with a $300 computer. (At that point you can start to tell a difference, maybe, but certainly nobody needs to spend four figures for clerical work.) –  Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 16:10

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

This depends a lot on your definitions:

Is Windows really using a 3D card for daily stuff? No, not really.
Is Windows really using hardware accelerated compositing for daily stuff? Most definitely.

Do you need a $300 card for 2D acceleration & Aero? No. Pretty much any on-board graphics produced in the past few years will provide that these days, and I wouldn't factor it into any decisions about buying a new computer. It's not really a question of how good the 2D acceleration is, the card just needs to support it.

If you uninstall your drivers or disable hardware acceleration, you'll quickly notice the difference once you start dragging windows around on screen.

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Yep, that pretty much says it all. I was just writing an answer, but Darth Android said it all. –  Josiah Oct 4 '12 at 16:18

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