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Could a slow graphics card cause slow performance in Windows? Obviously a graphics card is mostly used when playing video games, but do Windows and normal office apps (e.g. Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, email programs, etc) experience any benefits from having a fast card?

For example, the Dell Inspirion 546 seems to come with a reasonably fast CPU and 3GB of RAM but a very slow graphics card (the Radeon HD 3200), which also shares 256MB of system RAM. Could this cause slow downs in non-3D based applications?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

In Windows 7/Vista, just at the desktop, if you have Aero enabled, then yes. If the UI seems slow, try disabling it. Aero has 3D effects and will be accelerated by the GPU.

I would actually run the System Score and see what it is. That should give you a good idea of what the bottleneck is.

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Do you mean the Windows system score, or some other software? – Django Reinhardt Jan 4 '13 at 2:12
If you mean Windows score, then everything is 5.8 or higher apart from Windows Aero performance, which is 3.6. – Django Reinhardt Jan 4 '13 at 3:18
Yeah, that would indicate a graphics bottleneck. If Aero is enabled I would try running Windows with it off. However, I'd venture that the system will still be sluggish. Is this a fresh install and it's sluggish? – Matt Jan 4 '13 at 19:43
More or less. It's a cleaned up Dell Windows image. Not great, but I've pretty much removed everything extraneous. – Django Reinhardt Jan 4 '13 at 21:59
Update: We upgraded the graphics card and everything runs a lots smoother now! – Django Reinhardt Mar 17 '13 at 12:09

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