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Im taking graphic design at the moment and need to buy a new laptop in order to complete my assignments. I found one for a good price (I am a bit strapped for cash) which offers 8 gb of ram and an Intel HD Graphics 520 with up to 4169 MB total graphics memory. This description is a bit unclear since this is a shared graphics card which, if I'm not mistaken, will share the workload with the ram.

I know plenty of mac models use this same sharing method and they are pretty well known for powerful graphics capabilities. Will this graphics card setup hinder performance or lag while rendering my images? Is there any difference in the actual workflow between a dedicated graphics and shared graphics card? For example, waiting an extended period of time for rendering once I apply changes to a photo? (which would apply to a shared setup i imagine)

I know I will be taking Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Photography, Digital Video Editing, Digital Imaging (Adobe Illustrator), Digital Page Design and Computer Animation. I need something that can handle all of these and the question is whether or not a shared-memory GPU will suffice or if I should I turn to a dedicated graphics card (will my workflow be interrupted by the laggy response of a shared graphics card or does that not make a difference?)

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  • Dedicated graphics will always be better than shared. If it shares the system ram it places an additional burden on the system ram, where as dedicated cards have dedicated memory and a high performance GPU. How this affects you depends greatly on the resolution of the photos,videos, and the number of effects on at the same time. Without some idea of quanity,resolution,number of effect, video encoding, and more all I can tell you is dedicated is always faster. If your work load is too small you won't notice it.
    – cybernard
    Sep 11 '16 at 17:55
  • Your question is all over the place. What performance are you interested in? 3D? 2D? What workflow? What Mac models? Maybe you should slim down the question to something like “Will Photoshop’s performance be hindered by having a shared-memory GPU?”.
    – Daniel B
    Sep 11 '16 at 18:01
  • @DanielB Edited the main post, hopefully it;s much clearer for you.
    – Daniel
    Sep 11 '16 at 18:11
  • @cybernard Maybe 5 to 6 photos open at a time in photoshop, at high resolution (HD monitor and HD Gfx card), High resolution video editing (enough for 1080p quality in Youtube). Short youtube tutorials and maybe some music video work will be done on this system. 3D animation as well, mostly for working on Java Applets.
    – Daniel
    Sep 11 '16 at 18:32
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You will need a decent GPU for complex 3D rendering, but you should be more concerned about your CPU if you are going to mostly work in video editing and rendering 2D images. Most video editing software relies more on the CPU rather than the GPU (barring a few which support options like CUDA). For example, if you were to encode x264, most software would use your CPU, with few offering (highly unreliable) support for GPU based encoding. If you are getting a GPU all the same, be sure that it supports CUDA or OpenCL.

My opinion, if you are on a tight budget, it would be a good idea to ditch the dedicated GPU for a Core i7 or at least an i5. Also, you would need at least 8GB ram, since integrated graphics would eat up a portion of that. You could also have a look at AMD's APUs which claim to offer better dedicated graphics in case you are really afraid of a GPU bottleneck.

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  • Thanks, I think i found the one I need. I found one with a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U Processor, Dual-Core and 8 gigs of ram within my price range. Thank you so much.
    – Daniel
    Sep 11 '16 at 20:10

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