Can You Run a PC Without a GPU? Is This Even Possible? [2023 Updated]

The GPU or the graphics card is a vital component of the gaming computer. It plays a pivotal role in taking up essential inputs from the user to play the game and translating them into instructions available on the screen. For most of us, it is impossible to imagine playing games on the computer without the help of a graphics card. We also have a feeling that the gaming performance is reduced significantly in the absence of a graphics card. 

Can You Run a PC Without a GPU?

Is it possible to play games on the computer without installing a graphics card on it? The answer is actually yes. The Central Processing Unit in the computer possesses a dedicated graphics unit. This can be beneficial for the user to play games that are not so demanding on the part of the player. But if you want to play high-end games, which are the latest in the field with a lot of tough interfaces, then you will require a graphics card.

What is a Graphics Card?

can you run a pc without a gpu

The GPU is a computer hardware chip. They were in use since the 1980s. It was designed for manipulating and altering the memory of the PC. It also helps to accelerate the process of image creation from the video card of the computer. They were built originally to ensure the smooth running of games. 

The graphics card helps to process the graphical data in the computer and turning into something that the computer monitor could display. In the absence of the graphics card, we will only end up seeing a blank message. And if you try to use any form of 3D application on the computer, you will only end up getting an error message on the screen.

Though you can operate your personal computer without the presence of a graphics card, if you wish to get the most out of your gaming computer, then it is a must to invest in a graphics card. So, the final call is that it is not possible to run a modern gaming computer without the help of a graphics card. 

Without the presence of a graphical processing unit, it is not possible to play modern games. And in the absence of a graphics card, it is not possible to play even the old games. The ultimate aim of the graphics card is to help the computer play very high-quality visuals. The graphics card is a very expensive unit, but it will help to extract the ideal gaming performance, out of the computer.

Graphics Card

The chances of running a computer without the help of a graphics card:

The chances of running a gaming computer without a GPU are high. You can run a computer without GPU, but if you want to play games on the computer without a GPU, it is not possible. The graphics card is responsible for what you are seeing on the monitor and having a graphics card installed, will help the game look better. It will also allow the computer to load quickly. 

computer without the help of a graphics card

If you are playing a game with the help of the CPU, you can be sure that your game will not be clear, as that rendered by the GPU. But you can try other alternatives such as Xbox One or Playstation 4, or you can also connect the HDMI with TV to play the game. These are very good alternatives for using graphics cards in playing computer games. 

Why Should You Use a Graphics Card on Your Personal Computer?

Use a Graphics Card on Your Personal Computer

The graphics card is not a vital component of the personal computer but is an integral component in enhancing gaming performance. Without installing a high-end graphics card on your computer, you will not be able to play the latest games in the system. Nor will it be possible to use any type of 3D application in the system. 

With the help of an integrated and high-end graphics card, it is possible to play a lot of demanding games. This hardware chip plays a major role in processing the information fed into the computer while playing games. Without the GPU, you will only get an error message while trying to play games. 

GPU is the brain in the computer and it performs all the calculations concerning 3D applications and games. The performance of the graphics card depends on its features and how tough it is built into. This hardware unit will send an image to the screen through cables, and thus without having this card, you will not be able to see anything on the PC screen.

Different Types of Graphical Processing Units

 Types of Graphical Processing Units

The graphics card are available at different costs and with varying specifications. There are different types of graphics cards available in the market, and it is important to choose the best product, that best suits the PC function.

1. Integrated Graphical Processing Unit:

The integrated graphical processing units are those that are in-built with the CPU of the computer. They are tightly integrated and will be able to share information with the computer. But these types of graphical processing units are very slow. They will only share the information and resources with the CPU, and they do not have any information on their own. 

The integrated graphics card is capable of performing only fundamental tasks, such as playing videos, opening pictures, and displaying the same on the screen. These integrated GPUS can help in playing basic games. They are not good at playing games at very high resolution and high-end games.

Integrated Graphical Processing Unit

2. Dedicated GPU:

The dedicated GPU has powerful and tougher hardware, compared with the integrated GPUs. They have a combined memory capacity of about 24 GB. With such high capacity, it is possible to store a huge volume of graphics data, while concurrently enhancing performance. They are available as separate units, and they have to be combined with the motherboard, with the help of dedicated cables and pins. 

Dedicated GPU

The dedicated graphical processing units are not similar to built-in graphics that come in-built with the computer. These are brought separately and they could cost about $2000. 

3. External Graphics Cards:

The external graphics units find extensive applications in laptops and they have minimal functionality concerning the PCs. Almost all types of laptops lack the presence of graphics systems.  And thus, this eGPU or external graphical card unit can be of immense help for those who like to play games on laptops. 

These GPUS will enable users to achieve the same graphical performance as that of mid-range gaming computers. Generally, laptops do not require GPU as they can function without them. But if you want to use the laptop for gaming purposes, then you have to invest in eGPU.

External Graphics Cards

Can You Run a PC Without a GPU?

Run a Personal Computer Without Using GPU

After analyzing the graphical card, the use of graphical processing units in personal computers, and the different types of GPUs available, we have now come to an important aspect. Can a computer run without a GPU? Yes, you can run a computer without the help of a dedicated graphical processing unit. However, it is not possible to run a computer without the help of an integrated unit. 

The integrated graphical card is capable of performing only basic graphics work, sitting at the central processing unit of the system. But still, it is highly impossible to run the PC without their presence. The reason is their close association with the CPU. They are also responsible for the most crucial task in the computer, that is, they are responsible for maintaining and keeping the screen of your computer alive. 

The most important output unit of the computer, the monitor will go blank without the functioning of the dedicated graphics card everything you see on the monitor. The different texts, images, and videos are all controlled by the integrated GPU. If you try running the PC without graphics card, you will end up seeing only the blank screen.

A dedicated GPU however, is for those who wish to play games and enjoy high-end 3D animations on their computer monitor. The function of the dedicated GPU is to help you run complicated software in the system. But for the basic functioning of the computer, they are not mandatory. 

Advantages of Having a Graphics Card in the Computer

Advantages of Having a Graphics Card in the Computer

Well, if you ask, why should I have an advanced GPU on my computer, the answer is to play high-performance games. Games in general involve abundant graphics. There will be different scenes displayed in the game, and the physics of the different games will be different. There will be different player models as well. To load all these components in the game, GPU is important.

Not just games, if you are a professional who is using high-end software such as AutoCAD for your work, then you would require a graphics card. Having a dedicated GPU fixed to your computer will help you enhance your productivity to many folds.

Though the graphics card were invented for use by gamers, they are capable of catering to other functions as well. They are capable of performing the complex calculation, that sometimes surpasses the functioning of the central processing unit of the computer.

The integrated GPU that is inbuilt into your computer will not be enough for performing these high-end tasks. You will only be able to ease the hassle with the help of a dedicated GPU, that features a huge memory to handle such tasks. 

Apart from gaming, computational work, and professional assistance, the GPU holds several other advantages as well. These advantages can be summarized as follows.

1. Video editing and 3D rendering:

These are two areas where the graphics card has direct action. These two are the most significant advantages of graphics cards. In editing videos and favoring 3D rendering, it is mandatory to have high-end video encoding and decoding functions. Both these tasks are graphics intensive. 

Video editing and 3D rendering

Having a GPU unit will help in dealing with such graphics data. Also, they are designed to handle huge volumes of such data at the same time and thus help us in finishing these tasks easily.

2. Artificial Intelligence:

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are important applications of graphics card units. Both these parameters, incorporate thousands of calculations to be completed at a single time and in real-time. The best way to get these calculations completed without errors and in real-time is by the use of graphics cards. 

The GPUs are capable of computing tens of thousands of calculations at a single time and as they own a lot of m multiple cores, they can accomplish this. GPUs are finding extensive applications in running and building algorithms for AI and ML.

Artificial Intelligence

3. Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies:

This is the lesser known advantage of the graphical processing units in the computer. In cryptocurrencies, complex algorithms and calculations are put into use to create the blockchain technology every time transaction is been attempted. Cryptocurrencies make use of thousands of calculations, to be performed every time. Fortunately, these calculations come naturally for the graphical processing units. 

Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies

Performing high order and complex calculations is very easy for GPUs and they are also very well equipped to perform these tasks. They hold a lot of arithmetic logic units, that are well versed to handle complex mathematical calculations. When it comes to complex math calculations, the GPUs outperform the CPUs. No wonder there are computers built only with GPUs to handle such tasks.

Thus the applications of graphical processing units are not limited to use in PC gaming only. They are capable of performing the complex and difficult tasks that are listed above. 

Is it Possible to Run Games Without a Graphics Card?

Run Games Without a Graphics Card

Yes, it is possible to play games on your PC without the use of a graphics card, but we cannot vouch for the quality of the game output. You can use the video card, available in the motherboard to play PC games. For some low-end games, this could be enough. But in high-end games, you will not be able to have a clear visual or performance. The video card or the GPU in the CPU cannot replace a dedicated graphics card.

Casual gamers can try investing in low-cost GPU cards. There are such cards available for as low as $60 and casual gamers can benefit from them. Most games make use of the integrated graphics card available on the computer to play games. Though they are cheaper variants available on desktops, they could still be of great help in playing PC games. 

But they will not be able to reproduce the same video quality as that of a dedicated GPU. The limitations of integrated GPUs are as follows.

  • Their video editing performance will be poor.
  • We cannot expect them to offer high-order 3D rendering.
  • They will not be able to offer the required power and bandwidth for casual gamers.

But they help to play games without having to spend money on additional graphics cards. They still support games in decent visual settings and resolutions. 

On the other hand, gamers can also make use of their CPU to play their games. But to enable this function, they have to download some programs, such as the game booster. This program will be of great use in playing intensive games and games that require serious applications.

There is always an option to buy a cheaper graphics card, that features an in-built GPU if at all you don’t have to invest in an additional power supply and extra cables.

Run Games Without a Graphics Card

Other options to play games without investing in a GPU:

One good option to play games on the PC, without investing in a GPU is to make use of Intel’s HD Audio driver. This feature is available in Windows 10 OS. Games can take advantage of this audio driver and use it along with teh processor of the computer, in the place of the graphics card. 

The hard drive or the disk drive is a component of the computer, that helps PC users to retrieve writing and reading data from storage devices. Though they can be of use to playing games on the computer, they are not great options to play demanding games that have high-order visuals.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Q1. It is possible to play PC games without the help of a graphics card?

A1. Without the graphics card, you can play normal and simple games on your PC, as its integrated GPU will help you in the task. The integrated GPU may not be sufficient to play all the games in most instances. 

Q2. Will I be able to play games with my current GPU?

A2. If you do not have a dedicated GPU, it may not be possible to play all the games on your personal computer. However, you will be able to play some games that require minimal system requirements. You can find out easily if the game will be compatible with your system by tracings the graphics requirement of the game, from the official game website. 

Q3. Will I be able to remove the integrated graphics card from my computer?

A3. No, you will not be able to remove the IGPU from your computer as they are already built into the processor of the computer. You cannot remove the integrated GPU alone to change it, if you want to upgrade to a high-level graphics card, you have to buy a new processor.

Q4. Will my laptop work without GPU?

A4. Yes, laptops do not require a graphical processing unit. Thus, you can run a laptop without a GPU, but not a PC. The integrated GPUs of laptops will be powerful enough to handle the game requirements.

Q5. How much should I spend to buy a new GPU?

A5. The cost of a Graphics card is anywhere between $300 and $500. They are the most expensive part of computer hardware, and their price has also tremendously increased in recent times. The attributing reasons are the shortage of silicon chips and the increasing demand for GPUs. 

Q6. Who are the largest manufacturers of graphics cards?

A6. AMD and Nvidia are the two largest manufacturers of graphics cards. Even they are not able to strike the right balance between demand and supply of graphics cards, which has again increased their price.

Q7. Is it possible to run a computer without a graphics card?

A7. Yes, it is possible to run a computer without a graphics card. But you should be using this computer for gaming and in processing 3D applications

Q8. Can I build my gaming PC without a GPU?

A8. Building a gaming PC means, you require a processor, motherboard, and hard drive. You will also have to install the operating system on the computer. If you wish your computer to perform high-end functions such as watching movies and playing games, then you require a graphics card. This unit is responsible for processing your PC into a game station. So it is not possible to build a gaming PC without a GPU.

Q9. Why should I invest in a GPU, when my computer already has an integrated graphics unit?

A9. If you will be satisfied with less-demanding games, you can as well go ahead with the integrated graphics card. But if you want advanced game action and 3D applications on your screen, then you should invest in a dedicated GPU.

Bottom Line

We hope we have answered the query, Can You Run a PC Without a GPU?

The answer is a big No. The graphical processing units come integrated with the motherboard of the computer and thus, it is practically impossible to run a system without a GPU.

But the integrated GPUs have their limitations and we cannot expect the computer to support high-end games with this unit. You may also have to decrease your game resolutions and settings, to continue playing games.

For those who wish to enjoy and explore an immersive PC gaming experience, it is important to invest in a high-end PC graphics card. Gamers will require dedicated graphics cards to power their games, and they shouldn’t be mining to spend a little extra on the GPU.  

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