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Can You Use A Computer Without A GPU? (Read THIS First!)

Can You Use A Computer Without A GPU? (Read THIS First!)

GPUs can be extremely expensive, not to mention hard to install. So, do you really need one to use your computer or will you be fine without one?

Can You Use A Computer Without A GPU?

You can use a computer without a GPU. As long as your CPU has integrated graphics, a dedicated GPU is not necessary for using a computer. If your CPU does not have integrated graphics and you do not have a dedicated GPU, then you will not be able to use the computer because it needs a graphics processor.

You typically don’t need a dedicated graphics card to use your computer. Most computers work just fine with nothing but a CPU and the CPU’s onboard/integrated graphics processing unit.

If your CPU doesn’t have integrated graphics, though, then you’ll need a dedicated graphics card in your PC.

Computers need some way to process graphics, so if your CPU doesn’t have integrated graphics, and you don’t have a dedicated graphics card, then you won’t be able to use your PC.

Luckily, most Intel CPUs have integrated graphics and AMD is also starting to add integrated graphics to their CPUs.

So, if you’re thinking of saving money by building your PC without a dedicated graphics card, then you can easily find a CPU with integrated graphics.

If you try running your PC without a graphics card and your CPU lacks integrated graphics processing, then your PC probably won’t start.

Modern motherboards look for some kind of graphics processing unit before booting, and if they don’t find one they won’t boot until you hook one up.

So, while a dedicated GPU isn’t strictly necessary, if you leave one out of your PC you’ll need a CPU with integrated graphics.

Pros Of Using A GPU?

  • GPUs are much more powerful than integrated graphics
  • Higher framerates while gaming and even while watching videos / using the computer
  • Better bang for your back than upgrading to a CPU with better integrated graphics

Cons Of Using A GPU?

  • GPUs can be very expensive for high end cards
  • For non-gamers, a dedicated graphics card may not be worth the additional expense
  • Installing / upgrading GPUs can be hard if you don’t have experience

Can You Game Without A GPU?

You can play games without a GPU. Many CPUs (especially Intel CPUs) have integrated graphics which can handle gaming on low settings. Very demanding games will not be able to run on integrated graphics, though. So while you can game without a GPU, your choice of games will be limited.

Thankfully, many games can run perfectly fine on integrated graphics. When I was in college, I’d pretty much spend all of my time outside of class playing League of Legends on my laptop.

Of course, my laptop was an old junker, so it didn’t have a dedicated GPU, just the (bad) integrated graphics of the CPU. However, it still got the job done and made gaming possible!

Now, granted, I had to play League on the lowest graphics settings, and when I tried to run Rocket League, my computer pretty much froze up and crashed immediately.

So, you can play games without a GPU, but you’ll probably have to lower your graphics settings and stick to games that are easy-to-run.

If your CPU doesn’t have integrated graphics, then you will need a GPU to game or do anything else on your computer.

You can’t run a computer without a GPU of some sort, whether it be integrated or dedicated. Most likely, your computer won’t even turn on without some kind of graphics processing unit.

Tasks Where A GPU Is Recommended

A GPU is recommended if you do any of the following on your computer:

  • Gaming
  • Animating
  • Graphic Design
  • Photo Editing
  • Digital Art
  • 3D Modeling
  • Video Editing and Special Effects

If you do anything on your computer that involves art, graphics, animation, etc, then you will benefit greatly from a dedicated GPU.

GPUs are specifically designed to handle the complex calculations involved in rendering graphics in real time.

Therefore, dedicated GPUs are much more efficient than CPUs at tasks that require computer-generated images to be rendered on your screen in real-time.

A good GPU makes gaming a much more enjoyable experience because it allows you to increase your game’s graphics settings, making the game look more lifelike.

But a good GPU is not only beneficial for gaming. A good GPU will also deliver a better experience for tasks like 3D modelling, or generating visual special effects (in Adobe After Effects, for example).

Do You Need A GPU If You Have Integrated Graphics?

You do not need a dedicated GPU if your CPU has integrated graphics. Your computer will work perfectly fine without a dedicated GPU, but if you plan to play games or do anything graphically demanding, you will need to lower your settings.

You absolutely do not need a GPU if you have integrated graphics in your CPU. Whether you want a GPU or not will depend on what you do on your computer.

If you only use your computer for watching videos, streams, etc. and general internet browsing, then integrated graphics will work just fine.

On the other hand, if you game on your computer, you’re probably going to want a dedicated GPU. Without a dedicated GPU, there will be many games that are too demanding for you to run, and the ones you can run will need to be run on low graphic settings.

My laptop with nothing but integrated graphics, for example, can run League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Starcraft 2.

I have to turn the graphics down on all of these games, but they run fine and I usually get 60 FPS! Now, I’d never try to play Destiny 2 on my laptop, but it gets the job done when I just want to play Stardew Valley and watch YouTube.

Will A Motherboard Work Without A GPU?

A motherboard will work without a GPU. As long as the CPU in the motherboard has integrated graphics, the motherboard will work without a dedicated graphics card. If the CPU does not have integrated graphics, then the motherboard will not work without a dedicated GPU and most likely will not even boot.

Long story short, you need some kind of graphics processing for your motherboard and your computer to work. This hasn’t always been true, but most modern motherboards are just not going to be happy without a GPU or at least integrated graphics.

However, you do not need a dedicated GPU for your motherboard to work. As long as you have a CPU with integrated graphics (most Intel CPUs have integrated graphics, for example), your motherboard should turn on and work just fine.

That being said, there are motherboards in existence with graphics acceleration as a feature. These motherboards may be able to work slightly without any kind of graphics card or integrated graphics.

For all intents and purposes, though, you’ll want integrated graphics or a GPU.

What Happens If You Try To Run Your Computer Without A GPU?

If you try to run your computer without a GPU, then your computer will try to boot and then shutdown when it doesn’t detect a GPU. If your computer does turn on, there will be no visual output at all, which means the fans will spin and everything will work, but you will not see what is happening on your PC.

All of this is assuming that you do not have integrated graphics in your CPU. If your CPU does have integrated graphics (most Intel processors or AMD processors with a “G” at the end of their name), then your computer will turn on and run like normal.

However, without integrated graphics, most computers will just refuse to work. This is because the motherboard will try to find some kind of graphics processor when it starts up, and if it doesn’t then it will refuse to start until you give it one.

Not all motherboards work the same, though, some will let you start your computer like normal, but without something handling the graphics, you won’t be able to see anything happening on your computer.

Does A PC Need A Graphics Card If It’s Not For Gaming?

A PC doesn’t need a graphics card if it is not for gaming. If the CPU in the PC has integrated graphics (most Intel CPUs have this and AMD CPUs with a “G” in the name), then there is no need for a dedicated GPU in a non-gaming PC. You will be able to browse the internet and use the computer without one.

Most laptops and home computers have no graphics card in them. They just have integrated graphics built into their CPUs.

Integrated graphics are not that powerful, so you shouldn’t expect to do any heavy rendering or gaming, but they are perfectly fine for typical computer usage.

So, you do not need a GPU in your computer, as long as your CPU has built-in integrated graphics.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.