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Do I need a Dedicated Graphics Card?

by bkwilder010 / February 13, 2010 2:50 AM PST

I am looking at buying a new laptop (core i5 or i7 cpu) and am wondering if I need to buy one with a dedicated graphics card. I don't play any computer games, but I would like to connect my laptop to my tv to watch movies and some tv shows through my computer. I know just about all computers can do this, but I was under the impression that not all could do it with Windows 7.

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Not necessarily...
by John.Wilkinson / February 13, 2010 2:59 AM PST

The two key issues are:

1.) Quality of the output. Check reviews of the make/model with the integrated chip and consider the desired TV's size/resolution as performance varies widely.

2.) Shared RAM. Remember that the RAM used for your graphics system is not available for general use by Windows and installed applications, so shop accordingly.


P.S. Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic are limited, but such are rarely found outside of netbooks and 'developing' countries. Thus, such should not be a problem.

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Do I need a dedicated graphics card
by bkwilder010 / February 13, 2010 3:19 AM PST
In reply to: Not necessarily...

Thank you for your help. I'm still a little unsure though. I want a laptop that will be pretty fast for the next few years and that will smoothly play shows from the internet to my tv via an HDMI cable.

I've been the three laptops I'm deciding b/w are...

1. the $1000 (amazon) ASUS N61JQ-X1 (core i7, 4gb RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 1gb VRAM, 7200rpm HDD).
2. the $650 HP Pavilion dv4-2170us (core i5, 4gb RAM, Intel HD Graphics with up to 1696MB Total Available Graphics Memory, 7200rpm hard drive)
3. the customized HP dv4i series for $750 (core i5, 4gb RAM, 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4550 , 7200rpm hard drive).

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Performance correlates with price...
by John.Wilkinson / February 13, 2010 3:28 AM PST

In this case, the performance directly correlates with the price. All three would be sufficient, but the Asus laptop clearly has the advantage, especially in terms of longevity. (The 5730, in particular, is a year newer than the other chips.)

-> For reference, HP primarily uses Asus motherboards and similar third-party hardware throughout, so quality is approximately the same.


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That's not really a limitation of Windows 7.
by Kees Bakker / February 13, 2010 3:10 AM PST

Even my modest netbook with XP has a hdmi-output. But I never tried to connect it to the hdmi-input of my TV.

Find a shop like BestBuy and ask them to show that it works. All they need would be a cable, a laptop and a TV. And they sure have all.

Take your favorite DVD with you and ask them to play it on the laptop and show it on one of their TV's.


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Do I Need a dedicated Graphics card
by bkwilder010 / February 13, 2010 3:43 AM PST

Thanks for your help John and Kees. I think I'm going to go with the ASUS N61JQ-X1. I like to buy a computer that's expensive at the time and hang on to it forever. It worked well with my current laptop - a dell inspiron 5150 that has been solid for 6 and a half years and only started to really slow down over the last 6 months! Thanks again

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