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Does a graphics card matter at all if I don't play games?

by something_strange / March 19, 2009 4:21 AM PDT

I don't play games (other than like solitaire), so does it even matter what graphics card I get with my laptop? Will anything else be affected if I go with a cheaper card? Thanks again.

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The nice part of the Intel GMA is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 19, 2009 5:22 AM PDT

Fairly good battery time and life along with the lower models of the ATI and Nvidia (such as 9200, 7200, etc.) give you the nice AERO boost without increasing power consumption much.

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No, stick with Intel.
by fbbbb / March 20, 2009 2:20 AM PDT

Integrated graphics will extend your battery runtime and will do everything that you generally need. Go for the latest though - which will be the M4500HD. Later models will feature more power-saving facilities with no performance hit.

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Video Chips
by Speedyfanger / March 20, 2009 3:59 PM PDT

You do not mention the age of your computer but if it is any time recent,like the last few years, it will almost certainly have sufficient speed and capability to play games using it's on board video chip.

There will be no trouble playing games using word or cards as their principal function. Should you try to play games, such as driving race cars etc. the game on installation will most likely warn you of any shortcomings in your hardware set up.

Trying to play games without sufficient hardware performance will not do any damage to your system, just unistall it.

I renovate ten year old computers for donating to older people and these play games quite happily,so, game on!!!

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Don't even bother about the graphics card...

I am still using the onboard graphics (64 MB) of my "ancient" Intel 845G motherboard (it was brought 5 yrs ago) while playing pretty graphic intensive games like Need for Speed Underground (1 & 2). In fact, I at one point of time I had ONLY 256 MB of RAM and still the game used to feel nice.

In short, do not even bother spending a penny on the graphics card. All Intel motherboards in the last 1-2 years will certainly have better graphics than the ones I was using. Aero in Vista just adds some extra eye-candy which you can pretty well do without.

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Modern integrated (eg. GMA 4500) is OK, but 845 was junk
by BigGuns149 / April 21, 2009 5:58 AM PDT

I agree with you the benefits of getting better graphics on a laptop TODAY is somewhat dubious for a lot of users, but I have to say that the 845 chipset was junk even back in the day. It barely ran the basic 2D Windows XP graphics well without bogging down the CPU. Opening a context menu would have a noticeable delay in Windows XP using that graphics chipset. Even if you use a word processor and a web browser that is annoying!

The modern integrated chipsets can not only handle the relatively low end 3d graphics of Vista, but do Blu-ray playback and play quite a few games at 1280x1024. Dedicated graphics would still be better for games, but unlike the older integrated solutions the GMA 4500HD actually can actually run the latest version of Windows smoothly and more.

Furthermore, I would disagree that the Aere graphics in Vista are nothing except useless eye candy. The hoverover previews on the taskbar can be rather useful in identifying windows that you want to switch to.

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There is one reason to buy a laptop ..... portability
by Dango517 / March 21, 2009 3:22 AM PDT

If you need to carry your computer buy a laptop. You will be paying a premium price for this ability and sacrificing over-all system performance.

Gaming is one of the most demanding of computer uses requiring power and speed. Laptop general lack the power and speed needed to run graphics intensive games. Generally speaking, solitaire usually, a 2D game, is not a graphics intensive game.

Demands placed on personal computers fall in three general categories

(High end) Performance computing

3D online multi player gaming
3D virtual worlds
3D gaming

Multi Media computing

Images (high volume of images with fast access)
2D gaming and animations like GIFs and Flash

(Low end) Text based computing

Images (low volume with slow access speed)
Web surfing

Note: This is offered a a general guide only. Many categories overlap and many crossed categories do exist. By-no-means is this a complete list of all possibilities within a category. A slow Internet connection can reduce the capabilities of even the best PC.

Increasing hardware in a laptop can increase its heat load. Heat is the enemy of computers electronics. Heat can impair Laptop and PC performance, in some cases causing total system crashes. Effective cooling options for laptops are few. Buy laptop hardware carefully, keeping heat low and extending battery life should be priorities when making Laptop hardware purchasing decisions.

This thread is untracked

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Yes, I do need to carry my computer
by something_strange / March 21, 2009 10:00 AM PDT

That's why I'm looking for a laptop and not a desktop. In most places, however, I should have access to an outlet, so battery life isn't vital. However, money is, especially in this economy, so I want to waste as little as possible, and if I can save on not having to buy a graphics card, I'd love to.

Probably the most intensive thing I do on my computer is video chats (Skype and MSN), YouTube videos, and listening to music using iTunes. I do compose music using a computer, but I primarily use my more powerful home desktop for that. In terms of the graphics in Vista, I'll probably install XP over it anyway, so I'm not concerned about that. This computer will be primarily be my work computer, although it will also be used for web surfing. From what I read here, this probably doesn't need anything more than the included graphics card.

Thanks to everyone who helped.

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by Renegade Knight / March 22, 2009 4:28 AM PDT

If you don't do games, and don't do 3D work on your computer that's graphics intensive about any old graphics card will do the job for you. If you have shared memory with the card you will find that a lot of system memory does help things out.

Others have advised getting enough of a graphics card to enable the OS to offer Aero. That's good advice.

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