Article ID: 000057824 Content Type: Product Information & Documentation Last Reviewed: 07/07/2021

What Is the Difference Between Integrated Graphics and Discrete Graphics?


Explains integrated graphics versus discrete graphics.


What is the difference between integrated graphics and discrete graphics?


A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a processor dedicated solely to graphics processing operations. One of the main functions of the GPU is to lighten the load on the central processing unit (CPU), especially when running a graphics intensive game or application.
A GPU can be either integrated or discrete. See below for more information.

Integrated graphics
Integrated graphics is a GPU built into the processor. Integrated graphics hardware doesn't use a separate memory bank for graphics/video. Instead, the GPU uses system memory that is shared with the CPU. Since integrated graphics is built into the processor, it typically uses less power and as a result creates less heat, which can result in a longer battery life. Processors with integrated graphics are most commonly found in smaller form factor systems such as laptops and Intel® NUCs. 

Discrete graphics
Discrete graphics is a GPU that is a separate from the processor. Discrete graphics has its own dedicated memory that is not shared with the CPU. Since discrete graphics is separate from the processor chip, it consumes more power and generates a significant amount of heat. However, since a discrete graphics has its own memory source and power source, it provides higher performance than integrated graphics. Discrete graphics cards are most commonly found in desktop PCs. Laptops and small form factor PCs can also contain discrete graphics cards.

Additional information

How do I identify if my computer contains Intel® integrated graphics or Intel® discrete graphics?
See how to Identify Your Intel® Graphics Controller.

Related topics
Identify Your Intel® Graphics Controller
How to Install an Intel® Graphics Driver in Windows® 10 and Windows 8*/8.1*


Related Products

This article applies to 82 products