If you are low on budget or if you do not care much for gaming or a high-performance PC, then there is absolutely no point in investing on an expensive dedicated graphics card.
In such cases, integrated graphics make the most sense. However, note that motherboards with TRUE integrated graphics or onboard graphics chipsets have been ABSENT for quite some time.
Instead, the motherboards now rely on the integrated graphics cards on the processor to power up the basic video functions such as the ports on the I/O panel.
In other words, in the truest of meaning, there is no such thing as a motherboard with an integrated graphics card. However, you CAN consider motherboards that are MOST SUITABLE for CPUs with an integrated graphics card.
Relying on an integrated graphics card alone brings the cost of the PC down significantly yet still allows you to perform average tasks like word processing, office work, casual work, etc. and even editing and designing without any hassle.
Thus in this article, I will aim to mention some motherboards that can be best used for a CPU with an integrated GPU.
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Points to Note
Here we will assume that you are building a budget PC since only a budget PC relies upon integrated graphics alone.
Gaming or performance-based desktops require a dedicated graphics card.
You Do NOT Need Expensive Motherboards
The entire point of getting a motherboard suitable for an integrated graphics card is to go for the most affordable possible.
A PC build that uses iGPU as the primary source of the display isn’t a PC you’d use for gaming or for tougher tasks, hence spending on an expensive motherboard that offers multiple PCIe slots or powerful VRMs and heatsinks would be a wasted potential.
To choose the right motherboard for your iGPU build, you need to first decide on whether you are going for the Intel or the AMD route.
Can You Game Using Integrated Graphics Cards?
The answer to that question depends upon three factors:
- The choice of the game
- The graphics settings you prefer
- The iGPU you have
For starters, the choice of the game matter. If the game in question is one of the latest AAA games like one from the Call of Duty series, Elden Ring, Cyberpunk 2077 etc, then no. You’ll be thoroughly disappointed by the iGPUs.
If the choice of the game happens to be an indie title or an eSports title like League of Legends, Minecraft, DOTA, Rocket League etc, then yes, the iGPUs should do well.
Of course, your preference for graphics settings also matters. You cannot expect integrated graphics cards to support games at ultra-high graphics, 2K or 4K resolution, and maintain frame rates close to 60 or higher.
And finally, not all iGPUs are made the same. Some are more powerful than others as clarified below.
|G3DMark Performance Score
|NVIDIA GTX 1050
(Lower-mid level dedicated GPU for Reference)
(Ryzen 7 5700G)
(Ryzen 5 5600G)
(Ryzen 5 4600G
|Intel UHD 770
(Intel 13th Gen i7/i5)
|Intel UHD 730
(Intel 13th Gen i3)
|NVIDIA GT 730
(Entry-level dedicated GPU for Reference)
Motherboard DO NOT Have Integrated Graphics – CPUs Do
The simple answer is NO! Motherboards, nowadays, do not have integrated graphics of their own. Meaning, they do not have a separate chipset installed right on top of the mainboard that facilitates graphics processing.
There was a time when motherboards did feature true “onboard graphics chipsets”. However, that changed when AMD and Intel started making processors with the integrated graphics card.
Currently, almost all of the Intel processors have integrated graphics, whereas, AMD has a separate series of processors in each generation with a “G” designation like AMD Ryzen 3200G which feature integrated graphics cards.
So What Does “Onboard Graphics” Mean in the Motherboard Specifications?
It is understandable why you must be so confused if the motherboard spec sheet says it has ‘Onboard Graphics’ yet doesn’t really offer a dedicated video chipset.
Basically, this has to do with older terminology. The term ‘onboard graphics’ has been carried over since the time when motherboards ACTUALLY used to have a dedicated graphics chipset.
These days it just means that the motherboard has the PORTS to connect to a monitor as well as the ability to handle the PROCESSORS that have integrated graphics.
Do All Processors have Integrated Graphics?
No, not all processors have integrated graphics. For instance, when talking about AMD’s AM4 based Ryzen CPUs, only the “G” designated processors have integrated graphics.
Processors like Ryzen 5 5600X, or the Ryzen 7 3800X do not feature integrated graphics. If you install these on an AMD motherboard, you will NOT be able to use its onboard video-out ports.
Furthermore, some of the older processors may lack integrated graphics. Processors like the AMD FX 4170 released almost a decade ago, is an example of a processor not having an iGPU at all.
The motherboard for the AMD FX 4170 utilized the AM3+ socket. The motherboard with this socket had a dedicated chipset for onboard graphics. ASRock 985-GS3 FX is an example of an older motherboard with AM3+ socket featuring onboard graphics.
Fortunately, though, most, if not all, of the Intel processors do come with integrated graphics.
The recently AM5-based Ryzen CPUs, however, such as those from the 7000 series do feature an iGPU – albeit a weaker one compared to the “G” series CPUs.
So it seems AMD has finally come to terms with the fact that having an iGPU in all CPUs is a necessity for basic video output capability.
Some Motherboards DO NOT Have Video Output Ports
While most do have video output ports, there are some that do not feature video out ports at all and thus would not work the CPU’s iGPU.
In order for the integrated GPUs to display stuff, your motherboard needs to have video output ports. It if doesn’t then you will be forced to procure a dedicated graphics card for basic display.
So essentially it works both ways. You need a CPU with an iGPU for the motherboard’s video output ports to work and alternatively, you need to have output ports on the motherboard to justify even having an iGPU on your CPU in the first place.
Why Don’t Motherboard Feature their Own Graphics Cards?
As mentioned earlier, MOBOs used to have a dedicated graphics chipset. That changed when processors started featuring integrated graphics.
There is no point in having redundant low-level graphics cards i.e MOBO ‘onboard graphics’ and processor ‘integrated graphics’ at the same time since it only adds to useless costs.
Onboard Graphics vs CPU Integrated Graphics
Again, onboard graphics is just a term used on a motherboard to indicate that it has the PORTs to connect to a display and also the ability to support a CPU with an integrated graphics card.
The confusion stems from the way specifications are written.
For instance, the spec sheet above for a motherboard says that it has ‘onboard graphics’ without stating that it does not have a chipset of its own.
To add to the confusion it also says ‘integrated graphics processor-Intel HD Graphics’, this just adds more to confusion since a normal person would understand this as the motherboard in fact having an integrated chipset.
However, on the bottom, it actually sheds some light by clarifying that the actual support varies from CPU to CPU thus indicating that the onboard graphics does actually depend on the CPU.
The point is, actual ‘Onboard Graphics’ does not exist.
Integrated graphics, on the other hand, like the Intel HD series iGPU or the AMD VEGA series iGPUs are actually built into the processor. You don’t pay an extra amount for these when buying a new processor.
Can These MOBO Support 4K Resolution?
While the integrated graphics do support 4k resolution, whether the motherboard can output it or not depends on the PORTs AVAILABLE.
Basically, your motherboard will need to have at least one HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt 3.0 port in order to display 4k resolution.
You must also note that HDMI 1.4 is different from HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1. While they all can display 4k resolution, the HDMI 1.4 can only output 4K resolution at a 30Hz refresh rate, while the more recent HDMI 2.0 can handle 4K resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate.
HDMI 2.1 can display 4K and even 8K resolution at 120Hz or higher.
Is Onboard / Integrated Graphics Sufficient for Your System?
If you do CPU-intensive work, then the iGPU should suffice. In fact, even some of the more professional work like CAD designing, photo editing, and video editing can be sufficiently performed on an iGPU.
Basic to intermediate levels of work can be handled by an iGPU. Once you go into the professional sphere, that is when a dedicated GPU becomes a necessity.
The requirements, however, depend entirely on the software you use, the complexity of the project you work on, and your levels of expertise.
The chart above, for instance, shows the benchmark of the different graphics cards on Adobe Photoshop V0.92. The blue bar at the bottom is the benchmark for the integrated “Onboard” Intel UHD 630.
While there is a visible difference between the integrated Intel UHD 630 as well as a mid-range dedicated Radeon RX 5700XT in terms of performance, the iGPU should suffice if your work is limited to Full HD resolution on a single screen only.
Once you go into 4k/8k designing and particularly 3D designing, that is when a good dedicated GPU would become integral.
This article by Puget Systems details the Adobe Photoshop benchmarks.
The first thing to note is that the motherboards nowadays DO NOT actually have a graphics chipset of their own (unlike the older motherboards). The emphasis is on the word “nowadays”. They USED to have a graphics chipset a few years back.
Instead, these motherboards have output ports to connect to a monitor such as HDMI, DP, DVI, etc as well as support PROCESSORS that have integrated graphics cards like the Intel HD or the AMD VEGA.
Hence the best motherboards with integrated graphics listed here are just models that have support for iGPU. This allows your PC to function without needing a dedicated graphics card.
The best motherboards with integrated graphics support reviewed here were all rather affordable. We haven’t opted for any high-end performance or premium gaming-based MOBO since only a low-grade PC build would rely solely on integrated graphics.
However, if you need expandability for the future or if you need more features like built-in WiFi, then you must be ready to dish out some extra cash.