If you are thinking of upgrading your GPU and you are new to the PC building world, you want to know where you may find the graphics card in your PC, don’t worry we got you covered!
As a general rule, the graphics card is plugged into the first PCI Express slot on the motherboard right below the CPU (more exactly the CPU Cooler) but in some cases, you may find your graphics card plugged into the second PCI Express slot that is closer to the bottom of your case.
In this article, I tell you where is your graphics card located (exemplified with pictures), if you can run a PC without a graphics card, and how to find out what graphics card you have on your PC. So keep reading!
Where Is My Graphics Card Located on My PC?
Most often you will find your graphics card plugged in right below the CPU, sometimes it will be plugged in in the second PCI Express slot that is located lower on the motherboard, this is usually done because the CPU cooler is too big and there isn’t enough room to plug the graphics card in the first slot.
If you open your PC case and you don’t see any graphics card below the CPU and both PCI Express slots (or the single one, depending on the motherboard) are free then you most surely have integrated graphics.
Where Is the Graphics Card Slot on the Motherboard?
As a general rule, you can find the graphics card slot right below the CPU socket. It has a unique shape, it is the longest one and it has a small clamp at the end. This clamp will secure your graphics card when you plug it in, if you want to get a graphics card out you need to push this clamp to release it.
Many motherboards will come with two graphics card slots (PCI Express), you can plug in your graphics card in any of them and it will work just fine but the general recommendation is to use the slot closer to the CPU socket if this is possible.
Is the Graphics Card in the CPU?
In general, if your PC has integrated graphics then the GPU will be integrated into the CPU and the system RAM will be shared between the CPU and the GPU, practically a part of your system RAM will be used as VRAM. Most Intel processors come with integrated graphics but most AMD CPUs will not.
If you have an Intel CPU without the letter “F” at the end of the name then your CPU has integrated graphics, so the GPU is in the same silicon as the CPU. The AMD CPUs with integrated graphics are the ones that contain the letter “G” at the end of the name.
Keep in mind that your PC can have integrated graphics as well as one or two dedicated graphics cards. In the past, all Intel CPUs had integrated graphics, but this isn’t the case anymore.
If you want to know if you need integrated graphics in your CPU, I encourage you to read this article!
Is There a Graphics Card on My PC?
If you have an image on the screen then most surely you have at least an integrated GPU or a dedicated graphics card. All PCs need a GPU to be able to render the image on the screen.
You may have only integrated graphics and not a dedicated graphics card, and that is fine if you don’t need more graphics processing power.
Can You Run a PC Without a Graphics Card?
You can run a PC without a graphics card only if you have integrated graphics otherwise you will have no image on the screen. Many modern CPUs come with integrated graphics but if you get a CPU without integrated graphics and you don’t insert a graphics card in one of your motherboard PCI Express slots you won’t be able to run your PC.
The CPU is designed to handle serial tasks and the GPU is designed to process many parallel tasks at once, just imagine how many pixels (small colored dots) need to be displayed on modern resolutions (HD is 2,073,600 px, 2k is 3,686,400 px, 4k is 8,847,360 px), now imagine that all the pixels need to be processed at once to have an image.
The CPU processes all the logic and the GPU will process all the visuals and will render the image on the screen, so now you can see that you need both to have a functional PC.
How Can I Find Out Which Graphics Card I Have on My PC?
If you are on a Windows PC the easiest way to check your graphics card is to run the dxdiag command. Push the “Windows” key and “R” at the same time then write dxdiag and hit “Enter”, a window will pop out. Go to the Display 1 tab and you will find the name of your graphics card there.
If you are on MAC follow these easy steps:
- Click on the Apple icon on the top left of the screen,
- Select “About this Mac”,
- Click on “System Report”,
- Under the graphics section, you will find the name of your graphics card.
I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.