Do All Laptops Have GPUs? (Explained for Beginners)



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There’s a fair bit of terminology for computers and laptops. Because of that, a question many people have when getting a new computer is whether a laptop has a graphics card (GPU) built-in. So today I’ll answer this important question, and how good or bad they are for gaming.  

Laptops have at least one graphics processing unit (GPU). It’s built-in and known as an integrated graphics card. Gaming laptops come with a dedicated graphics card as well as an integrated one. The dedicated graphics card is more powerful and it is used only in high graphics demanding tasks (gaming, etc). 

There are many different brands of laptops such as Lenovo, and Dell, and so I’ll explain what brands of laptops come with a GPU and which ones don’t, as well as how to tell. On top of that, I will explain the different types of GPUs, and what each of the two types is best suited for.

Do All Laptops Come with GPUs?

Laptop on table

Every laptop has at least one GPU, without a GPU it will not be able to display an image on the screen.

Some laptops have an integrated graphics card (GPU) while others that are designed for gaming will come with both a dedicated graphics card and an integrated one.

The term dedicated can be a bit misleading when it comes to laptops because, in reality, it is the same as an integrated graphics card, it is just more powerful (of course it has its own VRAM) and plugs into a different slot on the motherboard. 

Do Gaming Laptops Have Graphics Cards?

Gaming laptops a re-equipped with two GPUs, one is integrated into the CPU and is used for normal tasks that aren’t too graphically intensive like multimedia and surfing the net, and one that is part of the dedicated graphics card,

The second one is designed to handle all the graphical demands of modern games, the drivers will automatically make the switch from the integrated GPU to the dedicated one when you launch a game or you perform more graphically intensive tasks.

Without a dedicated graphics card, you won’t be able to have a smooth gaming experience in many triple-A games.

How Do You Check if Your Laptop Has a GPU?

Before getting a laptop you can check that it has a GPU. For an existing laptop, you can also check what kind of graphics card (GPU) it has in the settings of your OS. Here’s how to check what GPU a laptop has in both of these cases.

For a new laptop, it will be listed on the specifications info on the online description next to ‘graphics card (GPU)’. Go to either the Device Manager on Windows or the Apple icon at the top of the screen on a Mac and select ‘About this Mac’ from the drop-down menu.

This will open up an info box that will list the specs for your Mac laptop, where it will say what your graphics card is.

Virtually all laptops have a graphics card unless it’s very old before graphics cards were a thing. And before they were included with laptops. This would be a laptop that is about 15 to 20 years old. But, it can depend on the model so it always pays to check with a laptop that is over 10 years old.

As a distinguished Professor of Computer Science, my expertise lies at the intersection of PC hardware, software development, and system troubleshooting. My foray into the realm of computer technology began during my high school years, where I honed my skills in building and repairing PCs. Subsequently, I provided consultancy services to a renowned PC repair establishment, solidifying my reputation in the field. Today, I am the trusted authority among peers and colleagues for insights and solutions related to PC and laptop challenges.

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