How bad are integrated graphics when not gaming?

As someone who plays games on my computer, I know that PCI-E is good, Integrated is bad. Aside from upgradability and the fact that integrated is usually inferior quality and speed-wise, I have also heard that integrated video “steals” RAM from the processor, but I have no idea how significant this is. If I were buying a work computer that will never be used for gaming or video editing, would I be okay with onboard, or should I always get a separate PCI-E card?

The integrated graphics chip uses memory from the memory pool used for the whole system. It’s not a problem for the system unless they installed too little RAM in which case the problem is they didn’t install enough RAM and not that the graphics chip is using some of it. There is nothing wrong with a motherboard integrated graphics chip for most uses.

it can be OK.

you can disable the on board video and use a video card later.

system RAM used by on board video is slower than video RAM on a video card.

Yes, integrated graphics uses part of the computer’s RAM. Some computers will allow you to set how much is used through BIOS. Some brands (Dell, HP) do not allow users to change BIOS settings.

Dell doesn’t let you change BIOS settings at all, or just for video? I am certain you can change most of the settings on our current computers. I do have to buy Dells, due to IT standards (subject to a Pit thread coming to your neighborhood).

nit-pick: Integrated cards (at least new ones) are PCI-e. My GMA4500 is.

Don’t fret over this. It will work. You already said you weren’t processing video, or gaming. I would guess you’re not running a CAD system either.

My motherboard has a built in Radeon HD 3300 graphics and it worked good for games set to less demanding settings. I put in a graphics card to get some high end gaming output.

I don’t care if you get a separate video card, as that’s great. I’m just letting you know you don’t have to have it for the purposes you stated. Be sure to get a built in chip that is a higher performance one.

Integrated graphics chips are built into the northbridge chipset, except for the newest which are on the CPU. While PCIe goes through the northbridge, it isn’t right to say integrated graphics are on PCIe.

The issue I run into with anything integrated into the motherboard, is they seem to have a shorter life-span than a seperate component. Video card, network card, sound… I’ve tried all 3, several times, and it seems I always have to crack the case a couple of years later and install an actual card.