Do I need a video card

computer-buildinggraphics cardintegrated-graphics

I plan on building a computer with Intel Xeon E3 1231v3 which has no GPU:

Graphics Specifications

Processor Graphics: None

on a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H motherboard which has an onboard integrated graphics processor:

Integrated Graphics Processor:

  1. 1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 2560×1600@60Hz
  4. Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
  5. Maximum shared memory of 512 MB

I have asked another question and know that even if the CPU has no GPU, I can still get video as long as the motherboard has onboard graphics. However, when I went to buy the parts at a computer center yesterday, the technician said motherboards nowadays use CPU's GPU to display, including this Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H motherboard (which he meant this board has no real onboard graphics).

So for Xeon E3 1231v3 + Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H to display, do I need a video card or not?

(I don't really care about the graphics quality. I use the computer mostly to write programs, web browsing, and Photoshop, and seldom play games or watch videos.)

Best Answer

With older systems, the 'onboard' graphics was a distinct chip on the motherboard. With modern intel systems, from sandy bridge onwards, its part of the CPU. The chipset that the video adaptor was part of has been merged into the CPU proper.

The mainstream processors the z97 is designed for have GPUs built in. The server chips do not, and the onboard graphics outs simply would not work. You'd want to consider a comparable mainstream processor to use the onboard graphics, or to use pretty much any PCIe graphics card.

So in this specific case, you do need a seperate graphics card, and your onboard ports will do nothing at all.

More generally, if an intel processor from sandy bridge generation or later has integrated video, its on chip. All xeons, and some mainstream processors would not have the graphics core, and any on board video wouldn't work.

A good way is to check the intel ARK page for the processor and check for "CPU graphics* as you did, and assume any board with 'none' will not have the on board ports functional.

In addition some boards don't have graphics out (which would be obvious), or let you use processor graphics and discrete graphics at once (The SB era P series boards for example). Any board that supports lucid logix should let you run both at once

With AMD processors, in general A-Series processors always have onboard video, FX series and opterons don't. I don't have direct experience with these, but this seems to be the case off wikipedia.

Generally server boards have low end graphics chips as opposed to on processor graphics, since they can safely assume you have no GPU, nor the desire to install one.