Help Me Choose: Video Card

• Whether you’re gaming, watching DVDs or editing video on your Dell desktop, the quality of the graphics you experience is only as good as your video card.

Along with the display, the video card affects the number of colors available, contrast, resolution and overall performance.

How Video Cards Work
Discrete video cards can provide better performance, as compared to integrated video cards. Discrete video cards are separate from the motherboard and include a specialized graphics processing unit (GPU). Because of their onboard GPU, discrete video cards don’t have to share the CPU with other programs.

Discrete video cards include memory of their own, measured in gigabytes (GB). Graphics memory is used by the GPU to accelerate graphics performance, store textures using game graphics, and make gaming, movies and other entertainment intensely realistic. High-performance graphics cards require a significant amount of graphics memory.

Integrated video cards are built in to the system motherboard and use the system’s processor (CPU) and memory to create graphics. Integrated video cards are fine for applications such as word processing and email, and for the internet, but not great for gaming or other graphic-intensive applications.

While integrated video cards can process some complex graphics such as 3D images, they have to share the CPU and memory with other programs. If the CPU and memory are overloaded or busy processing other information, it can really slow down the graphics.


The system you are configuring may or may not include all of the options listed here.

If you want ...Choose ...
To tackle complex graphics, applications and gaming, a discrete video card can handle all the applications an integrated card can handle, plus:
  • Complex presentations
  • Graphics design
  • Financial analysis
  • High-resolution video
  • Videoconferences
  • Dual monitor setup
A single discrete video card
An entry-level solution for typical office productivity applications, internet use, relatively small digital images, low-resolution video, simple games and other relatively undemanding applications, integrated video cards are generally acceptable for:
  • Word processing
  • Instant messaging
  • Small presentations
  • Spreadsheets
An integrated video card

NVIDIA GeForce GT 640
GTX 850M
GTX 870M
R5 A240
R7 M265
Intel® HD Graphics 4000 NVidia® GeForce® GT 705
Discrete Memory 

1024MB GDDR5 

2GB DDR33GB GDDR51GB DDR32GB DDR3 System dependent (Shared Memory)1GB DDR3 
Controller Speed 


902MHz~ (dynamic change)941MHz~(dynamic change)800~1030MHz675~825MHz650MHz 874MHz 
Onboard Memory Speed 


900MHz1250MHz1GHz1GHzSystem dependent (Shared Memory)  825MHz
Onboard Memory Data Width 128-bit 128-bits192-bits64-bits128-bits128-bit 64bit 
API Supported 

DirectX 11
OpenGL 4.1 

OpenGL 4.1
Slot Requirements 

3.0 Gen PCIex16 

3.0 Gen PCIex163.0 Gen PCIex163.0 Gen PCIex163.0 Gen PCIex16N/A 2.1 Gen PCIex16 
Maximum Resolution 2560 x 1600 DP
1920 x 1200 HDMI
2560 x 1600 DVI 
----2560 x 1600 1920x1200HDMI
2560X1600 DVI
2048x1536 VGA 

Important Information:
Graphics and system memory: GB means 1 billion bytes and TB equals 1 trillion bytes; significant system memory may be used to support graphics, depending on system memory size and other factors.