Help Me Choose: Video Cards

Whether you’re watching DVDs, surfing the web or playing games on your laptop, the quality of your experience is directly attributable to the characteristics of your video card. Along with the computer display itself, the video card determines image clarity, color brilliance and accuracy of motion that you experience on-screen.
There are three different types of graphics solutions for your system:
1. Integrated graphics (UMA)
2. Standard on-processor graphics
3. Optional discrete graphics cards (Discrete GPUs)
Video Card
Historically, many laptops were designed with the graphics processor built in to the system motherboard. Integrated graphics products (UMA) allow a computer to be built without a separate graphics card, which can reduce cost, power consumption and noise. These integrated cards are found on entry-level laptops that do not need high levels of graphics capability. Integrated graphics share system memory for storage, which can impact the system performance when multitasking or during video-intensive activities such as gaming or watching high-definition (HD) videos.

On-processor graphics are integrated into the central processing unit (CPU) of all of 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors and AMD accelerated processing units (APUs).These CPU and graphics technologies are smart choices for everyday computing and casual gaming since the AMD and 3rd Gen Intel on-processor graphics also include support for Microsoft’s DirectX® 11 standard.

But if you play high-demand video games, watch HD movies or use video-intensive applications on your laptop, you might need something a bit more powerful. Discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) are separate from the motherboard and feature dedicated memory of their own, measured in gigabytes (GB). These GPUs greatly accelerate graphics performance so you get less pixilation and more lifelike graphics.
With the new Inspiron and Inspiron Special Edition laptop, you don't have to choose between on-processor battery life and discrete graphics performance anymore. Most of the newest AMD and NVIDIA® discrete graphics card options support switchable graphics with either NVIDIA’s Optimus™ technology or AMD’s Enduro™ technology designed to save your battery from unnecessary drain, enabling you to work or play longer on a single battery charge.

Whether it’s NVIDIA’s Optimus technology or AMD’s Enduro technology, this intelligent graphics feature automatically switches to high-performance graphics processing unit (GPU) when running graphically intensive applications. The laptop dynamically switches from the discrete GPU to the on-processor graphics solution for less demanding applications, thus reducing your laptop’s graphics power usage, which can help extend battery life.

Intel® HD Graphics (std on Intel® Celeron® and Pentium®)

Intel® HD Graphics 3000
(std on 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ i3 and above)
 
Intel® HD Graphics 4000Intel® HD Graphics 4200/4400  NVIDIA®  GeForce®  GT 630MNVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640M  NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640M LENVIDIA® GeForce® GT 750M  AMD Radeon™ HD 7730M* AMD Radeon HD 7670M*AMD Radeon HD 8730M* AMD Radeon HD 8210*NVIDIA®  GeForce®  GT 650MNVIDIA®  GeForce® GT 625M 
Systems SupportedInspiron
 14-3421,
15-3521,
17-3721,
14R-5420,
14R-5421
Inspiron 15R-5520,
15R-5521
Inspiron 17R-5720,
17R-5721
Inspiron 13z-5323
 Inspiron 14R
N4110
Inspiron 15R
N5110
Inspiron 17R
N7110
Inspiron 14z
N411z
Inspiron
 14-3421,
15-3521,
17-3721,
14R-5420,
14R-5421
Inspiron 15R-5520,
15R-5521
Inspiron 17R-5720,
17R-5721
Inspiron 13z-5323
Inspiron 14z-5423
Inspiron 15z
Inspiron 15R-5537*
Inspiron 
3000
Series

Inspiron 14R-5420 (opt)

Inspiron 17R-5720 (opt)
Inspiron 15z(opt)
Inspiron
14R Special Edition (7420) (std) 
Inspiron
14-3421,
14R-5421
 
Inspiron 
7000
Series
 Inspiron
15R Special Edition (7520) (std)
 Inspiron
15-3521,
15R-5521,
17-3721,
17R-5721,
15R-5520,
(opt)
 Inspiron  15-3521,
17-3721 Inspiron 
15R-5521, 17R-5721 (optional)
Inspiron  3000 Series Inspiron 17R Special Edition (7420) Inspiron
14-3421,
14R-5421
 Graphics TypeUMA On-processorIntegratedIntegrated Discrete, switchableDiscrete, switchable  Discrete, switchableDiscrete, switchableDiscrete, switchableDiscrete, switchable  Discrete, switchableOn-processor Discrete, switchableDiscrete, switchable
 MemoryUp to 1.67GB dynamically allocatedUp to 1.6GB dynamically allocated  

Up to 1.7GB dynamically allocated

Up to 1.7GB dynamically allocated 2GB Dedicated2GB Dedicated  2GB2GB2GB Dedicated  1GB Dedicated2GB Dedicated Shared2GB Dedicated  1/2GB
Memory Type DDR3 DDR3DDR3DDR3 DDR3 for the 14R,
 GDDR5 for the 17R
and
DDR3 for the 15z
 DDR3 for the 14,
DDR3 for the 14R
 DDR3 for the 14,
DDR3 for the 14R
GDDR5 DDR3 DDR3 DDR3DDR3  GDDR5 DDR3
Direct X Version  10.0 10.1DX11DX11.1 DX11 DX11 DX11DX11 DX11 DX11 DX11DX11.1 DX11 DX11
Dual-Display Support  yes yesyes yesyes  yesyes yes yesyes yesyes yes
AvailabilityStandard w/Celeron® and Pentium®  Standard on 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ i5 and aboveStandard on 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i5 and above 4th Gen CPUs Optional Standard StandardStandard  Standard optional StandardStandard Standard  Standard