Importance of dedicated GPU's?

crizzl

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Feb 25, 2013
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Hi.

I'm on the look out for a new laptop since my current one is getting fairly old and pretty slow. One of the biggest annoyances is it's inability to playback youtube videos/handle twitch streams without stuttering. I would like my new laptop to be able to do that. Can a dedicated GPU help with that or is it mostly CPU intensive?
Ideally it would be nice if it could run light games without too much trouble such as binding of isaac, would that require a dedicated GPU?

Thanks in advance.
 

jaguarskx

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Moderator
Watching videos stored on your hard drive, from Youtube, Twitch, Hulu, Netflix, etc... a current generation laptop with a Intel HD 4400 (Haswell) / 5500 (Broadwell) / 520 (Skylake) will be fine and is more than enough to play the Bind of Issac. A "U" model Intel CPU will be fine. You can even do those things on with a Bay Trail Atom CPU, but getting a Core i3 / Core i5 is better for longevity.

Decoding video relies more on the GPU than the CPU and it is best to get something more recent then the Intel HD 4000 since newer GPUs will have updated integrated hardware acceleration for newer video codecs. The i7-3632QM with the Intel HD 4000 can playback all current videos as well, my Intel HD 3000 can do that, but for your needs you will not be taken advantage of the 4 core in the i7. The newer Intel GPUs are also more powerful than the Intel HD 4000 so if there is a more demanding "indie" game you want to play on your laptop than the Binding of Issac, then you will get better performance.
 

NerdyComputerGuy

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Nov 19, 2013
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Evening,

For watching YouTube videos the integrated graphics would be fine.

Just get a nice laptop with at least an i5 processor, if you can't afford that just get an i3 processor laptop, that would be fine for watching YouTube videos at 1080p. An i5 would do you well with YouTube, streaming stuff and playing some light games like counter strike.

Kind Regards,
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Any modern laptop will be able to playback Youtube videos and watch Twitch streams. If all you want to do is simply surf the net and watch videos then a laptop with a Core i3 CPU will be more than enough. But laptops with Core i5 CPUs are not that expensive either.


Youtube and Twitch (and videos in general) uses newer codecs to encode and playback videos that provide much better quality and smaller file sizes compared to whenever you bought your laptop. The downside is that these newer codecs requires more processing power to decode and playback these videos. Your old graphics core does not have updated hardware to help decode these videos.
 

crizzl

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Feb 25, 2013
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I have the opportunity to get a laptop with an i7-3632QM or some of the i5/i7 u-series, but even though the i7-3632QM seems to be quite an old processor it severely outperforms all these u-series processors. I understand that this is due to the very low power consumption of the u-series. I was wondering what would be the better choice in terms of lifetime of my new laptop. The i7-3632QM seems to be much stronger so what would be the reason to choose a weaker u-series processor in favor of this? Or am I putting too much emphasis on benchmarks?

 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
"U" CPUs offers longer battery life and generates less heat because they consume less electricity. They can still overheat, but they generally only need a smaller and lighter heatsink compared to a quad core CPU. For watching video a quad core CPU is not necessary especially since most of the decoding is performed by the graphics core.

Windows defaults the playback of videos to Intel's integrated GPU whether or not the laptop has a dedicated GPU. Of course you can change the default setting to use the dedicated GPU if you wish.

Most games do not use more than 2 cores especially indie games like the Binding of Issac so a quad core CPU is not really necessary. Additionally, Intel graphics will generally be fine for "light games". I setup Skyrim to run on a friend's laptop that only has an Intel HD 4400 graphics core. I changed around some settings and disabled shadows in the SkyrimPref.ini file. I got the game to run at an average of 30+ FPS at 1600x900 resolution and 40+ FPS at 1366x768 resolution which was good enough for him. Generally speaking if you have relatively low expectations and you avoid most AAA games, Intel's integrated graphics should be fine.

If you are looking to play games like the Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Alien: Isolation and SOMA (an "indie game"), then I would buy a laptop with a dedicated GPU.

However, if you are not sure if you want to play AAA games, you can a laptop with a mainstream dedicated GPU which is better than integrated, but not quite as good as a "gaming GPU". An example is the following Acer Aspire laptop with a nVidia 940m on sale for $500. Basically, it is the least expensive laptop with a 940m, but Acer laptops are only of average quality.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834315065&cm_re=acer_940m-_-34-315-065-_-Product
 

crizzl

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Feb 25, 2013
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Would you say it would be better to go for the weaker cpu but stronger graphics core in my case it would probably be i5 5200U/Intel HD Graphics 5500 vs i7 3632QM/Intel HD Graphics 4000 in the long run? I guess these are more than adequate right now, but which combination do you think would be best for the future?
If I'll use it for gaming it would be indie games such as Binding of Isaac since I have my desktop computer for more demanding games.

I appreciate the help!
 

crizzl

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Feb 25, 2013
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Thanks a lot.
 
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