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What is a Graphics Chipset?

H. Bliss
H. Bliss

A graphics chipset refers to the build of the circuit board that powers a graphics card. A graphics card is the device inside a computer that interprets graphics signals from the motherboard and sends them to the monitor, which is plugged into the graphics card. On a graphics card, the chipset is the flat circuitry-board part that is attached to the graphics connectors, which send visuals to the computer monitor.

The build of chipset is usually identified by its model number and manufacturer. Graphics chipset designs can be made to accommodate many demands for quality and input plug options. Some graphics cards can output different pictures to multiple connected monitors, while others are designed to handle three-dimensional (3D) graphics for movies and gaming. Manufacturers of graphics chipset builds for graphic cards include Intel®, nVidia® and Advanced Micro Devices® (AMD).

A graphics chipset powers both internal and external graphics cards.
A graphics chipset powers both internal and external graphics cards.

In systems designed for handling high-performance graphics, a graphics card can be elaborate, with a large chipset build completed with its own cooling fan to move hot air away from the graphics card. Both internal and external graphics cards need a graphics chipset to function. An external graphics card often connects via universal serial bus (USB) or Bluetooth®, but may have a tendency to respond more slowly than a built-in graphics cards. External graphics chipset designs usually require less cooling because they are not placed in the case with other hot hardware. Both internal and external graphics cards require a driver built for the right graphics chipset to run the device.

The more advanced a graphic card is, the more system resources it needs to function. To keep the resource needs of a graphics card from overpowering the system, some graphics cards are build with their own random access memory (RAM) cards to give the computer's graphic functions a speed and quality boost. On computer systems with limited upgradable RAM, a graphics chipset with built-in RAM can open up options for higher-quality graphics cards, even on an older system.

Some basic computer setups include the graphics chipset as part of the motherboard. The motherboard is the main processing chip that handles computer commands. It is generally the largest chipset within a computer, and contains the main computer processing unit (CPU) that handles the commands that go through the computer motherboard. Systems with graphics cards built into the motherboard often also have the computer's audio functions included as a part of the motherboard as well. Onboard motherboard-bound graphics cards cannot be removed when they are replaced, but they can be disabled to install a new graphics card.

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Discussion Comments


@Vincenzo -- There are some integrated graphics setups that will work fine with a lot of games. They are almost never as powerful as separate graphics cards, but some people can play games just fine on them.

What you want to do if trying to decide whether to get a graphics card or go for a system with less expensive, integrated graphics (the least expensive option), do some some research. You will find plenty of sites that will tell you how well integrated graphics configurations will run modern games. Go with the one that will handle most of the games you want to play with ease.

Again, standalone cards are preferred by integrated graphics are getting a lot better. That is especially true when it comes to gaming laptops.


A graphics chipset can also be built into the motherboard. Such integrated graphics have become very common and have replaced graphics cards in a lot of ways.

But, there is a problem with integrated graphics. If you want a high performance gaming computer, you really need a separate, "plug in" graphics card that has a lot of RAM and a sophisticated chipset.

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    • A graphics chipset powers both internal and external graphics cards.
      By: nikkytok
      A graphics chipset powers both internal and external graphics cards.