What are discrete graphics?

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  1. #1
    Scribbler - Standard Member
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    Default What are discrete graphics?

    I'm leaning towards getting a Fujitsu T730, but then people keep talking about HP TM2's discrete graphics. What is it and what is it important for? I mainly want this for drawing. (I will be playing one game on it, along with Internet, Word processing, etc.)

  2. #2
    Scribbler - Standard Member
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    Default Re: What are discrete graphics?

    There are two types of graphic processors: discrete and integrated. A discrete GPU (short for graphic processor unit) means that there is a separate processor for anything related to graphic work whereas an integrated GPU means that it shares resources with the CPU to do graphic work.

    If I make a rough analogy with people, a PC with a discrete GPU would mean that there are two people -- one person does math and the other person draws. A PC with integrated GPU would mean there is only one person who does both.

    The upside of discrete is more horsepower to do stuff, which means the obvious downside would be battery usage. Going back to the people analogy, you'd need more food to feed two people compared to one person.

    The TM2 has switchable graphics -- when unplugged, it switches to integrated graphics. That is probably why you heard stuff about it.

  3. #3
    Pen Pro - Senior Member
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    Default Re: What are discrete graphics?

    The interesting thing about the intigrated graphics part of the Tm2 is that with the change to the Core-"i" series of chipset (ie: core i5), but still maintaining the CULV voltage; that the integrated portion is clocked down a very significant amount

    Here is an excerpt from notebook check -Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD - Notebookcheck.net Tech-
    * High End: Core i5 520M, 540M, i7 620M: 500-766 MHz --Full voltage
    * Low End: Core i3 330M, 350M: 500-677 MHz --Full voltage
    * Low Voltage: Core i7 620LM, 640LM: 266-566 MHz
    * Ultra Low Voltage: Core i5-520UM, i5-620UM, 640UM: 166-500 MHz
    and that is just on the GPU side of things. On the CPU side the CULV in the Tm2 is pretty weak compared to a LV chip, and seems totally crippled compared to a full voltage chip.

    Sure, the ATI option for the Tm2 can be nice when trying to play a game, or do some Photoshop work; but it is only there to make up for the poor performance of the CULV processor (which has really poor integrated graphics)



    In terms of using Photoshop heavily, the ATI chip helps a lot on the Tm2, but with a more powerful processor you will get much smoother "brush strokes" and most all aspects of Photoshop will be much better (even my lowly 1.8Ghz C2D LV Photoshop ran better than my Tm2 that had ATI -which runs warm- hot even when not doing anything)- especially color quality is improved when getting a Tablet PC with a good screen (I tried time and again for ways to calibrate, or even swap out the Tm2's screen; but nothing yielded acceptable results. the Tm2's screen is just hopeless)
    Current: HP 2730p Win 7 & Linux Mint | Toshiba M4 | Motion M1400 renice 120GB SSD | ITRONIX IX-325 | Motion F5 (U7500 update) | Fujitsu P1620 | T4220 w/SXGA+ 160GB Intel X18-M & 1TB HDD in bay | broken TC4400 [for experimentation] | i5 3570K mITX desktop w/GTX460 | ASUS N10j
    Gone but not Forgotten: HP Tm2 | HP Slate 500 | HP touchpad 32GB | 6-core desktop

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What are discrete graphics?

    Thank you both, I think I understand now!

  5. #5
    Pen Pro - Senior Member
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    Default Re: What are discrete graphics?

    Discrete/dedicated graphics mostly aids performance for:

    -Games
    -3D modeling/rendering programs

    Unfortunately for me, I do a lot of the former and will probably end up doing quite a bit of the latter as well to make some more of the former. That leaves me with the HP tm2 and...nothing else, because the Tablet PC manufacturers want to charge exorbitant prices and still handicap their business-class machines with integrated graphics. (Well, my E-295C has the Mobility Radeon HD 2300, but it sucks. Worse performance than the Intel GMA HD and horrid driver support. And since there's no MXM slot, I can't replace it. It's one of the main reasons I'm trying to not go crazy, break down, and get an HP tm2 already...and then find out that a newer model with a decent GPU for once just got released.)

    But for you, where hand-drawn art is the priority, you want something with a reasonably fast CPU and an IPS or AFFS+ LCD. (My E-295C delivers on the CPU, but the screen is cheap TN/CCFL crap.) You have a lot more options in this market to choose from, as a result. Think you could afford a T5010?

 

 

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