Looking to buy a solid home PC for xmas. Will be used 90% for online (youtube, email, chat and games (but simple online games like chess, yoville, etc...) I'm trying to figure out if I need a PC with a dedicated graphics card or if I should stick with the less expensive integrated graphics card? Thanks
The chances of needing a dedicated graphics card for a computer like that are small, but there are reasons why you should maybe look at getting a lower-end HTPC style video card. Even though the integrated card has some memory of its own, chances are that it will still want to steal some away from what else you might have, slowing the computer down. I've also found that "simple games" tend to work better on a dedicated, even if it is a cheap one.
Thanks for the reply. If I go with integrated and discover down the road I want to upgrade to one of the cards you describe.....is the upgrage a difficult process?
This will depend on if you build your computer, get somebody to build it for you (such as family or a friend) or get one from HP or Dell. My suggestion would be to go with whatever you feel most comfortable with doing but pay attention to what expansion slots the computer comes with, and form-factor is an issue (does it sit on its side below the monitor or stand straight up?). You can find some PCI graphic cards out there, but compared to their PCI-E counterparts cost much more. Putting it in should be as simple as putting the part in the motherboard.
Plus if you do upgrade later, you can always take it to a computer store near you and ask them to do it.
Computers without PCI-E ports are pretty rare so I don't think that should be a major concern.
As for installing a video card the most difficult part will be taking off the side of the computer, and by that I mean it's quite easy.