Can You Play Steam Games Without a Graphics Card?

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By Monica Bates

If you’re a gamer who’s just starting out or a casual player, you may be wondering if you can play Steam games without a graphics card. The answer is not straightforward because it depends on the game and your system specifications. In this article, we’ll explore the different scenarios where you can play Steam games without a graphics card and when one is necessary.

What is a Graphics Card?

Before we dive into the meat of this topic, let’s define what a graphics card is. A graphics card is an expansion card that generates output images to display on a monitor. It processes graphical data and transforms it into images that can be shown on your screen.

When Can You Play Without A Graphics Card?

In some cases, you can play Steam games without a graphics card if your computer has an integrated graphics processor (IGP). An IGP is built into your computer’s CPU and uses its resources to generate output images. These processors are not as powerful as dedicated graphics cards but can handle basic gaming tasks.

If you have an IGP, you should be able to play older or less-demanding games such as Minecraft or Portal. However, more recent and complex games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption 2 will require a dedicated graphics card.

System Requirements

When considering whether your computer can run Steam games without a graphics card, it’s important to check the system requirements for each game. The system requirements will tell you what kind of hardware your computer needs to run the game correctly.

If the game requires only an IGP, then you’re in luck! But if the game requires a dedicated graphics card, then playing without one would result in poor performance. You may experience lagging, stuttering, or freezing while playing.

What If Your System Doesn’t Have An IGP?

In some cases, your system may not have an IGP or a graphics card. In this scenario, you may still be able to play Steam games but with severely reduced performance.

You can try reducing the game’s settings to the lowest possible quality to improve performance. However, even with this adjustment, you may still experience low frame rates and poor image quality.


In conclusion, it is possible to play some Steam games without a graphics card as long as your system has an integrated graphics processor. However, for more recent and complex games, a dedicated graphics card is necessary for optimal performance.

When considering playing games without a graphics card, always check the game’s system requirements and adjust your settings accordingly. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy playing your favorite Steam games without breaking the bank on expensive hardware upgrades.