Many of us are stuck at home with our laptops with integrated graphics. You must have wondered at some point, what are the best games for PC without graphics card? Can your non-gaming computer run any games? It sure can!
Best Games for PC Without Graphics Card
I have hand-picked the best games with active communities that you can play on virtually any computer manufactured in last 4 years. Who would have thought running PC games without graphics cards in the age of RTX 3090’s was still possible!
League of Legends (Free)
The first game on our list, and arguably one of the most popular game of its kind, the League of Legends runs pretty well on integrated graphics too. I think that the part of its popularity even might be because of its compatibility with older hardware.
The League of legends is free to play, and the team-play option lets newbies learn the game pretty quickly. Even though it is pretty old at this point, the evolving audience and continuous updates and patched has kept the game pretty much alive.
If you are using a good enough CPU and no dedicated graphics, download League of Legends from its official website.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive (Free)
Counter Strike 1.6, Counter Strike Source and Counter Strike Condition Zero should work fairly well on 7th gen or newer Intel processors with integrated graphics today.
But, if you really want the run the best games for PC without graphics card like the Counter Strike: Global Offensive, you can do that too. Just be ready to lower your resolution and display quality, and you will be able to sustain playable frame-rates.
Out of all Counter Strike games, only Counter Strike: Global Offensive is free to play and can be downloaded from Steam.
One tweak I would recommend, is that setting +mat_queue_mode 2 using the in-game console. This will enable multi-core rendering and will definitely improve performance.
Grand Theft Auto I, II, III (Paid)
You can play the first three iterations of Grand Theft Auto on crappy old laptops too. The GTA IV however, needs good hardware, more so than the GTA V.
If you are using a laptop with integrated graphics, I would recommend not to attempt playing GTA V. Even if you try and squeeze every frame out of it, the overall experience would not be worth it. Not to mention the heat your processor will generate!
Check out my blog post where I have explained why desktops are better for gaming/work from home here: Prefer Laptop vs Desktop for Gaming/Work? Super Dumb move!
My single most favorite game on this list, Minecraft, can be run on virtually any device with 3+ GB or RAM and decent processor. With OptiFine, you can easily get 100+ frames per second on 1080p if you tweak the in-game graphics settings a little bit.
It’s no surprise that Minecraft is the most popular game on YouTube with respect to the number of gameplay videos. Based on popularity, in my opinion it’s one of the best games for PC without graphics card.
It can run on any operating system, there are tons of mods to try, and you can even set up your virtual private servers to play with your friends! I have an article lined up about the best way to do this so make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter so that you don’t miss out.
Rocket League Soccer (Free)
The Rocket League Soccer has been one of the most popular game on Steam ever since its release. Who would have thought that rocket-powered cars and soccer are a great mix?
From 23rd of September 2020, one of the most popular game on Steam is no longer available on the platform. Instead, it is now free to play under Epic Games Store!
It turns out that if you lower your in-game graphics and resolution, you can play Rocket League Soccer on integrated graphics too! Making it one of the best games for PC without graphics card. It is free to play now, and the online community is already great! The game-play is very addictive too!
DOTA 2 (Free)
Talking about active communities, it’s just wonderful when game makers keep putting so much effort into a game even when the game is 7 years old.
One of the most loved RPG’s of all time, DOTA 2 is free to play game on Steam and runs pretty well on PCs with iGPUs. This makes it one of the best games for PC without graphics card in terms of addictiveness and game-play.
World of Warships (Free)
The massively popular multiplayer free to play game can run on integrated graphics too. Even though you might have to turn your graphics settings all the way down, the game will not take away the breathtaking battles and ship-sinking experiences from you at all!
If you are stuck at home for days and have nothing to do, you might try the World of Warships. It may not be the best games for PC without graphics card in terms of graphics fidelity and story-line, but the multiplayer battles will keep you hooked for days!
Retro Games (Super Mario Bros, Contra, Road Rash, Dangerous Dave)
Now for the best part, you will be glad to know that most of the games 90’s kids grew up playing, can run absolutely fantastic on integrated graphics of today’s computers.
You can use utilities like DOSBox to play very old DOS-based games like Sky Roads and Dangerous Dave, or use emulators to play Nintendo-based games like Super Mario Bros and Contra.
These games run on toasters and potatoes, and it will be one heck of a trip down the memory lane too!
How to get the most out of your computer with integrated graphics
Before you try to run the best games for PC without graphics card, here are some free tech tips that will help you in getting the most out of your non-gaming desktops and laptops.
- Use dual channel memory: The integrated graphics relies on system RAM to be shared as the graphics memory. Hence, having enough capacity is not enough. Switching to dual channel memory has been proven to yield as much as double performance benefits!
- Keep your hardware dust-free and cool: Do your best to make sure that the fans in your laptop/desktop are doing their jobs. Get rid of the dust build-up, and avoid playing games for long duration in hot and humid environments.
- Make sure background tasks are not using up resources: Close other applications before launching games, and make sure that Windows gets enough idle time to finish working on updates in the background.
This rounds up our quest for running the best games for PC without graphics card. Most of them are even free to play!
If you think I should have added any games, make sure you leave a mention in the comments. If you are having a difficult time playing some of these games on your hardware, feel free to mention that too.