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Will your computer boot without a graphics card installed?

Can you see any graphics without your graphics card?

zotac graphics card
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Quick Answer: Yes, a computer can boot without a graphics card installed. The graphics card is responsible for displaying the image on your monitor, but it is not essential for the basic functions of a computer.

If your computer suddenly won’t boot, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem. Most guides tell you to take everything but the CPU and one memory stick out to see if it boots.

That lets you rule out parts like your storage drives and more, but what if the problem is something else?

What if it’s your graphics card that you suspect is giving you issues? How do you boot your computer to test that without having another graphics card on hand?

Can you even boot your computer without a graphics card installed?

zotac graphics card
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

So, can a PC boot without a GPU?

Short answer: Yes, but don’t expect to see anything on your monitor

See, there’s a reason that your graphics card has the word ‘graphics’ in the name.

It provides the signal out to your monitor, so while you can technically boot your PC without it, you won’t see anything on your screen.

That might be different if your CPU has an integrated graphics card, like most Intel Core chips or AMD’s APU line.

Then you have to move your monitor display cable to the port on your motherboard back panel instead of the ports on the GPU.

That’ll make you be able to boot, see what you’re doing, and hopefully, figure out what the heck is wrong with your graphics card.

Maybe it’s a driver issue, and reinstalling them will fix it. Maybe all it needed was the power cables to be reseated.

So, to answer your question: “Can you boot a PC without a GPU?” Yes. If your computer does not have a graphics card, it will use the built-in graphics capabilities of the processor instead.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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