The need for a Dedicated Graphics Card for Android App Development
This article aims to clarify the need for a dedicated graphics card for your PC, for Android app development.
The answer depends on what you are developing; like what kind of android application you will be making.
The answer is It’s really optional and not necessary.
Now let us talk about it in depth, and there are two scenario’s that I will be talking about.
If you are developing a simple app without many graphics requirements, it probably won’t need a dedicated graphics card for developing the Android app.
But in case; its an application or a game which require heavy demand for graphic capabilities, like OpenGL or any other.
Chances are that it will require you a dedicated graphics card to develop that app or game.
It’s because when you are making the app or game, you might want to test/simulate it. If you PC/laptop doesn’t have a dedicated or enough powerful graphics card or internal graphics, your app or game development could be very slow.
Because your machine is not able to process and compile when you are developing your graphics demanding apps or game.
As I said, its depends on what are you making; because to compile it you might not need a dedicated graphics card, rather when you simulate it, then only a dedicated graphics card might be handy for the development.
Benefits of having a dedicated graphics card are that it can help you to speed up your app/game development when using an emulator for testing it during development.
Consider Scenario A
If you are developing games or app’s that will require graphics processing capability, and you want to simulate or test it, in an Android Emulator.
Having graphics card will really benefit in the emulation.
Graphics acceleration for the emulator takes advantage of your development computer’s graphics hardware, specifically its graphics processing unit (GPU), to make screen drawing faster.
So typically if you are testing your app in an emulator rather than an Android device, you will benefit as you can get desired performance results from an Android Emulator to test your app correctly in various emulated devices.
So, if you want to take advantage of hardware acceleration, then you might need it!
Consider Scenario B
You are developing a simple android app which doesn’t need any graphics or isn’t much graphics hungry, and then you don’t need a dedicated GPU at all to develop and compile that app.
Generally we don’t need a dedicated GPU to even compile an android app or game. Its only at the time of making and testing while in the development that we might require.
On general term basis if you have a good processor you won’t find any significant difference in the development of Android apps.
However, the performance of testing it in an Android Emulator will depend on your GPU though.
Briefly, if you are using an emulator, it will get better performance if you have a dedicated GPU.
And if you are testing you app in a real device, you probably don’t at all need a dedicated Graphics card at all.
Its Good to have one, though, but it’s not a requirement, modern Intel HD graphics should be sufficient as these days most Intel processors come with inbuilt graphics.
At last, I would say it indeed, depends on the app(s) you are developing. Causal/Intense gaming development might require a dedicated graphics card.
Mapping apps might also require it.
But if you don’t have a graphics card, just test your app on a real Android device, this way you won’t have to buy or use a dedicated GPU.