While Unreal Engine 5 is designed to take full advantage of modern graphics cards' capabilities, especially for rendering high-quality visuals in real-time, it is technically possible to run the engine without a dedicated GPU (graphics processing unit). However, doing so will severely limit the performance and the features you can use.
Unreal Engine 5's system requirements recommend a graphics card because the engine itself is graphically intensive and uses advanced rendering techniques that rely on GPU hardware acceleration. If you attempt to run it on a system without a dedicated GPU, the engine would have to fall back to software rendering or rely on the limited capabilities of an integrated GPU, which is part of the CPU chipset in most cases.
Here are some key points to consider:
Integrated Graphics: Many CPUs come with integrated graphics chips that can run Unreal Engine 5 at a very basic level for simple projects. However, performance may not be viable for any serious development work, especially with advanced features like Lumen for global illumination or Nanite for virtualized geometry.
Software Rendering: Unreal Engine can fall back on software rendering, but this is impractical for real-time applications and should be considered only for the simplest visualization tasks.
Editor Performance: Even if you can run UE5 for basic tasks, the editor itself is a complex application with its viewport requiring hardware-accelerated graphics for a smooth experience.
Minimum Requirements: It’s important to check the minimum system requirements for UE5 which typically include a GPU capable of running DirectX 11/12 or Vulkan. While these may change over time as the engine evolves, a GPU has always been part of the recommended setup.
Blueprints and Coding: If your intention is to work with blueprints or coding without much attention to graphics, you could potentially get by without a dedicated GPU, though this is not optimal.
Learning Purposes: For learning purposes or non-graphical work, you might manage with an integrated GPU, but expect limitations.
Deployment Targets: If you're developing a game or application for platforms that don't require strong graphical performance, such as mobile devices, you may be able to use UE5 without a powerful GPU for initial stages of development.
In conclusion, while it is theoretically possible to run Unreal Engine 5 without a dedicated GPU, it is not advisable if you wish to use the engine effectively. A dedicated graphics card is highly recommended to explore the full potential of Unreal Engine 5 and to keep the workflow smooth and efficient.