Ivy Bridge Graphics: Entry-Level Cards are Dead

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Performance Testing

We ran benchmarks in several configurations, but performed all of them on a common platform:

  • Gigabyte Z77-UD3 motherboard
  • Frame buffer memory for Intel HD Graphics set in the system BIOS to 1GB
  • 8GB DDR3-1600 memory for Core i7-3770K, DDR3-1333 for Core i7-2600K
  • 1TB, 7200-rpm Western Digital hard drive
  • 750W Antec Power High Current Pro power supply

We also followed certain procedures:

  • We ran all game benchmarks at 1080p resolution. We also set Unigine Heaven at 1080p, with normal tessellation enabled. We ran 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 2011 in their “performance” mode.
  • We ran game benchmarks on Ivy Bridge in DirectX 11 mode when available, but also ran them in DX9/10 modes on the same games for comparison.
  • We used an XFX Radeon HD 6450--an entry-level, DirectX 11-capable graphics card costing roughly $40--with the Ivy Bridge system, to get a feel for how the Intel HD 4000 might compare to an entry-level, discrete graphics card.

Synthetic Benchmarks

First up is 3DMark 2011, a DirectX 11-only graphics benchmark.

Intel Does DirectX 11: The Ivy Bridge GPU

The Radeon HD 6450 fell far behind the Intel HD 4000. It was no contest, really.

Now it’s on to another DirectX 11 synthetic test, Unigine Heaven 2.5.

Intel Does DirectX 11: The Ivy Bridge GPU

Here, the Intel GPU actually lapped the Radeon HD 6450, achieving over double the frame rate at 1080p, with normal tessellation set. It’s not a very high number, to be sure, but the results from both 3DMark 2011 and Unigine Heaven are solid proof that the Intel HD 4000 is DX11-capable.

Next, let’s look at 3DMark Vantage, a DirectX 10 synthetic test.

Intel Does DirectX 11: The Ivy Bridge GPU

The Core i7-3770K has a 100MHz frequency advantage over the Core i7-2600K, but the GPU cores run at the same frequency across all CPUs with the same GPU core. So the 2600K's GPU still clocks at 850MHz and the 3770K’s HD 4000 GPU still runs at 650MHz. However, the Ivy Bridge GPU posted a score that’s almost 900 points higher. Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 6450 kept chugging along in a distant third.

Synthetic benchmarks are fine, but how did Intel's graphics technology fare on the real games in our tests? Read on.

Next Page: Game Benchmarks

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