After reading this article we hope that you have a better feel for just how far graphics have come over the years. Our testing shows that integrated graphics performance continues to improve at a furious pace and its no wonder that low-end discrete graphics cards are becoming obsolete. Nothing shows that better than the chart below.
Can it play Crysis? The flagship integrated graphics solutions from AMD and Intel can both play Crysis on low image quality setting with relative ease. Even with the image quality cranked up to Medium you can actually play it on the AMD A8-3850 ‘Llano’ APU with the Radeon HD 6550D GPU. Years ago this wasn’t even feasible, but here we are playing Crysis without a dedicated video card in our system.
Overall, we found that AMD integrated graphics were superior to Intel from 2007-2011. Not only did they lead from the performance standpoint, but we also found that AMD’s Catalyst drivers were more up to date and worked on game titles better than Intel’s drivers. Both companies are improving their graphics solutions and we saw a nice 6x to 7x performance improvement on average. If you are looking to buy an integrated graphics solution today you have the Intel Sandy Bridge processors with Intel HD 3000 graphics and AMD’s Llano APU with the Radeon HD 6550D. Our testing shows that the AMD Llano GPU is essentially twice as fast. It also has twice the die area and full support for OpenCL 1.1 and DX11. Intel is behind AMD in terms of performance and supported technologies right now.
Intel hopes to change that in the near future with the launch of Ivy Bridge. Ivy Bridge, is Intel’s first 22-nanometer processor and the company has big hopes for it. Intel recently stated that Ivy Bridge will improve on the graphics performance of Sandy Bridge by more than 70 percent when they are launched with Intel HD Graphics 4000. Our testing shows that means it will still be behind AMD’s ‘Llano’ APU. AMD will be releasing their new APU called ‘Trinity’ in the middle of 2012 and we are hearing that it will have up to 50% better performance thanks to the introduction of Radeon HD 7000 series graphics technology. So, if you take our numbers for the current generation integrated graphics and add 50% or 70% to them and you get some pretty incredible integrated graphics performance.
Who said integrated graphics sucks? There will always be a place for discrete graphics cards, but for the mainstream consumer things are looking excellent! If you don’t play the latest game titles or classify yourself as a gamer, then you can easily get away with integrated graphics!