Since 2012, More than 90% of notebooks and more than 80% of the desktops have integrated GPUs. The Integrated graphics are obviously, less powerful than the dedicated graphics processors ( GPUs for short) or the video cards ( in desktops). Intel started integrating Graphics capability inside its processors, starting with its Arrandale processors launched in 2010. Graphics capability in Arrandale ( called HD Graphics) was embarrassingly slow. It was not for any gaming and did not have anything worth mentioning in terms of video encoding or multi display capability. Arrandale processors were two die solution.
Next year in 2011, when Intel launched Sandy Bridge, it moved the processor and graphics in a single die. The graphics – called HD Graphics 3000 was not embarrassingly slow but not something great for gamers. Intel took one step at a time. HD Graphics 3000 competed with AMD’s Llano but was slower. For Intel, it created a milestone by moving the graphics inside the unified die. HD Graphics 3000 was decent in the Video encoding and decoding capability and while it could still not be good for high end gaming, you could still play low demanding games at lower resolution.
With the launch of Ivy Bridge in early Q2, 2012, Intel finally established itself as a serious player in (integrated graphics). The HD Graphics 4000 in Ivy Bridge was still slower than the contemporary integrated graphics in the AMD’s Trinity, but it could play many games at lower and mid complexity. The integrated graphics reduces power consumption – which notebook user appreciate.
There are two areas where the improvement in the integrated graphics in HD Graphics 4000 with respect to the HD Graphics 3000. First, the number of cores increased from 12 to 16, which by itself bring a performance improvement of the order of 33%. This is where the bulk of the improvement comes from in the HD Graphics 4000. Secondly, each core in the HD Graphics 4000 is 10% or so better than the HD Graphics 3000. The combined result is that we see a performance improvement of the order of 40 to 50%.
Table : Related Processors comparison Feature Differences
|Features||Intel HD Graphics 4000||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|Family||Ivy Bridge||Sandy Bridge|
|Core Speed MHz||350 – 1350 MHz||350-1350 MHz|
|Shader Speed MHz||350 – 1350 MHz||350-1350 MHz|
|Memory Bus Width|
HD Graphics 4000, for the first time brought the support for the Direct X11 bringing it on par with AMD’s Llano ( that was released a year ago). Newer games could take advantage of it. In terms of benchmarks and gaming performance, HD Graphics 4000 scaled newer heights. This is something we will examine in the next posts.