Graphics Core Performance
We will start the gaming 3D tests with 3DMark Vantage benchmark run with Performance profile.
As soon as the load type changes, so do the leaders in our race. The graphics core of any AMD Fusion processors is much more powerful than any modification of Intel HD Graphics. Even Core i3-2125 with Intel HD Graphics 3000 core featuring twelve execution units can only reach the performance level of AMD A4-3300 with the weakest integrated graphics accelerator of all Fusion processors participating in our today’s tests – Radeon HD 6410D. All other Intel processors demonstrate 2-4 times lower 3D performance than AMD competitors.
The results of the CPU test may be regarded as some sort of compensation for the graphics performance failure, but you should remember that the CPU and GPU speed are not interchangeable parameters. We should try to achieve the best balance of these characteristics, and later on we will see how well-balanced our testing participants are in this respect, as their gaming performance depends on the performance of the GPU as well as the computational component.
For real game tests we selected Far Cry 2, Dirt 3, Crysis 2, beta version of World of Planes and Civilization V. We ran the tests in 1280x800 resolution and set the image quality settings to Medium.
The situation in gaming tests looks very good for AMD products. Although their computational performance is pretty mediocre, powerful graphic allows them to do pretty well (for integrated solutions). Fusion series processors almost always deliver higher fps than Intel processors from Core i3 and Pentium family.
Even the use of higher-performance HD Graphics 3000 core in Core i3 processors didn’t save the day. Yes, Core i3-2125 featuring this particular graphics core modification turned out about 50% faster than its fellow Core i3-2120 processor equipped with HD Graphics 2000 core, but the graphics integrated in Llano processors is even faster than that. As a result, even Core i3-2125 can only compete against the low-cost A4-3300 processor, while other products on Sandy Bridge microarchitecture looked even less appealing. And if we take into account that the graphics cores in Intel processors do not support DirectX 11, things become even more hopeless for the current Intel offerings. Only the next microarchitecture generation, Ivy Bridge, may be able to fix it, because its graphics core will be faster and will feature more up-to-date functionality.
Even if we leave out the specific numbers and view the situation from more global qualitative prospective, AMD products will still be a much more attractive option for entry-level gaming systems. The top Fusion processors from the A8 series allow playing almost any contemporary games without involving an external graphics accelerator, provided you compromise to some extent on screen resolution and image quality settings. As for Intel processors, we can’t recommend any of them for the entry-level gaming platforms, because different HD Graphics modifications are still not powerful enough for this application field.