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Intel HD Graphics 4000 vs. Intel HD Graphics 2500: What’s Different?

Just as before, Intel integrates two graphics core models into their Ivy Bridge. This time they are HD Graphics 4000 and HD Graphics 2500. The top high-performance model, which we mostly focused on in the previous chapter of our review, absorbed all the new microarchitectural improvements. As for the junior graphics core model, it is not expected to set any new performance standards for integrated solutions, but should merely provide contemporary processors with the minimum necessary graphics functionality.

HD Graphics 4000 and HD Graphics 2500 differ dramatically from one another. The faster graphics core modification has 16 execution units, while the slower one has only six. As a result, while HD Graphics 4000 is almost twice as fast as the previous generation HD Graphics 3000 in theoretical 3D performance, the advantage of the HD Graphics 2500 over HD Graphics 2000 is promised to be around 10-20%. The same is true for QuickSync: only the top graphics core modifications should deliver twice the performance compared with their predecessors.

Intel HD Graphics 4000

Intel HD Graphics 2500

However, not all products in the Ivy Bridge family feature the fully-fledged HD Graphics 4000 graphics core. It can is more popular in mobile solutions, where integrated CPU graphics is in demand. The desktop processors with HD Graphics 4000 are either the CPU from the Core i7 series, or the overclocker Core i5 models (with the “K” index in their model name). The only exception from the latter is the Core i5-3475S CPU. In all other instances, desktop users will be either dealing with HD Graphics 2500 or using external graphics accelerators.

Luckily, it was only the performance gap between the senior and junior Intel graphics modifications that increased. The functionality of HD Graphics 2500 didn’t suffer in any way. Just like the HD Graphics 4000, the junior model supports DirectX 11 and triple-display configurations.

It is important to point out that, just as before, the graphics core in third-generation Core processors may work at different frequencies. For example, Intel cares more about integrated graphics performance in respect to mobile solutions, which is reflected by the operational frequencies. In most cases, the HD Graphics 4000 core in mobile Ivy Bridge processors works at a slightly higher frequency than in desktop CPUs. Moreover, the heat dissipation limitations of different processor models may also determine the differences in the integrated graphics core frequencies.

Besides, the graphics core frequency is a variable parameter. Ivy Bridge processors support Intel HD Graphics Dynamic Frequency, which adjusts the frequency of the integrated graphics core dynamically depending on the CPU utilization, power consumption and heat dissipation at a given moment.

Therefore, there are two frequencies in the list of technical parameters for specific HD Graphics implementations: min and max. The minimum frequency is typical of the idle mode, while the maximum frequency is the goal frequency for the graphics core provided the power consumption and heat dissipation allow this speed boost.

The table below contains all major technical details about the Intel HD Graphics core modifications used in third-generation Core processors:


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