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Testbed Configuration and Testing Methodology

During this test session we decided to compare the performance of the new Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Intel HD Graphics 2500 cores integrated into Ivy Bridge processors against the performance of the previous generation and competitive integrated GPU and discrete entry-level graphics cards. We are going to perform this comparison in desktop platforms, although obtained results are also applicable to mobile systems.

There are currently two processors with integrated graphics in the market that can be compared against Ivy Bridge: AMD Vision from A8/A6 series and Intel Sandy Bridge. They will be competing against a system based on third-generation Core i5 processors featuring Intel HD Graphics 2500 and Intel HD Graphics 4000 cores. Moreover, we also included low-cost discrete graphics cards from AMD 6xxx series – Radeon HD 6450 and Radeon HD 6570.

Unfortunately, while comparing the integrated graphics cores, we can’t ensure that the rest of the system components are identical throughout all platforms. Different cores belong to different processors with different operational frequencies and microarchitectures. Therefore, we had to come up with maximally close, though not identical configurations. For our LGA 1155 platform we took only Core i5 processors, which will compete against AMD Vision processors from Llano family. The discrete graphics cards were tested in an Ivy Bridge system.

As a result, we used the following hardware and software components:

  • Processors:
    • Intel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.4-3.8 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 4000);
    • Intel Core i5-3550 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 2500);
    • Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 3000);
    • Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.1-3.4 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 2000);
    • AMD A8-3870K (Llano, 4 cores, 3.0 GHz, 4 MB L2, Radeon HD 6550D);
    • AMD A6-3650 (Llano, 4 cores, 2.6 GHz, 4 MB L2, Radeon HD 6530D).
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe (LGA1155, Intel Z77 Express);
    • Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H (Socket FM1, AMD A75).
  • Graphics cards:
    • AMD Radeon HD 6570 1 GB GDDR5 128-bit;
    • AMD Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5 64-bit.
  • Memory: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX).
  • Disk sub-system: Crucial m4 256 GB (CT256M4SSD2).
  • Power supply unit: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W).
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
  • Drivers:
    • AMD Catalyst 12.4 Driver;
    • AMD Chipset Driver 12.4;
    • Intel Chipset Driver;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology

Quite naturally, the major focus of this test session was on the gaming performance. Therefore, most of the benchmarks we used were games or special gaming benchmarks. In fact, the potential of contemporary integrated graphics accelerators has already improved so dramatically that we were actually able to run the tests not only in low resolution of 1366x768, but also in the de-facto standard resolution for desktop FullHD systems – 1980x1080. Though in the latter case we used only low image quality settings.

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