Before we precede to the actual performance results, we should say a few words about the compatibility of the HD Graphics 4000/2500 graphics accelerators with various games. Previously, it was quite common that some games wouldn’t work with Intel’s graphics at all or would work incorrectly. However, things have definitely changed for the better by now. Every new version of the graphics accelerator and driver expands the list of fully compatible gaming titles, and in case of the new HD Graphics 4000/2500 there are hardly any critical issues left. However, if you are still skeptical about the potential of the Intel’s integrated graphics cores, you can check the extensive list of popular games on Intel’s official web-site (list 1, list 2), which compatibility has been tested and which have demonstrated acceptable gaming performance.
3DMark scores are a very popular way of estimating average gaming performance. Therefore, we decided to start with 3DMark. And we chose Vantage suite because it uses DirectX 10 that all the participating graphics accelerators support.
The first diagrams show very clearly how significantly the new HD Graphics cores have improved. HD Graphics 4000 is more than twice as fast as HD Graphics 3000. The junior 2500 model also does very well: it is almost twice as fast as HD Graphics 2000, even though both these accelerators have the same number of execution units.
A newer 3DMark suite measures DirectX 11 performance. Therefore, all integrated graphics cores of the second generation Core processors do not take part in this test.
The graphics core in Ivy Bridge processors is the first graphics accelerator from Intel that managed to pass the 3DMark 11 tests using DirectX 11 without any image quality issues. HD Graphics 4000 is pretty fast in this suite. It outperforms the discrete Radeon HD 6450 graphics card and the Radeon HD 6530D graphics core integrated into AMD A6-3650 processor. It only yields to the senior integrated core modification in Llano processors and Radeon HD 6570 graphics card priced at about $60-$70. As for the junior modification of the new Intel’s graphics core, HD Graphics 2500, it takes the last place in this test. No doubt, the ruthlessly limited number of execution units has inevitable negative effect on gaming performance.
Batman Arkham City
We will start our actual games tests with a relatively new title – Batman Arkham City based on Unreal Engine 3.
As you can see from the obtained results, the performance of integrated Intel graphics has increased so significantly that we are now able to play pretty current games in FullHD resolution. And even though we can’t get good image quality or sufficient fps rate for absolutely comfortable gaming experience just yet, it is still a huge leap forward represented by 55% performance increase HD Graphics 4000 has over the previous generation HD Graphics 3000. Overall, HD Graphic 4000 catches up with Radeon HD 6530D core in AMD A6-3650 as well as the discrete Radeon HD 6450 falling just a little bit behind AMD A8-3850K with its Radeon HD 6550D core. Although the junior graphics core modification integrated into Ivy Bridge processors, HD Graphics 2500, can’t boast the same performance achievements. Although it is 40-45% faster than HD Graphics 2000, the graphics in quad-core Llano processors as well as 40-dollar graphics accelerators work way faster.
This popular first-person shooter doesn’t work fast enough when run on Ivy bridge graphics. Moreover, we experienced some issues with the game menu being incorrectly displayed during the testing process. Nevertheless, the conclusion about the performance of the new generation Intel HD Graphics remains the same. 4000 model is somewhat faster than the graphics core in AMD A6-3650 and Radeon HD 6450 graphics card. However, it yields to the senior graphics core model in Llano processors and is completely destroyed by discrete Radeon HD 6570.
This popular strategy favors graphics solution on AMD architecture that is why they take the lead in this game. Intel’s graphics doesn’t do too good here: even HD Graphics 4000 is far behind the integrated Radeon HD 6530D as well as the discrete Radeon HD 6450.