Myths and realities of the integrated graphics, keep their promise!

Graphics Card

When one speaks of gamers usually does in mind those users with high performance computers playing PC games at very high resolutions and with huge levels of detail. These gamers harness the power of the dedicated NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards, but the truth is that this is a niche segment almost because the vast majority of users do not need those cards.

It is there where graphics cards come integrated in both Intel and AMD own carry investing years. The promise of this alternative graphical dedicated NVIDIA and AMD was clear: if you’re a casual player and do not need much resolution or detail, our solutions provide you a great experience. Is that promise is fulfilled?

Graphics Card
Image Source: Google Image

Intel has more than a decade working in this segment

Yet the truth is that Intel has evolved significantly in this segment. In Tom’s Hardware did a review by the evolution of the company’s graphics cards. In 1998 they had in fact its first dedicated graphics, the i740, while in 1999 came with the i810 (“Whitney”) and i815 (“Solano”) that made ​​the GPU integrated into the northbridge. It was the prehistory of Intel integrated graphics, which first brought these solutions.

Further developments such as Intel Extreme Graphics -what “Extreme” was a bit exaggerated, we tememos- did not last long, because in 2004 llearía the Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA), the integrated Intel GPU became center stage of their strategy even if their performance was clearly lagging behind dedicated graphics.

Five years later he would try to return to the market of dedicated graphics with Larrabee, but the project was canceled, but not quite: the technology would eventually be part of the Xeon Phi. Intel chose to definitely go for the integrated graphics and that’s how came the first generation of products Intel HD Graphics in 2010.

That is the family that has managed to impose its rule and thanks to the development of integration technologies has managed to convince industry and users. The evolution in power has been evident since the first Clarkdale and Arrandale were 12 execution units with a yield of 43 GFLOPS. Today’s graphics cores GT3e Broadwell and GT4e of Skylake have EUs 48 and 72, and your gross yield is 883 GFLOPS and 1152 respectively.

Intel says yes

In the past CES in Las Vegas Intel he wanted to take heart in this section. Gregory Bryant, head of desktop platforms, indicated in the JP Morgan Tech Forum which was integrated into the show that “we improved the performance of our graphics 30 times compared to where we were five years ago. We believe that graphics performance Intel integrated today and what we offer in our products is equivalent to 80% yield of dedicated graphics cards on the market today.”

The statement was ambitious, but logically included all types of PCs and laptops, including those with many years behind them and that even in the case of having dedicated graphics and do with outdated models and comparatively worse performance.

As we saw evolution is truly remarkable, and the fact is that today the Intel integrated graphics, especially the most powerful, that all there too- can meet the needs of those who play more modestly games computer. That is precisely what the company is worth noting, whose family of solutions means that users should think twice before investing in a dedicated graphics. That is precisely one of the most frequently asked questions: I invest in a more powerful processor, or in a dedicated graphics?

AMD also plays in integrated, and does so with force

Although we started talking about Intel’s other big star of this market. The same has been said of Intel it could be said for AMD, which besides being the other major market leader in dedicated graphics ATI His purchase was an acierto- He has managed to make good use of all that talent for integrated graphics that are part of their APUs.

These processors also support this philosophy that allows users somewhat less picky about their gaming platform can also access a good performance even without dedicated graphics. It have gone from Llano in 2011 to modern Godavari, which is an update of the lot Kaveri best known, and that will lead this year Bristol Ridge, the Desktop version of Carrizo.

The performance of these solutions is remarkable precisely in games, a goal that was clearly AMD with this new series of APUs. As indicated in AnandTech analyzing the AMD A10-7870K, the focus here was precisely the mass market players using graphically undemanding games like Counter Strike, League of Legends or DOTA2.

With these GPUs performance in these games it is truly remarkable and here AMD wanted to bring the segment Twitch and eSports fans all without them having to make a large investment in their equipment. The idea is great, and AnandTech tests show that this is a good approximation to the gamer market that does not need a Radeon or GTX-edge dedicated for this purpose.

If you want to play for real, there is no discussion

Speaking of Intel and AMD is entirely reasonable from their perspective. If someone is going to play only occasionally and is able to “settle” with resolutions 720p with a good level of detail or even 1080p resolutions with somewhat less detail in the image it is likely to last processors families Broadwell and Skylake Intel fulfill the function.

However it is also true that comparisons between dedicated and discrete graphics are extremely unfair. NVIDIA and AMD have long no effort in the lower ranges of products with the integrated Intel GPU can indeed compete. These companies already have spent many years investing in talent and improvements in their developments to bring that graphics power at much higher levels than can offer an integrated graphics.

The differences between the two proposals are obvious when one checks the complexity of the graphics dedicated next-generation NVIDIA or AMD and compared with solutions from Intel or AMD itself, to remember, share space with the CPU itself. Intel and AMD cannot compete with that, but I do not try: the market is another. Indeed, the users who only occasionally play or they do, as we said, with games that are not as demanding the graphics.

Comparative in which they integrate the results of synthetic benchmarks show dedicated graphics and integrated differences. In places like the results VideoCard Benchmark updated constantly, and there is easy to distinguish between the graphs devoted to art and those in the middle range. In the latter it is where Intel and AMD integrated graphics appear, and for example we see how Intel HD 6000 appear with an index of 812 points PassMark (G3D Mark) while the GeForce GTX 980 Ti is the result of 11,526 points . The difference is overwhelming, and demonstrates the unfairness of comparing not only in price but in every way.

With all these data it is clear that each alternative cover different needs, but it is true that the evolution of dedicated graphics has been truly remarkable. Perhaps the statement that we mentioned Intel is a bit exaggerated and has to catch it with tweezers, but certainly one of the new processors from Intel or AMD can easily meet the needs of many of the users. And if not, we can always go to the dedicated graphics market, of course.