The Intel Core i3 530 Review - Great for Overclockers & Gamersby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 22, 2010 12:00 AM EST
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Overclocking Intel’s HD Graphics - It Works...Very Well
The coolest part of my job is being able to work with some ridiculously smart people. One such person gave me the idea to try overclocking the Intel HD graphics core on Clarkdale a few weeks ago. I didn’t get time to do it with the Core i5 661, but today is a different day.
Clarkdale offers three different GPU clocks depending on the model:
|Processor||Intel HD Graphics Clock|
|Intel Core i5-670||733MHz|
|Intel Core i5-661||900MHz|
|Intel Core i5-660||733MHz|
|Intel Core i5-650||733MHz|
|Intel Core i3-540||733MHz|
|Intel Core i3-530||733MHz|
|Intel Pentium G9650||533MHz|
The Core i5 661 runs it at the highest speed - 900MHz. The rest of the Core i5 and i3 processors pick 733MHz. And the Pentium G6950 has a 533MHz graphics clock.
Remember that the Intel HD Graphics die is physically separate from the CPU die on Clarkdale. It’s a separate 45nm package and I’m guessing it’s not all that difficult to make. If AMD can reliably ship GPUs with hundreds of shader processors, Intel can probably make a chip with 12 without much complaining.
So the theory is that these graphics cores are easily overclockable. I fired up our testbed and adjusted the GPU clock. It’s a single BIOS option and without any changes to voltage or cooling I managed to get our Core i3 530’s GPU running at 1200MHz. That’s a 64% overclock!
I could push the core as high as 1400MHz and still get into Windows, but the system stopped being able to render any 3D games at that point.
I benchmarked World of Warcraft with the Core i3 running at three different GPU clocks to show the potential for improvement:
|CPU (Graphics Clock)||World of Warcraft|
|Intel Core i5 661 (900MHz gfx)||14.8 fps|
|Intel Core i3 530 (733MHz gfx)||12.5 fpx|
|Intel Core i3 530 (900MHz gfx)||14.2 fps|
|Intel Core i3 530 (1200MHz gfx)||19.0 fps|
A 64% overclock resulted in a 52% increase in performance. If Intel wanted to, it could easily make its on-package GPU a lot faster than it is today. I wonder if this is what we’ll see with Sandy Bridge and graphics turbo on the desktop.