The Benefits Over Integrated Graphics

For our comparison to integrated graphics, we looked at two games: Crysis and Oblivion. These games tend to cover the spectrum fairly well from DX9 to DX10, and they tell the same story: integrated graphics suck.

First up is Crysis. For integrated graphics, we needed to test everything at the absolute lowest setting, and even that was painful. It is too bad we couldn't test 640x480, as that might have given some of this hardware a chance at playability. But with the tests we did run, none of our integrated solutions were really playable at 1024x768, and only the AMD 780G did anything useful at 800x600. By contrast, the 4350 and the 4550 both we very playable at this very low quality setting. Pushing up to 1280x1024 wasn't really as effective, but the 4550 did still hang on to playable framerates at that resolution.

As for Oblivion, we see nearly the same behavior as with Crysis. There is a huge performance gap between integrated graphics and even the lowest end of add-in cards we are testing today. And these settings with Oblivion are insanely ugly. We would never recommend playing with very low settings ever. It's a horrendous experience.

As usual, Intel's integrated graphics are the biggest joke of the bunch. But that's not any sort of feather in AMD or NVIDIA's cap here: Intel's G35 is just really horrible hardware for 3D.

So, with the benefit over integrated graphics well established, how do these parts compare to the slightly higher price bracket right next door? Let's take a look at how they compare to NVIDIA's 9500 GT DDR2 and AMD's 4670.

The Test But Can You Really Game on Them?
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  • ThePooBurner - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    If yo are going to test something as a gaming alternative for those who want a bit of a boost in their gaming, try actually setting the games to settings people might use. Also, testing with just 2 games, both of which either were or are system breakers seems a bit... dumb.

    I would prefer the cards be tested with actual settings to see what they can ACTUALLY do and give a better indication of performance. It's been my experience that turning on some of the eyecandy and turning up the resolution for a slightly reduced framerate is preferred over looking at something ugly for hours. Also, why test the 780G instead of the 790G? or why not both?

    Here is are test setups i would suggest that would be more reasonable and representative of what people would actually do with these cards.

    1) 1024x768 Med Quality (as in the second down from the highest setting), no AA, Triliner/8x filtering.
    2) 1024x768 High Quality, no AA, Triliner/8x filtering
    3&4) Same as above but with 1280x1024(or 960).

    These tests are much more inline with the testing that happens on their big brothers and allows for a much more quantitive comparison of what you are getting. Automatically testing everything at junk levels is worthless to people. It gives us no basis for comparison. We need apples to apple and orange to orange testing if we want to see what exactly the fruit we are looking at is. Also as a point of comparison it should include the 4850 or the 3850. Those are both very well performing cards that will give a good idea of how much more you would get for more money. But as this review currently stands it is of little to no worth to anyone.
    Reply
  • superflex - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Using a $1450 processor, $240 mobo, $300 RAM and $400 PSU to test a $40 GPU is assanine. That does no service to the HTPC end user. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    It is their standard graphics test bed, you can't very well make comparisons if you are changing non-tested hardware around.

    They probably shouldn't have bothered posting anything on these though until they were done with the HTPC portions, judging by all the complaints in the comments.
    Reply
  • deruberhanyok - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Yeah, it would be completely irrational to have a second standard test system for mid-range parts and a third for these lower end ones. I mean, what do you think this is, a tech website? Reply
  • PAPutzback - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Something along the lines of it being tested in hybrid mode if it is capable with an HTPC type setup. IE, low watt fanless PSU, and low watt processor.

    The new game should not be benchmarks scores but more about what is the leat wattage I can make a PC and still have all the function of a Media HTPC. No gaming.

    I was really disappointed seeing as Anand has a theater blog on the site and this would of been a perfect setup to test along with his theater.
    Reply
  • whosthere - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Derek,
    You guys published an article on G45 a few days back, then why didn't you show any G45 numbers in this article and still showing the antiquated G35 numbers?


    Reply
  • fic2 - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Looking forward to the article on how well a 4870 runs on an Atom based computer.

    Got to go google for articles on how well a Landrover does on an F1 track.

    What a waste of an article. Best thing that can be said is that trees died for it.
    Reply
  • archer75 - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    The ATI cards have problems with some receivers and TV's. It has to do with the EDID and is documented over at avsforums.com
    This affects some Onkyo, Denon and Yamaha receivers.
    Reply
  • madspartus - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Honestly why did you pair a $40 graphics card with a qx processor at 3.2 ghz...it just doesnt make any sense.

    Then showing power consumption differences on that system using a qx processor and 1200W power supply where the power used by the video card is little more than a unmentionable blip.

    next time would you try testing it in a system we might actually use this hardware in, like HTPC which you said yourself.

    maybe compare the power consumption to an IGP solution...and use a ~300W power supply etc.

    All those graphs were of no value to someone who wants to evaluate this thing for HTPC.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    I agree, keep the review in reality and put this in a 780-790 mobo with x2 6000 or 6500 and an intel p45 with e5xxx - e7xxx series.

    that would give a realistic platform
    Reply

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