Extended Compatibility and Performance Results – Medium Detail

Batman: Arkham Asylum


Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena

Crysis: Warhead

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Empire: Total War

Fallout 3

Fallout: New Vegas

Far Cry 2

FEAR 2: Project Origin

H.A.W.X. 2

Mafia II

Metro 2033

Medium Gaming Average - 20 Titles

Bumping quality settings up to Medium puts the screws to the HD 3000, dropping nearly every test game below 30FPS. Besides Mass Effect 2 and STALKER (which we mentioned on the previous page), only Empire: Total War breaks the 30FPS mark, and it’s not even a clear victory there. Yes, Intel can run Medium detail at 42FPS, but the game prevents us from selecting the “High” defaults, which is where we would have preferred to test. (This is possibly another case of blacklisting, although not as severe as Fallout 3.)

At our Medium settings, the discrete GPUs easily pull away from Sandy Bridge, with both the Acer 5551G and ASUS N53JF nearly doubling (95-96% faster on average) the HD 3000. Rendering quality also gets worse in HAWX 2, with the entire skybox missing once detail levels are increase, so you get a black sky. (It’s still better than the horribly corrupted rendering that Arrandale’s IGP managed at lower settings.)

Ultimately, Sandy Bridge’s IGP is far more capable than many would have expected. Sure, it doesn’t even try to support DX11 or OpenCL, but at least for gaming DX11 is typically too much for even midrange GPUs. Intel uses 114 million transistors in Sandy Bridge on the graphics, which is quite small considering transistor counts on other GPUs. The HD 5470 for example—a chip that is frequently surpassed by HD 3000—has an estimated count of 242 million transistors.

This is where Intel’s manufacturing prowess comes into play, as SNB uses a refined 32nm process that allows Intel to push clock speeds far higher than other competing offerings. What’s more, late 2011 should bring the follow-up Ivy Bridge processor, which shrinks the process even further to 22nm. At that node, Intel could potentially double the number of EUs (Execution Units) and further increase clocks. If Intel puts the requisite effort into improving driver compatibility and adds DX11 support, and if rumors of high-bandwidth stacked memory prove true, next year we could see integrated graphics reach the point where they match HD 5650/GT 425M, effectively killing off anything less than the upper-midrange and lower-high-end discrete GPUs.

Sandy Bridge Graphics: Extended Compatibility and Performance Results All the Performance, and Good Battery Life As Well!
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  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    All of the mobile chips list AES/TXT/vPRO support, unlike the desktop chips. They also all support Quick Sync and have 12 EUs.
  • DesktopMan - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    What about virtualization? Not sure why you are mentioning vPro, the requirement for vPro is usually the chipset, in this case QM67.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    They don't specifically break out VT-d and VT-x on the mobile products; all the slides state is that the mobile products support virtualization. On the desktop slide, they have a line saying "vPro/TXT/VT-d/SIPP" but on mobile slides the line says "AES/TXT/vPro". There's a second line for both desktops and mobile chips that just says "Intel Virtualization Technology" but it's not too useful since it just says "Yes" on every single Sandy Bridge CPU listed. :-\
  • Hrel - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    finally gaming on IG. Sooo, when do new Nvidia Gpu's come out for laptops?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    Check back on Jan 6. :-p
  • mobomonster - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    AMD is toast. Those are blistering performance numbers that even I did not expect. Incredible that it manages near 30 fps in several games at medium detail settings.

    The lower power dual core Sandy Bridge models will really put the squeeze on AMD. Even a regular 2520M will give AMD's Brazos a lot of trouble.
  • tipoo - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    Bah, AMD has been toast for years now, if they really were, they would be buttered and eaten already.

    yes, horrible metaphor is horrible.
  • Kangal - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    I'm a tech enthusiast especially in the portable device scene, and I always nit-pick things.
    Which is the reason why I own the Acer 4810TG.

    The Core i7 640-UM would be my favourite processor, until I saw this.
    The successor, 2657M, seems to have (theoretical) performance improvement of 19% and battery saving of 6%, which is very amazing.

    From pure guestimation, this is ~200% (or slightly more) performance of the SU7300 at the same battery life. Whoa!

    This would mean new ultra-portable devices (less than 14" and over 6 hours battery life).
    If this gets partnered with the ATi 5650 (or its successor), this will bring serious gaming potential to ultra-portable devices *drools*


    BUT, I wish they could add another chip on that (ULV) list.
    The exact same thing as the i7 2657M but tossing the dual-core setup for a single core, if it meant they could increase the down the battery life by 70%. (Name it the 1357M?)

    I mean, how about real 10 hours battery life (6 cell) on something about as fast as the SU7300 ??

    Something like that (Core i7 1357M?) could make Windows7 tablets a more viable option.
  • davepermen - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    I'd prefer a dualcore with 1ghz, or even 800mhz. as it could still clock to 2ghz or so, it would be fast when needed, but very battery saving else.

    if intel would go down further, it would most likely by now kill atom in the netbook and tablet area. and in the phone area, atom isn't there yet.

    personally, i hate atom for being in the way. ultralow core i1 would be AWESOME.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    SpeedStep lets all the SNB processors (mobile versions at least) run at 800MHz when they're not doing anything else. So you've already got what you're asking for, more or less.

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