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Intel HD Graphics 3000: Clock-for-Clock Performance Comparison

Intel HD Graphics 3000: Clock-for-Clock Performance Comparison

We artificially limited the Core i5-2500K's internal GPU clock speed to 900MHz in order to match the clock speed of the Core i5-661 CPU. Due to the way in which Intel's CPUs operate, the lowest common denominator of CPU cores and threads between the two was also limited to two cores with two threads, although both have a native clock frequency of 3.33GHz.

This is because we wanted to observe how the large L3 cache and improved EUs and CPU cores affected graphics performance, rather than just the clock speed and the number of CPU cores.

StarCraft 2 [Clock to Clock Performance]

1,280 x 720, 'Medium' Graphics Preset, 4x4 with 7 AI

  • Core i5-2500k [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
  • Core i5-661 [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
    • 32
    • 21
    • 18
    • 14
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
FPS, Higher Is Better. Sorted by min FPS.
  • Average (FPS)
  • Minimum (FPS)

Minecraft [Clock to Clock Performance]

1,920 x 1,080 [Fullscreen], 'Fancy' Graphics, Short Render Distance

  • Core i5-2500k [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
  • Core i5-661 [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
    • 50
    • 28
    • 47
    • 25
0
10
20
30
40
50
FPS, Higher Is Better. Sorted by min FPS.
  • Average (FPS)
  • Minimum (FPS)

Left 4 Dead 2 [Clock to Clock Performance]

1,280 x 800, 'Medium' Graphics, 0xAA, Dead Center - Hotel Campaign

  • Core i5-2500k [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
  • Core i5-661 [3.3GHz, 2C/2T] [900MHz GPU]
    • 64
    • 41
    • 31
    • 19
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
FPS, Higher Is Better. Sorted by min FPS.
  • Average (FPS)
  • Minimum (FPS)

Clock-for-clock, you can directly see the massive improvement offered by the Sandy Bridge graphics system. Minecraft might not show a large difference, but the minimum frame rate is faster than Clarkdale's average in both Star Craft II and Left 4 Dead 2, and by several frames per second too.

In fact, Sandy Bridge's overall average is double that of the previous-generation graphics system. It's a stark contrast, and Intel deserves kudos for this, because playing on both systems felt like the difference between night and day. This is crazy when you consider that these CPUs are a single generation apart, and there's only a price-difference of £10 between them. Unfortunately, the downside is that you have to buy a K-series CPU in order to get this performance - go for any other desktop part and it only has half the number of EUs.