IGP performance: Skyrim
Before we conclude, let's take a quick look at how Ivy's integrated graphics compare to Sandy's and Llano's in a couple of recent games. Up first is Skyrim, again in a 60-second loop around Whiterun, at the settings shown below.
Ivy's HD 4000 graphics have closed the FPS gap with the A8's integrated Radeon substantially, but the A8 still leads in the FPS sweeps. Look what happens when we consider the frame latency picture, though.
The A8 produces more frames and thus achieves a higher FPS average, but it also has quite a few more spikes caused by longer-latency frames. As a result, the A8's advantage over the 3770K evaporates as we approach the 99th percentile, and the last 1% of frames are higher latency on the AMD APU.
Those long-latency frames contribute to the A8 spending more time rendering beyond our 33.3-ms threshold. It's close, but we'd say the 3770K provides a smoother gaming experience, both by the numbers and by the seat of our pants.
As you know, Skyrim is somewhat sensitive to CPU performance, so it's possible—perhaps even likely—that the A8-3850's relatively pokey CPU cores could be contributing to those long frame times. The A8 did fare a little better in our earlier test with a discrete graphics card, but remember that Llano will throttle back its CPU cores in order to clear out enough thermal headroom for its IGP. Dynamic power management in Llano is a one-way street.
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