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IGP performance - Battlefield 3

Uh oh. Those plots for the Core i3 configs look ugly and prickly. Let's see what it means.

Looking at the FPS average, you might think the Core i3-3225 isn't far behind the Llano-based A8-3850, but the 99th percentile frame time tells a different story.

A look at the latency curve illustrates the problem. The Core i3 has particular trouble with the last 10-12% of frames rendered, where latencies shoot up dramatically.

Given the shape of the latency curve, this result isn't surprising. The Trinity-based A10 and the Llano-based A8 waste very little time working on frames beyond our 50-ms threshold, but the Core i3 spends just over—or just under, with the faster memory config—one second of our 60-second test run working on long-latency frames. That 32 FPS average might tempt you to think the Core i3 is reasonably competent, but in this case, it isn't.

IGP performance - Crysis 2

But will it run Crysis? We fired up Crysis 2 on a lark to see if it could run on any of these IGPs. As one of the most graphically intensive games around, we really didn't expect much. Turns out that it did indeed run, even on the Intel IGP. Credit Intel for getting a Crysis game to run on its IGP, even if it isn't terribly fast. There was a day not long ago when running a game like this on an Intel graphics solution was a sure recipe for failure.

Hmm. The FPS average and 99th percentile results don't match at all. What's the story? Well, it's pretty easy to see how the AMD results are riddled with spikes throughout, even though the plots show a relatively decent core of low-latency frames. That core translates into a healthy-looking FPS average, but not all is well.

The curves tell the story. The AMD IGPs struggle with about 4-5% of the frames in the scene—and we know from the plots those problem frames are interspersed throughout the test session. As a result, the A10-5800K's curve meets the Core i3-3225's at around the 98th or 99th percentile, even though the A10 is faster otherwise.

Playing Crysis 2 on any of these IGPs kind of stinks, though in different ways. All of the IGPs burn quite a bit of time beyond our threshold.

Interestingly enough, the two least "bad" configs here are the IGPs paired with 1866MHz memory. That illustrates how important a bottleneck memory bandwidth is for integrated graphics. This constraint is likely to be more of a problem going forward, as transistor budgets for integrated graphics grow, especially if mainstream systems stick with the same dual-channel DDR3 memory standard.

IGP performance - Civilization V
We have one more gaming test to include before moving on to bigger and better things. This test is a simple scripted one that spits out an FPS average, because there are only so many hours in the day for testing.

Yikes. We're running Civ V at just about the lowest possible image quality settings, and although it doesn't crash, it's pretty much hopeless on the Intel HD 4000 IGP. The A10-5800K handles it reasonably well, it would seem, with an average of 43 FPS.