IGP performance: GRID 2
Here's a first. We have a pre-release version of GRID 2 to test, and it's because Intel has been working closely with Codemasters to optimize this game for Iris Pro graphics. GRID 2 comes out of the box with some distinctive visual effects, such as order-independent transparency, made possible via special hooks in the Intel IGP hardware. We didn't test performance with those effects enabled, since they wouldn't work on other brands of GPUs, but it's a sign of change when Intel is putting in this sort of work with game developers. We did enable the "CMAA" antialiasing mode, which looks to be a post-process antialiasing method a la MLAA or FXAA. Intel tells us it co-developed CMAA with Codemasters, and this feature works on Radeons as well as on Iris.
Forgive me for not having a video of this test session recorded. We just tested in the opening race of the game for 60 seconds.
The 4950HQ again takes the top spot in the FPS average, this time by a wider margin. You'll notice in the frame time plots above that there are occasional spikes as high as 50 ms or better on the Iris Pro and on the other Intel IGPs. Those spikes show up in our latency-focused metrics, where the Iris Pro's lead isn't quite so commanding. Still, the spikes are relatively minor, at least on the Iris Pro. The 4770K/HD 4600 combo suffers a little more compared to AMD's A10-5800K, which runs this game very smoothly.
IGP performance: Metro: Last Light
Ok, here's a bit of a gotcha. How well does Intel's shiny new IGP handle a brand-new, just-released game like Metro: Last Light? Are the graphics drivers up to the task? To find out, we fired up Last Light's built in benchmark.
Well, not bad, folks. The Intel IGPs managed to run this test well, without obvious visual artifacts, and the Iris Pro cranked out the highest frame rate of the group. That experience is consistent with what we've seen from Iris Pro elsewhere, in our limited time with it. Each of the games we've tried has run without issue, with decent image quality, and with surprising fluidity given our usual expectations for an Intel IGP.
Slowly but surely, Intel appears to be bringing its graphics solutions up to par. With Iris Pro, it may even succeed in capturing some of the space where low-end mobile discrete GPUs have traditionally played.
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