Haswell HD 4600 Graphics Performance

Our Core i7-4770K has the highest end graphics system that is offered on discrete LGA1150 processors, but that is still just a minor refresh over what is available on the Ivy Bridge processors today.

Intel HD Graphics 4600 is built on the GT2 version of the graphics system, not the newer GT3 or GT3e designs found on some mobile processors or embedded BGA desktop solutions.

Intel claims that the Core i7-4770K should be 30-70% faster than the Core i7-3770K but that is only using synthetic 3DMark scores.  We tested that but also wanted to see how they worked with DiRT 3 and Left 4 Dead 2 at 1080p resolutions. 

Our setup for this is as identical as possible – 8GB of memory running at DDR3-1600 speeds, default clock rates and stock settings on the Z87 and Z77 motherboards, respectively.  I have included results for the i7-4770K, i7-3770K, i7-2600K and the A10-5800K Trinity APU.

If we focus on the graphics scores first (the middle graph) you can see that the 4770K is showing an improvement of 36% over the 3770K – definitely a performance delta that is worthy of praise.  The A10-5800K though remains ahead of Haswell with a score that is 24% faster.  However, the Trinity APU is coupled with a slower processor (32% slower in the Physics test) and thus overall score is just 9% faster on the AMD APU.

The Cloud Gate test is a bit more demanding and the results change because of it.  The Haswell-based 4770K is 21% faster than the 3770K and is actually 6% faster than the A10-5800K even in the graphics sub-score!  The combined score shows an edge of 35% to the 4770K over the A10 APU thanks to a dramatically higher Physics score for Haswell over Trinity.

On to some real world games!  We tested DiRT 3 at 1920×1080, Low preset and AA disabled.  Average frames rates on the Core i7-4770K are 10% faster than on the 3770K but the A10 utilizes the AMD VLIW4 architecture of the APU to beat both Intel processors by 25% or so. 

Left 4 Dead 2 was run at 1920×1080 as well but with Very High quality settings, no AA or AF enabled.  Again the 4770K is faster than the 3770K by 18% but still falls behind the A10-5800K by 18% or so. 

Obviously Haswell has cut the advantage that AMD's Trinity APU holds on the integrated graphics front but not enough to really prove itself to be better.  Even though the 3DMark Cloud Gate results showed the Haswell part was marginally better, the real-world games disagreed, as they often do.  Plus, AMD has Richland coming out very soon so you can assume another modest boost will be found on the GPU performance of that part compared to Trinity, helping to keep AMD's advantage; at least on the desktop side.

I don't yet have a GT3 part or a GT3e solution to test quite yet, but I think we will find that Intel's Iris Graphics will actually be faster than the A10-5800K.  By how much is one question and to what degree can GT3 interfere with discrete mobile graphics is another.  Answers soon!

Finally, we wanted to test QuickSync with Haswell to see how much performance has increased over Ivy Bridge.  Using a 1080p high bit-rate file transcoded to 720p for iPhone playback, we ran it on our processor barrage with and without QuickSync enabled.  The Core i7-4770K was about 15% faster than the Core i7-3770K; a solid bump for a fixed function bit of hardware. 

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