Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge chip will be a big step up in graphics performance for Intel. Benchmark numbers also suggest that you may want to wait for that new Ivy Bridge-based MacBook or Windows lappy before upgrading your system.
The upcoming Dell XPS 13 ultrabook will likely use Ivy Bridge processors later in the year.
"In 3DMark Vantage synthetic benchmarks Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge) achieved 88.9 per cent higher GPU score when using Entry preset, and 122.1 per cent better score with Performance preset than [the] Intel i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)," said CPU World.
A faster GPU is important not only for games but for a host of multimedia-related operations such as transcoding and image manipulation.
Other chip websites have weighed in about Ivy Bridge performance recently. "[Ivy Bridge's] underlying architecture is completely new. Between architectural changes, clock speed increases and other changes, Intel is claiming about 2x the graphics performance ... we don't think these claims are out of line for the general case," said chip-centric site SemiAccurate.
Below are gaming benchmarks showing the increase in performance numbers when comparing the Ivy Bridge i5-3570K with HD 4000 graphics to a Sandy Bridge i5-2500K with HD 3000 (via CPU World):
- Left 4 Dead 2: up 71.6 per cent
- Street Fighter IV: up 43 per cent
- Starcraft II: up 30.2 per cent
- DiRT 3: up 51.8 per cent
- Far Cry 2: up 84.5 per cent
Of course, no article about Intel graphics performance would be complete without mentioning that a system with a separate graphics card from Nvidia or Advanced Micro Devices is going to deliver better performance.
However, many of the super-skinny ultrabooks due in the coming months (and already out) either don't have room for a stand-alone "discrete" graphics chip or the designers simply decided they don't need it. Not to mention the fact that PC makers essentially get the graphics for free because the Intel GPU is built into the Ivy Bridge chip, right next to the CPU (central processing unit).