Article Index

Battlefield 3 : 'Inside the Second' Frame Rate analysis overview

Overlaying our plots puts things into perspective. Note that each coloured plot is the a separate section of the same Battlefield mission, not a repeat-run or AB comparison.

Graphically and Visually, it is clear to which graphics solution offers the better gameplay experience.

Verdict

As we demonstrated in our launch review of Haswell, the Intel GPU is vastly improved but so has everything else. For our three key game titles, Dirt, Bioshock and BF3 performed best in that order. We observed Battlefield had heavy stuttering on Intel and our data captures reflect this. Changing to a NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX graphics card improves the situation for Battlefield 3, providing ‘buttery smooth’ gameplay.

Intel is still reliant on driver support for optimal game experience. Legacy titles such as GTA4 simply do not work on this solution due to caveats with the hardware and software.

If you play triple A titles, these will be well supported by AMD, Intel and NVIDIA. For more obscure or older titles, AMD or NVIDIA is required just for compatibility let alone experience and performance.

The integrated GPU on Intel enthusiast parts makes little sense as the 4770K and similar CPU will usually be paired with an add-in discrete enthusiast class GPU. The Integrated graphics cannot even be fully utilised even for OpenCL applications or Quick Sync Video decoding.

On some of the motherboards we tested, a monitor must be connected to the on board video ports to fully wake the iGPU and use it. It is partially functional without this connection.

Intel HD Graphics 4600 and Iris 5000 series graphics make more sense in the notebook context.

Intel requires heavy investment into their graphics software engineering team and developer relations. Infrequent driver releases are not sufficient. They have been hiring and making inroads in this area but the more they catch up, the more AMD and NVIDIA will increase their leadership.

Intel, I applaud you for making a worthwhile integrated graphics solution with the HD4600 but enthusiasts have been down this road before and some have been bitten along the way.

Tech media have said repeatedly Intel needs to pour resources continuously into Developer relations and software development, not just one-time deals for major hardware releases.

Gamers, you can indeed game on Haswell’s HD graphics if you had to. Good luck, you will need it.


 

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