Now, we've been chatting up on the embedded IGP you can make use of if you purchase a Sandy Bridge based processor. With so few shader cores and raw horsepower we seriously recommend you to look into a dedicated graphics card for gaming. Only... and again only if you lower image quality settings to the absolute minimum you might be able to play a game at 10x7 or 12x10.
Mind you, the 2500/2600 K models have the 3000 series graphics core, which is twice as fast as the 2000 model harbored in the rest of the SKUs.
Far Cry 2
Above, you can see two tests, the first (lower) one is the HD 3000 IGP rendering Far Cry 2 with 4xAA enabled, very high image quality settings and DX10 mode. As you can see, as expected that is too much.
However, the upper dark blue line is looking much better, that is DX9 mode, no AA enabled yet with HIGH image quality settings. The game looks good that way, make no mistake. 1024x768 is playable. For mobile products and laptops this is going to make the difference alright.
Resident Evil Benchmark
Now, here we are comparing the Core i5 661 processor with its embedded IGP to the Core i5 2500K series 3000 IGP. The title you are looking at is the Resident Evil benchmark, we have HQ settings enabled, are in DX9 mode yet have AA disabled.
If you lower image quality the game becomes playable, but sure... this as you can see remains very low/entry level graphics performance behavior. The main reason for showing you the above chart however is to show you the performance difference in-between the last generation IGP and the new one harbored in Sandy Bridge, this indeed is roughly a 2x performance increase.
IGP - Core i5 660/661
IGP - Core i5 2500K
3Dmark Vantage also confirms the much better overall IGP performance, it's the first time I have seen an IGP reach a near 1700 point P score in 3Dmark Vantage. However, the P score takes the processor performance into account, so you need to focus on the GPU score at nearly 1300 points, that is still a massive increase though.
But that's the IGP, let's pop a real dedicated graphics card into the PC and see what happens.
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