Gaming ability of the i5 (on a laptop)

I've been looking to pick up a small laptop for some time (13.3 screen ideally). My old laptop which has served me well is slowly dying - and so I'm in the market to purchase a new laptop.

I've got a desktop that use to game, but I'd like a laptop that's capable of running games on those occasions where I'm away from home with time to kill. For new games, I'd just like a smoothish frame rate on the lowest settings, and be able to play games 2+ years old on decent settings. I also use photoshop to edit my photographs, and occasionally multitask between internet browsing and a 3d poker application.

My old laptop had a dedicated graphics card. I was looking at going the same route this time, but as I finished university a while back now.. my need for a laptop is less - and so I can't justify spending much more than £400 on a laptop (willing to get a refurb/reliable second hand). I see now though that the i5 in many laptops supports the Intel 3000 HD graphics. I always thought integrated graphics were pants, but I see now that according to benchmarks it's on par with many entry level / low power consumption laptop graphics cards. So now I'm unsure whether I actually need a dedicated graphics card, or whether today's processors will be enough for my needs. I'm also interested in learning how the i5 integrated graphics works, does it restrict other areas of the system etc.

So that's my story - I guess the information I'm after can be summarised in the following:
1) For my needs, would an i5 do the job?
2) How does the i5 graphics work? Does it take away from the ram/cpu/effect system performance?
3) Out of all the laptop i5s, a benchmark list I looked at showed the 2540M at the top. Do these benchmarks translate to graphics performance too? Are some i5's better than others at 3d graphics?
4) I'm happy to recieve any other advice about my situation regarding hardware, purchase recommendations etc.

Thank you for your time, and I greatly appreciate any replies.

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  1. Ah, someone had said to me that since the i3/5/7s, AMD have fallen behind with CPUs, and it was one of those things that stuck in my mind since and I've only really considered the intels up til now.

    A note on the i5 2540M, it does exist and is atop the leaderboard chart on a notebookcheck benchmark site. There are several laptops with these selling on ebay too, it's a 2.6 with boost to 3.3 I believe.

    I'm assuming IGP means integrated graphics processor or something similar?

    Regarding it sharing RAM with the system, it makes me wonder which really is best between the Intel 3000 HD graphics and the Mobility Raedon HD 5145 (a dedicated graphics card that was on a second hand vaio I almost bought). The 5145 is marginally better according to benchmarks, but then will those consider the amount of RAM the system might need for gaming? Would the RAM taken by the i5 IGP affect the games performance, as there'd be less available to the system, if you get what I mean?

    Sorry if what I'm saying is clearly wrong, I'm not offended if you want to correct me. Thanks for the advice on a Lenovo by the way, I've been keeping an eye out for a good deal on a lenovo for some time, but the only decent one I came across was with an older dual core processor.
  2. Actually the i3/i5/i7 isn't any ahead of the a4/a6/a8 in gaming graphics. The integrated graphic processor (IGP) that comes on AMD A8-3500M APU, the 6620D is actually 2 times better compared to the IGP that comes with i5-2410. It should play titles such as Dirt 3 in a bit lowered detail, which Intel is far from. It also have DirectX 11...

    So if you do only gaming, go with a4/a6/a8. Because they are perfect for budget gaming, an A8 system I think will cost 400 Pounds.
  3. Thanks for the information. Can I ask what it is there AMD's perform worse at then? What sort of tasks etc would an intel noticibly beat an AMD on (if you can answer such a question)?
  4. DPJenkins said:
    Thanks for the information. Can I ask what it is there AMD's perform worse at then? What sort of tasks etc would an intel noticibly beat an AMD on (if you can answer such a question)?

    Usually at the pure CPU task, like Cinebench or Video converting, which I think you wont do at all. When it comes to normal task, like Microsoft Office, Windows Aero, You won't probably see a difference at all. The AMD Llano also lacks of performance when added a Mid-Range Laptop Graphics card Like GT 540M or Radeon 6770M because of low single threaded performance. But assuming that the A8-3500M is a True Quad Core processor, you might see a 'trade blows' compared to the intel when the games cope well with the Llano architecture (with the Mid-Range Laptop Graphic Card). But since it is a laptop, you need this and this is your budget, An AMD Llano Would be great for you. It games twice as well compared to sandy bridge GPU because of the Llano architecture which has discrete level graphic card.
  5. Would it be worth considering a (non i3/i5/i7) dual core with a entry level graphics card instead?
  6. The a8 Processor is not good, it's equivalent to i3. If you can get an i3 with a GPU like GT525 or 6530M, you may consider that. But when you do, the power consumption will be higher and you lose the battery life time and price :).

    And if you don't use the processor too much, get an a8 laptop, it's good for gaming and also good enough for simple task like MS office, Web browsing, etc the battery life also should be better than a laptop discrete card...
  7. Best answer selected by DPJenkins.
  8. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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