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MMO Gaming on the HD300 On Board graphics (Results in post)

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April 2, 2012 9:16:56 AM

Hi Guys and Gals,

Not so long ago i was on these forums asking for advice/help with regards to building a new rig for MMO gaming (my personal choice is SW/LOTRO by means of guidelines).

My budget was around £500 - £600, and i wanted something future proof and sexy enough to run everything i needed.

The initial difficulty was deciding whether to go for a slower/less powerful CPU for now (such as the G620 etc.) on a cheaper motherboard, and then get a dedicated GPU; or whether to go for something with the HD3000 graphics and then upgrade to dedicated GPU at a later date.

In the end, i went for more upgradeability and 'long term' and decided on the i5 2500k.

For the record, WOW!

There has been so much conflicting information about the on board graphics of the new intel chips (a lot of harder core gamers dismissing them as worthless cr*p etc.) that i wanted to share a 'real life' situation where they have been used.

So, my completed rig is as follows:

Z11 Plus High Performance Mid Tower
OCZ StealthXStream 2 700W Power (80+)
Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz
Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Intel Z68 Motherboard
8GB Vengeance Blue LP 1600Mhz RAM
Mushkin Chronos 120GB 2.5" SSD
Samsung DVD Writer
MS WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM 64

I put it all together myself with the aid of my fiance this weekend (i'm a lucky man i know!!!) - and for the record my/our first ever home build was a hug amount of fun (and incredibly satisfying too!) and the results are very pleasing.

On LOTRO, even without the separate GPU, i was able to get stable FPS (of 40+) with DX10 running and everything set to 'HIGH' - it looks great!

The SSD as well makes a HUGE amount of difference; loading screens are a fraction of what they were before, and definitely worth the money spent on this!

So, to clarify - the HD3000 (certainly on the i5 2500K) graphics are certainly enough to get a great performance out of MMO's! So, if you are looking for a system that is affordable and capable of delivering, that gives options for upgrading etc., then i can personally highly recommend them!

For the record, in the future i will be getting two things for upgrades:

1: A 1TB HDD for storage (the SSD has more than enough space for now, but i would like to have the storage space there)

2: A GTX560 Ti - For around £150 it looks to me to be the best balance of affordability and performance; certainly more than enough for anything i am likely to play for the forseeable future!

No desperate rush for either; what i have is certainly more than enough to keep me happily gaming for a while; but when opportunity allows it will be nice to have a 'finished' rig.

So there we are, my hope is that someone looking for some clarity on the 'will the on board graphics run...' question will be helped by this - if so, then it was time well spent :) 

- Mach
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
April 2, 2012 9:31:16 AM

Maybe. If your screen resolution was low enough :)  A piece of data you omitted.
April 2, 2012 9:46:43 AM

Maybe? Not sure how there can be a "maybe" - but good point on missing the info - To clarify, the settings were on 'High' - running flawlessly at DX10, on an ASUS PW191A 19" Widescreen Monitor at 1440 x 900 resolution.

Not saying that i would recommend this for HD gaming on a 40+" TV; i haven't tried it so i wouldn't know, but for anyone with anything up to 22" i would imagine this is more than sufficient for the game(s) - it connects via HD cable and gives great quality (certainly compared to what i was used to!)

Hope the information helps someone get a straight answer.

- Mach

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April 2, 2012 9:58:44 AM

Gaming at 1440 x 900 sounds really painful and unappealing, to me at least. However, if playing at that resolution meant the difference between having a system to game on or not, then I could live. All depends on the user and his/her personal preference.

April 2, 2012 10:12:29 AM

kyraiki said:
All depends on the user and his/her personal preference.


Exactly - a lot of the more dedicated gamers/people with more hard core rigs would of course look down on this kind of system/performance; but for many low end/mid range users (to whom this post is primarily addressing) - i hope that this will give a good indication as to the potential of the on-board graphics which could mean they are able to maybe do more with less (i.e. 'get by' for a month or two without the additional costs of dedicated graphics card for those on limited budgets etc.) - also, hopefully it also demonstrates that even for someone (some people) who have no previous building experience at all, building something pretty sexy from scratch, with a limited budget, is eminently doable!

I know my screen isn't the most amazing in the World; but it's looked great enough for me for a good few years, so i'm happy with it - and not having to spend the hundreds on a new screen or two just yet meant i could put a little extra into the base rig for now (i.e. get a nice SSD instead of a HDD, get the nicer case etc.) - I know many people running games on 17"/19" screens that have even less in terms of resolution than mine, but like you say, sometimes it can be the difference between having something you *can* game on, as opposed to not having anything at all (and considering before this the missus was gaming on 'Low' quality graphics, on an old XPS 1330 laptop, this is an amazing upgrade lol) :) 

- Mach
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
April 2, 2012 10:25:21 AM

Your monitor is 1440x900, but is that your in-game res? It seems possible for LOTRO at least, but I want to make sure that you have all your facts right before you start making a claim that others may base a decision on.

1680x1050 is considered pretty much the minimum these days, with most around here using 1920x1080.
April 2, 2012 10:55:25 AM

Proximon said:
Your monitor is 1440x900, but is that your in-game res? It seems possible for LOTRO at least, but I want to make sure that you have all your facts right before you start making a claim that others may base a decision on.

1680x1050 is considered pretty much the minimum these days, with most around here using 1920x1080.


Yes that's the in game res; yes it's the maximum for the monitor so yes that's the maximum it could be set to in game; and yes, i do know the difference.

You say "1680x1050 is considered pretty much the minimum these days" - well, based on what? It's not considered the minimum for me, nor the missus, nor any number of our friends running on rigs/screens they've had for a few years - nor by the thousands of people out there without their own gaming machines/using older monitors/older gear/trying to make do with what they have; and it is these people i was hoping to help (i.e. the ones searching for ideas/real examples on Google that find themselves here - not the regulars, not those that know the insides and outs of high end systems, but your average, every day user looking for some clarity/opinions to help them get online/get gaming).

Appreciate one has to be careful, but accusing someone of 'not having their facts right' when they are clearly trying to help is more than a little patronising, and not exactly encouraging.

When i was considering the new build, a post giving a clear answer - i.e. Can the i5 comfortably run LOTRO/SWTOR without a dedicated GPU - Answer = Depending on resolution, on Graphics settings Medium/High graphics = Yes; that would have been greatly appreciated - hence trying to 'give something back' by providing that here.

- Mach
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
April 2, 2012 11:23:49 AM

You are right of course, I should have said "1680x1050 would be considered the minimum gaming resolution by the majority here" or something like that.

In a steam survey from last month:

1366 x 768 -15.54% WOW big surprise to me
1440x900 -7.53%
1680x1050 -11.14%
1920 x 1080 -25.36% By far the most common.

Link
http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey


And I do apologize if I sounded patronizing. I'm taking an active interest in this thread ONLY because it seemed worthwhile in the first place.

This is what happens when you step up with something like this. You get challenged rigorously. It's called peer review. No one has asked you for hard proof, yet :) 
April 2, 2012 11:44:41 AM

Proximon said:
You are right of course, I should have said "1680x1050 would be considered the minimum gaming resolution by the majority here" or something like that.

In a steam survey from last month:

1366 x 768 -15.54% WOW big surprise to me
1440x900 -7.53%
1680x1050 -11.14%
1920 x 1080 -25.36% By far the most common.

Link
http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey


And I do apologize if I sounded patronizing. I'm taking an active interest in this thread ONLY because it seemed worthwhile in the first place.

This is what happens when you step up with something like this. You get challenged rigorously. It's called peer review. No one has asked you for hard proof, yet :) 


Guess i need to develop my thick skin a little ;) 

Apologies if i seemed a little defensive; you are right, one has to check these things to make sure we are giving the right/relevant/correct advice to people!

Big surprises on that survey actually - had no idea (was funny to think of my stuff as relatively low down in terms of resolution, to see that twice as many people are actually using less!)

I will see if i can get this rig connected to something with the higher resolution and will see what results i/we get then; although even using the 1440 x 900 as a base line; one can assume that what i posted would cover (15.54 + 7.53) 23.07% of potential users; so hopefully it's of help to a good % of potential readers (and i can imagine that those with much higher would tend to have dedicated rigs/gamign build anyway, so unlikely to be reliant on 'on board' graphics etc.).

Re: Hard proof - Not a bad idea actually! Not sure how much justice Screenshots would give; but happy to take a few if you think it would add weight to the argument/help people more? :)  (could include on screen FPS and take some nice scenic shots) :) 

*Hugs*

- Mach

a b B Homebuilt system
April 2, 2012 11:53:00 AM

I'm currently without a GPU, so am forced to play with my i5s integrated graphics. with both the CPU and iGPU heavily overclocked, SWTOR runs at around 20fps with every setting lowered and the res lowered to 1280x720.

TBH, i would not call that playable. i certainly would not recommend building a system based around the igpu. especially since for the same price you could build something with a proper GPU that would cope much better.
April 2, 2012 2:02:24 PM

While I wouldn't build a system around an iGPU, I can't fault someone for doing that, especially if they are working on a budget. While designing a build for a friend, I had to go with a iGPU instead of a discrete card in order to make budget. Sometimes you get someone who cannot or does not want to throw down 100+ on another component. You could get llano or trinity for a better iGPU, but if you need the extra CPU power (or Quick Sync) then buying into LGA 1155 now and buying a dGPU later is not a bad idea.

As I said before: it all comes down to personal preference. Personally, I hate gaming on an HDTV, although I have friends who swear by a 32"+ TV.
April 2, 2012 4:02:57 PM

kyraiki said:
...especially if they are working on a budget


That was pretty much the basis for looking at this as an option; with a few hundred spare each month i had to make a decision on what i could get now, what was upgradeable, what would get me up and running as soon as possible; whilst balancing as much future proofing as possible.

i.e. last month i bought nothing, instead saved £300 - this month i had another £300 spare - so i wanted to get everything i could for under £600 - i could have got a less powerful CPU (Celeron etc. say around £60), and then a low/mid range GPU (£70ish) that would get me 'High' (ish) graphics right now; and arguably this would have done me for a good few months on its own - but then i would have looked at replacing the CPU a more powerful one (i.e. i3/i5 etc.), and then a more powerful GPU too - so the money spent on the 'it will do for the time being' graphics card and chip would have been effectively wasted, and it would take me a month or two extra to get the perfect machine i wanted.

Going down this route, with the i5 graphics alone (and then getting the card i want next month), i can get the game(s) i want to play, and i can actually 'Play' them - funnily enough i didn't realy care whether it was Low or Medium graphics, as long as it could run it happily so i could get online and do the odd quest/casually play, then great - as it turned out, i can actually end game Raid with it!!!

This route there is no wastage, i have a great rig (i think so lol) and when i add the GPU next month it will (or at least should lol) really fly, with absolutely no parts wasted :) 

The only problem i have now is that the missus wants a new i5/i7 rig too; so i may have to wait another month or two before getting my own dedicated GPU (after all, it turns out this new rig is actually doing everything i need it to do right now anyway) and instead spend the money on buying her a new rig too lol - But hey, some things are worth the money ;) 

As for screens - i agree with you - i have a couple of friends who do everything on a 40"+ TV and have their PS3/PC's plugged in to them - personally, i actually prefer a smaller screen (space is sometimes an issue as well, especially in London flats lol); i suppose after working with 17" screens at work for 5 or so years, and a pair of 19" ones at home, i kinda got used to it now :) 

- Mach
April 2, 2012 4:13:09 PM

Proximon said:
You are right of course, I should have said "1680x1050 would be considered the minimum gaming resolution by the majority here" or something like that.

In a steam survey from last month:

1366 x 768 -15.54% WOW big surprise to me
1440x900 -7.53%
1680x1050 -11.14%
1920 x 1080 -25.36% By far the most common.

Link
http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey


And I do apologize if I sounded patronizing. I'm taking an active interest in this thread ONLY because it seemed worthwhile in the first place.

This is what happens when you step up with something like this. You get challenged rigorously. It's called peer review. No one has asked you for hard proof, yet :) 


Just over 1/3 of people are using 1680x1050 or above. That presumably leaves ~2/3 of people (63.5%) of people running at 1440x900 or lower. Missing the ultra high-res people of course, but interesting nonetheless.
April 3, 2012 11:40:57 AM

welshmousepk said:
I'm currently without a GPU, so am forced to play with my i5s integrated graphics. with both the CPU and iGPU heavily overclocked, SWTOR runs at around 20fps with every setting lowered and the res lowered to 1280x720


Interesting... I'll run SWTOR properly on my new machine too over the (Bank Holiday) weekend and will record the FPS - I don't have anything overclocked as of yet, but will be interesting to see the performance difference between the two.

If i get performance that is higher than yours (i.e. more than 20FPS on [Low]) then i'll let you know (well, will try to post the recording results on here anyway) will be interesting to see how it holds up.

welshmousepk said:
especially since for the same price you could build something with a proper GPU that would cope much better.


Arguably; but as i mentioned in my post above the i5 2500k cost me around £150 (c/o the fine chaps at Aria http://bit.ly/yMwQ7H ) and for this i get a kick ass processor that runs absolutely everything at high speeds, and has enough graphical [Kick] to make everything playable i have thrown at it right now, with the easy upgradeability of adding a rather nice GPU when i can in a month or so to 'perfect' the machine for me.

I could have gone down the route (again, mentioned above) of getting a slower CPU and low to mid range GPU for £150 - and would have delivered arguably better gaming results in the very short term at the expense of overall performance (a sacrifice i wasn't willing to make; and i knew that if i did go this route, i would be replacing the CPU AND the GPU soon enough, so the money would effectively be wasted).

Again, i'm not necessarily recommending that anyone specifically builds around a CPU graphics system; what i was hoping to demonstrate is that they do however provide a viable alternative.

- Mach
a b B Homebuilt system
April 3, 2012 12:28:43 PM

Maybe I'm missing something here, maybe I'm just cynical. But 8 GB of RAM, in lieu of 4 GB; and a 120GB SSD too? I would have stuck with 4GB of RAM and a standard 500GB HDD and got a decent $150 GPU?

Seems like a weird choice to me
April 3, 2012 1:27:53 PM

cmcghee358 said:
Maybe I'm missing something here, maybe I'm just cynical. But 8 GB of RAM, in lieu of 4 GB; and a 120GB SSD too? I would have stuck with 4GB of RAM and a standard 500GB HDD and got a decent $150 GPU?

Seems like a weird choice to me


The 120GB SSD was about £10 more expensive that a 500MB HDD; and the performance is significantly better on the SSD so in my mind well worth the extra £10 (as i said in my original post, i intend to buy a larger HDD at some point in the future, but right now with all my music being cloud based c/o Spotify etc. i don't need huge storage, so 120GB gave me more than enough space). If i got a HDD first, i know i would want to get a SSD soon enough, and i really couldn't be bothered to spend hours of my life figuring out how to move everything from the HDD to the SSD without having to reinstall everything; so this was largely based on ease (and possibly laziness lol)

As for the 4GB vs 8GB - There was a special on the 8GB that meant again it was only £10 more expensive for double the memory; 8GB will give me more than enough for the foreseeable future so again, saves changing anything and saves money in the long run.

Again, as mentioned in my first post, i am intending to get a GTX 650 Ti (or similar) next month along with the HDD; so the total cost will be about £800 for a system that has more than enough power to run pretty much everything i need for years to come. BUT - doing it the way i have means i waste no money (on buying things that i would replace/swap out in a matter of months anyway) and with the HD3000 being as it is, i can play the games i want well enough for the intervening month(s)

Again, not saying this is best for everyone, but was merely how i did it - For those on an even tighter budget long term, one could go for something like a G860 and a HD 5670 (using this as an example because this was the card in my old PC, which my other half now uses) - this will give you decent enough performance for between £100 and £150, and would arguably be better than the HD3000 on the i5 - but i knew i wanted to 'end up' with an i5 2500k and a GTX 560 Ti, with an available budget of £250 to £300 a month - doing it this way meant i didn't have to wait for the extra month before i could play (and also hopefully shows people that is *is* possible to effectively play some games well with the on-board graphics) :) 

- Mach
April 3, 2012 1:39:12 PM

cmcghee358 said:
Maybe I'm missing something here, maybe I'm just cynical. But 8 GB of RAM, in lieu of 4 GB; and a 120GB SSD too? I would have stuck with 4GB of RAM and a standard 500GB HDD and got a decent $150 GPU?

Seems like a weird choice to me


Just double checked the Drive costs; the SSD was £98 for the 120GB, and the 'standard' 500GB HDD would have been around £59 - So yeah, it's an extra £40 now, but the 120GB gives me more than enough space for the forseeable future, so i don't really need more than that for a good long while (and have plenty of external HDD's kicking around right now 'just in case')

The 64GB SSD's were about £40 cheaper at £60, but if i got that i would have had to buy an additional HDD anyway pretty soon.

I figure spending the extra money now (on the larger SSD) again means i theoretically save in the long run; my old machine had a 90GB HDD and that did me fine for 3+ years, so figured the 120GB one was the best value for money, combining the speed improvement of the SSD, with having more than enough storage to act as my 'main' drive.

If i was to do it all again now, i would consider getting a smaller (64GB) SSD and say a 120GB (cheap) HDD; this would have come to the same price as the 120GB SSD i bought, and would give more space; but again, for my uses 120GB is more than sufficient and gives me the increased speed/better access on *all* of my files, rather that just the 1/3rd on the SSD - if that makes sense?

Either way the £50 saved now, would not have been enough to get me a decent GPU now, so i would have still had to wait untuil the end of this month to get the card - i figured the extra i had now i may as well spend it to get the sexiest components i could :) 

- Mach
a b B Homebuilt system
April 3, 2012 9:38:20 PM

Big_Mach said:

Arguably; but as i mentioned in my post above the i5 2500k cost me around £150 (c/o the fine chaps at Aria http://bit.ly/yMwQ7H ) and for this i get a kick ass processor that runs absolutely everything at high speeds, and has enough graphical [Kick] to make everything playable i have thrown at it right now, with the easy upgradeability of adding a rather nice GPU when i can in a month or so to 'perfect' the machine for me.

I could have gone down the route (again, mentioned above) of getting a slower CPU and low to mid range GPU for £150 - and would have delivered arguably better gaming results in the very short term at the expense of overall performance (a sacrifice i wasn't willing to make; and i knew that if i did go this route, i would be replacing the CPU AND the GPU soon enough, so the money would effectively be wasted).

Again, i'm not necessarily recommending that anyone specifically builds around a CPU graphics system; what i was hoping to demonstrate is that they do however provide a viable alternative.

- Mach


Good point, and I would probably have done the same thing.
April 4, 2012 8:09:49 AM

Proximon said:
I'm surprised there wasn't more benchmarking done by the experts. I found very little.

Maybe there was more done in the A-series AMD reviews.... ah yes

http://www.techspot.com/review/418-amd-a8-3850-apu/page...

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...


Some great comparisons and information there - thanks for adding!

Although like you said - i had a little trouble getting solid information/examples from anywhere; instead i used this example list from Notebook Check:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-3000.37948.0.html

Interestingly it shows that the HD3000 can cope well enough with a good range of games; certainly at low (and sometimes medium) - it was from this i based my expectation that i could *play* LOTRO (and other MMO's) well enough - so i was then particularly delighted then that i managed to get [High] Settings out of it :) 

- Mach
a b B Homebuilt system
April 4, 2012 10:59:57 PM

My graphics card was delayed when I built my rig last year and I was stuck using the 2600K for video for about a week. I was able to get very playable frames in LotRO @ 1280x1024 ( old monitor ) with nearly everything on high. Even StarCraft II would run ( though I think I had to set most settings to medium. )

I wouldn't say it's a decent gaming card ( and no one here is saying that either, ) but I think I'd put it on par with the old GeForce 8800. The biggest problem I saw with it wasn't the frame rates but the image quality. It doesn't seem to process things like AA and texture filtering quite as crisply so I noticed a fair amount of artifacting.
April 5, 2012 2:23:49 AM

Anyone have any experience with ME3 or LoL with no graphics card? Thinking about shipping mine out and I am a bit concerned on decommissioning my gaming for a few weeks. :) 
April 5, 2012 11:52:31 AM

Crush3d said:
Anyone have any experience with ME3 or LoL with no graphics card? Thinking about shipping mine out and I am a bit concerned on decommissioning my gaming for a few weeks. :) 


Hey there,

Whilst i don't have any experience of running them personally, notes from the Notebook review page (link) says:

"First performance tests by Andandtech (with a desktop pre-sample without TurboBoost) indicate a gaming performance on a level with the desktop ATI Radeon HD 5450"

The bench marking (for Mass Effect 3) shows that they achieved 31FPS on [Low] graphics; so, in theory anyway, it *should* all load up ok and possibly run, but the comment is "The benchmarks indicate that the game is not playable in the tested settings." - so how playable it will be is another matter.

The above link also shows a number of games that are perfectly playable on the HD3000 on board though, so hopefully something jumps out as you as a potential replacement for the few weeks :) 

Hope that helps!

- Mach
a b B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2012 3:33:39 PM

Crush3d said:
Anyone have any experience with ME3 or LoL with no graphics card? Thinking about shipping mine out and I am a bit concerned on decommissioning my gaming for a few weeks. :) 
What resolution do you want? I can try firing up ME2 and see how that runs.
April 5, 2012 9:44:30 PM

RedJaron said:
What resolution do you want? I can try firing up ME2 and see how that runs.


Not sure.. I'll assume that the usual 1920 x 1080 probably won't fly.. maybe a notch or two down, 1280 x 720 or something.


Also, thanks for the comment, Big_Mach, certainly helpful.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 7, 2012 1:01:51 AM

Crush3d said:
Not sure.. I'll assume that the usual 1920 x 1080 probably won't fly.. maybe a notch or two down, 1280 x 720 or something.

Just did a run through of the whole intro on ME2 using just my 2600K @ 1680x1050 with all effects turned on ( no tweaks or anything, just the normal menu options, ) and x16 AF. It's playable, though a little choppy at places. Probably somewhere around 20 - 25 fps. Not saying I'd want to play the whole game that way, but considering the action portions don't really demand smooth frame rates, I think it's fairly passable. Definitely a decent option if your card got delayed in the mail or you need to save up one more paycheck. The funny part is that even after I took it down to x4 AF and disabled the advanced graphic effects, the frame rates didn't go up much.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2012 4:24:07 AM

Did another pass at 1280x800. With all the extra features turned on, it's just a touch faster than 1680x1050, really it's barely an improvement. Perhaps it would be more noticeable in busier sections with more models on screen ( I did see some pretty bad slowdowns @ 1680x1050 during the in-engine cutscenes featuring more than five people. ) However after disabling some of the prettier effects, I had it smooth ( probably just north of 30 fps, ) in all places.

Again, as I saw in other games using the HD3000, you will see some artifacting, some slight geometry clipping here, a rough texture there.
April 8, 2012 9:55:34 PM

Thanks for testing that out for me.. appreciate it. :) 
April 10, 2012 8:00:59 AM

Hi Guys,

I got SWTOR running on the machine over the weekend (using only the HD3000 on board) - Everything sets itself to [Low] as default, and it's not the smoothest ride in the World (managed around 30FPS) but yes; it does *actually* play; I ran a new character through the first five levels or so without any real issues so it's certainly playable. Personally, i would stick to solo questing/crafting/socialising etc. - not sure how well it would cope with any instance or Raiding action for example - but certainly it 'will do' if one has little or no choice :) 

And btw -

Crush3d said:
Also, thanks for the comment, Big_Mach, certainly helpful.


You are very welcome - glad to be of assistance :) 

- Mach
!