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Benchmark Results: WoW, Call Of Duty, And Battlefield 3

Core i7-3720QM: Ivy Bridge Makes Its Mark On Mobility
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If you want the architectural run-down of the Ivy Bridge architecture's HD Graphics 4000 core, head on over to Intel Core i7-3770K Review: A Small Step Up For Ivy Bridge and check out page three. Briefly, the new engine adds four execution units, which now total 16, and a number of optimizations for performance that yield better benchmark results than Intel's HD Graphics 3000 implementation.

The advantage is more significant on the mobile side than it was in our desktop-oriented measurements. The flagship Core i7-3920XM offers a maximum graphics clock rate of 1.3 GHz, where as the Core i7-3770K's HD Graphics 4000 component tops out at 1.15 GHz. The base clocks for both the mobile and desktop processors are 650 MHz.

The Core i7-3720QM in our notebook sample employs a maximum graphics frequency of 1.25 GHz, putting it just behind the Core i7-2820QM's highest bin. However, the increase in resources dedicated to higher frame rates means HD Graphics 4000 still delivers superior speed.

In our evaluation of the Core i7-3770K, we found that AMD's 100 W Llano-based APUs delivered better graphics performance than Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture. The A8's bigger power budget gives AMD more of an opportunity to emphasize its GPU component. But when you scale all the way back to a 35 W TDP, that's no longer true. Intel's manufacturing advantage more palpably kicks into play, and HD Graphics 4000 is able to shine within a 45 W thermal envelope.

Radeon HD 6620G is the highest-rated graphics implementation in AMD's mobile Llano family. But with only 400 shader cores operating at 444 MHz, the HD 6620G poses no threat to HD Graphics 4000 (or even the HD Graphics 3000 that came before).

In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, AMD's Radeon HD 6620G basically matches the performance of HD Graphics 3000 with anti-aliasing disabled. However, HD Graphics 4000 blows both solutions out of the water, delivering more than twice as much performance. Even  with anti-aliasing enabled, AMD's Radeon HD 6620G is ~30% slower than Intel's HD Graphics 4000.

The older Core i5's vanilla HD Graphics engine is too old to support Battlefield 3. Given the numbers we see from the other systems that do manage to run it, performance would fall in the single-digit range anyway, though.

Again, we see the Radeon HD 6620G match the performance of HD Graphics 3000. But HD Graphics 4000 runs away with the victory, averaging higher (but still only marginally-playable) average frame rates. The speed-up ranges from 70 to 80%, depending on the resolution and quality settings you consider.

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