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Because 3DMark 11 requires DirectX 11 support, Sandy Bridge-based CPUs can’t run it. That leaves us with the Core i7-3770K, AMD’s A8-3850, and a discrete Radeon HD 6570.
Despite Intel’s efforts to double graphics performance, the Core i7-3770K cannot outmaneuver AMD’s Llano-based A8-3850.
Here’s the funny thing: every time Intel advances its on-board graphics technology, I talk to industry insiders who worry that the processor company’s progress will completely kill off the entry-level discrete market. But a Radeon HD 6570, available for under $60, still manages to double Ivy Bridge’s best effort. At least on the desktop, even inexpensive add-in boards still have their place.
The Physics suite, which measures processor performance, is particularly interesting. Tons of testing over the past year tells us that Intel’s Sandy Bridge cores get a lot more work done per clock cycle than AMD’s. Llano’s mediocre performance consequently isn’t news. However, the fact that Core i7-3770K picks up more than 2000 points with a discrete GPU installed is a good indication that the integrated core’s thermal requirements limit what the IA cores can do.
In a real-world game like Batman: Arkham City, HD Graphics 4000 nearly does manage to catch AMD’s A8-3850. But generating playable average frame rates requires the title’s lowest possible detail settings and fairly unattractive resolutions. In contrast, even a cheap Radeon HD 6570 can handle entry-level detail at up to 1920x1080.