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AMD’s A8-3850 holds onto its lead in Skyrim. Again, though, the real story isn’t a few frames per second separating integrated graphics processors. More disheartening is the fact that you have to dial down to 1280x720 and use detail settings that make five-year-old consoles look good.
While we’re anxious to see how AMD augments graphics performance with its Trinity-based APUs, there’s no reason to shy away from a discrete card on the desktop. If your budget isn’t flexible, shave off $60 from somewhere else and grab an add-in board for gaming.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm tends to be very processor-bound. But an emphasis on graphics performance has an adverse effect on host processing, similar to what we saw in 3DMark 11’s Physics test. The result is that HD Graphics 4000 offers very little over HD Graphics 3000—despite the fact that the former enjoys additional performance from DirectX 11 mode.
A8-3850 looks comparatively strong, yielding modest performance all the way through 1920x1080 using the game’s middle-of-the-road Good quality preset.
Without question, though, an entry-level discrete card is still superior.