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GPU Performance: Intel HD Graphics Versus HD Graphics 3000

Samsung Series 7 11.6" Slate: Breathing New Life Into Tablet PCs
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In the interest of keeping things simple, we're going to stick to graphics comparisons between Samsung's Series 7 Slate, Asus' Eee Slate, and a competing Sandy Bridge-based notebook, all of which employ variations on Intel's HD Graphics engine to enable desktop gaming you can't get from a tablet.

Specifications
Asus K53ESamsung Series 7 11.6" Slate
Asus Eee Slate
CPU
Core i5-2520M (Sandy Bridge), 2.5 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache
Core i5-2467M (Sandy Bridge), 1.6 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 CacheCore i5-470UM (Arrandale), 1.33 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache
Cores/Threads
2 / 42 / 4
2 / 4
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 3000Intel HD Graphics
Memory
6 GB DDR3-13334 GB DDR3-1333
4 GB DDR3-800
System Drive
Seagate Momentus 5400 RPM 640 GB (ST9640423AS)Samsung 64 GB SSD
SanDisk P4 64 GB SSD
Graphics Driver
15.22.52.64.2559


Gaming On A SlateGaming On A Slate

Asus' K53E notebook enjoys the benefits of a 35 W TDP to push higher processor and graphics core clock rates compared to our 17 and 18 W slate examples. The result is an obvious advantage in game like World of Warcraft.

With that said, at nearly the same thermal budget, Samsung's Sandy Bridge-powered Core i5-2467M is measurably faster than the Eee Slate's Core i5-470UM. The Fair quality slider isn't playable on either tablet, but you're certainly welcome to try raiding using the Low preset.

Playing at 1280x720 remains viable on the Series 7 Slate, though anything higher is probably going to be out of reach. In general, older DX 9-based games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Far Cry 2 fall in the same realm of playability on Intel's HD Graphics 3000 engine.

Calling HD Graphics 3000's gaming potential modest would be really generous. However, we're more impressed with the capabilities of its Quick Sync feature for video encode/decode acceleration. 

Just how effective is Quick Sync in a tablet PC form factor? We took an unprotected 30 GB Blu-ray rip and transcoded it for an iPad 2 using MediaEspresso in less than 20 minutes. The same workload on a Core i5-2500K using the processor's four cores alone consumes more than an hour. Then we ran another test, taking an unprotected 665 MB Blu-ray MTS file and transcoding it in just over one minute (1:13, to be exact). The same workload tackled by the desktop Core i5 took 10:08.

In that context, then, Quick Sync continues to represent a significant productivity-oriented win for Sandy Bridge-based processors when they're using integrated graphics (as Samsung's tablet PC does).

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