Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Gaming At 1920x1080: AMD's Trinity Takes On Intel HD Graphics
By

The first question we asked ourselves was what a sub-$500 HTPC should look like. In the age of Netflix and Hulu, we were willing to let tuners go by the wayside. As Jon Bach indicated, discrete audio was also another easy omission. Part of our mission here was to only examine integrated graphics, so add-in cards were out, and we were also willing to assume that most media would be streamed in across the LAN, not stored in a local hard drive. We ended up with this:

Test Hardware
Processors
AMD A10-5800K (Trinity) 3.8 GHz (19 * 200 MHz), Four Cores, Socket FM2, 4 MB Total L2 Cache, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled

AMD A8-5600K (Trinity) 3.6 GHz (18 * 200 MHz), Four Cores, Socket FM2, 4 MB Total L2 Cache, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i3-3225 (Ivy Bridge) 3.3 GHz, Two Cores, LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i3-3220 (Ivy Bridge) 3.3 GHz, Two Cores, LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache, Power-savings enabled
Thermal Paste
SIIG Ultra-Chill
Motherboard
Asus F2A85-M Pro (Socket FM2) AMD A85 FCH

Gigabyte Z77M-D3H-MVP (LGA 1155) Z77 chipset
Memory
AMD/Patriot 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, AP38G1608U2K @ 8-9-8-24 and 1.65 V
Storage Drive
Intel SSD 330 120 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 7660D

AMD Radeon HD 7560D

Intel HD Graphics 4000

Intel HD Graphics 2500
Power Supply
Antec EarthWatts 380 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Driver
HD Graphics Driver For Windows 7 (15.26.8.64.2696)

Intel VGA Driver For Windows 7 (9.17.10.2792)


What was the final bill? Apart from the processors and Asus board supplied by AMD, we went shopping at Newegg. Here’s what we figured:

  • AMD or Intel integrated graphics CPU/APU: $135
  • Supporting microATX HDMI SATA 6 Gb/s motherboard: $120
  • 2 x 4GB AMD Performance Edition DDR3-1600: $50
  • SilverStone ML03B HTPC case: $55
  • Antec EarthWatts EA-380D PSU: $45
  • Intel 120 GB 330 Series SSD: $95
  • LG 12X Blu-ray drive: $45
  • Total Cost: $545

The BuildThe Build

What the heck, right? Paul built his System Builder Marathon machine for $500 with a GeForce GTX 560 in it. Clearly, we could have saved a lot of money by buying a more affordable motherboard, scrapping the SSD, and buying a cheaper optical drive. But this wasn't to be a dedicated gaming machine; it needed to succeed in a living room environment. In the end, had we been willing to settle for a DVD drive, a 1 TB hard drive, and a lower-end PSU, we could have easily shaved $100 off the price—enough to cover an OEM copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

Given the focus on gaming for this article, we selected ten currently popular titles:

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Metro 2033
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Battlefield 3
  • Crysis 2
  • The Witcher 2
  • DiRT Showdown
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

All of these were tested at 1920x1080 resolution, but with the lowest graphics settings. We took the last three on this list as a fair cross-section and reran them a couple of times under more strenuous settings, just to see how they’d hold up. After all, we're not willing to call integrated graphics a good solution if it forces you into the lowest available graphics options. Along the way, we’ll show you screen shots taken during testing so you can see how the image quality looked at these performance levels.

Display all 100 comments.
Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    luciferano , September 27, 2012 5:31 AM
    They both have graphics that have HD in their name, but AMD's HD graphics are more *HD*, lol.
  • 26 Hide
    esrever , September 27, 2012 7:39 AM
    Personally I would rather run games at 720p with medium settings than at 1080p with low.
  • 26 Hide
    digiex , September 27, 2012 6:27 AM
    This would do it, I don't play at 1920x1080 since my monitor is only at 1366x768.

    AMD really deliver stinging jabs at Intel with its APU's. I hope the pricing would be OK.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    confish21 , September 27, 2012 5:05 AM
    120 GB memory for an HPTC? outside of that good write up!
  • 9 Hide
    confish21 , September 27, 2012 5:08 AM
    HD...

  • 24 Hide
    azathoth , September 27, 2012 5:31 AM
    Seems like a perfect combination for a Casual PC gamer, I'm just curious as to the price of the Trinity APU's.
  • 30 Hide
    luciferano , September 27, 2012 5:31 AM
    They both have graphics that have HD in their name, but AMD's HD graphics are more *HD*, lol.
  • 14 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , September 27, 2012 5:39 AM
    Consoles set the bar for game developers. These iGPU's are comparable to the consoles and thats why games will run smooth here.

    With next gen consoles coming out next year, game devs will target them. Hence the minimum standard for games will rise, making the next gen games much slower on the iGPU's. So both AMD and Intel will have to increase performance much more in the next 1-2 years.

    tl;dr : next gen games will run poorly on these igpu's as next gen consoles will set the minimum performance standard.
  • 14 Hide
    mousseng , September 27, 2012 5:50 AM
    Quote:
    tl;dr : next gen games will run poorly on these igpu's as next gen consoles will set the minimum performance standard.

    Keep in mind, though, that that's exactly what's going to allow AMD and Intel to advance their hardware faster than games will, as they were discussing in the article (first page of the interview). Look how far Fusion and HD Graphics have come over the past 3 years, and look how long the previous console generation lasted - if that trend is anything to go by, I'm sure integrated graphics could easily become a viable budget gaming option in the next few years.
  • -7 Hide
    falchard , September 27, 2012 5:52 AM
    Since when as AMD or nVidia actually taken on Intel graphics? Thats a bit insulting considering the disproportionate results time and time again.
  • 13 Hide
    dudewitbow , September 27, 2012 5:52 AM
    I'm actually liking the progression the igpu gets on the apu based chips.
  • 3 Hide
    luciferano , September 27, 2012 5:54 AM
    mayankleoboy1Consoles set the bar for game developers. These iGPU's are comparable to the consoles and thats why games will run smooth here.With next gen consoles coming out next year, game devs will target them. Hence the minimum standard for games will rise, making the next gen games much slower on the iGPU's. So both AMD and Intel will have to increase performance much more in the next 1-2 years.tl;dr : next gen games will run poorly on these igpu's as next gen consoles will set the minimum performance standard.


    Actually, the A10 and A8 have somewhat superior graphics compared to current consoles. Current consoles can't even play in 720p as well as these AMD IGPs played 1080p despite being a more optimized platform, so that this is true is kinda obvious IMO. Also, new games would simply mean dropping resolution for these APUs. They wouldn't be unable to play new games, just probably at 1080p and 16xx by 900/10xx resolutions too.


    Intel probably isn't very motivated by gaming performance for their IGPs and they're supposedly making roughly 100% performance gains per generation with their top-end IGPs anyway, so they're working on growing IGP performance. AMD also gets to use GCN in their next APU and I don't think that I need to explain the implications there, especially if they go the extra mile with using their high-density library tech too.
  • 10 Hide
    e56imfg , September 27, 2012 6:10 AM
    What about Intel i3's / APUs with the 6570 or any other hybrid compatible card?
    How about one more article with Ivy Bridge i3s and the 6570 on both setups. I want to see how much better gamin performance will be with AMD's hybrid cards.
  • 26 Hide
    digiex , September 27, 2012 6:27 AM
    This would do it, I don't play at 1920x1080 since my monitor is only at 1366x768.

    AMD really deliver stinging jabs at Intel with its APU's. I hope the pricing would be OK.
  • 16 Hide
    gondor , September 27, 2012 6:40 AM
    Can you run a memory-scaling test to see how Trinity responds to more bandwidth ? Llano was considerably faster when paired with faster RAM.
  • 0 Hide
    Menigmand , September 27, 2012 6:45 AM
    If intel/amd can convince most mainstream buyers that this is "good enough", and the next generation of consoles will run for 10+ years, could this be the end of dedicated graphics?

    With market share going down, there could be less economy of scale and less investment, leading to stagnation and very high prices.

    For some time, you will still be able to buy a dedicated GPU, but it will be a niche product that costs you an arm and a leg, and soon hardware support will dwindle as producers move to smaller form factors.
  • -1 Hide
    EzioAs , September 27, 2012 6:53 AM
    I like the performance improvement in graphics, but I wish it was a little better. Maybe 20% more, but hey, at least it's improving
  • 22 Hide
    jijibu , September 27, 2012 6:55 AM
    DDR3 1600 could limit AMD's performance. It would be better to see benchmarks with 1866 MHz and higher frequency kits and overclocking results, because they depend on RAM frequencies...
  • 4 Hide
    army_ant7 , September 27, 2012 6:57 AM
    Quote:
    Consoles set the bar for game developers. These iGPU's are comparable to the consoles and thats why games will run smooth here.

    With next gen consoles coming out next year, game devs will target them. Hence the minimum standard for games will rise, making the next gen games much slower on the iGPU's. So both AMD and Intel will have to increase performance much more in the next 1-2 years.

    tl;dr : next gen games will run poorly on these igpu's as next gen consoles will set the minimum performance standard.

    I'm not sure it's accurate to say that consoles play on a game's absolute minimum settings, disregarding resolution. With that in mind, the PC versions would still have graphics options to tune down compared to the what the console versions would have their settings configured, I would think. :) 


    I do wonder how good these Trinity APU's could typically overclock, and how they'd perform there, along with their RAM overclocked to a reasonable level to compensate for the more graphics processing power.
    More so, I'm wondering if the PSCheck method where you manipulate core P-states would have a substantial affect with mainly dual-threaded titles.
    Also maybe I'd like to see if Dual-graphics performs better (scaling) and has a wider compatibility range than Llano's.
  • 6 Hide
    luciferano , September 27, 2012 7:03 AM
    EzioAsI like the performance improvement in graphics, but I wish it was a little better. Maybe 20% more, but hey, at least it's improving


    They did what they could on their 32nm process node that they had to stick to. Kaveri, assuming that it is true that it has GCN, will make undoubtedly some much more huge improvements over Trinity than Trinity did over Llano.
  • 26 Hide
    esrever , September 27, 2012 7:39 AM
    Personally I would rather run games at 720p with medium settings than at 1080p with low.
Display more comments
React To This Article