The Status Of Integrated Graphics Today
The following comparison of former high-end chips and their features should help give an impression of a chip's 3D performance:
|Name||Integrated3D Chip||Generation||Chip Clock||Memory Clock||No. Transistors||Memory Bandwidth|
|NVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS||DX7||DX 7||200 MHz||333 MHz (DDR)||25 Mio||5.3 GB/s|
|ATI Radeon 256||DX7||DX 7||200 MHz||400 MHz (DDR)||30 Mio||6.4 GB/s|
|NVIDIA GeForce 3||DX8||DX 8||200 MHz||460 MHz (DDR)||57 Mio||7.4 GB/s|
|NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti (4600)||DX8||DX 8.1||300 MHz||650 MHz (DDR)||63 Mio||10.4 GB/s|
|ATI Radeon 8500||DX8||DX 8.1||275 MHz||550 MHz (DDR)||60 Mio||8.8 GB/s|
|NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra||DX9||DX 9||475 MHz||950 MHz (DDR)||130 Mio||27.2 GB/s|
|ATI Radeon 9800 XT||DX9||DX 9||412 MHz||730 MHz (DDR)||107 Mio||23.4 GB/s|
|ATI Radeon 9100 IGP||Radeon 9200||DX 8.1||300 MHz||Max. 400 MHz (DDR)*||36 Mio||6.4 GB/s*|
|Intel i865G||Extreme Graphics II||DX 7||266 MHz||Max. 400 MHz (DDR)*||>20 Mio (?)||6.4 GB/s*|
|NVIDIA nForce 2||GeForce 4 MX||DX 7||200 MHz||Max. 400 MHz (DDR)*||27 Mio||6.4 GB/s*|
|SIS 661FXSIS 741GX||Real 256E||DX 7||200 MHz||Max. 400 MHz (DDR)*||>20 Mio (?)||6.4 GB/s*|
*Note: Depending on the system Memory. The bandwidth is also shared with the whole system.
Even a quick glance at this table shows that integrated graphics simply don't play in the same league as typical graphics cards. Enabling FSAA or anisotropic filtering, let alone both, is unthinkable on this kind of hardware.
Of course there is a multitude of factors that also influences a graphics card's performance, but listing them all would go beyond the scope of this article. For one thing, though, integrated graphics chips don't have their own dedicated memory. Instead, they utilize the system's RAM. Therefore, their memory bandwidth and memory clock speed are completely dependent on the memory type used in the system. Lastly, the graphics chip has to share this memory with the rest of the system, which means that in practice, they have only about half of the maximum theoretical bandwidth at their disposal. Also, the memory the graphics chip needs is no longer available to the system.
State of the Art: Along with NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, ATi's Radeon 9800 XT is the fastest graphics card available in the market right now.