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

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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
ProcessorsAMD 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 PasteSIIG Ultra-Chill
MotherboardAsus F2A85-M Pro (Socket FM2) AMD A85 FCH
Gigabyte Z77M-D3H-MVP (LGA 1155) Z77 chipset
MemoryAMD/Patriot 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, AP38G1608U2K @ 8-9-8-24 and 1.65 V
Storage DriveIntel SSD 330 120 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7660D
AMD Radeon HD 7560D
Intel HD Graphics 4000
Intel HD Graphics 2500
Power SupplyAntec EarthWatts 380 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverHD 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 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.

  • confish21
    120 GB memory for an HPTC? outside of that good write up!
    Reply
  • confish21
    HD...

    Reply
  • azathoth
    Seems like a perfect combination for a Casual PC gamer, I'm just curious as to the price of the Trinity APU's.
    Reply
  • luciferano
    They both have graphics that have HD in their name, but AMD's HD graphics are more *HD*, lol.
    Reply
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Err... did we really need both the A10-5800k and the A8-5600k? Seeing how both are already 100w unlocked CPUs, surely something like an A10-5800k vs a 65w A10-5700 would have been more interesting for an HTPC environment...
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    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.
    Reply
  • mousseng
    9537609 said:
    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.
    Reply
  • falchard
    Since when as AMD or nVidia actually taken on Intel graphics? Thats a bit insulting considering the disproportionate results time and time again.
    Reply
  • dudewitbow
    I'm actually liking the progression the igpu gets on the apu based chips.
    Reply
  • luciferano
    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.
    Reply