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Intel Gen12 Xe Graphics Leads AMD's Vega in Integrated GPU Performance

Artistic rendering of a microprocessor

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If the latest Time Spy benchmarks (via @TUM_APISAK) are accurate, Intel might have finally surpassed AMD in the integrated graphics department. The Core i7-1165G7, which features Intel Xe Graphics (aka, Gen12), has once again outperformed the Vega iGPU from the Ryzen 4000-series (codename Renoir) APUs. This time, instead of 3DMark 11, the battleground is the newer and far more demanding 3DMark Time Spy DirectX 12 benchmark.

The composition of the Gen12 graphics processing unit inside the Core i7-1165G7 remains a bit of a mystery for now, but Tiger Lake submissions from last year suggest it will feature 96 Execution Units (EUs). That's a 50% upgrade over Ice Lake's Gen11 graphics solution, and potentially gives Gen12 graphics 768 shading units. The Tiger Lake-U family will reportedly be comprised of 15W and 28W models. For the time being, we can't say for certain if the Core i7-1165G7 has a 15W or 28W TDP. By comparison, the 35W Ryzen 9 4900HS and 15W Ryzen 7 4800U each have eight Vega Compute Units (CUs), or 512 shader cores, running at clock speeds up to 1,750 MHz.

The Core i7-1165G7 scored 1,338 points in the graphics test, while the Ryzen 9 4900HS and Ryzen 7 4800U put up scores of 1,282 and 1,237 points, respectively. That means Intel's Gen12 Xe Graphics delivered up to 4.4% higher performance than the eight Vega CUs inside the Ryzen 9 4900HS. It's not a massive victory, but it's still a win. It remains to be seen how Gen12 performs outside of synthetic benchmarks because synthetic performance doesn't always translate over to real-world performance.

ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost Clock (GHz)TDP (W)Graphics ScoreCPU Score
Core i7-1165G7*4 / 82.8 / 4.7?1,3384,679
Ryzen 9 4900HS8 / 163.0 / 4.3351,2827,511
Ryzen 7 4800U8 / 161.8 / 4.2151,2377,115

*Specifications are unconfirmed.

There weren't any shocking developments on the processing side. The Core i7-1165G7 is clearly the underdog in that department. The 10nm Tiger Lake-U chip only has four cores and eight threads at its service while the 7nm Ryzen offerings boast double the cores and threads. That allowed for the 15W Ryzen 7 4800U to outperform the Core i7-1165G7 by up to 52.1% in the processor test, with the 35W Ryzen 9 4900HS tacking on an additional 8.4%.

AMD's Ryzen 4000-series APUs use the Zen 2 microarchitecture and 7nm process node, but the GPU inside the chips stills ticks with the old Vega microarchitecture. Vega was a worthy rival for Intel's Gen11 Graphics, but Renior APUs have trimmed the number of GPU cores while Intel has gone the other direction and added more GPU performance. AMD may have gotten too complacent, after leading in the graphics war over Intel for a long time. Now, Intel has seemingly caught up to and even edged past Vega with Gen12 Xe Graphics.

AMD still has a potential trump card up his sleeve: Navi. However, unless AMD wants to retake the iGPU crown, we don't expect to see Navi in an APU at least for another generation (i.e., Ryzen 5000 APUs). In the meantime, roles have switched with Intel potentially delivering a more powerful iGPU with a slower CPU, and AMD holding the mobile CPU performance crown. We'll have to see how the two solutions stack up in a more comprehensive integrated graphics performance showdown once Tiger Lake launches.