The new Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics unit is being touted by Intel as a giant leap forward over the current HD 3000 graphics with a 50% or above performance boost promised. The Intel HD 4000 GPU will be a standard part of any Intel Ivy Bridge equipped laptop, also known as the 3rd Generation Core series of processors. AMD has made it a priority to emphasize the fact their APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) for laptops, such as the Fusion platform, offer much better integrated graphics performance over what Intel has to offer. Intel has acknowledged this and are steering in the direction of catching up to AMD in the integrated graphics war. So does the Intel HD 4000 close the gap with AMD and if you’re into gaming will the HD 4000 be enough for your needs? Read on to find out!
Our test unit for this Intel HD 4000 review is based upon an engineering sample laptop from HP, obviously it’s an early model and drivers are young, as time passes by and Intel and other developers tweak drivers for the HD 4000 the results will improve. That said, the display drivers used were downloaded from the HP website for their upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge equipped laptop releases so this is what the first round of Ivy Bridge equipped laptop users will experience.
Here are the key components and specs for the unit being tested:
- Platform: Intel Ivy Bridge – BIOS version 4.C7 (08/11/2011)
- Processor: Unidentified Intel Core i7 Engineering Sample processor (idling at 1.7GHz, Turbo Boost to 2.6GHz)
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000, 2GB memory
- Memory: 8GB DDR3 RAM (2 x 4GB)
- Storage: Intel 320 80GB SSD
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 with all updates to current date
- Display Drivers Used: 18.104.22.16896
First, we used CPU-Z to confirm the internal specs of this laptop, below is a CPU-Z screenshot of some details on the Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor on board. Notice the technology is 22nm and the Max TDP is a low 35 W:
The graphics are confirmed as being Intel HD 4000 revision 4 by CPU-Z. Remember, the drivers being used while obtained from HP.com are the first generation of drivers and as tweaks are made and drivers improved the Intel HD 4000 graphics performance are sure to improve.
Windows Experience Index (WEI) for Intel Ivy Bridge & HD 4000
People love to know what the Windows Experience Index score of a laptop is. We know, it’s not a benchmark and the results it spits out should be taken with a grain of salt, but nonetheless let’s take a look at the WEI score this HP laptop achieves with a Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor and HD 4000 graphics:
That overall score of 6.4 is pretty impressive, the fact the Graphics score was rated at 6.4 is great. A typical score for Intel HD 3000 equipped laptops is 4.7 so Windows 7 at least has an optimistic view of the Intel HD 4000 capabilities. Below is a table comparing some graphics scores for an Intel Sandy Bridge equipped HP Folio 13 and the HP EliteBook 8470p with Ivy Bridge.
|Laptop||WEI Overall Score||WEI Graphics Score||WEI Gaming Graphics Score|
|HP EliteBook 8470p (Intel Core i7, Intel HD 4000, 4GB RAM)||6.4||6.4||6.4|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5, Intel HD 3000, 4GB RAM)||4.7||4.7||6.2|
Windows Experience Index provides limited details on graphics performance, so let’s now dig into some more 3D targeted benchmarks.
3DMark Vantage Intel HD 4000 Benchmarks
3DMark Vantage from Futuremark is a popular benchmark for measuring the graphics performance of a PC. It’s free to download if you want to try it out on your system. 3DMark offers four different presets for running graphics benchmarks: Entry, Performance, High and Extreme. We ran the test in each mode, screenshots of the scores and results are below which will be followed by analysis:
3DMark Vantage Entry Score for Intel HD 4000 (low level of graphics demand): 14,207
3DMark Vantage Performance Score for Intel HD 4000 (moderate load of graphics demand): 3,321
3DMark Vantage High Score for Intel HD 4000 (heavy load of graphics demand): 1,604
3DMark Extreme Score for Intel HD 4000 (very heavy load of graphics demand): 1,104
In order to get an idea of how the Intel HD 4000 stacks up to other graphics cards we have provided a table below with a score comparison of 3DMark Vantage Performance mode scores to other recently reviewed laptops:
|Laptop||3DMark Vantage Score (Performance mode)|
|HP EliteBook (Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge, Intel HD 4000, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||3,321 3DMarks|
|HP Envy 17 Core i7-2670QM 2.20GHz, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||6,970 3DMarks|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||1,513 3DMarks|
|HP dv7t Quad (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.20GHz, 2GB Radeon HD 6770M, 8GB RAM, Crucial M4)||6,139 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition – (AMD A8-3510MX, AMD 6620G Graphics)||2,919 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition – Intel Core i7-2630qm, AMD 6770M Graphics||6,373 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dm4x – (Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 6GB RAM, Intel HD3000 Graphics)||1,174 3DMarks|
|Dell XPS 17 (Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, Nvidia 550m, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||4,747 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition – Intel Core i5-2410m, Intel HD 3000 Graphics, 6GB RAM||1,845 3DMarks|
The key here is that the Intel HD 4000 handily outscored the HD 3000 equipped laptops with an over 1,000 jump in score, and that’s with early driver versions for the HD 4000 – things will only get better. Also notice that the Intel HD 4000 outscores the HP Pavilion dv6z with AMD 6620G integrated graphics that we reviewed. Clearly the Intel HD 4000 lives up to Intel’s billing of being 50% better, it’s actually close to 100% better in some cases, depending on what processor the laptop is equipped with. However, the higher scores of laptops equipped with high end dedicated graphics such as the AMD 7690 the ENVY 17 has demonstrates if you really want to do some serious gaming then you need a good dedicated graphics card.
For those that like a little video action of 3D benchmarks running, below is some footage of 3DMark Vantage running on our HP EliteBook with Intel HD 4000:
PCMark 7 Scores for Intel Ivy Bridge & HD 4000
The PCMark 7 suite from Futuremark is another popular benchmark for measuring overall system performance as well as some detailed level component performance. With our HP test unit equipped with Intel Ivy Bridge and Intel HD 4000 graphics we achieved a score of 4,520 PCMarks.
Again, we compare this score to other laptops we have reviewed and the comparison results are impressive:
|Laptop||PCMark 7 Score|
|HP EliteBook (Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge 1.70GHz, Intel HD 4000, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||4,520 PCMarks|
|HP Envy 17 (Core i7-2670QM 2.20GHz, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||2,703 PCMarks|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||3,168 PCMarks|
|HP dv7t Quad (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.20GHz, 2GB Radeon HD 6770M, 8GB RAM, Crucial M4)||4,308 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM)||2,022 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad W520 – Intel Core i7 2720QM, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro 2000, Intel 320 SSD||4,299 PCMarks|
|HP Envy 17 3D – Intel Core i7-2670QM, AMD 6850M 1GB, 8GB RAM, 7200RPM HD||2,592 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad U400 – Intel Core i5-2430M, AMD Radeon 6470M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD||2,287 PCMarks|
|Dell XPS 15z – Intel Core i7-2620M, Nvidia GT 525M, 8GB RAM, SSD||3,604 PCMarks|
The Ivy Bridge Core i7 1.7GHz processor and Intel HD 4000 outscored even the ThinkPad W520 workstation and the HP dv7t Quad with dedicated graphics. Not to say that a current Sandy Bridge laptop couldn’t outperform our test unit given the right high end graphics card and Core i7 processor, but what we’re seeing here at least indicates users are in for a treat if you upgrade to the latest Intel technology. We’ll also note that the SSD in the test unit helped greatly in the overall performance score PCMark 7 awarded.
PCMark Vantage scores for Intel Ivy Bridge & HD 4000
PCMark Vantage is actually an older version of the PCMark toolset, but it’s still worth running it on the latest Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge and Intel HD 4000 equipped laptop as the ability to compare to a wider range of laptops is available due to the popularity and longevity of this older benchmark program.
Comparing the PCMark Vantage score of 14,659 the Ivy Bridge equipped HP EliteBook achieved is again not much of a contest, it handily outperforms past laptops we’ve reviewed:
|Laptop||PCMark Vantage Score|
|HP EliteBook (Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge 1.70GHz, Intel HD 4000, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||14,659 PCMarks|
|HP Envy 17 Core i7-2670QM 2.20GHz, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||10,120 PCMarks|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||9,026 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM)||7,007 PCMarks|
|Dell Vostro 1440 Review (Intel Core i3-370M, Intel HD, 6GB RAM)||4,931 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 – Intel Core i7-2630qm, Nvidia 550M 1GB, 8GB RAM, Intel SSD||12,160 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM||6,056 PCMarks|
|Dell Vostro 3450 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 4GB RAM||5,901 PCMarks|
|Dell Inspiron N411z – Intel Core i3-2330m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM||5,285 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T420 – Intel Core i3-2310m 2.1GHz, 2GB RAM||3,204 PCMarks|
Cinebench 11.5 uses the same technology as MAXON’s popular CINEMA 4D animation software. The program gives a good indication of a processors threading and multi-tasking capabilities along with the on board graphics OpenGL graphics performance. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.
- OpenGL Score: 16.63 fps
- CPU: 5.04 pts
Cinebench 11.5 – Multi threaded Benchmark Comparison
|Laptop||Cinebench CPU performance||Cinebench OpenGL performance|
|HP EliteBook (Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge 1.70GHz, Intel HD 4000)||5.04 pts||16.63 fps|
|Dell XPS 15 L502X (Intel Core i7-2630QM, Nvidia GT540M)||4.88 pts||–|
|HP Pavilion dv6z (AMD A8-3510MX 2.8GHz, AMD 6620G graphics)||3.12 pts||24.96 fps|
|Dell XPS 17 (Intel Core i7-2820QM 2.30GHz Sandy Bridge, Intel HD 3000)||5.72 pts||–|
Unfortunately we don’t have as many comparison benchmarks to show here, but you will notice that the Sandy Bridge equipped XPS 17 with a 2.30GHz Quad Core scored higher than the 1.70GHz Ivy Bridge processor for the CPU performance measurement. We suspect this is all a function of clock speed, the Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 sample we have is only 1.70GHz compared to the 2.30GHz Core i7-2630QM on the XPS 17. Also notice that the AMD Fusion A8 equipped HP dv6z still wins with OpenGL performance over the Intel HD 4000. The AMD GPUs just handle OpenGL graphics really well, and it appears they will continue to outdo Intel in that aspect.
PerformanceTest Version 7
Performance Test 7 is a benchmarking tool form PassMark software. Below is a screenshot of the scores achieved with the Intel Core i7 and HD 4000 equipped test unit:
For comparison, here is a screenshot of results for a ThinkPad X220 with Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, 4GB of RAM, 7200RPM hard drive and Intel HD 3000 graphics:
And in table form with PerformanceTest 7 results for comparison we clearly see the superiority of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor and HD 4000 graphics over the current Sandy Bridge:
|HP EliteBook 8470p (Intel Core i7, Intel HD 4000, 8GB RAM)||ThinkPad X220 (Intel Core i5-2410m, Intel HD 3000, 4GB RAM)|
|Overall Computer Score||1,869.5||1,074.5|
|2D Graphics Mark||389.6||326|
|3D Graphics Mark||412.5||236.9|
Notice that the 3D graphics score jumps from 236.9 with the Intel HD 3000 equipped ThinkPad X220 to 412.5 with the HP EliteBook with Intel HD 4000, about a 75% increase in score.
Conclusion and Summary
It’s clear that if you’ve been waiting for better integrated graphics from Intel, they have arrived. The Intel HD 4000 graphics again and again showed itself to be a better performer than the Intel HD 3000, scoring often times around 75% better on dedicated 3D graphics tests. The Ivy Bridge processor itself and it’s improved performance over Sandy Bridge also improves the overall graphics performance score as certain graphics tasks can be handled by the processor.
However, we have to note that even with the improvements the Intel HD 4000 brings, it’s still not going to replace a dedicated graphics card if your aim is to use a laptop for serious gaming. You will certainly be able to play many popular games using the Intel HD 4000 graphics card, but if you want to ramp up the frames per second and use high graphics detail in games like Skyrim then you’re still going to need a top of the line mobile graphics card from Nvidia or AMD. Also, AMD still offers better OpenGL graphics performance with its integrated APU than the Intel HD 4000 has to offer. When AMD updates it’s current Fusion line of APUs with the Trinity lineup this summer we expect AMD will have again upped the integrated graphics performance game and the OpenGL scores will again improve.
Bottom line however, if you’re in the market for a laptop and just want to know that the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics with the Ivy Bridge platform will be enough for any basic needs you have, rest assured that for most users the Intel HD 4000 will provide ample performance and you will have been rewarded for waiting to buy the latest chipset from Intel as it’s performance is going to give you more bang for the buck. About 75% more in terms of graphics in fact!