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MacBook Graphics Face Off 2: Intel HD3000 vs HD4000

by: Karl Johnson | Jul 06, 2012
Categories: MacBook

K1207-hd4000Apple updated both of it’s MacBook lineups during the WWDC, Apple’s developers conference this year. The big update this year is the addition of Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processor group. The Ivy Bridge processor is an updated version of the Sandy Bridge processor, which was in the previous MacBooks.

Intel also updated the integrated graphics processor that comes with the main Ivy Bridge processor. The new graphics processor is called the HD4000, which has replaced the HD3000. How much of a performance improvement is there between HD3000 and HD4000?

AnandTech has written a review article for the HD4000 in which it compares it with the HD3000 and other discreet graphics chips. In the article, AnAndTech tested the graphics chips in many different tasks. For productivity work, the new chip is around 0–23% faster. This is a decent upgrade since most productivity work does not use the graphics chip anyways. The more the task uses the graphics chip power, the more benefit that task will see.

The big improvement for the HD4000 is in games or 3D environments, where refresh rates matter. AnandTech saw as much as a 50% improvement over the predecessor. The testing was down mainly on Windows with DirectX11. The Mac should see most of that improvement as well, which is a big step up. Users who play the latest games will still need the discreet chips. For more casual gamers, the new HD4000 should be good enough.

Intel has been working hard to catch up to the discreet graphic chip makers. The HD3000 and now the HD4000 has seen big performance upgrades compared to Intel’s previous efforts. Intel may not be able to catch up to the AMD or Nvidia, but with their current improvement rate, they could be good enough for all but the hard core gamer in 2 or 3 years.

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