Intel HD 4000 Gameplay
Due to the operating principle, two undesirable factors could not be avoided in the two following benchmarks. On the one hand, the processor performance varies considerably between the CPUs. However, due to the strong GPU limitation, this should only have a secondary influence on the performance. Furthermore, different L3 clock rates could not be avoided, as they are linked to the processor clock. Nevertheless, this source of disturbance should not be very grave either.
The difference between the fastest and the slowest HD 4000 level in 3DMark Vantage (GPU score) is 28% - 5% more than with the alternate clock rate. The influence of the L3 cache size therefore is relatively small: there is a difference of about 5% between 3 and 6 MB. Another 2 MB increases the performance by only 2%.
The 3DMark 11, in contrast, is much more sensitive to the size of the cache. With just under 9% (3 vs. 6 MB) and 3% (6 vs. 8 MB) respectively, the L3 cache has a significant influence on the performance. It is also interesting that higher clock rates with the same cache size are converted to an increased performance in an almost linear way. This implies that the memory bandwidth - at least with DDR3-1600 in dual-channel mode - is hardly a limiting factor.
To verify the results of a 3DMark test in a real 3D game, we played the Action-RPG Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It provides very constant framerates and is therefore ideal for our benchmarks, which measure differences of only a few percent.
By and large, the results resemble those of the 3DMark 11. The step from a 3 to a 6 MB L3 cache as well as the clock rate especially influence the performance.
All measurements up to this point were carried out with the fastest possible storage configuration - but what if the notebook comes with less ideal equipment? Cheap notebooks often have only one storage module or a slow DDR3-1333. We examined these two cases with the slowest model of our test, the Core i5-3210M.
The losses in performance caused by a lower memory bandwidth are quite drastic: while Deus Ex with DDR3-1600 in dual channel mode still runs quite smoothly at 29 fps, the framerate with DDR3-1333 in single channel mode drops to only 19 fps.
The 20% higher bandwidth of DDR3-1600 vs. DDR3-1333 (both single channel) results in a performance which is a good 11% higher. A second storage module leads to a 34% performance increase.
As our short test has shown, there is no general answer to the question how fast the Intel HD Graphics 4000 is.
The storage connection has the most important influence on the performance. The maximum performance may only be achieved with a fast dual-channel connection, which is not always possible with ultrabooks that only have one DIMM slot.
Less significant but still important are the effects of the clock rate and the L3 cache. Those who operate a Core i7-3840QM or 3940XM without a dedicated graphics card - which is rather rare - enjoy a considerably higher 3D performance than with a core i3 or core i5 processor. The HD 4000 might even come close to a dedicated accelerator, even though the absolute level of performance remains very low.
We look forward to future developments, as "Kaveri" of AMD and "Haswell" of Intel promise another performance boost in the sector of integrated graphics solutions. The influence of additional caches and faster storage solutions should be even greater with these chips.
We would like to conclude by thanking the company One, which made this test available. Under this link you may configure and order the M73-2N.