The best new Intel HD Graphics processors for gaming

Hardcore gamers usually have a dedicated graphics card in their PC, but modern integrated graphics solutions can deliver decent performance in cheaper builds.

You won’t play the latest titles in 4K using an Intel integrated GPU, but if your game library consists of lightweight titles or classic games, integrated graphics are the cheaper solution.

With the launch of its 7th-generation Kaby Lake CPUs, Intel debuted its new generation of integrated graphics processors.

These integrated chips provide a fair amount of graphics processing power and can support resolutions of up to 4K.

We examined Intel’s Kaby Lake integrated graphics processors to find out how effective they are at running modern games.

Hardware

Integrated GPUs share a silicon die and resources with the CPU, and although there are named models with the same specifications, the performance of each GPU varies depending on which CPU it is coupled with.

Intel HD Graphics GPUs do not have dedicated video memory and share RAM with the CPU.

The powerful Intel Iris Graphics processors include onboard eDRAM, though, which is used as dedicated memory for the integrated GPU.

Intel’s 7th-gen processors feature both Intel HD Graphics and Intel Iris Plus graphics chips, with the latter usually reserved for high-end, expensive processors.

The specifications of Intel’s HD and Iris Plus graphics chips are below.

GPU
Base Frequency Max Frequency eDRAM Processors
Intel HD Graphics 610 350MHz 950MHz Desktop Celeron, Pentium G45, and Core i3-7101
Intel HD Graphics 615 300MHz 1,050MHz Pentium 4410Y, Core i7-7Y75, Core i5-7Y54, Core i5-7Y757, Core m3-7Y30
Intel HD Graphics 620 300MHz 1,050MHz Core i7-7600U, Core i7-7500U, Core i5-7300U, Core i5-7200U, Core i3-7100U
Intel HD Graphics 630 300MHz 1,100MHz Desktop Pentium G46, Core i3, i5, and i7, Laptop H-series Core i3, i5, and i7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 300MHz 1,050MHz 64MB Core i5-7260U, i5-7360U, i7-7560U, i7-7660U
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 300MHz 1,100MHz 64MB Core i3-7167U, i5-7267U, i5-7287U, i7-7567U

Gaming Performance

The performance of Intel’s integrated GPUs depends on a number of factors, including the clock speed and L3 cache of the CPU.

However, Intel lists the recommended settings for various titles depending on which processor you own – and this can give users a good idea of their chip’s capabilities.

We have compiled the recommended settings for each integrated graphics chip when playing Blizzard’s Overwatch and Valve’s Dota 2, using information from Intel’s gameplay portal.

Recommended Settings for Overwatch

Blizzard Overwatch

GPU Resolution Graphics Settings Lighting Quality Texture Filtering
Intel HD Graphics 610 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Intel HD Graphics 615 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Intel HD Graphics 620 1,280 x 720 Low Low Low
Intel HD Graphics 630 1,280 x 720 Low Low Low
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 1,280 x 720 Low Low Low
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1,600 x 900 Medium Medium Medium

Recommended Settings for Dota 2

Valve Dota 2

GPU Resolution Texture Quality Shadow Quality Specular Lighting
Intel HD Graphics 610 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Intel HD Graphics 615 1,920 x 1,080 Med Off Off
Intel HD Graphics 620 1,920 x 1,080 Med Med Off
Intel HD Graphics 630 1,920 x 1,080 Med Med Off
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 1,920 x 1,080 High Med Off
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1,920 x 1,080 High High On

Intel’s latest integrated GPUs offer superior performance over the previous generation of HD Graphics chips, and are suitable for gamers who want a pleasant experience at a more affordable price.

While the Celeron and Pentium-based chips are not viable for all casual gaming, and the Iris Plus processors require a reduction in resolution for smooth gameplay, the level of performance provided by the higher-end chips is adequate for laptop gaming.

This is particularly the case for laptops with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768.

Now read: AMD Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 – South African pricing

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The best new Intel HD Graphics processors for gaming