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Intel Core i3 w/ "HD Graphics" - OK for gaming?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
First, my apologies for the noobish question, but I'm having some difficulty finding the information I need.

I recently purchased a brand new Dell Laptop with the Intel Core i3 (w/ integrated "Intel HD Graphics") and 3Gb of RAM. I want to purchase Starcraft 2, but I'm reluctant to do so for performance reasons.

Blizzard's official minimum system requirements for Starcraft 2 call for either a 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 PRO which seems fairly accessible, however I have no basis of comparison with Intel's latest integrated solution. Does anyone with a similar rig (Core i3, HD Graphics, 3Gb RAM) have any experience with Starcraft 2? If not, does anyone have any information that might help me makes a more informed decision?

Thanks!
post #2 of 13
It's hard to find an exact metric to relate the integrated graphics processor in the Arrandale core with the minimum stated cards because the benchmarks have changed a great deal in 6 years. But the actual gaming experience is the most important metric and I found articles discussing that from TomsHardware and HotHardware.

The Core i3m is a great processor but the HD Graphics appear to be more for decoding and video performance than gaming. The articles linked show that WOW and HL2 are at least playable. Startcraft II is said to scale well and, since it's a RTS, 24fps should be adequate. I think you'll be able to play at a lower resolution and low settings.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, I'll definitely look into those resources.

Has anyone out there been able to play SC2 on an laptop without a dedicated (not integrated) GPU?
post #4 of 13
post #5 of 13
So did you run the program at DaveFi's link? What did it say?
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
@sorax et al: After running the spec-check on DaveFi's link, it gave me a "fail rating" because my GPU did not match the minimum listed, which was a direct cut-and-paste from Blizzard: "128 MB PCIe NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 PRO."

Oddly, when I clicked the for more details to see why my set-up was incompatible it listed the following:

- GPU Memory Min: 125Mb / Your GPU: 1.7Gb (pass)
- GPU Minimum: 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 PRO / Your GPU: Intel Core i3 Intel HD Graphics (fail)

More over, it passed the rest of my system with flying colors, CPU, RAM, HDD space, etc. It makes me wonder if the system checker was simply looking for keyword matches instead of, say, clocking out my GPU.

Unsatisfied, I continued my search and I came across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87j42huC8XI

In this video, you see Starcraft 2 running on an inferior CPU/GPU (Intel Pentium T440) and integrated Intel GPU (GMA 4500). While gameplay did not look ideal (visible slowdown / low fraps) it's encouraging as gameplay was at least serviceable.

That said, wishful thinking and impatience pushed me over the edge and I ordered SC2 via Amazon last night. It should arrive early next week. In the meantime, I am going to look into overclocking options and other registry hacks to squeeze every little bit out of what little I have (anyone have any tips?!). I'll be sure to post my findings here once I'm up and running. Wish me luck and, again, if anyone has any overclocking tips, I'm all ears!
post #7 of 13
Interesting. 1.7 GB is the amount listed as Maximum Video Memory for your GPU. Although it has access to that much memory I think realistically it'll consume much less. But at least it's there right

It's great that you found some footage of it being played on lesser hardware. That should give you some confidence. Intel claims the GPU that resides inside the Arrandale(I'm not really sure what to call it) is 40% faster for gaming than the GM45. And the few benchmarks I've seen seem to mostly support that claim.

Could you check your BIOS and give us a rundown of the options it makes available? Your GPU has a sort of Turbo Boost feature that lets it run up to 900 MHz. I wonder if that is tweakable. I'll look around for other overclocking options.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Still waiting on the game to arrive. Expecting it today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, another example of SC2 beta running on integrated Intel GMA... In this case, a 2007 Apple Macbook (not Pro) with 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo w/ Intel GMA 950 and 1Gb of RAM (Windows 7 OS via Bootcamp):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2aTsLlKgO4
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK folks, the verdict is in...

I'm about 5 hours into the single player campaign thus far and I must say that my set-up is working great. I have all video settings set to "Low" with my only concession being the native "full-widescreen" aspect ratio of my laptop screen. Audio settings are all set to "High."

All FMV/CGI runs flawlessly, as expected. Most in-engine cut-scenes (with the exception of only one so far) and ship decks run at or near a constant 60fps. All game play (thus far) runs solidly between 30-60fps depending on map size and unit activity.

Also, at boot I take the extra step of killing nearly all task-tray applications and other ancillary processes in the task manager. While this may be overkill, it makes me feel better about things

So, bottom line, if you have a newer Intel Integrated GPU (in my case, the Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics) and at least 3Gb of RAM, you should be just fine running SC2 with "Low" video settings.
post #10 of 13
Cool. Glad to read it all worked out.
post #11 of 13
I hear SC2 has one of the most unoptimized engines out there. It runs the GPU at ~100% all the time, even in the menus, which is causing big problems (ie: videocards frying).

It's not like they had a lot of time to develop the game or anything.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveFi View Post

I hear SC2 has one of the most unoptimized engines out there. It runs the GPU at ~100% all the time, even in the menus, which is causing big problems (ie: videocards frying).

It's not like they had a lot of time to develop the game or anything.

Seems to be a simple fix in the variables.txt file if you're seeing issues:

http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-feat...verheating-fix

On my MBP I'm not seeing anything abnormal heat-wise.
post #13 of 13
Y´ll you have a poor gaming experience with recent titles.. I suggest at least a Geforce GT220~240 or a Radeon HD5670 for newer games!
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