The Intel HD Graphics 5500 (GT2) is an integrated Broadwell graphics card revealed in Q1 2015. It can be found in several ULV SoCs (15 W TDP) such as the Core i5-5200U or i7-5600U. While Core i5 and Core i7 chips feature 24 EUs, the Core i3 version offers just 23 EUs. Depending on the specific CPU, the maximum GPU frequency varies between 850 and 950 MHz.
Architecture and Features
Broadwell features a GPU based on the Intel Gen8 architecture, which has been optimized in various aspects compared to the previous Gen7.5 (Haswell). Inter alia, the shader arrays called "subslice" have been reorganized and now offer 8 Execution Units (EUs) each. Three subslices form a "slice" for a total of 24 EUs. Combined with other improvements such as larger L1 caches and an optimized frontend, the integrated GPU has become faster and more efficient than its predecessor.
The HD Graphics 5500 represents the mid-range version of the Broadwell GPU family and consists of one slice with 24 EUs. Beyond that, there is also a low-end variant (GT1, 12 EUs) as well as higher-end models (GT3/GT3e + eDRAM, 48 EUs).
All Broadwell GPUs support OpenCL 2.0 and DirectX 12 (FL 11_1). The video engine can now decode H.265 using both fixed function hardware as well as available GPU shaders. Up to three displays can be connected via DP 1.2/eDP 1.3 (max. 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz) or HDMI 1.4a (max. 3840 x 2160 @ 24 Hz). HDMI 2.0, however, is not supported.
Depending on the specific CPU, the maximum GPU frequency varies between 850 and 950 MHz. Due to the low TDP, however, the average clock in 3D applications will be somewhat lower.
Equipped with fast dual-channel memory, the HD Graphics 5500 outperforms the HD Graphics 4400 (Haswell, 20 EUs) by 20 - 25 percent and also beats the HD Graphics 5000 (Haswell, 40 EUs). However, even a low-end dedicated GeForce 820M ist about 10 - 30 percent faster than the HD 5500. Games as of 2014/2015 will usually run fluently only at (very) low settings.
Utilizing a new 14 nm process, the Broadwell ULV chips are specified at just 15 W TDP and therefore suited for thin ultrabooks. The TDP is flexible and can be further reduced (7.5 or 10 W), which has a significant impact on performance.
The Intel HD Graphics 3000 (or Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD 3000, GMA HD 3000, Intel HD Graphics 200) is an integrated graphics card in the Sandy Bridge codenamed processors. The HD Graphics 3000 has no dedicated memory but shares the Level 3 / LLC Cache with the CPU cores and also part of the main memory. Due to TurboBoost, the GPU can be overclocked depending on the current CPU load and power consumption. The base speed and the turbo boost speed of the HD Graphics 3000 depend on the processor:
Mainstream and high-end Dual und Quad-Core Core ix-2xx0 (base 650MHz, Turbo 1100-1300MHz)
Desktop K processors (base 850, Turbo 1100-1350MHz)
The HD 3000 offers 12 Execution Units (EUs) like the old Intel GMA HD but due to architectural changes each EU is now faster. The slower HD Graphics 2000 uses only 6 Execution Units. The EUs can be accessed using DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 3.0 and DirectCompute 4.1. OpenCL is not supported (the media SDK only uses the CPU).
Our performance tests with the high clocked mainstream version of the HD Graphics 3000 in quad-core processors showed a performance level on par with older entry level generations from NVIDIA (e.g. GeForce 310M) and AMD (HD 5450). In comparison with AMD's APU models, the HD 3000 can only compete against the C-and E-series, but not the faster Llano and Trinity models. The quality of the Intel drivers has been improved over the years, so most games are flawlessly playable (if the minimum requirements are fullfilled).
We could measure smooth frame rates in games like Dead Space 3, World of Tanks, Fifa 13, Torchlight 2, Counter-Strike: GO reach, Diablo 3, and many older games, though usually only in minimal detail settings. For accurate performance analysis and gaming benchmarks, read our article "Intel HD Graphics 3000" or scroll down in this article.
Altought 2x Antialiasing (AA) is supported, the chip is as fast as when rendering 4x AA. In the Unigine Valley benchmark a i7-2637M for example reached the same score with 2x AA and 4x AA.
In addition to the GPU, the chip also houses some dedicated units for decoding and encoding HD videos. On the IDF Intel demonstrated the encoding of a 3 minute long 1080p video to an iPhone compatible format in 640x360 in only 14s. Another novelty of the Sandy Bridge GPU is the embedded DisplayPort eDP to connect internal Displays.
Due to the integration in the 32nm built CPU, the power consumption of the GPU should be quite low.
The Intel HD Graphics 2500 (or Ivy Bridge GT1) is an integrated graphics card in the Ivy Bridge codenamed desktop processors. It is the successor the the Intel HD Graphics 2000 in the Sandy Bridge CPUs and performs between the old HD 2000 and 3000 GPU (see benchmarks below). Usually it is used in the cheaper desktop Ivy bridge CPUs. The mobile version is simply called Intel HD Graphics and integrated in the Pentium and Celeron line.
Compared to the faster HD Graphics 4000, the 2500 one features less Execution Units (6 versus 16) and only one texture sampler. Therefore, the performance is clearly worse and only suited for low demanding gaming. Intel states a 10 to 15% higher performance compared to the old Sandy Bridge based HD Graphics 2000. Therefore, only older casual games with low requirements are playable with the HD 2500.
A speciality of the Ivy Bridge GPUs is that 4x MSAA is supported in hardware now. However, 2x is only supported through software. The algorithm to support 2x is going through the 4x pipeline with a software algorithm, so performance is similar to 4x MSAA.
The integrated video decoder called Multi Format Codec Engine (MFX) was also improved and should allow even simultaneus 4K video decoding. DXVAChecker lists MPEG2, VC1, WMV9, and H264 as supported codecs. QuickSync for fast transcoding of videos was also optimized for higher performance and better image quality.
Another new feature is the support for up to 3 independent displays as AMD offers with theirs Eyefinity support (up to 6 displays).
Due to the 22nm 3D Tri-Gate production process, the power consumption is relatively low (the development was focused on performance per Watt).