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 405 (Braswell) is an integrated graphics card in the low end SoCs of the Braswell series (e.g. Pentium N3710). It is based on the same architecture as the integrated GPU of the Broadwell graphics cards (e.g. HD Graphics 5300), but offers less shader cores and slower clock speeds.
The GPU was simply called Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell) before 2016 and included also the slower 12 EUs version in the Celeron model. The Graphics 405 name currently only stands for 16-core-versions in Pentium models. The 12 EU version is now called Intel HD Graphics 400.
The clock speed and memory configuration can still vary from model to model.
Gaming performance ist still only suited for older or less demanding games. Often also the processor is limited gaming performance (e.g. in the dual-core N3000).
The SoC also integrates a video decoding engine that should be able to handle 4K H.265 videos.
The Intel HD Graphics 4000 (GT2) is a processor graphics card that is included in the Ivy Bridge processors of 2012 (3rd generation of core, e.g. Core i7-3770). The base clock can be automatically overclocked using Turbo Boost technology. Depending on the processor model, the base and turbo clock rate may differ greatly resulting in different graphics performance of ULV parts compared to high-end desktop and laptop quad-core parts.
Compared to the Intel HD Graphics 3000 in Sandy Bridge CPUs, the HD 4000 card was completely redesigned and offers improved DirectX 11 capable shaders, Hardware Tessellation, a dedicated level 3 cache (before the Last Level Cache LLC of the CPU) and DirectCompute support. The IPC (instructions per clock) can therefore be even 2x as fast as with Sandy Bridge and overall up to 60% more performance (3DMark Vantage) should be possible.
First benchmarks position the HD Graphics 4000 (in a fast quad core desktop CPU) on a level with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 330M and therefore above the AMD processor graphics Radeon HD 6620G. In our extensive tests with games the HD Graphics 4000 was able to beat the HD 6620G in a fast Core i7-3820QM by about 15%. In the slower i7-3610QM and a dual core i5 it was on a similar level as the 6620G. Therefore, casual gamers that wont mind reducing the quality settings in high end games, may be happy with the performance of the HD Graphics 4000. Beware, that the HD Graphics 4000 is used with different clock speeds depending on the CPU model. The ULV CPUs (Core ix-3xx7U) for example feature lower clock speeds and cant maintain the Turbo frequency as good as the 35 - 55 Watt models. Therefore, the ULV version is about 30% slower on average.
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 (depends on how the HD 4000 is used in the laptop - maybe only with a DisplayPort / eDP) as AMD offers with theirs Eyefinity support (up to 6 displays). DisplayPort 1.1 (max 2560x1600) and HDMI 1.4 (max 1920x1080 without hacks) are supported by the chip according to Intel.
Due to the 22nm 3D Tri-Gate production process, the power consumption should be relatively low (the development was focused on performance per Watt). The TDP of the whole package (including processor and memory controller) varies between 18 Watt (ULV) up to 45 Watt (mobile quad core) for the consumer laptop CPUs.