Integrated Graphics, AMD’s PUMA

IGP (Integrated Graphics Platforms) have been the bane of gamers, especially mobile gamers, for many years. Created for use by casual computer users who want little more than to write Word documents, play flash games, and watch YouTube, they often fall well below the mark for acceptable DVD/Blueray playback and PC Gaming. For mobile users, the choice between a dedicated GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) and an Integrated GPU merits consideration. Integrated GPUs use much less power, create less heat, and result in an all around more mobile system. Dedicated GPUs use more power, create much more heat, but allow gamers on the go to play the latest and greatest with a few tweaked settings. Intel’s IGP solutions, the GMA series of integrated graphics (GMA 915, GMA 950, X3100, upcoming X4500), have been the most common and also the most frustrating. Intel doesn’t do graphics, so their IGPs are very hit and miss, especially in running games properly. ATI/AMD’s solutions, such as the X1250, as well as Nvidia’s solutions, such as the 7150, provide more acceptable gaming performance, but still not enough to play high intensity games very effectively at medium/high settings.
AMD/ATI finally broke the mold, their new 780G motherboard chipset contains the HD3200 IGP, which offers a significant performance improvement over all other IGPs. While a dedicated GPU will still perform better, the HD3200 is an important step forward. In a mobile system, the 780G is part of AMD’s PUMA platform, which also offers an external port allowing an external GPU to be connected to the laptop, something not practical or effective until this point. The following video compares the HD3200 with an older X3100 (which has been replaced by the slightly improved, though still lacking, X4500).

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