High-powered gaming is typically the domain of desktop PCs, but laptops have been catching up quickly. And not just the huge “luggable” gaming laptops, either. Modern integrated graphics are powerful enough to run a surprising amount of games, even some brand new triple-A titles. Both Intel and AMD have made huge leaps in power and efficiency, allowing high-end laptops to play games even without discrete graphics.
Which one is in the lead? That’s what the latest PCWorld in-depth video explores. Gordon Ung compares the latest and greatest integrated graphics solutions, Intel’s Core 12th-gen Iris Xe and AMD’s brand new Ryzen 6000 RDNA 2, in a head-to-head gaming battle. He’s testing two laptops equipped with those chips: the MSI GE76 Raider with a Core i9-12900HK and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with a Ryzen 9 6900HS. Both are gaming laptops with some of the latest hardware on the market, but their discrete graphics cards have been disabled for the tests to let the integrated graphics take over.
While both of these larger laptops benefit from more advanced cooling than a typical thin-and-light, the results generated are a good indicator of the performance available to Intel and AMD’s integrated solutions. So, which one came out on top?
To make an exhaustively detailed video short, AMD’s RDNA2 integrated graphics platform is stunning. Not only did it beat Intel Xe in thirteen out of fifteen benchmark tests, it generally did so by ranges of 20 to 40 percent. Perhaps even more impressive as an indication of how powerful integrated graphics are becoming, both the RDNA2 and Xe platforms managed to beat out a discrete GTX 1650-powered laptop from just a year ago on several tests.
These results held true even with some recent and hardware-taxing PC gaming releases, like Horizon Zero Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Cyberpunk 2077. All of these graphically intense open-world games were absolutely playable. RDR2 hit an astonishing 68 frames per second at 1080p resolution and low graphical settings on AMD hardware, and a respectable 31 frames on Intel Xe. As Gordon puts it, that’s game console performance!
The takeaway is twofold. One, if you’re low on budget or you want a thin-and-light laptop that can still handle even quite recent games well, a Ryzen 6000-series chip should be right at the top of your wish list. But even if you prefer Intel chips, you’ll be able to get far more gaming power out of the 12th-gen processors and their integrated graphics than you could just a couple of years ago. It’s a good time to be a PC gamer.
The chart above shows the at-a-glance performance advantage of RDNA2 over Xe (with the only exceptions being Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Hitman 2). If this kind of deep performance dive is something you enjoy, be sure to subscribe to the PCWorld YouTube channel. We do stuff like this every week!