Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!

JT JT 22 December 2020 Follow
Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!

Intel recently launched their 11th  gen Tiger Lake processors which come   paired with their new Xe graphics. I  want to find out how this stacks up   against the Radeon Vega graphics in  the Ryzen 4000 U series processors,   so I’ve compared the two in 10 games in  this review to show you the differences.

CPU spec differences

Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!There are some fairly big differences  between these two chips outside of   the GPU component. The 4800U  is an 8 core 16 thread part,   while the 1165G7 is a 4 core 8 thread  part. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!Despite this, the Tiger Lake chip   can beat some older 6 core Intel designs  like the 8750H in multicore performance,   and the single core performance is on another  level compared to higher end H series Ryzen chips. Basically I’ve used these two to compare as  they’re higher end options from the lower   powered U series, so we should be looking at  close to best results from both Intel and AMD.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! It would have made more sense to  instead compare using Intel’s i7-1185G7,   as that’s the highest specced  option from the Tiger Lake lineup,   but I wasn’t able to get that one, and as we  can see here in the specs, the Xe graphics   are only 50MHz faster with that one anyway, so  results likely wouldn’t be all that different.

Laptops tested

For the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U I’ve used the Lenovo  Slim 7, and for the Intel i7-1165G7 I’ve used   the Razer Blade Stealth 13. Now the Blade Stealth does  also have Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics, but   I’ve disabled that in device manager so that only  Intel Xe graphics was available for all testing. I’ve tested most of the 10 games at 720p,   but I’ve also done a few at 1080p where it  made sense, so let’s get into the results.

Game benchmarks

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with  the games benchmark. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!I’ve got the Intel   Xe graphics shown by the purple  bars, and AMD Radeon Vega shown   in red. Regardless of setting level,  this was a win for the Intel graphics,   which was reaching 10% higher average FPS at  max settings, granted this was just 3 frames. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!Borderlands 3 was tested with the games  benchmark tool, and this one was a win   for AMD regardless of setting level in use.  There’s a much smaller difference between them   at the higher setting presets, AMD has a larger  lead at the lower levels, for instance at max   Vega is just 1% ahead, so basically nothing  compared to its 14% lead at very low settings. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!The Witcher 3 saw a similar pattern,  but in the opposite direction. The   Intel graphics were reaching 46% higher  average FPS with the low setting preset,   even the 1% low was above  the average FPS from Vega,   but at max settings Intel was 24% ahead,  and AMD actually had a higher 1% low now. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!Rainbow Six Siege was tested with Vulkan, and this  one was a win for the Intel system at all setting   levels. At max settings, the Xe graphics were  reaching 20% higher average FPS than the Vega   graphics, but that said, both are still reaching  playable frame rates even with fair settings here.

Let’s check out some esports titles  next, starting with Dota 2, which was   tested in the middle lane with bots.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! This is  another win for Intel, which was reaching 46%   higher average FPS at max settings, though the  gap in 1% low was smaller comparatively at 14%.  Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! As we’re reaching such high frame rates in this  one, I’ve also tested it out at 1080p. Despite   Intel still winning, the Vega graphics are still  delivering a 60 FPS average at ultra settings,   a nice result, but regardless  Intel Xe was still 38% ahead. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!For some reason I forgot to test CS:GO  at 720p when I had both machines,   so I’ve only got 1080p results with this  one. Again the Vega graphics were right on   60 FPS even with all settings at maximum,  but the Xe graphics were reaching 21%   higher average FPS here. The gap is even larger  at lower settings, where Intel has a 62% lead,   but this is likely due to lower settings depending  less on the difference in GPU and more on the   processor performance, and as we saw earlier Tiger  Lake does offer nice single core performance.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! Overwatch was tested in the practice range. The  results here were a bit different to most others,   Intel was ahead at all setting levels but  high settings, where for some reason AMD   happened to have the lead, particularly in 1%  low, but for the most part at most of the settings   Intel was doing better, with a 29% higher  average FPS at the highest epic settings.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! This was another that I’ve also tested  at the higher 1080p resolution. At max   settings now the Xe graphics  was further ahead with a 34%   lead over Vega. The Xe graphics are able to get  us above 60 FPS with the high setting preset,   while the Vega graphics couldn’t  quite get there with medium settings. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!Battlefield 5 was doing significantly  better on the Xe graphics,   coming out 40% ahead of the Radeon  graphics in average frame rate at the   highest ultra setting preset, though there  was a larger 111% improvement in the 1% low.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! Control was also ahead on the Intel Xe graphics,  again more than a 40% improvement to average frame   rate at max settings, granted even at 720p  I don’t think I’d want to play at 26 FPS.   Low settings on the other hand was  still usable on the Vega graphics,   however Intel Xe was able to reach  above 60 FPS, putting it 51% ahead here. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!Call of Duty Modern Warfare was doing  better on AMD, maybe. It’s hard to tell,   because it kept crashing at max settings  even after multiple reboots and reinstalls,   it just didn’t seem to like Xe graphics I  guess, more on that later.

Differences in all games

That said, despite   average FPS at minimum settings being ahead  on Vega, the 1% low from Xe was still better.Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison! These are the average differences out of all games  tested. I’m only looking at max settings here, as   these tend to be most GPU heavy, and this is a GPU  comparison after all. It’s a clear win for Intel,   AMD was only ahead in borderlands 3 in terms of  average frame rate, that may have also been case   in Call of Duty but Intel crashed preventing  proper comparison. For the most part the Intel   gains were fairly significant. Intel Xe vs AMD Vega - Laptop iGPU Gaming Comparison!It’s difficult to  say how much of this difference is purely down to   the GPU, as Tiger Lake was also doing better in  raw processing performance, at least in single   core, I doubt many games will see a benefit from  the 8 cores of Ryzen.

Regardless at the end of   the day it’s a win for Intel, and don’t forget  I’m not even using the higher tier i7-1185G7.   1080p might have been better for a GPU comparison,  but as we’ve seen in many of the AAA games 720p   was often a struggle at higher settings, so  I stuck to an actual playable resolution.

Intel Xe stability issues

It’s also worth talking about some  stability issues I had. Overall,   the AMD Vega graphics offered a  more stable gaming experience,   it seems that Intel Xe drivers still have  some improvements to be made. For instance,   while playing Control with Xe graphics all the  lighting was bright red making it difficult to   play. I had artifacting when running Rainbow  Six Siege, and there were plenty of crashes in   COD and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. I suppose it  could just be my laptop, but to me it seems that   Xe graphics just need some more time to offer  a stable experience, despite performing better.

Ultrabook gaming discussion

This comparison is mostly going to be useful  for smaller ultrabook style machines with   these processors that don’t have discrete Nvidia  graphics inside for gaming. Integrated graphics   have evolved a fair bit recently, and as we’ve  seen 720p gaming even with modern titles on either   goes quite well, even with decent setting  levels in many cases, and while both offer   fair levels of performance, the newer Intel Xe  graphics did have the lead. This is going to be   great for people that want to play games on the  go without investing in thicker gaming laptops.

You could definitely argue that the Blade  Stealth I’m using has been designed for gaming   and may have better cooling, but fact is the  processor still runs at Intel’s spec of 28 watts,   so I don’t think that will change the conclusion  too much unless you’re looking at more of an ultraportable style machine with a 15 watt power  limit.

Ryzen 5000 soon?

 We also can’t forget about AMD’s Ryzen 5000.  Things might change once Ryzen 5000 series   processors launch in early 2021, we’ll have to  wait and see. If they move from using Vega to   Navi it could offer a nice graphical boost, of  course alongside all the other improvements on   offer from Zen 3.

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