A Five Year Old NVIDIA GPU Can Still Beat Broadwell HD Graphics 5500

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 3 February 2015 at 05:28 PM EST. 38 Comments
I'm still benchmarking many laptops around here with the current build of Ubuntu 15.04 as part of my large forthcoming laptop comparison pitted against the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Intel Broadwell processor. For another perspective on the Broadwell HD Graphics 5500 OpenGL performance, here's a laptop comparison against an old ThinkPad with discrete NVIDIA graphics.

While the comparison due out later this week will have Ubuntu Linux benchmark results from close to a dozen systems, this one-page article is just a quick glance comparing the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to an aging ThinkPad W510. While the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a Core i7 5600U with HD Graphics 5500, the ThinkPad W510 has a Core i7 720QM processor with dedicated NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M GPU with 1GB of dedicated vRAM.

The i7-720QM has four cores plus Hyper Threading and a stock speed of 1.6GHz with Turbo speed of 2.8GHz. The i7-5600U meanwhile has only two cores plus Hyper Threading but its turbo speed is 3.2GHz and it's built on the modern Broadwell architecture. The i7-720QM has a TDP of 45 Watts while the i7-5600U has a TDP of just 15 Watts! (The forthcoming big comparison will have performance-per-Watt data too.) The FX 880M has a 45 Watt TDP, 550MHz core clock speed, 1600MHz memory clcok speed, and is based on the GT216GLM GPU.
NVIDIA Quadro FX vs. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500

So while the processors aren't the same, they're both high-end models for their respective generations. In this quick article are just some Tesseract and Xonotic results while more thorough testing is to follow. I did these results basically for shits and giggles in being curious how HD Graphics 5500 compare to a several generation old NVIDIA GPU on Linux.
NVIDIA Quadro FX vs. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500
With Tesseract, the old ThinkPad W510 was faster than the latest-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon. While the raw result favored the W510, keep in mind the Quadro FX 880M alone has a TDP of 45 Watts, three times greater than the TDP of the entire i7-5600U package with HD Graphics 5500. The i7-720QM also has a 45 Watt TDP, compared to 15 Watts of the i7-5600U. The forthcoming power consumption / performance-per-Watt metrics will be very interesting.
NVIDIA Quadro FX vs. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500
Xonotic with high image quality settings also favored the older Lenovo ThinkPad with dedicated NVIDIA graphics.
NVIDIA Quadro FX vs. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500
When increasing the Xonotic image quality settings is where the Broadwell HD Graphics 5500 finally started to pull out ahead of the older system.
NVIDIA Quadro FX vs. Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500
The Broadwell graphics were running noticeably faster when it came to using the ultimate image quality settings.

Besides the power consumption differences, keep in mind the HD Graphics 5500 are only considered mid-range Broadwell graphics Moving up higher is the HD Graphics 6000 and Iris 6100 graphics, albeit I don't yet have my hands on any of that hardware.

Stay tuned for the more thorough comparison shortly. Some other recent Intel Broadwell Linux tests include Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux and Preliminary Tests Of Intel Sandy Bridge & Ivy Bridge vs. Broadwell. If you appreciate all of the extensive Linux hardware testing I do day in and day out at Phoronix, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium to support these operations.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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