Understanding Intel HD Graphics

Apr 25th, 2016
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  1. ################# Understanding Intel HD Graphics #################
  3. This is a simple, easy to understand guide mainly for non-techy people to help you understand exactly what is, Intel HD Graphics.
  4. It will help you understand why you are having issues, errors, crashes and/or very low frames per second (FPS) when running games and visual mods, like Minecraft Shader-packs.
  6. ### What is a GPU (video card)? ### - (if you're absolutely 100% sure you know exactly what a GPU is, skip to the conclusion)
  8. To play a game your PC needs to have a Graphics Processing Unit, GPU for short, these GPUs are the brain and main component in a Graphics/Video Card. A PC that is designed mainly for gaming will have a dedicated (aka discrete) graphics card installed, these are manufactured by 2 companies most of the time: Nvidia and AMD.
  9. A GPU is specifically designed to process and render (draw) a game's image to your monitor so you can play, the more detailed the image like higher resolutions, high or ultra game settings, realistic lighting, shadows or textures, the more processing power is needed to render that image onto your screen. Like a car, the faster you want to go the more horsepower your engine needs to have.
  10. So, a very detailed game like GTA5, The Witcher 3, or a graphic/lighting mod for a game like a shader-pack for Minecraft, these require a huge amount of processing power from the GPU otherwise the game simply will noit run or you will experience issues, crashes, low FPS, and/or weird bugs.
  12. Now, with cheap computers, and yes less than £650-$750 is cheap in computer terms, or computers that are not designed with gaming as the main focus, manufacturers will substitute a powerful dedicated video card with Intel HD Graphics to save money and lower prices.
  13. Here's the thing - Intel HD Graphics is Not actually a video card, they're what's known as an Integrated GPU or iGPU for short.
  14. What this means is a small part of your PC or Laptops main processor (the CPU) is designed to work similar to a GPU when it needs to, it acts or pretends to be a GPU so manufacturers don't have to include an expensive dedicated video card. This is not good for gaming, because the CPU inside a PC is not designed to process or render a game's image like a GPU is, so it doesn't do the job of a GPU very well, not very well at all!
  15. As a result, Intel HD Graphics are extremely weak and low powered as they simply ain't designed like a proper GPU, plus to make things worse they also have a lot of issues due to buggy Intel drivers and Intel refusing to conform with industry GPU standards.
  17. In short, Intel HD Graphics are designed to give your PC just enough graphical horsepower to watch a movie, YouTube videos and sometimes to play a very basic non-demanding game like vanilla (non-modded) Minecraft or the sort of game you would find on Facebook. They simply are not designed for, nor do they have the power to run an extremely detailed, complex, and graphically demanding games or visual mods like shader-packs.
  19. ### Conclusion and TL;DR: ###
  20. Minecraft shader-packs like 'SEUS' and especially 'Continuum Ultra' have more realistic lighting effects than 99% of big budget triple-A games on the market, therefore they need nearly as much (sometimes more) graphical processing power to run them as it takes to run most big budget games like GTA5, Fallout 4, or The Witcher 3.
  21. If you want to play a modern highly detailed game or a game with visual mods like Minecraft with a shader-pack... you need to upgrade your current system or buy a new one, one that is specifically designed for high-end gaming as it includes a proper dedicated video/graphics card and not an iGPU (aka APU) as these simply are nowhere near powerful enough.
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