The Sims 4 Performance Analysis

Intel ‘Broadwell’ Products

Finally launched in late 2014 after long delays, in the form of the low power Core M range of products, with the 15W TDP parts are beginning to make their way in to Ultrabooks having launched at CES in January 2015. Early Broadwell-U products are the HD 5500 ‘GT2’ form with ‘GT3’ based 15W HD 6000 and 28W Iris 6100 parts set to follow not long after. Higher performance and power consumption laptop parts with 35-45W TDP HD 5600 graphics solutions and 47W+ Iris Pro 6200 chips with the L4 eDRAM are expected later in the year.

Broadwell is Intels latest micro-architecture and is built upon their 14nm manufacturing process. While the CPU cores have changed little compared to the previous generation Haswell chips the graphics core has seen some fairly substantial revisions and is now known as Gen 8.

The number of Execution Units per sub-slice has been reduced to 8, but to compensate the number of sub-slices has been increased by 50% in each configuration to compensate. Overall this means the equivalent parts have a 20% increase in Execution Units vs. their Haswell counterparts and a 50% increase in other units such as ROPS. ‘GT2’ arrangements, as found in HD 5300, 5500 and 5600, therefore have 24 EUs, whilst ‘GT3’ arrangements such as HD 6000, Iris 6100 and Iris 6200 should have 48 EUs when they appear on the market later in the year.

Intel HD 5300 Graphics

Found in Core M based products Intel HD 5300 graphics performance is heavily dependent on a couple of factors – the CPU usage of the game and the design of the device it is in.

As standard the TDP of Core M products is a tiny 4.5W, the same as a Bay Trail based Atom, allowing it to be fitted to fanless designs such as tablets which were not possible with Haswell-Y designs.

This power limit is shared between the CPU, GPU, cache, memory controller and chipset, and is balanced in real-time as it is with all the other Intel products in this article, but with such potentially high performance CPU cores being squeezed in to such a tight thermal envelope the Core M performs best when only one part of it is being stressed.

If both the CPU and GPU are under-load simultaneously then in our testing we’ve seen performance suffer significantly – potentially even to Bay Trail levels of performance despite a more efficient process and a significantly larger GPU.

To complicate matters this TDP limit can be lowered to just 3W – reducing performance

Fortunately in the case of our test system, running a Core M 5Y70 at 4.5W, it seems that The Sims 4 does not overly tax the CPU, and it did quite respectably, delivering comparable performance to the previous generation HD 4400 at 1366×768 and Medium Detail settings whilst consuming considerably less power.

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Intel HD 5500 Graphics

Intel’s HD 5500 graphics is found in their latest Broadwell-U based products and features the basic silicon as the Core M and HD 5300, but a far more generous 15W power envelope, allowing it to make far better use of the Gen 8 graphics architecture.

For our testing we opted for an Acer Aspire E5-571 – certainly not the most exciting of the Broadwell designs set to come to the market, but the first one we could find in the UK at a reasonable price.

Performance in The Sims 4 on HD 5500 is a useful step up over HD 4400 and HD 5300, with good playable frame rates at 1366×768 and High Detail. 1920×1080, Medium Detail also gave playable results.

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Intel HD 5600, 6000, Iris 6100 and Iris Pro 6200

Obviously at this stage we can’t test these particular solutions as they are yet to make it to market, but we’d hazard a guess that based on our experience with their Haswell based equivalents that HD 6000 will offer similar performance to what we’ve already seen with HD 5500, whilst HD 5600 and Iris 6100 will offer a modest step up in performance to the point where 1920×1080 may be playable at High Detail. Iris Pro 6200 should be a further step up over these and could potentially reach a solid 60fps at this kind of resolution and detail setting.

We hope you’ve found this article interesting – please get in touch or comment below with what kind of articles you’d like to see from us in the future.

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