Things to Play on the Integrated Intel GPU

A huge number of office PCs or low-cost laptops have integrated graphics such as Intel UHD Graphics 630 . It is not considered a game solution, but sometimes there is no way to play something more powerful. Let’s see which discrete graphics card it can be compared to, and which popular games can be played on it with an Intel Core i3-10100 processor .

Usually, reviews of integrated graphics look like this: the author launches several new games that come with a frame rate of 5-15 frames in 720p resolution and in the end concludes that it is unsuitable for new games. Agree, there is little practical benefit from such reviews.
The other extreme is to run games from the early 2000s that can easily run over 100 FPS on integrated graphics.

Therefore, let’s select such popular and high-quality games that are played on the UHD Graphics 630 on the verge of comfort, in order to find the limit of its performance in games. You can take advantage of this list of games if you sit for a long time between two game video cards on the integrated graphics. Or on an office PC or a low-cost laptop, where UHD Graphics is the maximum you can count on.

You can estimate the number of players using the built-in UHD Graphics using Steam statistics .

Here we see an interesting picture: integrated solutions from Intel overtake such popular video cards as Radeon RX 480 or GeForce GTX 950 in quantity . The reason for this popularity is that office PCs and inexpensive laptops are often used for games. And a standard office PC is a Core i3 processor with integrated graphics.

Our test configuration:

Processor: Intel Core i3-10100
Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Motherboard: ASROCK H410M-HDV
RAM: CRUCIAL Ballistix BL2K8G30C15U4W , two 8GB SSD modules
: WD Blue WDS100T2B0A

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Operating system: Windows 10 May 2020 Update
Graphics driver: Intel graphics driver Video
monitoring and recording: MSI Afterburner 4.6.2

What discrete graphics card is UHD Graphics 630 equal to?
Before we start testing games, I would like to understand what discrete graphics card can be compared to UHD Graphics 630 ? This will make it much easier for you to choose games, because it will become intuitively clear which games are not even worth trying to run on your embedded graphics.

The most convenient way to position integrated graphics is to compare them with discrete graphics cards in a popular benchmark like 3DMark . Moreover, the latest versions of 3DMark should not be chased because of its too low performance.

I prefer to use 3DMark 11 even now, 9 years after its release. After all, it can show the performance of a huge number of video cards – from Radeon HD 5770 to Radeon RX 5700 XT . My PC scored 11 2112 in 3DMark in Performance mode.

This roughly corresponds to the performance of the GeForce GTS 450 video card , which was popular 10 years ago, but was already a budget solution then.

As you can see, you should not expect performance miracles from UHD Graphics 630 , as well as run something like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Horizon Zero Dawn on it .

Memory subsystem
The memory subsystem is very important in a PC with integrated graphics, because RAM is now used not only by processor cores, but also by the graphics core. Ideally, the memory should be overclocked as much as possible, but what if your motherboard is based on the H410 or B460 chipset and does not support memory overclocking? Fortunately, we can underestimate the timings even on such budget motherboards, and this is definitely worth doing.

But before embarking on this difficult exercise, it is important to understand the memory settings by reading a few guides . And he will learn how to reset the BIOS, because often too low timings settings will prevent the PC from booting.

The Core i3-10100 only supports memory up to 2666 MHz, and the ASROCK H410M-HDV test motherboard set very inflated timings of for CRUCIAL Ballistix BL2K8G30C15U4W modules .

I managed to downgrade them to . This will give an increase in processor performance.

Drivers and monitoring
If you are using a PC with integrated graphics for games, try to use the latest drivers, as the manufacturer often improves performance in them.

FPS (frames per second) in games was monitored using MSI Afterburner 4.6.2 . I did not display graphics or average indicators, 1% and 0.1% low FPS in the monitoring, so as not to overload an already weak system.

The nuances of tests and the choice of games
All tests were carried out at 1920×1080 and mostly at the lowest graphics settings. The video was recorded using MSI Afterburner 4.6.2 , which is quite resource-intensive. The video was recorded at 45 frames per second.

On average, about 7 FPS was lost during recording, which is quite critical if the game produces about 30 frames. Therefore, in reality, the picture is slightly better than in the video. And remember that you still have the option to lower the resolution to improve performance, for example to 1600×900 or 1366×768.

I would also like to note a sharp drop in UHD Graphics 630 performance when moving from the minimum graphics settings to the medium ones. This is especially noticeable in the game World of Tanks .

On the “Low” settings, the game produces about 100 FPS, and on “Medium” – only 25-35 FPS.
Shadows and special effects strain a weak video chip and memory with a small bandwidth, which is shared by the CPU and GPU. The video shows the settings of the games, to see them in more detail – pause the video.

For the tests, I selected several popular online games, as well as strategies of recent years that can be played for a very long time. I didn’t forget a few cult shooters and RPGs, which you can replay with interest again.

Now let’s get down to the tests.

World of Tanks
The most popular tank simulator has flexible graphics settings and at the “Low” level goes well with UHD Graphics 630 , producing about 80-100 FPS. And these are not the most minimal settings, they can be lowered one more level. The picture looks outdated at these settings, but it is very comfortable to play.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
In the popular team shooter CS: GO, the frame rate is kept in the range of 30-50 at the lowest graphics settings when playing with bots. For an effective game, of course, it is not enough, but it is quite possible to play.

Fortnite: Battle Royale
In Fortnite , a battle royale game, with minimum graphics settings and a render resolution of 70%, the frame rate does not drop below 40. This is quite playable, since the game does not require such flawlessly accurate shooting as CS: GO .

Dota 2
In Dota 2 , a game in the genre of MOBA (the multiplayer online battle arena), plays a huge amount of people. When playing with bots, FPS is kept within 65-100 and it is very comfortable to play.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
But in strategies, especially turn-based ones, the frame rate is no longer so important. Therefore, the sixth “Civilization” can be played with 30-40 FPS. No discomfort – UHD Graphics 630 has coped with this rather demanding strategy.

Crusader Kings 3
Crusader Kings 3 – a global strategy released in 2020, is quite playable on integrated graphics. FPS is kept in the range of 30-40, which is quite enough.

The RTS strategy about the survival of the Viking clans in harsh conditions goes well on UHD Graphics 630 , giving out 40-60 FPS. Interestingly, the minimum system requirements for this game indicate the GeForce GTS 450 , to which we equated our integrated graphics.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
The re-release of the famous Age of Empires II with improved graphics is very comfortable to play at 50-60 FPS. And the difference in the picture in this game between the minimum and maximum graphics settings is very small.

Cossacks 3
But Cossacks 3 are not well-optimized. At the minimum settings, the game looks like a guest from the early 2000s, and the FPS is kept within 35-45. But you can play.

Metro 2033
This post-apocalyptic survival shooter was released in 2010, but comes with UHD Graphics 630 to the brink of playability. FPS is kept around 30, although the picture is not impressive today. I tried to add its continuation to the tests – Metro: Last light , but there the FPS was already quite low and kept within 15-20.

At one time, I ran Metro 2033 on a GeForce GTS 250 video card and was quite pleased with the performance, but it should be borne in mind that then the most common monitor resolution was 1280×1024, and the modern 1920×1080 is almost 30% higher. The difference in performance at such resolutions will be about 30%. This should be taken into account when selecting games for integrated graphics.

Mafia II
One of the best open world gangster shooter games comes with 30-45 FPS. It is quite playable, but there are already small problems with accurate shooting.

Portal 2
But Portal 2 puzzle game, is just wonderful. Valve games have always had good optimization, and you can beat this hit with 50-70 FPS on medium-high settings.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition
One of the very best RPG games plays great at 40-60 FPS on low settings. But when installing the game, you need to take into account one nuance – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now available in two editions. Legendary Edition , the original game with standard system requirements, and Special Edition , later released with improved graphics and higher system requirements. The immersion in the world of the game is not greatly affected by the graphics settings, and as soon as you reach Riverwood, you stop paying attention to textures and shaders, and completely immerse yourself in the world of the game.

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a farmer’s life simulator, which, despite very modest system requirements, received prizes and awards from gaming media and popularity among players in 2016.
In such indie games, the integrated graphics do not have any problems, and they can captivate you for a very, very long time.

This list of games can be continued for a very, very long time. Most pre-2010 games will run fine on UHD Graphics 630 , with the exception of Crysis , perhaps . Crysis put the most powerful PCs on its blades in 2007 and even now looks modern.

But do not forget that you can lower the resolution, getting 20-30% of the performance, and go through that too. And a very large number of simple indie games of recent years, like Stardew Valley , will also be quite playable.

As you can see, integrated graphics are not a reason to give up games. And even on an inexpensive laptop or office PC, you can play many great popular games, including even modern multiplayer games.