3D gaming on Intel® Processor Graphics

Some of the older generation Intel Processor Graphics solutions were targeted at business computers and home consumers who don’t need high level of graphics capabilities on their machines. Most of the 3D games available in the market today demand a high level of graphic capabilities, making them unplayable on older generation processor graphics solutions. Because more and more business users and home users started playing 3D-games on their home and office PCs, the requirement for greater graphics capabilities on these PCs also increased. Intel continues its commitment to improve the graphics capabilities of its Processor Graphics solutions.

As an end user you need not spend hundreds of dollars to buy a high end video card to play 3D games on your computers. You can get a very decent game play experience using the Processor Graphics offerings from Intel. We have now reached a stage where most of the popular 3D games play with decent frame rates on Intel® GMA. For example, consider the games listed below:

  • Age of Empires 3: War Chiefs Expansion* (Ensemble/Microsoft), 27 FPS
  • F.E.A.R * (Vivendi), 47 FPS
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online* (Turbine/Atari), 54 FPS
  • Star Wars: Empire at War* (Lucas Arts), 32 FPS
  • World of Warcraft* (Blizzard/Vivendi), 29 FPS

A complete list of games compatible with Intel Processor Graphics solution is available at the following URL:

Although for an ultimate gaming experience in demanding gaming environments, you might still need a high end graphics card, it is possible to achieve a playable experience of these games on machines with Intel Processor Graphics solutions.

The other important factor to consider is Intel's market share in the graphics space. Those in the gaming industry may be of the opinion that Intel's graphics market share is quite low. That’s not true any more. Intel has got close to 50% of the Overall graphics market share, which is clearly evident from the graph below.

Source: IDC, Mercury Research PC Graphics Report, John Peddie

With the advent of Intel® GMA X3000 (which was the GPU for the G965 chipset), the hardware capabilities increased multifold making room for playing 3D games on the Processor Graphics offerings. The drivers for this hardware added more features thus giving an acceptable experience for users who wanted to try out 3D games on Intel Processor Graphics solutions.

Intel® GMA X3000 is the first generation of Intel Processor Graphics solution to have the ability to do hardware vertex processing for Shader Model 3.0. Additionally, while previous hardware provided only a subset of DirectX 9.0 features and OpenGL 1.4 compliance, GMA X3000’s improved feature set includes a full DirectX9.0C/Ex feature set as well as OpenGL 2.0. The core frequency increased to 667 MHz and the maximum available memory for the graphics system increased from 224MB to 384MB. All these features enable more textures, larger vertex buffers, and larger models to be stored. Finally, the peak memory bandwidth for the desktop version of Intel Processor Graphics solution increased by 20% from the previous generation to a peak of 12.8 GB/s. GMA X3000 graphics supports both Windows* XP* as well as Windows* Vista* operating systems.

Now that the graphics capabilities have improved multifold from X3000 onwards, Intel wanted to help game developers utilize these features/capabilities in the games that they develop. Intel has been working with the gaming industry to proactively enable games on Processor Graphics solutions. Most of the highly rated games are optimized for Intel graphics and Intel is continuously working to improve the game play of the current and future games that would be available to consumers.

In India, Intel has been working with leading game companies to optimize their games for Intel Processor Graphics solutions and some of the games are ready to be released as early as January of 2009. As a game developer, if you are interested in optimizing your game for processor graphics, you can get in touch with Intel representatives through the Intel Software Partner program. For more details, please use the following hyperlink:

As a part of this program, partners can get access to alpha and beta graphics drivers, file bugs for the existing drivers, and avail many other benefits. All of this can be done through the Intel validation Internet portal, if you have all the required legal documents. For more information on how to develop games that play well on Intel Processor Graphics, please follow the following URL: /en-us/visual-computing

More references on Intel Processor Graphics, the developers guide, and so on are available at the following websites:


For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.