You will not find the most efficient graphics card in a PC

And not on a Mac either. One of the most damaging myths in the world of laptops is to think that the Graphic card It only matters if we are talking about a gaming system. However, integrated graphics can be used for more than just displaying pretty graphics and can actually speed up the performance of certain applications, which is crucial on desktop systems. low consumption.

When we talk about efficiency, we are not referring to the raw power, but to the performance per watt that a particular piece of hardware produces, either through a benchmark or by comparing the performance of an application. Well, one of the things that GPUs integrated into mobile chips have in common is that they are much more efficient than those used by Intel and AMD. The reason? They use the Tile Rendering which is a much more efficient type of GPU in low-power, low-bandwidth environments.

Integrated GPUs for PCs have been left behind

Many laptops have highly integrated components, which means that the graphics card is on the same chip as the processor. In addition to the fact that they share the same physical memory pool, it is a configuration that we can find in other embedded systems such as mobile phones. Well, in the case of the so-called iGPU Intel has never stood out above average in performance, but on the other hand AMD has, in this they beat their rival by a landslide.

iGPU Intel AMD Integrated Graphics

However, not everything is good and positive, mainly due to the fact that taking a gaming architecture, designed to work with hundreds of watts of power, and scaling it down is not exactly the paradigm of energy efficiency. Those of Lisa Su reign alone in said market due to a total lack of competition, but in low consumption they pale in performance per watt before the graphic architectures of the latest mobile chips.

One of the big mistakes, from our point of view, is that not all CPUs are sold with integrated graphics, since if so, certain algorithms could be moved from the processor to the graphics and speed up applications. This is something that has been done on mobile phones for quite some time with quite significant energy efficiency results.

What is the most efficient integrated graphics of the moment?

Let’s not miss the truth: when we talk about the energy efficiency of the GPU, Apple and Qualcomm chips far outperform their Intel and AMD counterparts, this being one of the pending subjects in the world of x86 compatible. For this reason, there should be changes in the coming years due to the market trend to sell thinner and less consuming laptops.

Apple Qualcomm Intel AMD

For this we have decided to measure the amount of TFLOPS per watt of different architectures:

  • The GPU inside the Apple M2 chip achieves 3.6 TFLOPS of computing power under an average consumption of 22.6 W for the entire chip, which is 0.16 TFLOPS per watt of consumption.
  • If we go to the PC, we have that the RX 680M of the Ryzen 7 6800U reaches 3.38 TFLOPS with a consumption of 15 W, which represents 0.22 TFLOPS per watt of consumption. However, this does not scale for the 28 W version of the chip in terms of raw performance and in that case the efficiency drops to 0.12 TFLOPS/W.
  • Finally, we have the most efficient graphics processor of the moment, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that achieves 2,138 TFLOPS with a consumption of 7.5 W, which allows it to reach 0.285 TFLOPS/W.

For this reason, the most efficient graphics card at the moment cannot be found in a PC, although it is clear that this does not mean that it is the most powerful, but it does mean that there is still a lot of work to be done in very low consumption computers, in which although They are not used to play, but their graphics processor is used to speed up certain functions of many common applications and, therefore, an evolution in this direction is necessary.

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