Intel HD Graphics cards have been designed to meet a range of users and laptops, depending on your needs. This review of the Intel HD Graphics 5500 card will show you what it’s capable of and what type of users would suit this system.
Processors and video graphic units have been Intel’s market niche for a long time and their success is due to the fact that they make each of them very well, and even better when combined. This review is going to look into the Intel HD Graphics 5500 to check out some of its specifications, targeted applications and where you might find them.
A video chipset or graphics card or graphics processing unit or GPU has a very important role when it comes to the visuals your computer offers. For gamers especially, knowing more about its capabilities can teach you a lot about the performance of a laptop.
The GPU generates data after receiving input to do, but getting it to generate a picture that will move in synch with sounds is much more complex. The GPU will essentially send data (from gaming software for instance) to a graphics processing unit (GPU) whose role it is to project that data as tiny specs of varying clusters, colors, shadings and numbers onto your computer screen.
From there, you brain will receive it as a whole image which can be of high quality or poor quality, depending on how good the grpahics are. The better the picture, the more you will enjoy a gaming experience and that is what drives companies like Intel and Nvidia towards continual improvement in their graphics cards.
The CPU in your computer instructs the GPU to make and move pictures and that is an important consideration when discussing graphics. Without the right GPU even the best GPU will be limited as to what it can produce.
Back in the day, when the Commodore 64 and its 64K of RAM and 1MHz GPU first brought color to our computer screens it was a very big deal indeed. This technology gave birth to the interest in the potential for using home computers for increasingly advanced gameplay.
Companies like Intel recognized an opportunity here and moved to start development of specialized GPU’s with laptops having discrete, specialized units to manage the video end of the process. These GPU’s are either contained as components of the computer’s motherboard or located separately within the computer.
The GPUs that are located separately from the motherboard are typically higher performance; this is in part because of the increased space they need, and partly because they are designed and manufactured specifically to be high functioning units targeting applications such as gaming and graphic design.
Overview of the Intel HD 5500 Graphics Processing Unit
The Intel HD Graphics 5500 is one of the aforementioned integrated GPUs and one of the leading units in terms of its general purpose capabilities. Released in 2015, it is found in the 5th generation series Core i5-5200U or i7-5600U, both of which have 24 EUs.
Intel developed the HD Graphics 5500 as an integrated GPU in its Broadwell range of hardware. The frequency of this GPU is somewhere between the 850MHz and 950 MHz range dependent upon the GPU it is working with.
The Broadwell Quick Sync Video video decoder hardware provides VP8 decoding and encoding backing. It is integrated within the GPU in the motherboard to provide VP9 and HEVC 10-bit decoding. With 2 independent bit stream decoders (BSD), it enables the use of one ring to process decoding and one ring to process encoding, simultaneously.
Broadwell was targeted at a range of computers such as laptops, miniature desktops, and the one-size-fits all system. What this meant was that there was nothing provided as a desktop model, but later in 2015 Intel eventually produced a number of Broadwell desktop chips.
Specifications And Features
Here are some of the basic specs and features you’ll find on the Intel Graphics HD 5500 computer card and what that means for its performance.
- Integrated unit;
- 24 unified shaders;
- 4/8 ROP/TMU;
- 300 – 900 core clock speed;
- Memory DDR3 dependent upon system (shared);
- 14-nanometer production technology;
The frequency of the Intel HD 5500 is clocked at around 950. As a comparison, at the top end of these products, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, hits 12400 and the AMD Radeon R7 M260 manages about 1750.
For those who know a little more about laptops and the graphics they operate with, here are some of the more in depth specs that the 5550 works with:
- 14nm with a die size of 82mm2 and 1300M with a BIOS version 1032 PC 14.34 09/21/2014 22:25:07;
- There are 4/8 ROP/TMU, 24 unified shaders, with a pixel fill rate of 1.2GPixel/s at a fill rate of 2.4G Texel/s;
- Has a DDR3 type memory running at a 64 bit bus width and band width of 12.8GB/s;
- GPU clock at 300MHz with memory running at 800MHz and the same for the default clock;
It is so important to have a basic understanding of these types of specifications as are more important than simply looking at the RAM of a GPU. As an example, when compared to the Intel HD5500 GPU with the Nvidia GT720, you’ll find that although the graphics memory specifications are pretty equal, there are some of the important factors you also need to compare:
Intel HD 5500
Nvidia GT 720M
24 shader units
96 shader units
The Broadwell range, which is fitted with integrated HD5500 chips, features larger L1 caches, a total of 24 EU’s organizes as 3 x 8 execution units meaning it’s not only faster but also more efficient than its precursor.
The new HD Graphics 5500 has a 25 percent performance advantage over the HD Graphics 4400 in part due to its dual-channel memory. When put up against even the entry level GeForce 820M, it doesn’t compete well at all with the GeForce outperforming it by about 25 percent.
Within the group of Broadwell GPUs, the HD Graphics 5500 is middle of the range. While it may be good at a lot of things, it is not particularly excellent at specific applications such as gaming and graphic design.
The measure of a gaming chip is in its capacity to play games , so these results can give you some indication of what it’s capable of. These reviews were done using an Acer Aspire E5 with the Intel Core i5-5200U chip and a specific video capture card, 4GB of RAM and the latest Intel HD graphics drivers installed.
The i5 was used because it is the middle of the range – i3 will give a slower experience, while the i7 will be noticeably quicker because of their respective GPU capabilities. A dual channel memory setup of 2 x 4GB was used rather than 1 x 8GB with the dual channel set up delivering a better result and game playing experience. Other considerations included a cooling system and the BIOS settings of the computer being used.
The old favorite Minecraft runs great on mostly high settings and achieves fps around 30. With the graphics set on fast, you should be able to achieve 40 frames per second. The League of Legends is fine on medium high setting with a resolution of 1080p 1920x1080. Set the quality at ‘high’, the shadows setting at ‘medium’ and turn off the ‘anti-aliasing’ for best results ,and you should get around 35 frames per second of reasonably smooth game playing.
What Titles You Can Play With The 5500
The HD 5500 is not a gaming chip so don’t expect that capability. But it will play a lot of current games pretty well and a lot of older release games very well. Based on the Intel Core i7-5600U processor with 4M cache and speed up to 3.2GHz with the HD 5500 here is a sample of the games can be played.
- MIRROR'S EDGE
- STALKER - Clear Sky
- CRYSIS 2
- EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2
- DEAD SPACE 3
- BATTLEFIELD 3
(1080p) Low: 25-30fps
(1080p) All on high: 10fps
STALKER - Clear Sky
(1080p) Maximum: 35-60fps
(1080p) Minimum: 55-60fps
(1080p) Medium: 9-15fps
(1080p) High: 12fps
(720p) High: 17fps
(1080p) Ultra: 5fps
EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2
(720p) Low: up to 58-59fps
(720p) Medium: 30fps
(1080p) Low: 30fps or up to 42fps
(1080p) Medium: 15-30fps
(1080p) High: 15fps
(1080p) Ultra: 10-12fps
DEAD SPACE 3
(1080p) Low: 25-40fps
(1080p) Medium: 15-17fps
(1080p) Low: 14fps
(720p) Low: 19-24fps
(1080p) Low: 28-32fps
(1080p) Medium: 12-13fps
(1080p) High: 6-8fps
(1080p) Ultra: 5-7fps
Others that should work with some tweaking and a minor loss in quality, include:
- Age of Empires - Definitive edition
- Alien Isolation
- Call to Arms
- Civilization 5
- Civilization: Beyond Earth
- Counter Strike: GO
- Diablo 3
- Dota 2
- Fifa 16
- Football Manager 2018
- Goat Punks
- Lost Sphere
- Neverwinter Nights
- Realm Royale
- Sims 4
- StarCraft 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Tomb Raider (2013)
- Ultimate Chicken Horse
- War Thunder resolution
- World of Tanks
With most of these titles, you will need to adjust the resolution, shadow settings, ripple effects, and texture quality, so factor that in. There may also be other demands this game puts on your computer so keep that in mind as well. If your computer is modern enough to be running the HD 5500 GPU then they should play on low resolution at least.
Notebooks With The Intel HD 5500 Graphics Processing Unit
These are just some of the laptops that are fitted with the Intel HD Graphics 5500 as standard. The quality of these is indicative of the high regard that most manufacturers hold for the Intel HD Graphics 5500:
- 13.3" Quad-HD IPS Touchscreen Display (3200 x 1800).
- Intel Core i7-4510U 2 GHz. NVIDIA GT840M 2GB VRAM.
- 256GB Solid State Storage. 12GB RAM
- Dual-Band 802.11 A/C. 8-Hour Battery life.
- 3x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x miniDisplayPort, Bluetooth 4.0, SDXC slot
- Intel HD 5500 GPU
- Windows 8.1 64-Bit
- Intel Core i5 i5-5200U (2.20 GHz)
- 8GB DDR3L Memory
- 128GB SSD
- Intel Core i7-5500U Processor (4M Cache, 2.4 GHz)
- 8 GB DDR3 RAM
- 256 GB Solid-State Drive
- 13.3 Inch QHD+ (3200x1800) Touch Screen
- Windows 8.1
- Intel HD 5500 GPU
- Windows 8.1 64-Bit
- Intel Core i7 5th Gen 5500U (2.40 GHz)
- 8 GB Memory
- 256 GB SSD
- Latest Generation 3 Lenovo Flagship Carbon X1 with Windows 10 Professional: legendary usability and uncompromising performance.
- 5th Gen Intel Core i5-5200U Processor (3M Cache, Up to 2.90 GHz) | 8GB DDR3 memory | 256GB Premium SSD storage
- Premium 14.0" FHD (1920x1080) Display. Anti-glare | Integrated (720p HD) webcam
- Windows 10 Professional | Intel 7265 AC 2x2 Premium Dual Band WiFi | Integrated Bluetooth 4.0 | Dolby Home Theatre v4 audio enhancement ; stereo speakers
- Fingerprint Reader | I/O Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, Headphone/Mic Combo, OneLink Dock port, HDMI, Mini DP, Ethernet extension connection
- Intel HD 5500 GPU
- Windows 8.1 65 bit
- Intel Core i7 5th Gen 5600U (2.60 GHz)
- 8 GB Memory
- 256 GB SSD
Software Updates For The Intel HD 550 GPU
As always, Intel’s customer support is excellent and they routinely develop and release software upgrades which are free and easily downloadable. Here are a few of the more recent upgrades that could help them to play games better:
Intel Graphics Driver For 4th And 5th generations Of Braswell
- “Intel Graphics Driver for Windows (15.40)”
- Version 18.104.22.16863
- Windows 10 (both 64 and 32 bit) and Windows 8.1 (32 bit)
Intel Graphics Driver For 4th And 5th Generations
- “Beta Intel Graphics Driver for Windows (10 and 7/8,1)”
- Version 22.214.171.12474
- Windows 10 (32 bit and 64 bit) and Windows 8.1 (32 bit)
Final Thoughts On The Intel Graphics 5500
The suitability of the Intel Graphics HD 5500 for gamers really depends on the use of your laptop. Will you be using it solely for gaming or as something to work and study with, then a bit of entertainment on the side?
Intel didn’t design the HD 5500 as a gaming chip but it was a consideration in its integration with the Broadwell range of GPUs. This GPU was marketed as an all-purpose chip that would meet the end needs of the business and student user that would also keep casual gamers happy.
Settling for a middle to low-end game playing GPU like the HD5500 might make sense in the short term, but soon it won’t be enough to play the more modern games. Depending on how you use your laptop mostly, this might not be the most suitable one in terms of gaming.