Choosing a laptop for gaming comes down to many factors, but none are as important as the graphics one offers. Integrated graphics solutions like the Intel HD Graphics 630 aren’t always regarded as the best, but we’re here to find out is this one can break the mold and stand out from the rest.
Those who are serious about gaming tend to steer clear of integrated graphics because they usually don’t have the power that external chips can offer. Therefore, laptops with these graphics as standard are often overlooked and considered just as business devices or those only capable of limited tasks.
Intel is one of the leaders when it comes to making these graphics processors and merging them with their CPUs. The Intel HD Graphics 630 is one of the newer models of graphics available and one that might start to change some people’s minds about what integrated graphics can offer.
This review is going to look into what the 630 can deliver and when it’s used with a powerful system just what it’s capable of. We’ll investigate its top features as well as review its gaming performance, and finally see what laptops have this graphics card already installed.
Overview Of The Intel HD Graphics 630
In terms of processors, the Intel HD Graphics 630 is still relatively new on the market. We first saw these GPUs available in early 2017 in a range of desktop and laptop devices. As an integrated graphics card, people often shy away from choosing laptops with this built-in if they want them for gaming because traditionally they just couldn’t perform.
Intel has been trying to change this though and with each new release, they managed to build a more powerful and capable one. Depending on the system they’re used with and what capabilities it has, the only limit that these graphics will face is themselves. However, for now, because they have a lack of eDRAM cache or memory, they must use the main memory to function.
These graphics cards are part of the Kaby-Lake quad-core generation of processors which are also relatively new, including the S and H models. When compared to the previous Intel HD Graphics 530, this one runs fairly similarly, although with a few more capabilities.
The Intel HD Graphics 630 is quite similar to its predecessor, the 530, but it does have its own list of notable features to review. The new and revised Kaby Lake chips are pretty capable of handling most tasks that an end user would have, thanks to these features and more:
- Supports H.265/HEVC Main 10;
- HDCP 2.2 supported in all chips;
- Capable of watching 4K videos;
- Supports HDMI 2.0;
- Comes in varying TDP class notebooks from 35 – 91 W;
- Improved 14nm+ process;
- Mid-range power consumption
How It Performs On All Fronts
The performance of a graphics card can be hard to tell as there are many other factors that come into play. There are other things to consider like the maximum clock rate of the laptop or desktop, and the L3 cache, just to name a few.
These graphics chips were designed for most entry-level computers that are capable of both home and office use. They’re great for documents and processing, as well as media usage including watching HD movies, editing photos, or streaming videos on the internet.
When you try to use one of these graphics chips for gaming, you start to encounter some issues. While they’re certainly an upgrade on older integrated graphics units they still have a way to go before they can compete with chips like Nvidia’s latest and greatest. However, for low demand gaming and those who like to play casually now and then, they’re more than sufficient.
To get the best use out of your notebook or desktop PC that has the 630, stick to the more basic tasks. Most of these devices have been designed as work companions and for occasional home use so that’s where they perform the best.
Best Laptops With The Intel HD Graphics 630 Included
To get a better idea of what the 630 is capable of, we need to see it in its natural environment. Since being released in early 2016, this card has only been featured in a handful of laptops on the market. Here are some of the more popular choices and what they offer in terms of gaming performance and other features.
- Display: 15.6" Full HD, eDP Vivid Color 1920x1080 | Operating System: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-7300HQ (2.5-3.1GHz)
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA's GTX 1050 2G GDDR5
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400MHz | Hard Drive: 1TB (7200RPM)
- Special features: Cooler Boost 4 | Steel Series Keyboard | Nahimic Audio Enhance
MSI is a popular brand among gamers but not all of their laptops are built as high performers. This particular MSI model has a 15.6-inch screen which is great for watching movies and entry-level gaming, but not so much when you want to carry around something portable and lightweight.
With its integrated GPU being the 630 and an Intel Core i7 processor, it’s pretty capable of meeting most of your needs. When you want to take things up a notch and play some of your favorite games, you may be in luck because this laptop uses a graphics switch. This means when there’s no need for power, it relies on the GPU and when more is needed it has a GeForce 1050 graphics card to help you out.
MSI makes all of their laptops with gamers in mind and they don’t discriminate with price either. As one of the more affordable entry-level laptops they have and enough power to game virtually any way you want, this is a great choice.
- Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.80GHz)
- 14.0" FHD(1920x1080) IPS Anti-Glare Display, No touch, WLAN, WWAN, Paint | 720p HD Camera
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz SODIMM | 500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm, 2.5", SATA3
- NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB GDRR5 | Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1
- Windows 10 Pro 64 English | Keyboard Backlit - English | Fingerprint Reader | ThinkPad ThinkPad Battery 3 cell Li-Ion (23.2Whr) Rear
The Lenovo ThinkPad T470 is considered a mainstream business laptop but rarely seen as gaming capable. All of its features point to business use like a seriously long battery life and a huge array of ports and connectivity options.
For the gamer, you’ll get a base model with the Intel HD Graphics 630 but the option to upgrade to Nvidia graphics if you want something more serious. The base model also starts with a quad-core i5 processor but you can upgrade that to an i7 if you wish.
These upgrades mean you can customize the T470 from more than just a business laptop into a serious gaming machine. Cost wise it’s about mid range when you add all of the extras and it’s got a pleasantly sized 14-inch screen that means you won’t miss a second of the action. It’s lightweight, portable, and powerful, making it a great choice for gamers and office workers alike.
- Intel Core i5-7200U (3MB Cache, 2.5GHz u p to 3.1GHz Turbo Boost)
- Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB-2400MHz DDR4, 500GB 7200RPM HDD
- 14-inch Non-Touch (1366x768) LCD, 720P HD Webcam with Microphone
- Intel 8265 Dual-Band AC Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1, HDMI, VGA, USB Type-C Display Port
- 68WHR 4-Cell Battery up to 13 Hours, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Dell definitely knows how to make computers, and in that regard, they know how to charge for them as well. The Dell Latitude 14 5480 might come with Intel HD Graphics 630 and Core i3 processor, but that’s just the entry-level model that no respectable gamer would touch with a ten-foot pole.
It might sound cheap at first for around $700, but add on all of the extras and you’re looking to spend around $2,000 instead. For this price, you could easily get a dedicated gaming machine and not one that was actually designed to be a business workhorse.
The base model 1366 x 768 screen and 4 GB of RAM are pretty basic, but not if you’re using it just for work. Running Windows 10 and featuring things like fingerprint scanner face recognition webcam, Dell has really tried to be futuristic here and it worked.
- 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD
- HDD upgrade kit available (2.5" bracket with SATA and power cable). Contact Acer support for your complimentary kit.
This is a serious contender for one of the best gaming laptops that Acer has ever made and is part of their popular VX5 series. Although it features the seemingly measly Intel HD Graphics 630 it’s also accompanied by a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip which picks up and takes over when the other one fails.
Running with an Intel Core i-7 processor also doesn’t hurt, and the power and graphics this laptop offers prove that it’s wasted on business users. You’ll get Bluetooth 4.1, backlit keyboard, and a massive 15.6-inch screen to enjoy the action on, highlighting again just how perfect this machine is for gamers.
A little on the expensive side, that’s to be expected for something this powerful. The Acer Aspire VX5 series is known for being innovative and durable, and this one especially is more than capable of high-end gaming performance on the very best settings possible.
When Lenovo released the M910z All-in-One desktop computer people were confused. This took hybrids to a whole new level and seemed more like a laptop than a desktop, which might be what they were trying to do anyway.
This device is a business machine and it’s not really made at all for fun. That means people wondering if it could handle gaming should probably move along unless you’re prepared to play some really old titles or enjoy your newer games on seriously sad settings. Either way, using this for entertainment isn’t going to cut it.
Featuring a Core i5-7500 quad-core processor, 512 GB NVMe SSD, and humungous 23.8 inch IPS anti-glare screen, this is one to keep in the office. It’s not portable and they don’t want you to assume otherwise. Although it features the 530 graphics, you’ll probably only ever put them to use in a PowerPoint presentation.
- Browse confidently, keep visual hackers in the dark, and monitor and restore in memory BIOS automatically with a cutting-edge suite of security features.
- Push your pace with the power of up to 18-hours of battery life and a quad-core Intel Core processor (H-Series).
- Your long-distance teamwork is easy with this ultrathin conferencing powerhouse.
- Max Memory: 8 GB
Another business notebook from HP is the slimline HP Elitebook 1040. However, using a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and the very handy Intel HD graphics 630, it seems that there’s more to this than meets the eye.
This isn’t a convertible like others in the range but if you’re looking at it in terms of gaming you likely won’t mind. With a 14 inch screen, it’s got plenty of space without being bulky like its predecessors were. The 1040 is actually one of the smallest devices they’ve ever made to use this powerful processor and graphics card.
The weight of the 1040 starts at just under 3lbs, with more being added for the extra features you request. With 16 GB of RAM and plenty of features like 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, LED-backlit screen with touch capabilities, and 100% sRGB, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most expensive on our list.
What The Intel HD Graphics 630 Can Tell Us About Integrated Graphics
Looking back over the graphics units that Intel has created for their laptops and desktops and it’s clear that they are improving. The main goal of these integrated systems is that there’ll be no need for other graphics chips and cards, and the laptop would have everything that a user needed.
In the past, this goal seems to be way out of reach but looking at the 630 and other new chips it seems it’s becoming more of a reality. Intel is dedicated to improving things with every new model and also improving the systems they’re housed in, so there should come a day when integrated graphics aren’t as frowned upon as they are now.
The Final Say On The 630
While it’s certainly clear that Intel has been making improvements in their graphics cards over time, it’s not quite at the point where it could completely replace leaders like Radeon and Nvidia. However, the Intel HD Graphics 630 does an adequate job of most things a computer user would need, like watching movies or streaming videos online.
The 630 isn’t exactly built for gaming but depending on the other factors at play and what laptop it’s used in, it might be just enough. If you’re a casual gamer or prefer your games with a retro feel, the 630 should be more than capable of powering up and offering a smooth gameplay.
Within just a few years, there’s no doubt that Intel will have developed a graphics card that’s integrated but powerful. For now, those who are serious gamers will need to look at the experts when it comes to graphics and gaming visuals unless they’re prepared to sacrifice somewhat in terms of quality.