There is a general trend in recent methods to use image regions (i.e. super-pixels) obtained in an unsupervised way to enhance the semantic image segmentation task. This paper proposes a detailed study on the role and the benefit of using these regions, at different steps of the segmentation process. For the purpose of this benchmark, we propose a simple system for semantic segmentation that uses a hierarchy of regions. A patch based system with similar settings is compared, which allows us to evaluate the contribution of each component of the system. Both systems are evaluated on the standard MSRC-21 dataset and obtain competitive results. We show that the proposed region based system can achieve good results without any complex regularization, while its patch based counterpart becomes competitive when using image prior and regularization methods. The latter benefit more from a CRF based regularization, yielding to state-of-the-art results with simple constraints based only on the leaf regions exploited in the pairwise potential.