Here is the Intel Iris-article

Here is the Intel Iris-article

We can say with a good margin of certainty that integrated graphics chips have never enjoyed the best reputation among developers, a situation that could be destined to change radically with the release of the fourth generation Intel Core processors, the so-called "Haswells". . The American company is so eager to push new graphics technology to the point that it has renamed its line of integrated GPUs such as Iris and Iris Pro.

At Intel, the stated goal is to match or even surpass with Iris PRO the Nvidia GT650M, a video card that combines two Kepler SMX GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This chip can currently be found in mid-range laptops, as well as Apple's MacBook Pro Retina, a pretty obvious reference to Intel's new chip name. To get an idea of ​​what an Intel quad-core chip can do in combination with a GT650M just check out our Retina MacBook Pro test to see how the likes of Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 run at 1600x900 at quality settings. acceptable, with a significant step forward compared to the consoles of the current generation. Achieving this level of performance isn't easy, especially when integrated graphics chips tend to work without dedicated RAM and can only access DDR3 system RAM, great for general computing, less suited to game performance.

It is indeed with the Iris Pro GPU that Intel is trying to solve the bandwidth problem by putting 128 MB of ultra-fast eDRAM alongside the GPU to provide the performance that the system RAM cannot. to produce. The Xbox 360 uses a similar technique but only has 10MB of eDRAM connected to the GPU, while the next generation Xbox will have 32MB to do the same (according to Microsoft's internal documentation). However, the eDRAM is not cheap to produce and in fact Intel has already made it known that only the high-end versions of the Haswell chip will be able to use it, especially the high-end mobile quad-core solutions. Other cheaper quad cores without eDRAM will still be available, and will in all likelihood show better performance than the regular Intel HD 4000, albeit not much higher.

"Iris' purpose is to undermine the dominance of AMD and Nvidia in the graphics chip market"

Reports suggest that Iris Pro has similar performance to Nvidia's GT650M graphics chip but in what do they translate into game terms? Here we see Nvidia's mobile GPU at work in the 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina and then the Alienware M14x. Both tests were carried out with the same 2.3 GHz quad-core processor from Intel at the resolution of 1600x900.

Watch on YouTube. The Iris Pro GPU really flexes its muscles in the desktop environment, where clock speeds are significantly higher and where there are more technical possibilities in the field of thermal dissipation. Comparing the 3770K with the new 4770R in 3DMark11, triple performance is seen compared to the HD 4000 with the current third generation Ivy Bridge Core GPUs, while the new 4770K is 1.8 times faster. So where is the difference in performance between the "K" series and the "R" series? Well, only the "R" series has the dedicated eDRAM, while the traditional "K" series processors use system RAM and this is the basis of the difference in performance between the two architectures.

The technical specifications suggest that the "R" series chips will not be available separately like traditional processors with dedicated socket mounting but will be soldered directly to the motherboard and it is uncertain whether enthusiasts will be able to buy them from all manufacturers or if the "R" chips "will only be offered to OEM manufacturers such as Dell or HP. Intel is betting, probably rightly, on the fact that enthusiasts will still focus on dedicated graphics cards and will not be interested in a purchase that will therefore be offered "standard" only to the mainstream market or for those who want a certain kind of performance on mobile devices. .

Intel's strategy seems to be clear: almost the entire market is practically in its hands thanks to 85% of processors installed between desktop and laptop CPUs. However, the data is not explanatory of the real situation, given that OEM manufacturers often combine Intel CPUs with AMD or Nvidia GPUs, simply because the 3D power has never been up to the situation in integrated solutions. With Iris and Iris Pro, Intel is trying to make this segment much more attractive to the general public by stealing market share from Nvidia / AMD by offering good three-dimensional computing power and significant savings in energy efficiency. In light of all this, Apple may no longer be forced to turn to Nvidia to update its next MacBook Retina: all the necessary power will come in a single solution directly from the Santa Clara processors.

"From HD 5000 up to Iris Pro, the fourth generation of Core processors offers a significant performance increase over the current Ivy Bridge "

This might seem strange considering that the technology present in today's ultrabooks has as a priority the reduction of consumption instead of performance: Intel therefore seems to have adapted to what the market demands, that is, greater three-dimensional computing power. The aim is to provide new options to manufacturers that combine Intel's CPUs and third-party graphics chips such as Acer, which has already achieved excellent results with its Ultra M3, an ultrabook equipped with a low-power Intel CPU paired with an Nvidia GT640M. . Haswell's ultrabooks could therefore easily outperform current-generation consoles but will likely end up being used in larger laptops with 14- or 15-inch screens like Acer's product.

The arrival of the Intel's next generation of integrated graphics chips should also offer advantages in other areas: it seems that the eDRAM of Haswell chips can also be used for functions other than three-dimensional computing, especially when there are no applications that do not use it, putting the cache to CPU arrangement. Calculation tasks or QuickSync video encoding could also benefit from the presence of these integrated graphics chips with or without eDRAM. In terms of pure power, we can expect a relatively modest increase in performance, in the order of 10-15%, to which should be added support for ultra-low-power stand-by along with significant improvements on the power consumption front and of battery life, essential features to make the Core architecture adaptable to mobile devices.

The fourth generation of Haswell cores will begin shipping in early June.

"The Iris Pro allows a significant increase in performance thanks to the RAM integrated into the processor. "

The site managed to obtain an exclusive image of the Haswell chip: the main processor is on the left while the 128 MB of eDRAM is on the right. Translation by Matteo “Elvin” Lorenzetti

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