Intel Iris & Iris Pro: Haswell IGP gets awesome

We’ve been hearing about Intel’s upcoming Haswell platform for quite sometime now and the most exciting thing that has been repeatedly told is that it’ll start a whole new era in terms of integrated graphics. Intel has finally spilled some solid details about the IGP on the Haswell. Prior to this, we only referred to the Haswell IGP as GT3 and GT3e but now Intel has branded it as Iris and Iris Pro, respectively. Intel is now serious about the graphics business; its not just a CPU company anymore.

The Iris branding is only given to the high-end integrated graphics solutions. The top-end GT3e graphics will now be known as Intel Iris Pro HD 5200 graphics, 28W GT3 parts will be known as Iris HD 5100. However, the lower end 15W GT3 parts, GT2 and GT1 will still be using the HD graphics moniker.

Intel Iris

Specialty of the Iris Pro (GT3e) is the 128MB of eDRAM. This will put it in competition against NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M. This is a pleasant change that the integrated graphics are now bring compared with mid-range dedicated graphics chips. Coming a little downwards in the product stack, the main difference between 28W GT3 (Iris 5100) and 15W GT3 (HD 5000) is the maximum GPU clock.

According to Intel, next-gen systems running Iris or Iris Pro graphics will offer up to 2-3x more performance as compared to the current generation processors. To back up these claims, Intel is using 3DMark 06, 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11.

Haswell ultrabooks will be getting the GT3 graphics, in both Iris 5100 and HD 5000 forms. The parts with HD 5000 graphics (15W Core i7-4650U) will be offering up to 50% more performance as compared to current gen high-end ultrabooks processors. The Iris 5100 will be in Core i7-4558U (28W TDP) and it’ll offer up to 2x graphics performance as compared to current processors.

The full-blown Iris Pro will be only limited to quad-core parts and it will offer as much as 2.5 times extra performance over its predecessors. These new Haswell processors will have slightly high TDP (45W vs. 47W) but the graphics performance increment is very huge.

Intel Iris Intel Iris

Coming to the desktop segment, as we reported earlier, Haswell product lineup will also include a few BGA (non-socketed) processors as well. These R-series SKUs will have the Iris Pro graphics offering up to 3 times extra performance over the Core i7-3770K IGP. Desktop Haswell processors without Iris Pro will also have a considerable advantage of up to 50% over the Ivy Bridge CPUs in terms of graphics performance.

Intel Iris

This is really the start of a new era for IGP graphics. Performance is not the only focus here. With integrated graphics offering as much performance as mid-end discrete graphics, the notebooks of today having such discrete graphics will be shifted to IGPs offering the same kind of performance but with much better power management which will ultimately increase the battery timings.


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