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May 2, 2013

Intel “Iris” HD 5000, Integrated Graphics Finally Become Powerful

Intel's integrated HD processors, included in the Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge central processing unit series, have always been the underdog on the graphics market, but times are changing.

That isn't to say that Chipzilla has finally invented a graphics core that can measure up to AMD's Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce series. For a while, probably forever, Intel's graphics accelerators will be a league or two below the discrete and even integrated chips from those two. Still, the Santa Clara, California-based chip giant is just about ready to impress the world with the “Iris” core. “Iris” is the name of the HD 5000 iGP included in the Haswell series of central processing units set for June 2013 release. It should be twice as fast in 3D as the HD 4000 from Ivy Bridge, in laptops, and up to three times as good in particularly energy-hungry CPUs (ergo, in desktops). That means double performance in the H-series mobile chips, which work on 47-55W of power, and triple in the R-series desktop parts (65-84W).

M-series laptop and K-series desktop CPUs will have Iris chips too, though they will be called Iris pro. The 15W U-series Ultrabooks chips will have HD 5000 graphics as well, but they won't be nearly as good, though still faster than HD 4000. That said, all Iris iGPs have DirectX 11.1 support, OpenGL 4 visual rendering capabilities, OpenCL 1.2 computing, even “enhanced” 4K output. What's more, triple-monitor/HDTV setups are possible, even in collage mode (one image spread across three screens).

All in all, Intel has definitely pushed things forward on the graphics side. The multi-display capabilities may even cut down on the need for designers and enterprise users to buy add-in boards just to have a multi-monitor support. NVIDIA and AMD won't be happy, but that's what competition is all about in the end.

Intel HD 5000 chart
Image credits to Intel


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