Intel's Iris Technology Will Get You Excited About Integrated Graphics

Paul Lilly

Select Haswell parts will feature Intel's supercharged Iris graphics.

Nobody brags about integrated graphics, and that's because there's not much there worthy of boast. That's fine, but if manufactures insist on pushing thin and light platforms on the masses and shrinking the desktop, then is it too much to ask for an integrated graphics solution that either (A) doesn't suck, or (B) is better than just serviceable? Intel doesn't think so, and its Iris graphics might be just what the market needs.

Intel Iris graphics will be available on select SKUs of the chip maker's 4th Generation Core processor line (Haswell) and will offer up to 2X the 3D performance of today's fastest mobile Intel HD Graphics solutions, the company claims.

If you frequently visit Maximum PC, you may have caught a glimpse of Iris before. It's the official name for GT3/GT3e, which we previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, and when we asked readers to guess which of the two side-by-side systems was running Iris and which was running a GeForce GT 650M, the responses were fairly split.

Performance aside, Iris supports three-screen collage display, enhanced 4K x 2K resolution, OpenCL 1.2, and a few other goodies. It also delivers faster video and photo editing, and offers support for Intel's Quick Sync Video technology.

Let's not kid though, it IS the performance we're most interested in, and according to Intel, Iris will have advanced integrated 3D performance in 3DMark06 by 75X since 2006. Pretty incredible. Furthermore, Intel says if consumers were to upgrade a four-year old notebook with a Core 2 Duo processor to a new Ultrabook with Iris inside (Core i5 4200U), they would experience a 25X faster graphics performance in games and 17X faster video conversions.

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