Intel’s fourth-gen Core processor series – codenamed “Haswell” – is set to launch in the very near-future, but despite that, we’ve been left mostly in the dark up to this point regarding its IGP. Well, as of today, that’s no longer the case, as the company has officially announced its next graphics solution as Intel “Iris”.
Iris is going to be the front-facing name for Intel’s top-end IGPs; behind the name is the “Iris Pro graphics 5200” and “Intel Iris graphics 5100”. There’s also an “Intel HD graphics 5000” solution that does not carry the Iris name. The 5100 is spec’d at 28W, while the 5000 will be the low-power solution, at 15W.
With Iris, Intel is claiming up to a 2x increase in performance over the previous-generation, as measured through Futuremark’s 3DMark 11. While real-world gaming performance is not mentioned, a gain like this is impressive no matter how you look at it, and for those who stick with IGPs as their primary solution, it’s a gain that’s going to be much-appreciated.
Of course, Iris brings more to the table than just performance. There’s the performance:form-factor ratio that comes into play. Intel’s goal is to offer the best-possible graphics performance in as small a package as possible. Those on desktops are likely to have discrete graphics if they take gaming seriously, but those interested in Ultrabooks, premium notebooks or all-in-one PCs (such as Intel’s NUC), have limited options.
As snagged straight from an article published by Intel’s NA PR guru Dan Snyder, you can expect these increases with Iris:
2X 3D performance increase over Intel HD Graphics for the high performing U-series processors designed specifically for Ultrabooks, with Intel Iris graphics.
2X 3D performance increase for Mobile H-series processors (designed for more robust notebook PCs) compared to Intel HD Graphics with Intel Iris Pro graphics and High Speed Memory (eDRAM)
3X 3D performance increase for desktop R-series processors with Intel Iris Pro graphics and High Speed Memory (eDRAM)
The feature-set we’d expect to see with Iris has made a return from the previous-generation. You can expect support for DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.1, OpenCL, MJPEG acceleration, 4K resolutions, a collage display mode and of course, Quick Sync technology.
For an interesting comparison, the same article talks about the gains we’ve experienced in the past four generations. Between a four-year-old Intel Core 2 Duo-equipped notebook and a fourth-gen Ultrabook, the latter is almost half as thin and half the weight, offers 17x faster video conversion and 25x faster graphics performance. That last one is a bit striking, isn’t it?