Intel promises 4K video support for Ivy Bridge

Details released by Intel as part of its technical presentation on Ivy Bridge suggest that its next-generation processors will be getting a major boost in the graphics department, with support for 4K resolution video.

Intel's Ivy Bridge chips - designed as the successor to the current-generation Sandy Bridge Core-i3, -i5, and -i7 products - have long been known to have powerful graphics capabilities, with support for the features of DirectX 11 missing from the current chips making an appearance alongside improved performance.

The support for 4K video announced at IDF, however, is new, and of potential interest to anyone who works in the field of high-quality displays. Put simply, the Multi-Format Codec Engine - or MFX, as Intel's somewhat confused initialisation would have it - will support the playback of multiple ultra-high-definition video streams at the impressive resolution of 4,096x2304.

That's significantly higher than the 1920x1080 resolution currently offered by 'Full HD,' and although it's going to be a while before we start getting consumer-level content at that sort of resolution - despite YouTube's promise of support for 4K content at VidCon 2010 - it's something which already sees use in digital cinema and commercial video-walls.

Slides from IDF spotted by the guys over at VR-Zone make the claim that MFC engine can scale beyond the usual 4,096x2,304 resolution to a square format known as 4Kx4K, several times more detailed than the current high-definition standards allow. The engine can even playback multiple 4K videos simultaneously, allowing systems with more than one graphics output to drive a wall of ultra-high-definition video.

With Intel's integrated graphics promising 4K support, times could be about to get hard for discrete graphics vendors like Matrox, AMD, and Nvidia, each of which has pro-grade product lines that are now under threat from the graphics technology due to come free with next year's CPUs.