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Intel unveils next-gen 'Iris' integrated graphics

Intel has announced a new generation of integrated graphics products called Iris, which will begin appearing in UltraBooks, mainstream notebooks, and all-in-one PCs later this year.

Iris will be incorporated in certain fourth-generation Intel Core chipsets, code named Haswell, and provides "up to a 2X 3D performance improvement over today's fastest mobile Intel HD Graphics solutions," according to the chip giant.

"The performance improvements will amaze even the hardcore computer geek," Intel said in a blog post.

Among the improvements over current-generation Intel integrated graphics solutions Iris provides, Intel is touting gains such as:

  • A 2X 3D performance increase over Intel HD Graphics for the high performing U-series processors designed specifically for Ultrabooks, with Intel Iris graphics.
  • A 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).
  • A 3X 3D performance increase for desktop R-series processors with Intel Iris Pro graphics and High Speed Memory (eDRAM).

The Iris generation of graphics products features Intel technologies and accelerators like Quick Sync Video and MJPEG* acceleration, while supporting OpenCL, DirectX 11.1, OpenGL4.1, 4K UltraHD display resolution, and collage mode display.

Intel said UltraBooks and laptops using a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 4200U processor with Intel Iris would be twice as thin and half the weight as a four-year-old notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, while providing "17X faster video conversion" for purposes like "optimising a video for a social media site."

The chip giant also said it is improving its baseline integrated graphics in time for the arrival of Haswell. Both standard Intel HD Graphics and the premium Iris products will continue to run side by side with discrete graphics chips from vendors like Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices. Current switchable graphics technology can dial up either the integrated graphics or discrete graphics as needed, saving power and battery life for users, Intel added.

Iris will come in two flavours, Intel Iris Pro Graphics and Intel Iris Graphics, the company said. The first wave of such products appearing later in 2013 will be designated Iris Pro graphics 5200 and Iris graphics 5100, while Intel's next baseline integrated graphics chip will be called Intel HD graphics 5000.