Intel Claims iGPUs Faster than 80% of Discrete GPUs

One of the common complaints against Intel every time they launch a new generation of CPUs is the amount of die space used for the iGPU. Since Sandy Bridge, Intel has significantly improved their iGPU while CPU performance hasn’t moved much. This has all been worth it though as Intel is claiming once again that casual and even mainstream gamers don’t need a discrete graphics card anymore. In fact, according to Intel, iGPUs are now faster than 80% of discrete cards.

Of course, Intel is only claiming those numbers since the new Skylake Iris Pro HD 580 is a massive 50% leap up in performance over past iGPUs, placing it near the likes of the GTX 750 and R 250X. While these cards may be capable of 1080p at medium settings, any CPU with the 580 is likely outside a casual or mainstream gamer’s budget. The more tame HD 530 that most users have is unlikely to be useful for anything higher than 720p low/medium in any mainstream games. That makes it safe to say that the 750 and 250X are probably faster than 100% of iGPUs.

Nevertheless, iGPUs have become much more relevant than in the past. AMD has their own line of APUs and both firms undoubtedly want users to choose them not just based on CPU performance but for the iGPU as well. Even with all the talk, the move to 4K and VR and ever more demanding games at 1080p will likely move gaming out of reach for iGPUs once again.

Don’t Expect Socketed Intel Skylake with eDRAM

When Intel frist revealed that the eDRAM cache introduced with Iris Pro could be accessed by the CPU, many users were elated. CPU performance had long been relatively stagnant and extra faster cache would help improve performance. With up to 50GB/s in each direction, the relatively massive 128MB eDRAM L4 cache would bridge the gap between the large yet slow DDR3/4 and the small yet fast L3 cache. Unfortunately though, Intel has no plans to introduce this to socketed Skylake chips, limiting it to soldered BGA SKUs.

One reason many had hoped that Intel would introduce socketed Skylake with eDRAM was due to Broadwell. With the socketed i7 5775C and i5 5675C, Intel paired LGA 1150 Broadwell with 128MB of eDRAM as L4. What’s more, both chips were also unlocked and overclockable. Many had hoped that the unlocked Skylake SKUs or even a locked SKU would offer the same combination. Even with the lackluster overclocks, the 5775C can actually match overclocked 6700K in performance. This means a Skylake part with eDRAM would likely far surpass our current 6700K.

There is still room for Intel to add eDRAM to a socketed chip later on with the Kaby Lake refresh. Set for 2016, that will be little more than a minor refresh on the Skylake architecture and probably a drop in replacement on LGA 1151 motherboards. Even then though, we may not truly see eDRAM as a real option till AMD pressures Intel with Zen combined with maybe HBM or eDRAM.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information

Skylake’s New Graphics Core Names Make More Sense

We finally see Intel getting it right and structuring their naming convention and numbers to actually make sense when it comes to Intel Graphics in its latest Intel Skylake chips. A recent driver leak revealed what the company has planned and how you should choose Intel’s graphics.

Before we get into that, lets see where Intel went into the wrong direction. 2010’s Westmere chips saw the first entry-level HD Graphics, followed by Sandy Bridge’s HD 2000/3000. So far, the numbering system clearly displayed their performance through the latter numbering system.

Intel’s HD Graphics took a turn in 2012 with the Ivy Bridge and HD 2500/4000. From here, Haswell and Broadwell HD Graphics’ numbering system went as a ‘messy’ waterfall, having higher HD Graphics number models with a mixture of frequencies and execution units, sometimes even lower than HD Graphics with a lower numbering system. It was hard distinguishing which is which and what is better that the other without a deep search of the CPU and the graphics it boasted.

Luckily, the leaked Skylake drivers give us some hope and show that Intel is finally tidying its graphics naming conventions, having the company reducing it to a letter followed by three digits as show in the pic below.

According to a blog post from MyDrivers, the HD Graphics will remain the base graphics models, which can be found on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs. The HD 510/515/520/530/535/540 will represent the common multimedia-oriented graphical solutions found on the Core iX models. They will come with various frequencies, so be sure to check the CPU out before you buy it.

The Iris 550 is said to be the higher-level solution found in high-end smartphones, while the Iris Pro 570/580 are found in the top-of-the-line K Desktop models and smartphone models. They are rumoured to boast an embedded catch of 64 MB or 128 MB, depending on the CPU model. Finally, we have the HD P530 and Iris Pro P580, which can be found on the Xeon E3 product line and corresponding desktop version.

Intel to Improve iGPU Performance With Skylake

Something that Intel always struggled with in the past was the internal graphics processing units (iGPU), mainly the performance (or lack of) compared to the AMD counterpart. Although, Intel did make an improvement thanks to the Iris and Iris Pro graphics cores.

With the upcoming launch of Intel Skylake processors, we can expect to see the new graphics cores utilised to the fullest potentials. The CPU’s will come in 4 key variants, Skylake-S (Desktop), Skylake-H (High-Performance Mobile), Skylake-Y (Low TDP) and Skylake-U (Ultra Low Power); all of which will be poised at all possible consumer markets in terms of price and performance.

Earlier today, WFFCTech compiled a list of the comparable differences between the Skylake and Broadwell variants of the iGPU. Thanks to Compubench, information was sourced regarding 3 new CPU’s, the Core m3-6Y30 which is the successor to the Core M5Y31, the Core i5-6200U which is the successor to the Core i5-5200U and finally an unknown CPU with Iris Graphics 540; which was compared against the Core i5-5257U with Iris Graphics 6100.

“The Core i5-6200U which is powered by the HD Graphics 520 iGPU is the successor of the Core i5-5200U that features the HD Graphics 5500 iGPU. Being a GT2 level Broadwell graphics chip, the HD Graphics 5200 features 24 execution units, 1300 million transistors and a clock speed ranging from 300 MHz (Base) up to 950 MHz (Boost) clock. The HD Graphics 520 iGPU could also be a GT2 level core with 24 execution units while the more performance heavy GT3e variants featured on faster Core i7 variants will be integrated with 48 execution units and 64 MB eDRAM LLC (Last Level Cache).”

“The Core M-6Y30 will be powered by the HD Graphics 515 iGPU that is the successor to the Core M-5Y31 which is part of the Broadwell-Y lineup that launched last year. The HD 5300 featured on the Core M-5Y31 is powered by 24 execution units and a clock speed of 300 MHz (Base) and 900 MHz (Boost) clock speeds. All Broadwell-Y Core M processors are based on the HD Graphics 5300 core which is the entry level iGPU chip but that will kind of change with Skylake-Y which will be getting GT1 and GT1.5 chips with 12 and 18 Execution units each that deliver better performance per core unit and faster clocks.”

“Finally we have the Iris Graphics 540 which is the successor to the Iris Graphics 6100. Note that these are not the Iris Pro variants being compared which feature higher execution units and clock speeds. The current Iris Graphics 6100 core features 48 Execution units, 1900 Million transistors and clock speeds of 300 MHz (base) and 1100 MHz (Boost). The Iris Graphics 540 will feature similar amount of execution units with faster clocks and a eDRAM cache of 64 MB. A faster GT4e graphics core is also confirmed which will be part of the Iris Pro Graphics 550 with 72 Execution units and 128 MB cache but we don’t have any specific results for the chip. The performance of these chips can be seen in the pictures below but do note that they aren’t represnetative of final performance nor do they showcase actual gaming performance you might expect from the processor it self. There are notable improvements from these chips which shows Intel did make some graphics architecture updates on Skylake platform.”

As you can see, there are noticeable improvements, but there is no information on the high-end i7-6700k or i5-6600k; which I’m sure is what everyone wants to see. Will you be buying a different variant of the Skylake line up other than the ‘K’ series? Let us know in the comments.

MSI Reveals GS30 Shadow – The Lightest Gaming Notebook in the Market

MSI have just revealed their gorgeous new 13.3 inch gaming notebook; the GS30 Shadow. The new notebook comes equipped with a 4th Gen Core i7 processor and features Iris Pro graphics, an interesting choice for a gaming notebook, but it’ll still support DX11.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.0 and enhanced 4k x 2k.

The main party trick of the GS30 is the weight and size of the system, clocking in at just 1.3kg and 19.8mm thick, meaning that the GS30 is the lightest gaming notebook in the market.

While gaming performance on the Iris might not sound like the best solution for mobile gaming, it’s still got enough power for when you’re out and about. When you’re back at home or in the office, you can use the dedicated desktop dock to boost performance even further. The dock is basically a stand which features a discrete graphics card of your choice. The dock will run the card through the laptop via a full PCI-e x16 interface.

The notebook is expected to launch in January 2015, giving you plenty of time to save up for one. Prices are currently unknown, but we’ll update you as soon as we have more information.

Thank you MSNews for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of MSNews and MobileGeeks.

Broadwell Based Intel CPUs To Feature Iris Pro Graphics

Intel is rumored to release the first desktop “Broadwell” microprocessors closer to the end of next year. Codenamed Broadwell-K, the CPUs will feature a 1150 socket platform.

The CPUs will also have unlocked clock multiplier and the most interesting feature of new products will be Iris Pro (GT3) graphics with integrated 128 MB eDRAM memory, which will add an 80% graphical performance increase compared to the Core i7-4770K.

The latest Haswell CPUs currently available at retail have lower-performance Iris graphics hardware and CPUs with Iris Pro graphics are only available to manufacturers in quantities of over 1,000 units. Broadwell-K processors will have 4 CPU cores and support Turbo Boost technology and will arrive in two versions, a Core i5 and a Core i7. The Core i7 parts will come with 6 MB L3 cache, and will have Hyper-Threading enabled, while the Core i5 microprocessors will have 4 MB of level 3 cache with no Hyper-Threading.

The CPUs will also require a new 9-series chipset motherboard to support the 1150 socket. This is where Intel announced two new motherboards as well, the Z97 and H97 which will be released at the same time as the new Broadwell-K.

Pricing for both the CPU and motherboards has not been revealed just yet, but we hope to get more insight later on next year.

Thank you CPU World for providing us with this information

New Configurations Available For iMac

New additions to the existing iMac line of devices have surfaced to keep fresh and current. The new iMac entry-level model features a 2.7 GHz Intel i5 Quad-Core processor with Intel Iris Pro graphics, 8 GB of Memory (upgradeable to 16 GB) and 1 TB Fusion Drive. However the higher-end 21.5-inch and both 27-inch iMac feature up to 3.4 GHz Intel i5 Quad-Core processors (configurable to 3.5 GHz Intel i7 Quad-Core processor), memory up to 32 GB and up to 3TB Fusion Drive storage space.

Apple has also added the NVIDIA GeForce 7xx series to its iMac configurations with double the video memory and are 40% faster compared to the previous generations of iMac. Customers looking for the ultimate performance can even swap in the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 to their configuration.

Other upgrades consist of modifying the wireless controller with the next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi having 3x faster wireless performance and adding support for PCIe-based flash storage which gives a 50% boost in performance compared to the previous generations.

The standard price for the new iMac is between $1299 – $1499 for the 21.5-inch model and $1799 – $1999 for the 27-inch model.

Thank you techPowerUp for providing us with the information.

Images courtesy of techPowerUp.

 

 

Gigabyte Unveils Iris Pro 5200 Graphics Enabled BRIX

Gigabyte have taken Intel’s IDF as an opportunity to unveil their latest BRIX PCs which features Intel’s enlarged graphics processing chip Iris Pro 5200 according to LegitReviews. Intel’s Iris Pro 5200 integrated GPU features 40 execution units, level 4 eDRAM cache and roughly speaking it is about twice as fast as Intel HD 4600 graphics and isn’t that far behind a desktop class GT 640 graphics card.

As you can see this extra GPU power doesn’t come without some design penalties. In fact the design is almost twice as thick as the normal BRIX because of all that extra heat that needs to be dissipated from the additional graphics power. These Iris Pro graphics are paired up with the following Haswell embedded CPU choices:

  • Core i7 4770R 3.2GHz stock 3.9GHz turbo
  • Core i5 4670R 3.0GHz stock 3.7GHz turbo
  • Core i5 4570R 2.7GHz stock 3.2GHz turbo

In effect this system runs a desktop class 65W CPU that would be comparable to fully fledged desktop equivalents of the same clock speed. If you then factor in the Iris Pro 5200 graphics then you’re actually looking at a PC with pretty potent potential and arguably this kind of solution blows one of AMD’s A10-6800K APUs out of the water. There is of course one catch – this is going to cost a small fortune. Gigabyte have said pricing will start above $500 and remember that doesn’t even include a storage drive.

The extra size does bring one advantage which is that there is room for a 2.5 inch SATA drive which smaller BRIXs and NUCs don’t have – that is in addition to the two mSATA slots, though this SATA drive will support SATA II 3Gbps only. Dual displays are also supported via the HDMI and mini DisplayPort.

Images courtesy of LegitReviews

Intel Roadmap Reveals More BGA Package CPUs

Intel’s BGA processors are definitely going to become a bigger part of Intel’s portfolio in the future and by the looks of things these BGA packages are mainly designed to transform the bottom segment of the market – that is Pentium, Celeron and Atom processor segmentations. The latest roadmap has outlined Intel’s BGA plans and as you can see by Q4 of this year we will see a whole new array of Bay Trail-D based BGA processors from Intel. For those who are unaware BGA is “ball grid array” and LGA is “land grid array”. Essentially BGA means the processor comes pre-fitted, often soldered, into a motherboard with a chipset. This way the motherboard, chipset and CPU is one complete whole and cannot be customised separately. BGAs are best viewed as SoCs (system on chips).

Furthermore Intel are not neglecting the top end of the market either with a single Core i7 BGA processor and two Core i5 BGA processors. All the key specifications are here for you to see but what’s interesting is that Intel’s high performance BGA processors all have the Iris Pro graphics which are actually very strong – better than those on AMD’s APU (like the A10-6800K) – though the Caveat is that Intel’s BGA processors will likely cost twice as much. All these BGA processors will lead the Intel BGA charge well into mid/late 2014. BGA processors will continue to sit alongside LGA processors and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying, BGA will not be replacing LGA – at least not anytime soon.

Images and information courtesy of MyCE

Rumour: AMD Kaveri APUs Bring FM2+ Socket And Late 2013 Launch

According to an AMD roadmap leaked by ComputerBase.de the new AMD APU platform “Kaveri” is going to be arriving by the end of 2013. This new Kaveri APU will bring a new FM2+ platform to the market.

The raw mechanics of the Kaveri APU see it bring a new CPU architecture to market, the long awaited Steamroller, which wasn’t expected to be available until Q2 of 2014 at the earliest. It will pack 2 to 4 of those Steamroller CPU coolers and will adopt a GCN architecture for the first time. Despite the HD 7000 series being GCN based and Richland APUs being recently released, Richland APUs still use the VLIW architecture of the HD 6000 series so when AMD make the shift towards GCN we can really expect to see APUs pack a much more serious punch.

Why is this important? Well for those who didn’t see, Intel’s recently launched Iris Pro 5200 enlarged GPU for Haswell comfortably beats AMD’s Trinity A10 5800K in most games and GPU applications. Of course the Richland A10 6800K will shrink this deficit somewhat but only by around 10% if most sources on Richland performance are to be believed. This means AMD really needs to bump up its GPU game on its APUs as it risks being left behind by Intel who have a drastically superior CPU component. This is where Kaveri will come in and it will used a refined GCN architecture design that could hopefully bring performance levels in the HD 7750/HD 7790 region which would give it a huge advantage of Intel’s Iris Pro 5200.

Details about what FM2+ will have that is different to FM2 is not known. However, we know FM2+ will bring HSA application support, that is great integration of CPU/GPU workloads for improved performance. If you add that improved integration performance to the improved generational CPU/GPU performance increases then Kaveri could be a very potent APU indeed.

Image courtesy of ComputerBase.de