Intel Lifts Veil on Haswell Graphics Branding and Performance

Intel is finally offering up details on its Haswell integrated graphics offerings after teasing it at CES 2013, including branding and some performance metrics. With the release of the company’s 4th generation Core processors, Intel’s new integrated graphics will go by the “Iris” moniker.

Meanwhile, Intel’s baseline HD Graphics will also see a bump in performance and capabilities. Now, we’ll see Intel HD 5000 graphics along with the higher-end Intel Iris Graphics 5100 and Iris Pro Graphics 5200; previously, these were codenamed GT3 (15W), GT3 (28W), and GT3e, respectively. Iris graphics are primarily designed for mobile devices, and we’ll be seeing them in Intel-based ultrabooks, higher-end notebooks, and desktop AIOs. Intel's upcoming Haswell desktops will still be branded as "Intel HD Graphics." High-end desktop parts will carry the "HD 4600" label, with lower-end parts branded as "HD 4400" and "HD 4200."

Iris brings new features including integrated on-package EDRAM memory for the GT3e part, DX11.1, OpenGL 4.0, and OpenCL 1.2 support, double the bandwidth with DisplayPort 1.2, support for a 3-screen collage display, faster Intel Quick Sync Video performance and fast JPEG decode and MPEG encode.

Intel Iris Graphics performance

Intel is also promising serious overall performance improvements over its own previous integrated graphics offerings. The company boasts that Iris will bring double the 3D performance for U-series and mobile H-series processors over current Intel HD graphics and triple the 3D performance for desktop R-series chips. The R-series chips are the BGA-only variants -- conventional desktop parts will be confined to GT2.

Iris Graphics desktop

Iris Graphics Ultrabook
Above: Iris graphics desktop performance; below: Iris graphics ultrabook performance

Predictably, Iris offers switchable graphics for more efficient power usage in a system with a discrete graphics card. Iris also supports 4k UltraHD displays, which is great to see.

Integrated graphics have come a long way in recent years; Intel HD 2500 graphics were something to see at the time, and HD 4000 graphics have been a terrific way to enable reasonable graphics performance on a variety of devices absent a discrete graphics card. Now, Intel promises a substantial leap forward with its Iris graphics; we can’t wait to lay down some benchmarks and see for ourselves how they fare.

Side-by-side Haswell graphics vs. NVIDIA demo

If Iris graphics from Intel sound promising to you, you’ll be pleased to know that it appears that Intel will be doing something more with Iris before the year is out. “We are excited about what Intel HD graphics brings to your visual experience and think you’ll be impressed with Intel Iris graphics solutions later this year”, reads the Intel blog post. “And, hint hint, we aren’t stopping there.”