Intel Reveals Unlocked, Socketed Broadwell CPU and Core i7 NUC With Iris Graphics At GDC

Intel just wrapped up an event at a location adjacent to the Game Developers Conference where the company talked about its vision for the future of gaming, and how Intel plans to further support the industry. Intel discussed some updates to its 5th Gen Core processor line-up, Intel graphics developments, the Intel Hardware SDK, and its various game developer tools. Some walk-on guest were also brought out to discuss a few new partnership announcements and programs designed to bring more diversity to gaming and the game industry.

Pete Baker, Vice President in Intel’s Software and Services Group opened things up with some high-level perspective on past products and Intel’s outlook on the future. Peter brought out Chris Silva who made some of the more meaty announcements.

Chris Silva, Director of Marketing for Premium Notebook and Client Graphics teams came out and started his session with some words on Android and Intel’s plans to further support for the platform. He brought out Jean-Michael Detoc of Ubisoft to talk about partnering with Intel to optimize native Android games for Intel tablet platforms. Jean-Michael mentioned that Ubisoft’s upcoming title Driver - Speedboat Paradise would be natively developed for x86 tablets. A couple of additional developers also came out to talk about ways to enhance games for use on 2-in-1 platforms, in which Intel obviously has a major interest.

cpu slide

Silva then disclosed a few details of a couple of upcoming pieces of hardware. A socketed, unlocked, 65W desktop processor based on Intel’s Broadwell architecture--featuring Iris graphics--is on the way and due to arrive sometime in mid-2015. It’s noteworthy because this will be Intel’s first desktop CPU with Iris Pro graphics and because it is unlocked. It will be interesting to see what Iris Pro can do with some overclocking.

iris nuc

A few details of an upcoming NUC small form factor system were also disclosed. Intel showed off a new NUC powered by a 28W, quad-core Core i7 processor, which also featured Iris graphics. The device has a tiny .63 liter enclosure, and like the NUC 5i5RYK we recently looked at, it has support for high-performance M.2 solid state drives and features an array of built-in goodies, like 802.11ac. We should have a sample of this system shortly for some in-house testing; it is expected to be released in April.

nuc back

It was also revealed that Intel has partnered with Raptr to provide gamers that utilize Intel graphics with an easy to use interface to optimize their in-game settings and receive updates and notifications when new graphics drivers are available. The Raptr utility has had similar features for NVIDIA and AMD graphics products for a while now, but support for Intel graphics is new. Raptr also has built-in tools to record and stream in-game action, and the utility is being updated to leverage Intel’s QuickSync video engine for hardware accelerated video encoding as well.

Intel also announced a new game developer program dubbed ‘Achievement Unlocked’. The goal of the program is to better equip developers with the tools to better create and optimize games using Intel Core and Intel Atom processors and graphics platforms. The program is focused on communications with game developers, industry support for a number of related consortiums and events like GDC, success mentoring, and technical assistance.

Bryan Langley, Principal PM for Windows Graphics then hit the stage to talk a bit about DirectX 12. During the talk, Intel disclosed that it would be ready with DX12 support when Windows 10 arrives and that there are optimizations in DX12 and their drivers that would deliver performance enhancements to current Intel graphics platforms. Langley mentioned that they’ve seen up to a 20% boost in performance on Iris graphics with DX12, through not only CPU level optimizations, but GPU level optimizations as well.