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Inside Iris: What Intel's new integrated graphics mean for Apple's future Macs

post #1 of 49
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Intel's next generation of CPUs will include powerful integrated graphics processors branded as "Iris" ? a change that could help lead to even thinner and more powerful MacBook Pros with longer battery life.

MacBook Pro


The fact that Intel has chosen to give its graphics processors a less generic name this year, beginning with the new Haswell series of chips, could indicate the company wants their mobile processors to be taken more seriously. Much like Nvidia's GeForce brand and AMD's Radeon brands represent those company's respective graphics technologies, Intel is now using the name Iris to pitch what it believes is a premium-level GPU.

While Intel's integrated graphics have been gradually improving over the years, most serious users still see reliance on integrated graphics processing as a negative. Take, for example, last year's MacBook Pro with Retina display models.

Apple started off with a 15-inch model that had its high-resolution display driven by a discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics card. But that same power couldn't be crammed into the 13-inch model, which debuted later in 2012 featuring only integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

That's why Intel Iris is likely to be particularly meaningful for Apple's anticipated 2013 update to its 13-inch MacBook Pro. AppleInsider noted in its review of the 13-inch Retina model last year that one of the most disappointing aspects of the notebook was the lack of discrete graphics, forcing users to rely solely on Intel's integrated graphics.

Iris


But with Iris, Intel has now signaled its next generation of processors will offer integrated graphics that can more directly compete with the likes of discrete hardware from Nvidia and AMD. As noted by AnandTech last month, Intel plans for its high-end Iris graphics option in Haswell to compete with Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M ? the same discrete GPU currently found in Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

Further solidifying the premium nature of Iris is the fact that the brand will only apply to Intel's most powerful graphics solutions. The company's low-end graphics processors will retain the generic "Intel HD Graphics" branding.

But the high-end 28-watt GT3 graphics level will be known as Intel Iris Graphics 5100, while the top-of-the-line GT3e will be identified as Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200.

Iris


Iris Pro, in particular, will include 128 megabytes of eDRAM, helping enable it to offer more than twice the performance of the previous generation Intel HD 4000 graphics. Intel's premier GPU will be restricted to quad-core processors, which currently come by default inside Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pros.

Iris graphics will also likely be another way for Apple to differentiate its MacBook Pro notebooks from the thinner, lighter and less powerful MacBook Air models. Intel's new Ultrabook-class Haswell chips, which typically power the MacBook Air, will not offer Iris-class graphics. Instead, they will feature the less powerful Intel HD Graphics 5000.

Even still, Intel's own tests show that the new Intel HD Graphics 5000 will offer a 50 percent improvement in performance over the 4000-class graphics found in last year's Sandy Bridge processors, suggesting the Haswell upgrade will be meaningful for Apple's next MacBook Air models.

And in a win for all users of Intel-based notebooks, Iris comes coupled with the power-saving enhancements made to the next-generation Haswell CPUs. That means it's likely fewer users will require discrete graphics in their notebooks, allowing battery life on portable PCs, such as Apple's MacBooks, to further increase.

Apple is expected to introduce Haswell-powered MacBook models at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. According to well-connected insider Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, Apple is likely to begin shipping new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with Intel Haswell processors before the end of the June quarter.
post #2 of 49
It means it's better than previous generation. Duh.
post #3 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The fact that Intel has chosen to give its graphics processors a less generic name this year, beginning with the new Haswell series of chips, could indicate the company wants their mobile processors to be taken more seriously. Much like Nvidia's GeForce brand and AMD's Radeon brands represent those company's respective graphics technologies, Intel is now using the name Iris to pitch what it believes is a premium-level GPU.

I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.
post #4 of 49
I don't care what's integrated vs. separate, or even about specs and benchmarks... just show me real world frames-per-second tests in actual apps. If sufficient speed is there, I'll be happy no matter what logo is on the chip.
post #5 of 49
@drblank : some iterations of Intel hardware haven't exactly been doing that, imho.

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

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post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.

Iris<>Siri?

post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I don't care what's integrated vs. separate, or even about specs and benchmarks... just show me real world frames-per-second tests in actual apps. If sufficient speed is there, I'll be happy no matter what logo is on the chip.

Why? Frames per second is only relevant for games and a few very heavy duty apps. People using those apps are probably going to use the MBP with discrete graphics, anyway.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.

 

If you pronounce it the old fashioned way ("EER-is"), it sounds way more exotic.  That might help.  

 

I'm not sure why it has to have a "masculine" name though, I always thought those graphic card names like Force/Power/Titan/Fire etc. were kind of dumb myself.  YMMV

post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Why? Frames per second is only relevant for games and a few very heavy duty apps. People using those apps are probably going to use the MBP with discrete graphics, anyway.

Maybe all he cares about is games? That's reasonable.

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post #10 of 49

What I really want to know is:

 
How will this improve graphics performance on the 13" Retina MacBook Pro?
 
The 15" Retina MacBook Pro will surely still come with a discrete GPU. The MacBook Airs, per the article "will not offer Iris-class graphics." So the biggest impact from this should come to the 13" Retina MacBook Pro, which currently kind of struggles with only integrated graphics.
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.

Probably derived from the iris of the eye. It is also a famous name in the world of color printing. Seems pretty relevant to me assuming no trademark issues.
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post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColorClassic View Post

Iris<>Siri?

 

Iris and Siri sittin in a tree ... 

post #13 of 49
I hate to use Tim Cook level words though this is both incredible and remarkable. I am super excited for the future specifically the month of June.
post #14 of 49

Power is not stictly male and submission is not strictly female.  

post #15 of 49
I love the current graphics on retina MacBook Pro, powering that large of a retina is hard to get!
post #16 of 49

Nice of Intel to finally pull their collective heads out of their collective arses and make an IGP that doesn't completely suck.  Took 'em long enough...

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post #17 of 49

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 7/24/13 at 10:46am
post #18 of 49
The iris is behind the retina.
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypercommunist View Post

The iris is behind the retina.

I think your eye is inside out!
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post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I think your eye is inside out!

Or back to front.

post #21 of 49
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
I think your eye is inside out!

 

I see what he did there.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #22 of 49
I'm excited about this! Thinner and lighter Macbooks will be even more impressive. My MBP isn't retina so I don't even get to enjoy the current size of the rMBP but I know what a difference there already is and imagine that the difference will be even greater by the time I upgrade.
post #23 of 49
Um, iris - retina...
post #24 of 49
Why doesn't Intel stick to Processors and leave AMD and Nvidia stick to Graphics... now people will have to pay more for having something they won't even use because most likely we'll put better gpu cards in them anyways. And AMD is now starting to make tablets while Nvdia is still the most overpriced GPU vendor out there.

All of these companies suck. AMD sucking the least. Nvidia the most.

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post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkdefender View Post

Why doesn't Intel stick to Processors and leave AMD and Nvidia stick to Graphics...

And while we're at it, let's leave networking to dedicated 3COM cards, and let's bring back the dedicated clock chip, and serial interface boards. Come on, things have always been getting more integrated. There is every reason to put good graphics on board the CPU die. Yes, Intel has lagged badly in graphics performance, but they're catching up. These are the first GPUs to really rival discrete chips.

post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I see what he did there.

I know, it was really very funny.
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post #27 of 49
Clever name that leverages the "retina" glow and is also an anagram of 'Siri'
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I think they could have picked a more masculine name though

Raw Metal or FireStorm...

or Hank.

lol.gif

post #29 of 49
If I'm reading this correctly, the 2013 MacBook Air will have better integrated graphics than the 13" 2012 MacBook Pro.
Mac user since August 1983.
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post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

If I'm reading this correctly, the 2013 MacBook Air will have better integrated graphics than the 13" 2012 MacBook Pro.

Welp, the 680mx in the current imac is better that the gpu in the current mac pro.
post #31 of 49
I am extremely excited! I want to see it happen in Mac Mini, I don't care about notebooks or iMacs... it's Mac Mini I want to know.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

I am extremely excited! I want to see it happen in Mac Mini, I don't care about notebooks or iMacs... it's Mac Mini I want to know.
Me too, i want to know if the upgraded mac mini will come on June as well.
post #33 of 49
75X better than an EXTREMELY crappy GPU isn't proof it's a good GPU.

Perhaps if Intel put a data point or two as to how it compares to ATI or Nvidia GPU's of say, 1 or 2 years ago.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

And while we're at it, let's leave networking to dedicated 3COM cards, and let's bring back the dedicated clock chip, and serial interface boards. Come on, things have always been getting more integrated. There is every reason to put good graphics on board the CPU die. Yes, Intel has lagged badly in graphics performance, but they're catching up. These are the first GPUs to really rival discrete chips.

Intel has not been lagging since the HD graphics 2000, and I mean this ever-so-tongue-in-cheek way. The 2000 part is equal to garbage onboard offerings by nVidia and AMD. The 4000 part is roughly equal to GeForce 9700M GTS/Radeon HD 7520G which is an onboard low-end part.

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/common_gpus.html

The HD4000 on that list is still only 1/3rd the power of a mid-level video card, and 1/10th the power of a high-but-not-SLI configuration card. If the HD5000 or Iris part really is 10x the previous generation card, then it should easily be equivalent of a Radeon 78xx or GTX 470. I some how doubt Intel's marketing is going to deliver on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.

What? Of all the stupid things someone could say, someone complains it's not a manly enough name? Get real. It's thinking like that which gives us such crappy PC computers labeled as boy-toys.
post #35 of 49

Its the drivers that matters. Good things is Drivers Development is on Apple's Court, Bad things is Apple doesn't tend to care about gaming as much.

post #36 of 49
Originally Posted by Misa View Post
What? Of all the stupid things someone could say, someone complains it's not a manly enough name? Get real. It's thinking like that which gives us such crappy PC computers labeled as boy-toys.

 

What's more imposing: Firebird or Minnow? Midas or Susan? Bordeaux or Mr. Coffee?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.
 

Ye gods! It's bad enough that manufacturers give things with engines and guns on/in them aimed at men names like "Marauder", "Thrust", "Intimidator", "Vanquish" and similar violent associations without you encouraging them even more. It just perpetuates the whole "man - strong, powerful, active", "woman - pretty, passive, domestic" lie that's been distorting human relations for far too long already.

 

Take shower gel - a mixture of petroleum byproducts plus perfume - and market them at women. They look like this and sound like this "A shower gel that cleanses your skin with mildness and sheathes your body in the ultra-feminine, sensual scent of SO ELIXIR."

 

Take shower gel - a mixture of petroleum byproducts plus perfume - and market them at men. They look like this and sound like this "Lynx Cool Metal Fine Quartz + Zinc Shower Gel keeps you mentally and physically prepared for any situation – so you don’t waste any time worrying about staying cool."

 

I bet I know which combination of petroleum byproducts you have in your bathroom ...

 

And I expect the Intel chip name is related to the Iris of the eye, in the same way that Apple chose Aperture for the eye/camera associations. I mean they're not going to name it after a girly flower are they as it could affront their ma(i)n customer demographic!

post #38 of 49
Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post
[post]

 

Quit gumming up the thread with this nonsense, please. You want to talk about it, do it in PoliticalOutsider.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #39 of 49
I think they could have picked a more masculine name though. This is just setting things up for NVidia. Iris is a girl's name (and a flower). GeForce / Radeon / Titan / FirePro are slightly more symbolic of raw unadulterated power. I just hope Intel's roadmap doesn't have Daisy and Dandelion in it. Their GT3 name gives a better impression of the performance.

More masculine name? Are you like 13 years old, with this "Iris is for girls, ewww" reaction and all?

Besides, Iris is from the human iris (of the eye). It's similar to the "Retina" name.

And a bad-ass Silicon Graphics workstation back in the day was called Iris.
post #40 of 49
jragosta View Post
nagromme View Post
I don't care what's integrated vs. separate, or even about specs and benchmarks... just show me real world frames-per-second tests in actual apps. If sufficient speed is there, I'll be happy no matter what logo is on the chip.

Why? Frames per second is only relevant for games and a few very heavy duty apps. People using those apps are probably going to use the MBP with discrete graphics, anyway.

Raw computational power is still relevant for video editing and similar tasks.

 
Tallest Skil View Post
KiltedGreen View Post
[post]

Quit gumming up the thread with this nonsense, please. You want to talk about it, do it in PoliticalOutsider.

Oh look, several pages of discussing the next OS X brand name. This is no different.

IMO macho branding has no effect on me, and doesn't make much sense for computer technology anyway. You'll sell more comically oversized pickup trucks with cock-themed names and features (power stroke diesel, Hummer), but that's worlds apart from the demographics of your average graphics card enthusiast.

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