Integrated graphics haven’t really been know for their performance, for years they were really just there to give us the most basic video features, but today’s mobile oriented market and demand for rich media has changed the game.
Intel made a solid effort with the HD 4000 series chip which performs surprisingly well under a lot of different conditions. You can actually get a semi-solid frame rate with most games on low to medium settings and performance in most other gpu dependent applications is solid. Now, Intel is getting serious with it’s next generation chip, Iris, which will offer more than 2x the performance of current the GPU.
Intel says that their next step in graphics will be a 75x increase in performance over earlier efforts since 2006, which shows off Intel’s ever increasing attention to GPU performance, but without sacrificing efficiency. The 4th generation Haswell (Intel’s Codename) line will be very power efficient and that’s critical now that the focus has shifted to a battery powered and mobile world.
Clearly, there’s a lot to look forward to in the next year or so as we continue to see better overall performance numbers from onboard graphics. It is interesting to think about what AMD and Nvidia will do in response to Intel’s recent efforts. At the very least it will force chip makers to continue to be innovative and to rethink and rework non-discrete graphics, something that could help bring down costs as well.