Intel Integrates Iris Pro Graphics Into Xeon, Core Chips

The chip maker at Computex unveils improved graphics capabilities in its newest Xeon E3 server chips and 5th generation Core PC processors.

Intel Core i7

Intel is bringing its Iris Pro graphics technology to its latest line of Xeon E3 processors for servers and Core chips for PCs.

At the Computex 2015 show in Taiwan, Intel introduced the 14-nanometer Xeon E3-1200 v4 product lineup, which includes the vendor's Iris Pro P6300 graphics integrated. Company officials are aiming the new processors at cloud-based workloads with high visual demands, such as high-definition video transcoding, complex 3D applications and the delivery of remote workstation software.

The new chips, which also feature Intel's Quick Sync Video technology as well as the integrated graphics, offer up to 1.4 times the performance for video transcoding as the previous generation of processors and up to 1.8 times the 3D graphics performance. The processors can deliver up to 4,300 simultaneous HD video streams per server rack. The chips also can affordably deliver complex 2D and 3D applications to remote workstations over local- and wide-area networks, company officials said.

Quick Sync Video is hardware-accelerated video transcoding technology. The chips also include Intel's Graphics Virtualization Technology, which enables the processor to be used by individual engineers or groups of engineers, depending on the workload it's running.

The focus on video and complex applications comes as the amount of video on network traffic continues to grow. Online video streaming viewership grew 60 percent last year over 2013, and Netflix and YouTube now make up 43 percent of all video traffic, according to Intel officials.

Cisco Systems, in its annual Visual Networking Index released late last month, outlined the rapid growth not only of video in network traffic, but of the quality, from standard video to HD video to ultra-HD video. Cisco found that in 2014, 67 percent of all Internet traffic was video, and that the number will jump to 80 percent in 2019. Also last year, ultra-HD video accounted for 0.6 percent of video traffic. That will increase to 13.9 percent in 2019, the company found.

Intel officials also noted the trend toward outsourced design houses and remote workstations, which is increasing the demand for delivering complex 3D applications from secure data centers to the systems and the need for centralized large data sets.

The Xeon E3-1200 v4 family includes five quad-core processors, including three aimed at cloud infrastructures. They range in speed from 2.3GHz to 3.5GHz and in power envelope from 35 watts to 95 watts. All offer 128MB of memory.

The two for media appliances run from 1.8GHz to 2.0GHz. Both have a power envelope of 47 watts, and while one includes 128MB of memory plus a 6MB cache, the other only offers the 6MB cache.

Intel officials said six systems makers—Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, SuperMicro, Kontron, Quanta and Servers Direct—are offering designs based on the new processors.

The chip maker also introduced 10 new desktop and mobile 5th generation Core "Broadwell-H" chips that include Intel's Iris Pro graphics and offer greater performance than the first Broadwell chips that were released during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Among the five new desktop chips is the Core i7-5775-C, which officials said is aimed at the LGA form factor and offers 35 percent better media performance and more than twice the graphics performance than the earlier 65-watt Core i7-4790S, which sported Intel's HD graphics 4600 technology. The new features also will help bring full PC performance to smaller systems, such as mini-PCs and all-in-one computers.

Intel also unveiled five new 47-watt mobile Core chips with improved graphics (Iris Pro 6200) that are aimed at gamers and creators, according to officials. The Core i7-5950HQ chip delivers 95 percent better media performance and up to twice the 3D graphics performance as compared with its predecessor.

The chip maker expects systems based on the processors to be on the market within 30 to 60 days.