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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Intel's new graphics with integrated eDRAM finally gets a name

Intel's new graphics with integrated eDRAM finally gets a name
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May 2, 2013, 06:26 AM
 
We've talked about this around here before, but for those who haven't joined those discussions: Intel has been planning for some time to add a small chunk of dedicated video memory to their integrated graphics, thereby alleviating the memory bandwidth crunch and bringing much better graphics - provided Intel gets the drivers right for once.

Intel Iris & Iris Pro Graphics: Haswell GT3/GT3e Gets a Brand

The short version is this: The current "GT2" Intel HD 4000 graphics will be upgraded from 16 to 20 EUs (execution units) and be called Intel HD 4200/4400/4600 depending on clockspeed. Since Intel already tweaks the clockspeed with its silly segmentation, some more transparency on that front is welcome, and a 25% boost in execution resources is not too shabby.

The bigger news is the "GT3" and "GT3e" units. The GT3 will double the execution resources again to 40, and also double all the other graphics hardware compared to the GT2 parts - meaning that it will hopefully be able to push less demanding graphics at higher resolutions than before. This will will be called Intel Iris graphics 5000/5100 (again depending on clockspeed and TDP). 5000 looks to be aimed at "Ultrabooks", ie Macbook Air clones, so is a likely pick for the original Macbook Air.

Finally we have GT3e - the same graphics chip as above, but with a 128 MB chunk of dedicated graphics memory - called Intel Iris graphics 5200. This is the one Intel claims will compete with the GT 650M currently in the 15" MBP and most iMacs. The good news is that 128 MB is more RAM than the first rumors reported, and four times what is rumored for the next Xbox. This is space for at least the frame buffer and Z buffer even at retina resolutions, and probably with some space left over for often used textures as well. The no news is that we still don't know the total bandwidth of the eDRAM chunk, and the bad news is that it will only be available on quadcores.

That last is an issue, because I think Apple really wants this one in the MBP 13". Will they go to quadcores and the added TDP boost, stay with a dualcore without the eDRAM, or maybe play with cTDP to get the quad down to the envelope they want? Will be interesting to see.

In any case, I predict that Iris 5200 will be the new base graphics in the 15" MBP and the iMac, with more powerful discrete options available up the price range.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 2, 2013, 07:13 AM
 
Quadcore 13" retina with 16 GB RAM and 750 GB Flash storage, for under 1500€. That will be mine. 2014?

If the Iris 5200 forces Apple's hand in the matter, I won't be unhappy about it.

What about power consumption?
     
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May 2, 2013, 07:32 AM
 
Power consumption is only interesting in average, and if the two extra cores aren't used, they don't draw any power at all (they're power-gated). If you're loading it hard enough to keep four cores at max, of course it will run out of power faster than a dual would, but that's not the regular use case. The only case where the power will run out is if you do something you couldn't do on the old model, like play a modern game.

No, the problem is the TDP - how you keep that 47W chip cool in a chassis as tiny as the 13" MBP Retina. The current duals are only 35W (although that doesn't exactly compare, as Haswell integrates the VRMs that used to be on the motherboard). Intel does offer something called cTDP, which means that the clockspeed and turbo settings are adjusted in software to keep the chip at a lower (or higher) TDP. Apple might conceivably use that to adjust the TDP down by 10W or so, but how do you market that?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 2, 2013, 10:47 PM
 
I can't see the 13" MBP going to quad core, even with cTDP.
     
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May 2, 2013, 11:20 PM
 
Apple has occasionally gotten custom chips out of Intel. I would not be surprised if they bagged a dual-core chip with the eDRAM. Especially if they made it a large order.
     
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May 3, 2013, 04:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I can't see the 13" MBP going to quad core, even with cTDP.
I think Apple wants to do that to keep some air between it and the 13" MBA, but I'm not sure they can put a 47W chip in there. Some of that is the VRMs - let's say 2W - and the current duals are 35W, which leaves a 10W gap from today. cTDP will cover a 10W gap on a chip that is 55W to begin with, but those are extreme edition chips that are available in 45W versions as well. It'd be a stretch, but it might happen.

Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Apple has occasionally gotten custom chips out of Intel. I would not be surprised if they bagged a dual-core chip with the eDRAM. Especially if they made it a large order.
That could be - especially if the mask is designed like Sandy Bridge so a dual is only a cut away - but then Intel must have had a reason for making quadcore a requirement to begin with. They're obviously not interested in keeping the number of variants down.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
   
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