SOME EARLY BENCHMARKS of Intel’s next generation integrated graphics processor have allegedly been posted by a “local paper” somewhere in Asia. It didn’t take long for them to appear online, but what is important to keep in mind is that these should be the worst case figures. Why? Well, simply because the CPU used is the Pentium G6950 which has its GPU running at a mere 533MHz and will most likely lack Intel’s Turbo feature for the IGP.
No one expected the next generation IGP from Intel to somehow end up being miraculously fast, but the numbers we’re looking at are, well, disappointing. Although in all fairness, Intel has managed to outperform itself compared to the previous generation of IGP’s, but this doesn’t really say much. As you can see from the picture below, even the slowest of the new IGP’s is keeping way ahead of the current G45 chipset. However, the bad news starts when you compare it to the humble Nvidia Geforce 9300, also known as Ion.
The CPU in the three competing test systems was a Core 2 Duo E6550 which is clocked at the same 2.53GHz as the Pentium G6950. The Core 2 test rigs used 800MHz DDR2 memory, while the Pentium G6950 used DDR3 memory, although only basic 1066MHz modules that shouldn’t offer any performance advantage over the DDR2 memory. The gap to beat the Geforce 9300 should be achievable by the faster iterations of Intel’s new IGP, although it might take the 900MHz IGP in the Core i5 661 to beat it.
Intel does of course not focus on 3D gaming. Instead Intel wants you to have a great HD video experience – just like Nvidia and AMD – and as such the new IGP should offer a wide range of improved video decoding features specifically for HD video. We’re not sure how many more codec’s need to be offloaded onto the GPU or how many more types of pulldown corrections can be applied, but expect Intel to have added most of them.
How important is graphics to your average computer user these days? Well, considering that most people don’t play games, one could quickly disregard the importance of a decent graphics solution, but with Windows Vista and Windows 7 using the GPU for the fancy Aero GUI, some graphics grunt won’t go amiss. This doesn’t even take into consideration the small but growing group of applications that take advantage of the GPU for a wide range of computational tasks. The question in this case is if Intel is every going to support GPGPU, something that’s highly questionable for now.
We’re at the verge of yet another lackluster graphics solution from Intel, but we’re fairly sure about one thing. Expect to see all reviews on the 3rd of January to be using the Core i5 661 with the 900MHz IGP, as Intel is going to want to put its new IGP in the best light possible. Call it cheating or not, but Intel isn’t going to risk taking any chances this time around, as it needs all the positive press it can get for its new IGP.S|A
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