Intel's integrated graphics solutions have improved immensely over the past few years. Expectations are high for the GPU built into next-generation Haswell chips, and we have an early look at what it can do. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel is demoing the GT3 version of the integrated GPU alongside Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M discrete solution. Our own Scott Wasson captured the side-by-side demo on video, which we've embedded below.
Both systems are running DiRT 3 with all the details cranked at 1080p resolution. Scott had difficulty detecting differences in performance and image quality between the two in person, and they look very similar on video. I believe the Haswell system is the one on the left.
The fact that Haswell's IGP can run DiRT 3 at these settings is certainly impressive. So is keeping up with the GeForce GT 650M, which is a mid-range part with 384 ALUs, a 128-bit path to dedicated memory, and GPU clock speeds as high as 900MHz. The 650M is Nvidia's fastest GT-series mobile part, and it's the same chip used in Apple's Retina-equipped 15" MacBook Pro.
Drivers have long been a weakness for Intel graphics solutions, but the firm is now on a regular release cadence of at least four updates per year. Intel has also released a new QuickSync SDK that has hooks for Haswell to ensure developers can have compatible software in time for the processor's launch. Interestingly, QuickSync has gained a partially open-source dispatcher that could allow the transcoding tech to be used in open-source projects like Handbrake.