Intel Potentially Shelving Iris Pro iGPUs
Samuel Wan / 4 years ago
Since the release of Haswell, Intel has not only had the regular HD integrated graphics, but also the Iris and Iris Pro variants of their iGPUs. By utilizing more graphics units and a special eDRAM cache, Intel has allowed their Iris and Iris Pro CPUs challenge the performance of budget dPGUs from Nvidia and AMD. According to a new report though, it looks like Intel might be shelving the Iris Pro branding.
The information stems from several leaked slides which show only a GT3e iGPU variant being the top model. Since Iris and Iris Pro launched back with Haswell, GT3 has generally been Iris and GT3e has been Iris Pro. The main difference between the two was that GT3e/Iris Pro featured an eDRAM cache of 128MB. This cache has been responsible for much of the performance improvements Intel has seen with their iGPUs.
With Skylake, Intel changed things up a bit. Iris was now GT3(e) with a 64MB eDRAM cache while Iris Pro became GT4 with the original 128MB eDRAM cache. Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake so far only mention GT3e, which is likely to maintain the Iris branding. The absence of GT4 suggests that Iris Pro might be retired as a brand and product segment. From testing, the 64MB cache performs nearly as well as the 128MB variant.
Honestly, in my mind, the Iris Pro branding never really made too much sense to me. A simpler Iris which includes an eDRAM cache and the regular HD Graphics would suffice better and be less confusing, especially now that Iris has gained an eDRAM cache as well, making Iris Pro redundant. With the heavy price premium due to the large iGPU and expensive eDRAM cache, the Iris Pro chips are already really niche. Perhaps Intel is realizing they are addressing a market that is too small to be profitable.
Of course, all of the information so far is still unconfirmed by Intel. This means we may still see Iris Pro in the future at some point, or Intel is simply reverting to their older naming scheme. Hopefully, we’ll get some more information as the Kaby Lake rollout continues.