Intel slaps Iris Pro GPUs into Core i7 silicon to woo desktop gamers

Bundles Raptr, continues love affair with Microsoft

Intel is bunging its Iris Pro graphics circuits into its fifth-generation "Broadwell" Core i7 processor to catch the eyes of gamers. And the chip giant has been working with Microsoft and GPU toolkit-maker Raptr to optimize game code.

At a press shindig during this year's Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, Pete Baker, Intel's veep of software and services, promised that by the middle of the year Chipzilla will build its first LGA-socketed Core CPU with Iris Pro on the die.

The 65W Core i7 chip will run relatively cool, Baker promised, and so will be aimed at all-in-one PCs and small form-factor systems. In April, Intel will ship the processor in one of its fanless Next Unit of Computing (NUC) PCs, and showed off a palm-sized example using a 28W Core i7 running Iris 6100 in a 0.67 litre case.

About 70 per cent of the world's PCs rely on Intel graphics, Baker said, and the firm wants to make sure that it can avoid losing them to AMD. To that end, Chipzilla is also tackling the issue from the software side.

Intel already works hand-in-hand with Microsoft on tuning graphics code, and the launch of DirectX 12 later this year will be no exception: Microsoft's graphics program manager Bryan Langley promised stellar performance from software built using the programming toolkit.

"You're going to see around a 20 per cent boost in GPU performance when you used DirectX 12," he promised. "It's like getting new hardware in your system for free."

Intel has also done a deal with gaming firm Raptr, set up by arguably the world's first pro computer gamer Dennis Fong. The deal will bundle Raptr's games optimization software – already supplied with AMD kit – on Intel-powered machines.

"About 90 per cent of gamers don't adjust the game's settings at all," Fong explained. "Our software matches the platform specs to a game's software to get optimum performance. It means that rigs people think can't handle some games suddenly can."

Intel also announced a new website for developers called Achievement Unlocked. The portal will have better technical support for games developers wanting to write for Chipzilla's silicon, funding and troubleshooting help, and code tools that are designed to squeeze every microsecond of performance from Intel's silicon. ®

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