The Comparison Points

Intel sort of dropped this CRB off without anything to compare it to, so I scrambled over the past week looking for things to put Iris Pro’s performance in perspective. The obvious candidate was Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I expect its successor will use Iris Pro 5200, making this a perfect comparison point. The 15-inch rMBP is equipped with a GeForce GT 650M with a 900MHz core clock and a 5GHz memory datarate.

I also dusted off a GeForce GT 640 desktop card to shed a little more light on the 650M comparison. The 640 has a slightly higher core clock (925MHz) but it only has 1.7GHz DDR3, working out to be 27GB/s of memory bandwidth compared to 83GB/s for the 650M. Seeing how Iris Pro compares to the GT 640 and 650M will tell us just how good of a job Crystalwell is doing.

Next up is the desktop Core i7-4770K with HD 4600 graphics. This is a Haswell GT2 implementation, but at a much higher TDP than the 47W mobile part we’re comparing it to (84W). In a notebook you can expect a much bigger gap in performance between the HD 4600 and Iris Pro than what we’re showing here. Similarly I also included a 77W HD 4000 for a comparison to Ivy Bridge graphics.

On the AMD front I have the 35W A10-4600M (codename Trinity), featuring AMD’s 7660G processor graphics. I also included the 100W A10-5800 as a reference point since we were largely pleased with the GPU performance of Trinity on the desktop.

I listed TDPs with all of the parts I’m comparing here. In the case of the GT 640 I’m adding the TDP of the CPU (84W) and the GPU (65W). TDP is half of the story with Iris Pro, because the CPU, GPU and eDRAM all fit into the same 47W power envelope. With a discrete GPU, like the 650M, you end up with an extra 45W on top of the CPU’s TDP. In reality the host CPU won’t be running at anywhere near its 45W max in that case, so the power savings are likely not as great as you’d expect but they’ll still be present.

At the request of at least one very eager OEM, Intel is offering a higher-TDP configuration of the i7-4950HQ. Using Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) I was able to simulate this cTDP up configuration by increasing the sustained power limit to 55W, and moving the short term turbo power limit up to 69W. OEMs moving from a 2-chip CPU + GPU solution down to a single Iris Pro are encouraged to do the same as their existing thermal solutions should be more than adequate to cool a 55W part. I strongly suspect this is the configuration we’ll see in the next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

To remove as many bottlenecks as possible I configured all integrated GPU options (other than Iris Pro 5200) with the fastest supported memory. That worked out to being DDR3-2133 on desktop Trinity and desktop IVB, and DDR3-2400 on desktop Haswell (HD 4600). The mobile platforms, including Iris Pro 5200, all used DDR3-1600.

On the software side I used NVIDIA's GeForce R320 v320.18, AMD's Catalyst 13.6 beta and Intel's 9.18.10.3177 drivers with Crystalwell support.

The Core i7-4950HQ Mobile CRB Metro: Last Light
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  • virgult - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Nvidia Kepler plays Crysis 3 well but it sucks insanely hard at computing and rendering. Reply
  • Eric S - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    It appears to do compute better then graphics (and ECC memory is a plus for compute). That is exactly what pros will be looking for. Apple doesn't cater to the gaming market with these machines even if they should play most games fine. A dedicated gaming machine would be built much different then this. Reply
  • jasonelmore - Sunday, June 2, 2013 - link

    This, I dont know about anyone else, but i'm not dropping 2 grand or $2700 with upgrades on a 15 incher that does not have dedicated graphics.

    Another problem i see is the 13" Retina only uses duals, and if they did use this quad with GT3e silicon, then the price of of the 13" will go up at least $150 since the i7's and i5's the 13" currently use, are sub $300 parts.

    The only solution i see is Apple offering it as a build to order/max upgrade option, and even then they risk segmentation across the product line.
    Reply
  • fteoath64 - Monday, June 3, 2013 - link

    "can't sell a $2000 laptop without a dedicated GFX". Absolutely true, especially when the GT3e is still a little slower than the 650M. So the 750M tweaked a few mhz higher will do nicely for the rMBP. The 13 incher will get a boost with the GT3e CPU. So a slight upgrade to lower power cpu maybe worthwhile to some. Improvement to 1080p eyesight camera would be a given for the new rMBP. Reply
  • Eric S - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    You can drop discrete graphics when that $2000+ laptop is using builtin graphics with the same price premium and number of transistors of the discrete chip. I'm almost positive the discrete will go away. I have a feeling that Apple had a say in optimizations and stressed OpenCL performance. That is probably what they will highlight when they announce a new MacBook Pro. Reply
  • xtc-604 - Saturday, June 8, 2013 - link

    I really hope that Apple continues to treat the rMBP 15 as a flagship. Giving it iGPU only would be a deal breaker for many professionals. Atleast in haswell's current form. Until Intel can make an IGPU that atleast matches or exceeds performance at high resolutions, it is still a no go for me. Reply
  • Eric S - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    Why is that a deal breaker? The Iris 5200 is better then a discrete chip for compute (OpenCL). If you are doing 3D rendering, video editing, photoshop, bioinformatics, etc. that is what you should care about. It also has ECC memory unlike a discrete chip so you know your output is correct. How fast it can texture triangles is less important. It still has plenty of power in that area for any pro app. This is not designed to be a gaming machine. Not sure why anyone would be surprised it may not be optimized for that. Reply
  • Eric S - Monday, July 1, 2013 - link

    You never know, but I doubt it. They will have trouble with the ports on the side if they make it smaller. I think it is more likely the space saving will go to additional battery. They may be able to get similar battery life increases to the Air with the extra space. Reply
  • mikeztm - Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - link

    Notice that the 13" 2012 rMBP is a little thicker than the 15" version. Quad core in 13 inch may be planned at the very beginning. Reply
  • axien86 - Saturday, June 1, 2013 - link


    Look at the overheating issues that come with i5/i7 Razer notebooks and finding the same heating noticed in their Haswell notebook press event several days ago.

    If Apple decides to use these Haswells which put out heat in a concentrated area and in very thin outlines, you are essentially computing over a mini-bake oven.
    Reply

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