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Intel Xe-HPG DG2 GPU is in the Labs

In its Q3 earnings, Intel disclosed that it is now shipping Intel's first discrete GPU - DG1. Codenamed Intel Iris Xe MAX, the GPU is set to arrive in ultraportable laptops and designs. It is based on Xe-LP design, which is Intel's GPU configuration for iGPUs and low-power models. However, to satisfy the needs of gamers, Intel will not be good with just this GPU configuration. The company would need something faster and ore power-hungry to power the highest framerates and highest resolutions. Enter the world of Xe-HPG DG2 GPU. Made for gamers, it features all the hardware-enabled features you would expect in such a GPU, like raytracing, etc. This GPU is manufactured outside Intel's fabs, most likely at TSMC's facilities. Right now, this GPU is in the alpha phase and is booting in Intel's labs, meaning that the final silicon is just a few months away.

Intel Confirms Iris Xe MAX Brand for Company's Next-Gen Discrete Graphics

Intel in its Q3-2020 earnings release unveiled the Iris Xe MAX brand under which it will launch its first discrete GPUs in over two decades. The company also disclosed that it has started shipping the product (i.e. commenced mass production and started shipping volumes to its partners). The first Iris Xe MAX discrete GPU is expected to be based on the Xe LP architecture, and we expect it to target the mobile market, as the likes of ASUS has already developed ultraportables featuring the discrete GPU. Intel unveiled a proof-of-concept of an asymmetric explicit multi-GPU technology which could see the Iris Xe iGPU of the 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processor work in tandem with a discrete GPU based on the same architecture, which is now turning out to be the Iris Xe MAX. We expect the Iris Xe MAX to make life miserable to entry-level mobile dGPUs from NVIDIA and AMD.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP470EZ Among First to Feature Intel DG1 Graphics

ASUS unveiled a special variant of its 2020 VivoBook Flip 14 convertible notebook, which features the "First Intel Discrete Graphics," expected to be the Iris Xe DG1 discrete GPU based on the Xe LP architecture. Intel appears to be promoting the combination of the Iris Xe dGPU with its 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processors, as a potent ultra portable computing solution with rich graphics and mobile gaming. This eats into the markets of entry-level dGPUs by NVIDIA and AMD. Intel is also developing an iGPU+dGPU Multi-Adapter technology that could leverage asymmetric explicit multi-GPU to accelerate gaming performance. The VivoBook Flip 14 TP470EZ features a 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display, and so the combination of the "Tiger Lake" Xe LP iGPU and dGPU could take a swing at Full HD AAA and e-sports gaming.

Intel 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" & Xe Graphics Launch Event: Live Blog

Intel today launches its 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processors that introduce several new technologies on the backs of new IP. As described in the Architecture Day, "Tiger Lake" is built on the 10 nm SuperFin process, and combines new "Willow Cove" CPU cores with the first commercial debut of the Xe Gen12 graphics architecture that Intel is betting big on, to make a stab at the consumer graphics and scalar compute markets. Join us in this live-blog.

Update 16:00 UTC: GB (Gregory Bryant, EVP Client), leads the event from the comfort of his home.
Update 16:04 UTC: Here it is, the "world's best processor for thin and light laptops. You'll notice that like most Intel U-segment chips, this is an MCM of the processor and PCH die. Intel bases its "world's best" claims on a per-segment basis.

Apple's Custom GPU is Reportedly Faster than Intel iGPU

When Apple announced their transition form Intel processors to Apple Silicon, we were left wondering how the silicon will perform and what characteristics will it bring with it. According to the latest report from The China Times, the Apple custom GPU found inside the new Apple Silicon will bring better performance and energy efficiency compared to Intel iGPU it replaces. The 5 nm GPU manufactured on TSMC's N5 semiconductor manufacturing node is supposedly codenamed "Lifuka" and it brings Apple's best to the table. Planned to power a 12-inch MacBook, the GPU will be paired with a custom CPU based on Arm ISA as well. The same chips powering iPhone and iPad devices will go into MacBook devices, with the TDP increased as MacBook will probably have much higher cooling capacity. The first Apple Silicon MacBook will come in H2 of 2021.
Here is the copy of a full report from The China Times below:

Intel 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" Promotional Videos Leak

Promotional videos of Intel 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processors leaked to the web courtesy h0x0d on Twitter. It confirms the new corporate identity of Intel, along with its new logo artistic language. It also confirms the new EVO Powered by Core brand extension, along with a separate case badge for notebooks that use Iris Xe discrete graphics (DG1) in addition to the Xe Gen12 iGPU of "Tiger Lake." Intel has a technology that can get the Xe LP iGPU and dGPU to work in tandem. VideoCardz compiled some interesting frames from the promotional videos, revealing bits such as clock speeds of up to 4.80 GHz (boost), 3.11 GHz (base), the first "Tiger Lake" parts being 4-core/8-thread, the new 10 nm SuperFin transistor, wafer- and die shots of "Tiger Lake" 4c+96EU die, and unless we're mistaken, pictures of a "Tiger Lake" package that uses a DRAM (HBM?) stack on-package, using EMIB. h0x0d also posted videos of the Lenovo Yoga 9i and HP Spectre notebooks based on "Tiger Lake."

Microsoft's New Windows Update Allows GPU Selection According to Workload

Microsoft's future update to Windows 10 will add a GPU-aware selector that allows both the OS and the user to adaptively select the best GPU for each usage scenario. The preview release of Windows 10 build 20190 features this in two ways. First is an OS-level layer that automagically selects the best GPU for the task at hand between installed options (let's assume, an Intel iGPU and your discrete GPU). For web browsing or productivity it's expected the OS will switch to the less power-hungry option, whilst for gaming and its all-cylinders philosophy, it would launch the discrete option.

However, if you're not much into ceding that kind of control to the OS itself, you can override which specific GPU is activated for a specific application. This change is made via the Settings panel with a drop down menu in Graphics Settings. This feature should be a particular boon for laptops that don't feature a power-saving technology that enables this kind of behavior, but there are some other usages for power users that might come in handy with this OS-level integration.

AMD "Cezanne" APU Spotted: Retains Renoir's iGPU, Updates CPU to "Zen 3"

AMD's 5th Generation Ryzen "Cezanne" APU sprung up on SiSoft SANDRA database, with big hints as to the areas where the company could innovate next. Apparently, "Cezanne" is a very similar silicon to "Renoir." It appears to feature the same iGPU solution, based on the "Vega" architecture. We're now learning that the iGPU even has the same core configuration, with up to 512 stream processors, and a likely bump in iGPU engine clocks over the Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" chips.

Much of the innovation is with the CPU component. Although the CPU core count is not yet known, the company is deploying its "Zen 3" microarchitecture, which sees all cores on the silicon sharing a large common slab of L3 cache. The "Vega" based iGPU should still perform better than the solution on "Renoir," as it's assisted by higher engine clocks, and possibly a higher IPC CPU component. In the SANDRA screenshot, the iGPU was shown bearing 1.85 GHz engine clocks, which amounts to a 100 MHz speed-bump compared to the engine clocks of the Ryzen 4000H and 4000U.

Coreboot Code Hints at Intel "Alder Lake" Core Configurations

Intel's 12th Gen Core EVO "Alder Lake" processors in the LGA1700 package could introduce the company's hybrid core technology to the desktop platform. Coreboot code leaked to the web by Coelacanth's Dream sheds fascinating insights to the way Intel is segmenting these chips. The 10 nm chip will see Intel combine high-performance "Golden Cove" CPU cores with energy-efficient "Gracemont" CPU cores, and up to three tiers of the company's Gen12 Xe integrated graphics. The "Alder Lake" desktop processor has up to eight big cores, up to eight small ones, and up to three tiers of the iGPU (GT0 being disabled iGPU, GT1 being the lower tier, and GT2 being the higher tier).

Segmentation between the various brand extensions appears to be primarily determined by the number of big cores. The topmost SKU has all 8 big and 8 small cores enabled, along with GT1 (lower) tier of the iGPU (possibly to free up power headroom for those many cores). The slightly lower SKU has 8 big cores, 6 small cores, and GT1 graphics. Next up, is 8 big cores, 4 small cores, and GT1 graphics. Then 8+2+GT1, and lastly, 8+0+GT1. The next brand extension is based around 6 big cores, being led by 6+8+GT2, and progressively lower number of small cores and their various iGPU tiers. The lower brand extension is based around 4 big cores with similar segmentation of small cores, and the entry-level parts have 2 big cores, and up to 8 small cores.

AMD Ryzen 7 4700G "Renoir" iGPU Showing Playing Doom Eternal 1080p by Itself

Hot on the heels of a June story of a 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processor's Gen12 Xe iGPU playing "Battlefield V" by itself (without a graphics card), Tech Epiphany bring us an equally delicious video of an AMD Ryzen 7 4700G desktop processor's Radeon Vega 8 iGPU running "Doom Eternal" by itself. id Software's latest entry to the iconic franchise is well optimized for the PC platform to begin with, but it's impressive to see the Vega 8 munch through this game at 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) no resolution scaling, with mostly "High" details. The game is shown running at frame-rates ranging between 42 to 47 FPS, with over 37 FPS in close-quarters combat (where the enemy models are rendered with more detail).

With 70% resolution scale, frame rates are shown climbing 50 FPS. At this point, when the detail preset is lowered to "Medium," the game inches close to the 60 FPS magic figure, swinging between 55 to 65 FPS. The game is also shown utilizing all 16 logical processors of this 8-core/16-thread processor. Despite just 8 "Vega" compute units, amounting to 512 stream processors, the iGPU in the 4700G has freedom to dial up engine clocks (GPU clocks) all the way up to 2.10 GHz, which helps it overcome much of the performance deficit compared to the Vega 11 solution found with the previous generation "Picasso" silicon. Watch the Tech Epiphany video presentation in the source link below.

Intel to Detail Xe Graphics on August 13

Intel is expected to reveal technical details of its upcoming Xe graphics architecture on August 13, according to a tweet by Intel Graphics that has since been deleted. Tom's Hardware believes the reveal is still on the cards. "You've waited. You've wondered. We'll deliver. In 20 days, expect more details on Xe graphics," the tweet read. Senior Fellow and Director of Graphics Architecture at Intel, David Blythe is expected to present a technical brief on the Xe graphics architecture at a Hot Chips 2020 virtual event on August 17.

These technical reveals are closely timed with the launch of "Tiger Lake," Intel's first commercial debut of Xe as an iGPU solution the chipmaker refers to as "Gen12" for consistency with older generations of integrated graphics. Xe is far from designed for just iGPU or small dGPUs, with the architecture being scalable all the way up to large scalar compute processors the size of beer mug coasters. Even as an iGPU, Xe is formidable, as it was recently shown playing AAA games by itself. Recent commentary from Intel at its Q2 2020 financial results provided strong hints of Xe dGPUs being de-coupled from Intel's foundry woes, and possibly headed for third-party foundries such as Samsung or TSMC.

Intel Linux Patch Confirms "Alder Lake" is a Hybrid Core Processor

A Linux kernel patch contributed and signed off by Intel confirms that its upcoming Core "Alder Lake" processor will feature a hybrid core topology, much like Core Hybrid "Lakefield." The patch references "Lakefield" and "Alder Lake" under "Hybrid Core/Atom Processors." The patch possibly gives the Linux kernel awareness of the hybrid core topology, so it can schedule its work between the two types of cores on the silicon accordingly, and avoid rotating between the two core groups. Under the Android project, Linux has been aware of a similar tech from Arm since 2013.

Analogous with Arm big.LITTLE, the Intel Hybrid Core technology involves two kinds of CPU cores on a processor die, the first kind being "high performance," and the second being "low power." On "Lakefield," Intel deployed one "Sunny Cove" high performance core, and four "Tremont" low power cores. The low power cores keep the machine ticking through the vast majority of time when processing workloads requiring the high performance cores aren't present. With "Alder Lake," Intel is expected to scale up this concept, with the silicon rumored to feature eight "Golden Cove" high performance cores, and eight "Gracemont" low power ones. The chip is also expected to feature a Gen12 Xe iGPU.

AMD Announces Renoir for Desktop: Ryzen 4000G, PRO 4000G, and Athlon PRO 3000G

AMD today announced its 4th Generation Ryzen 4000G and Ryzen PRO 4000G desktop processors for pre-built OEM desktops. The company also expanded its entry-level Athlon 3000G series and debuted the Athlon PRO 3000G series. The Ryzen 4000G and PRO 4000G mark the Socket AM4 desktop debut of the 7 nm "Renoir" silicon, which combines up to 8 CPU cores based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, with a Radeon Vega 8 iGPU. These processors benefit from the 65 W TDP and increased power limits of the desktop platform to dial up CPU- and iGPU engine clock speeds significantly over the Ryzen 4000U and 4000H mobile processors based on the same silicon. The new Athlon 3000G-series and Athlon PRO 3000G-series parts are based on a 12 nm die that has "Zen+" CPU cores.

All of the processor models announced today are OEM-only, meaning that you'll only find them on pre-built consumer- and commercial desktops by the likes of HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc. Not even the system-integrator (SI) channel (eg: Maingear, Origin PC, etc.,) gets these chips. OEMs will pair these processors with motherboards based on the AMD B550 chipset, although the chips are compatible with the X570 chipset, too. The Ryzen PRO 4000G processors are targeted at commercial desktops that are part of large business environments, and launches along with the new AMD PRO565 chipset. Since they are OEM-only, the company did not reveal pricing for any of these chips. They did however mention that for the DIY retail channel, they do plan to update their product stack with processors that have integrated graphics at a later time (without going into specifics of the said time).

Windows 10 Scheduler Aware of "Lakefield" Hybrid Topologies, Benchmarked

A performance review of the Intel Core i5-L16G7 "Lakefield" Hybrid processor (powering a Samsung Galaxy S notebook) was recently published by Golem.de, which provides an in-depth look at Intel's ambitious new processor design that sets in motion the two new philosophies Intel will build its future processors on - packaging modularity provided by innovative new chip packaging technologies such as Foveros; and Hybrid processing, where there are two sets of CPU cores with vastly different microarchitectures and significantly different performance/Watt curves that let the processor respond to different kinds of workloads while keeping power-draw low. This concept was commercially proliferated first by Arm, with its big.LITTLE topology that took to the market around 2013. The "Lakefield" i5-L16G7 combines a high-performance "Sunny Cove" CPU core with four smaller "Tremont" cores, and Gen11 iGPU.

The Golem.de report reveals that Windows 10 thread scheduler is aware of the hybrid multi-core topology of "Lakefield," and that it is able to classify workloads at a very advanced level so the right kind of core is in use at any given time. The "Sunny Cove" core is called upon when interactive vast serial processing loads are in demand. This could even be something like launching applications, new tabs in a multi-process web-browser, or less-parallelized media encoding. The four "Tremont" cores keep the machine "cruising," handling much of the operational workload of an application, and is also better tuned to cope with highly parallelized workloads. This is similar to a hybrid automobile, where the combustion engine provides tractive effort from 0 kph, while the electric motor sustains a cruising speed.

Intel "Alder Lake" CPU Core Segmentation Sketched

Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors in the LGA1700 package could see the desktop debut of Intel's Hybrid Technology that it introduced with the mobile segment "Lakefield" processor. Analogous to Arm big.LITTLE, Intel Hybrid Technology is a multi-core processor topology that sees the combination of high-performance CPU cores with smaller high-efficiency cores that keep the PC ticking through the vast majority of the time/tasks when the high-performance cores aren't needed and hence power-gated. The high-performance cores are woken up only as needed. "Lakefield" combines one "Sunny Cove" high-performance core with four "Tremont" low-power cores. "Alder Lake-S" will take this concept further.

According to Intel slides leaked to the web by HXL (aka @9550pro), the 10 nm-class "Alder Lake-S" silicon will physically feature 8 "Golden Cove" high-performance cores, and 8 "Gracemont" low-power cores, along with a Gen12 iGPU that comes in three tiers - GT0 (iGPU disabled), GT1 (some execution units disabled), and GT2 (all execution units enabled). In its top trim with 125 W TDP, "Alder Lake-S" will be a "16-core" processor with 8 each of "Golden Cove" and "Gracemont" cores enabled. There will be 80 W TDP models with the same 8+8 core configuration, which are probably "locked" parts. Lastly, there the lower wrungs of the product stack will completely lack "small" cores, and be 6+0, with only high-performance cores. A recurring theme with all parts is the GT1 trim of the Gen12 iGPU.

Some AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Ship in Retail Boxes Meant for "Picasso" APUs

HKEPC's retail market scouts discovered that some AMD Ryzen 5 3600 desktop processors are shipping in paperboard boxes meant for the company's Ryzen 3000G series "Picasso" desktop APUs. Depending on factors such as iGPU, or the size of the included cooling solution, AMD uses common box sizes among various processor models. The largest cube-shaped boxes hold SKUs with the largest Wraith Prism RGB coolers, a slightly smaller, through still cube-shaped box is meant for SKUs with the Wraith Spire. Smaller cuboid boxes are meant for SKUs that either have the smaller Wraith Stealth coolers, or completely exclude a cooling solution.

Much of the SKU differentiation comes from a prominent brand extension (3/5/7/9) motif on the front-face, besides the top label that lists out the model name, OPN, serial number, and doubles up as a security seal. Boxes for the company's APUs (processors with integrated graphics), however, have a prominent "processor with AMD Radeon graphics" chrome insert on the front- and top faces. The 3600 shipping in such a box could confuse some buyers, particularly those shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, as they'd expect an iGPU where none exists. It's only the SKU sticker on the top-face that has the cautionary note "discrete graphics required." Other retail boxes (meant for non-APU products) have this note prominently printed on the box.

Apple to Develop the Metal Family of GPUs, Dump AMD Radeon

In the next big step toward complete silicon independence, Apple is planning to dump AMD as a supplier of discrete GPUs in the near future, closely following its decision to dump Intel and the x86 machine architecture in favor of its own SoCs based on the Arm machine architecture. The company is developing its own line of discrete GPUs under the "Metal GPU Family," a name borrowed from its own Metal graphics API.

This explosive bit of information comes from a WWDC 2020 presentation slide posted by Longhorn (@never_released) on Twitter. The slide suggests that along with the processor, Apple is making a clean break with its graphics hardware. The SoCs powering client-segment Macs, such as future iMacs or MacBooks, could feature iGPUs based on this graphics architecture, while larger platforms such as MacBook Pros, Mac Pros, and iMac Pros of the future could feature Apple's own discrete GPUs.

Apple's Homebrew Mac Processor to Leverage Arm big.LITTLE

The first homebrew processor for Macs by Apple could leverage Arm big.LITTLE technology, according to a slide from a developer-relations presentation leaked by Erdi Özüağ of Donanim Haber. Apple is referring to the setup as "asymmetric cores" in its documentation, although it essentially is big.LITTLE, a technology that's been implemented by Arm SoC vendors since 2012. It combines groups of low-power (high-efficiency) and high-performance (low-efficiency) cores in response to processing demands by software, with the high-performance cores only been engaged when needed. Intel only recently introduced its rendition of this tech, called Hybrid Processing, with its Core "Lakefield" processor, and looks to scale it up with future chips such as "Meteor Lake."

Besides a multi-core big.LITTLE CPU, the Apple SoC features dedicated AI acceleration hardware, including a neural engine and matrix-multiplication hardware (dubbed ML accelerators), a dedicated video hardware encoder and decoder, and memory controller that's optimized for UMA (unified memory) for the iGPU and system memory. Apple has already started shipping Mac Mini prototypes with an Arm-based processor to its ISVs along with a special version of MacOS "Big Sur" and a wealth of software development kit to help port their x86 Mac software over to the new machine architecture.

Intel "Tiger Lake" Gen12 Xe iGPU Shown Playing "Battlefield V" By Itself

In what is possibly the first taste of Intel's Gen12 Xe iGPU running a AAA game, Ryan Shrout, chief performance strategist at Intel, showed off a prototype notebook running a "Tiger Lake" processor that is playing "Battlefield V" by itself (without discrete graphics). "Perks of the job! Took a prototype Tiger Lake system for a spin on Battlefield V to stretch its legs. Impressive thin and light gaming perf with Xe graphics! Early drivers/sw, but it's the first time I've seen this game run like this on integrated gfx. More later this year!," said Shrout.

The gameplay video (linked as source below), shows a playable experience for "Battlefield V" with Gen12 Xe, with 1080p at around 30 Hz. It only serves to appetize us for what would come next, when Intel scales up this IP to discrete GPUs. The Gen12 Xe iGPU appears capable of e-sports gaming with the right settings, and could spell serious trouble for cheap dGPU solutions such as the GeForce MX series or Radeon RX 530 series.

AMD Preparing Additional Ryzen 4000G Renoir series SKUs, Ryzen 7 Pro 4750G Benchmarked

AMD Ryzen 4000 series of desktop APUs are set to be released next month as a quiet launch. What we expected to see is a launch covering only a few models ranging from Ryzen 3 to Ryzen 7 level, meaning that there would be configurations equipped with anything from 4C/8T to 8C/16T. In the beginning thanks to all the leaks we expected to see six models (listed in the table below), however thanks to discovery, we could be looking at even more SKUs of the Renoir family of APUs. Mentioned in the table are some new entries to both consumer and pro-grade users which means AMD will probably do a launch of both editions, possibly on the same day. We are not sure if that is the case, however, it is just a speculation.
AMD Ryzen 4000G Renoir SKUs

Apple to Announce its own Mac Processor at WWDC (Late June)

Apple is planning to launch its own high-performance processors designed for Macs at the 2020 WWDC, held in the week of 22 June, 2020. This would be the the first step among many toward the replacement of Intel processors and the x86 machine architecture from the Apple Mac ecosystem, in the same fashion as the company replaced PowerPC with x86 last decade. Apple has codenamed the process of graduating to the new machine architecture "Kalamata," and besides detailing the new processor and its architecture, the company could announce a large-scale developer support initiative to help Mac software vendors to transition to the new architecture in time for the first Macs with the new processors to roll out in 2021.

A Bloomberg report on the new processors states that the chips will be based on the "same technology" as the company's A-series SoCs for iOS devices, meaning that Apple will leverage the Arm machine architecture, and has probably developed a high performance CPU core that can match Intel's x64 cores in IPC and efficiency. Macs based on the new processors, will however run MacOS and not iOS, which means much of the clean-break transition woes between PPC and x86 Macs are bound to return, but probably better managed by software vendors. It also remains to be seen how Apple handles graphics. The company could scale up the Metal-optimized iGPU found in its A-series SoCs on its new Mac processor, while also giving them the platform I/O capability to support discrete graphics from companies such as AMD.

Intel "Tiger Lake" vs. AMD "Renoir" a Pitched Battle on 3DMark Database

Intel's 11th generation Core i7-1165G7 "Tiger Lake-U" processor armed with 4 "Willow Cove" cores and Gen12 Xe graphics fights a pitched battle against AMD Ryzen 7 4800U "Renoir" (8 "Zen 2" cores and Radeon Vega 8 graphics), courtesy of some digging by Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK. The 4800U beats the i7-1165G7 by a wafer-thin margin of 1.9% despite double the CPU core-count and a supposedly advanced iGPU, with 6331 points as against 6211 points of the Intel chip, in 3DMark 11. A breakdown of the score reveals fascinating details of the battle.

The Core i7-1165G7 beats the Ryzen 7 4800U in graphics tests, with a graphics score of 6218 points, against 6104 points of the 4800U, resulting in a 1.9% lead. In graphics tests 1, 2, and 3, the Gen12 Xe iGPU is 7.3-8.9% faster than the Radeon Vega 8, through translating to 2-4 FPS. The Intel iGPU crosses the 30 FPS mark in these three tests. With graphics test 4, the AMD iGPU ends up 8.8% faster. Much of AMD's performance gains come from its massive 55.6% physics score lead thanks to its 8-core/16-thread CPU, which ends up beating the 4-core/8-thread "Willow Cove," with the 4800U scoring 12494 points compared to 8028 points for the i7-1165G7. This CPU muscle also plays a big role in graphics test 4. This battle provides sufficient basis to speculate that "Tiger Lake-U" will have a very uphill task matching "Renoir-U" chips such as the Ryzen 7 4800U, and the upcoming Ryzen 9 4900U (designed to compete with the i7-1185G7).

Intel 8-core/16-thread "Rocket Lake-S" Processor Engineering Sample 3DMarked

The "Rocket Lake-S" microarchitecture by Intel sees the company back-port its next-generation "Willow Cove" CPU core to the existing 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process in the form of an 8-core die with a Gen12 Xe iGPU. An engineering sample of one such processor made it to the Futuremark database. Clocked at 3.20 GHz with 4.30 GHz boost frequency, the "Rocket Lake-S" ES was put through 3DMark "Fire Strike" and "Time Spy," with its iGPU in play, instead of a discrete graphics card.

In "Fire Strike," the "Rocket Lake-S" ES scores 18898 points in the physics test, 1895 points in the graphics tests, and an overall score of 1746 points. With "Time Spy," the overall score is 605, with a CPU score of 4963 points, and graphics score of 524. The 11th generation Core "Rocket Lake-S" processor is expected to be compatible with existing Intel 400-series chipset motherboards, and feature a PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex. Several 400-series chipset motherboards have PCIe gen 4.0 preparation for exactly this. The increased IPC from the "Willow Cove" cores is expected to make the 8-core "Rocket Lake-S" a powerful option for gaming and productivity tasks that don't scale across too many cores.

Intel Showcases Ice Lake iGPU Performance in Premiere Pro 14.2

As we reported earlier this week, the release of Adobe Premiere Pro 14.2 brought GPU acceleration to select NVIDIA and AMD GPUs taking advantage of NVIDIA's NVENC chips to boost encoding and decoding speeds. Intel has now showcased the improvements to encoding and decoding with Intel Quick Sync Video (QSV) on 11th generation iGPUs found in mobile Ice Lake chips with Adobe Premiere Pro 14.2.

Compared to the previous 9th generation graphics found in Skylake and Kabylake CPUs the new 11th generation iGPUs perform anywhere from 49-82% better. While impressive, these performance gains can only be found on limited low power 10 nm mobile chips with a maximum of four cores and are yet to arrive on desktop platforms.

Intel Gen12 Xe iGPU Twice as Fast as Gen11, Enters AMD Vega iGPU Territory

Intel Xe graphics architecture makes its commercial debut as an iGPU solution in the company's upcoming "Tiger Lake" mobile processors. The iGPU can be configured along three tiers, with GT1 featuring 48 execution units (EUs), GT2 80 EUs, and GT3 leading the pack with 96 EUs, all within a 15 W envelope (for the total chip). There's a higher tier still of GT3 that comes with higher boost frequencies, tapping into the chip's overall increased 28 W TDP, but this variant of "Tiger Lake" could likely be an Apple-exclusive like its "Ice Lake" based predecessor.

NotebookCheck compiled a 3DMark FireStrike comparison between the various tiers of the Xe iGPU, and compared it to the Gen11 iGPU found with current-generation "Ice Lake-U" processors. The graph doesn't put out scores, but relative performance. Apparently, the 48 EU version of Gen12 Xe is a little over twice as fast as Gen11 GT1, and faster than even the 64 EU Gen11 GT2. The Gen12 GT2 with 80 EUs is around 1.7x faster than the Gen11 GT2 (64 EU). The 96 EU GT3 trim is over twice as fast, and its 28 W variant faster still. These performance give Gen12 a shot against AMD's Radeon Vega-based iGPU solution found in "Renoir." AMD has slimmed the number of CUs down to 8 (512 SP) with "Renoir," down from 11 CUs in the previous generation, compensating for it with higher GPU engine clocks.
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