Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Intel Chips Give Me Hope Of Better Graphics And Maybe Retina Display

Source:  Engadget, Anandtech.

Updated:  Appleinsider states the current Macbook Airs uses the low-power U-series chips which would might mean that any Haswell chips Apple employs for the Airs should only have the HD 5000, not the higher Iris or Iris Pro.  The HD 5000 would provide around a 50% increase in graphics performance. Whether that is enough to power a Retina Display on the Macbook Air and provide it with sufficient if not longer battery life is the main issue.

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Intel released details about their forthcoming CPU, Haswell, with bette graphics that could really provide more headroom for your next laptop, specifically, I'm talking about the Macbooks with Retina Displays.  The Macbook Pro and the Macbook Retina Display models both now sport Intel's native graphics processor but only the Pro version has a dedicated graphics processor unit.

The current Intel graphics unit is the HD 4000.  The new Haswell chips will sport the HD 5000.  Aside from an increase in number designation, there will also be the Iris versions, 5100 and 5200, that provides twice the performance of the HD 4000.

It'll support more memory at 128 MB, twice the bandwidth, 4K display, and faster encoding/decoding.  In general, it's just faster.  But will we really see the difference?

Well, probably depends on what you would do with laptops powered by these new chips.  Obviously, if you're using your laptop, say a Macbook, to surf the Web or check e-mails and social media, probably won't see a big difference.

However, if you do some heavier duty work on your Macbook, you likely will see a bigger change in performance.  Currently, I'm on a late-2010 11" Macbook Air.  It's doing it for me but I am almost ready for an upgrade.

And as a part-time gamer, I welcome any increase in graphics performance and frame-rate.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is whether these new performing graphics units will allow Apple to fit Retina Displays on the Macbook Airs while maintaining performance and battery life.  Basically, better performance and displays without trade-offs.

Haswell with better graphics performance could be what Apple is waiting for.  Personally, I feel the Macbook with Retina Display works well enough but labors when it's asked to perform some heavy lifting.  It's one reason why I've waited.

Furthermore, I've gotten used to the light weight of the 11" Macbook Air and I'm not going back.
And yes, I've had this little guy do some graphics intensive work and it looks like Haswell could allow that as well as powering a Retina Display.

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