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Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics review: the end of mid-range GPUs?

Intel Haswell processor with GT3e graphics tested

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Conclusion

With its latest generation of integrated graphics, Intel set out to rival the performance of the mid-range mobile Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics card. And the tests leave no doubt about it, both 3DMark and the gaming benchmarks confirm that the Iris Pro Graphics 5200 is on the same level of or slightly below that of the GT 650M. That really is an achievement for an integrated GPU. The Pro Graphics 5200 is on average about 2.5 times faster than the most powerful integrated graphics from Intel's previous generation processors. Until we're able to test laptops with AMD Richland CPUs, for now Intel has the fastest integrated graphics. 

Obviously, Iris Pro Graphics 5200 isn't a budget solution. The size of the CPU is huge, and then there's the special 128 MB eDRAM chip. Intel currently charges laptop manufacturers $440 for the Core i7 4750HQ. When you compare that to the Core i7 4702HQ, which has roughly the same CPU power (and GT2 or HD Graphics 4600), the price difference is $60 for the faster graphics. How much notebook manufacturers exactly pay for Nvidia GPUs is of course kept under wraps, but off-the-record information puts a GeForce GT 740M GPU with 1 GB GDDR5 memory around $50. A GeForce GT 750M with 2 GB GDDR5 costs them around $100. So based on those estimates, we can conclude that Intel can compete with mid-range AMD and Nvidia GPUs in terms of performance, but not yet in terms of pricing.

Ignoring the financial side for a moment, it remains very impressive what Intel managed to achieve with its new Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics. A performance increase of 2.5 times over the previous generation, that is something you don't see often. When you consider that Intel is also investing heavily in its driver team and their partnerships with game developers, it's clear that AMD and Nvidia have their work cut out for them in the mid-range GPU segment. And that's something consumers can only be happy about, a third party to keep the two established powers on their toes.  


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