Intel Labs paper to reveal details of energy efficient graphics chip

JC Torres - Feb 10, 2014, 8:17pm CST
Intel Labs paper to reveal details of energy efficient graphics chip

Intel may still have a throne over at the PC world, but in the mobile land it still has to conquer its own territory. Part of Intel’s problems lie with a graphics processor that is unfit for mobile devices, but the chip maker might already have a solution ready for some real-world testing.

When it comes to raw power on desktops and laptops, Intel’s CPUs sit at the top. There it can pull out almost all the stops when it comes to squeezing out the best performance. Not so on mobile devices which, by nature and design, are more resource-constrained. Here, processors are constrained by two very important factors: heat and energy usage.

Intel has lately been making inroads in the mobile space as well, but it is still being held back by the graphical side of the equation. Until recently, Intel’s integrated graphics processors (IGP) haven’t really been up to snuff, especially when compared with discrete GPUs from the likes of NVIDIA and AMD. With tablets and smartphones today starting to demand and require more sophisticated graphics capabilities, Intel needs to also step up its game with graphics chips that are not only more capable but also more energy efficient.

Such an Intel graphics chip might soon be a reality. Intel is revealing that it already has a research chip that has achieved some rather interesting results. It has managed to manufacture, using a 22 nm process, a graphics execution core that is able to scale its performance and power consumption as needed. It supposedly boasts of a 2.7 fold increase in GFLOPS/Watt performance, or the amount of 1 billion floating point operations it can do per second per watt of power. But more importantly, the chip was able to achieve a significant 40 percent improvement in energy efficiency, definitely a requirement for any high-performance graphics chip.

This GPU, however, is still in the research stages and shouldn’t be expected to land in any final product soon. Interestingly, the research is said to have been funded by the US government. Intel will be presenting the research paper at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco today and will have a live demo ready at the Golden Gate Hall as well.


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