Is Intel Iris better than Intel UHD?


Another question we get asked is ‘Is Intel Iris better than Intel UHD?’ Yes, it is atleast 3.5x-4.5x better than the Intel UHD.

As you may know, Intel has multiple series of graphics chip. They are known as the HD Graphics for normal PCs, the Iris chipset which is better than the HD chipset and UHD chipsets for laptops/tablets/media boxes.

So if you are wondering what is the difference between these two GPUs then this article will help you with that knowledge.

Intel’s Iris Chipset is actually just a re-branded version of their high end laptop GT3e GPU. The difference being that it comes clocked at 1150 MHz compared to 950 MHz clock speed on desktop models. That boost was achieved by reducing the TDP from 47W down to around 37W(varies). There are other changes too but do note that this is still based on the HD 5500 architecture. There are no architectural changes, only clock speed and power management.

The 4th generation iGPUs include Intel HD Graphics 4600 (GT2) as the lowest tier, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 (GT3e), Intel Iris Graphics (GT3) and lastly, standard Intel HD Graphics which will be included in Pentium and Celeron CPUs (more info)

Intel Iris Pro graphics integrated into a Haswell-ULT system or a high end Broadwell laptop not only gives it a huge battery boost but also the ability to play some games at med – low settings with playable frame rates. Also you would be able to run any of the latest games from 2014-2015 but at low settings.

Now, if we go a little lower to the iGPUs which can be found in a vast majority of laptops today, Intel HD Graphics 4400/4600/5000 and 5300 (GT2), you’ll get better performance than the previous generation but they won’t run games at med – high settings like their Iris counterparts. On some occasions these GPUs will even struggle on med-low settings. The most noticeable difference between them is battery life; Iris Pro gives up to 3 times more compared to HD 6000.

It’s worth mentioning that models featuring faster GT3e graphics would slightly outperform GT2 GPUs with respect to performance and features but, they will consume more power and therefore drain your battery faster and also cost a bit more.

Iris Pro Graphics 5200 is the fastest onboard graphics you can get on a standard chip as of mid – 2014. The whole 5th Generation Core i7/i5 CPUs come with this GPU for laptops, not to mention it takes a lot less space compared to a dedicated card and what’s best – it consumes very little power (about 20-30 watts). It offers performance similar to middle – high end discrete GPUs from the previous generation but unlike those, it has all the features you might need integrated into one package. It supports DirectX 11.1/11.2, OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.2 technologies making it capable of running most titles available today at low – medium settings smoothly or even higher settings if you have a more powerful GPU to back it up.

One might say that Iris Pro doesn’t have the same number of CUDA cores as an ASUS R9 280X , but one has to take into consideration that all those additional cores are there to make your display run at 60+ FPS, while here you get visual quality enhancements instead. Another important factor is RAM speed, which will affect overall performance. The iGPU’s advantages are its low power consumption and the fact that it comes for “free”, which means you don’t need to buy a separate graphics card to get better visuals in supported titles or simply enable AMD FreeSync / NVIDIA G-SYNC feature in supported monitors for smoother gameplay without screen tearing / stuttering .

Intel Iris Pro 580 vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050

The performance of the HD 630 is pretty much in line with that of the  Intel Iris Pro 580 , which means you should not expect any major improvements over last generation’s HD 530 . The iGPU has 24 execution units, while its competitor has just 640 CUDA cores. However, keep in mind that each SMM inside Pascal-based GPUs features 128 CUDA cores, so despite having fewer cores at their disposal, the GeForce GTX 1050 will still outperform Intel’s solution in games or other applications making use of GPU compute capabilities.

As for memory speed, there are versions operating at 1.75 GHz (6 GT/s) and 2.5 GHz (10 GT/s). Unfortunately, actual bandwidth will be much lower than the figures above and closer to 25.6 GB/s (1.75 GHz) and 50 GB/s (2.5 GHz).

The Intel UHD 630 is an integrated graphics chip that will probably end up in cheap notebooks like Dell’s Inspiron lineup, but it could also show up as a pricier option in high-end models, such as the XPS 15 or even Alienware’s Area-51 machines. The iGPU is not meant for gamers because it lacks dedicated memory and relies on system RAM only. However, Intel claims it brings about 40% better 4K video playback compared to before and can handle some eSports titles at moderate settings.

If you are still having issues gaming on an Intel Iris graphics card, get in touch with one of our technicians.