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Intel HD Graphics

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Intel HD Graphics

Intel HD and Iris Graphics
Rendering support
Direct3D Direct3D 10.1+ (see capabilities)[1]
Shader Model 4+ (see capabilities)[1]
OpenCL Depending on version (see capabilities)[1]
OpenGL OpenGL 2.1+ (see capabilities)[1][2][3]
Predecessor Intel GMA
Core i5 processor with integrated HD Graphics 2000

Intel HD Graphics is a series of Intel integrated graphics processors introduced in 2010 that are manufactured on the same package or die as the central processor.

Intel Iris Graphics and Intel Iris Pro Graphics were introduced in 2013 with some models of Haswell processors as high-performance versions of HD Graphics. Iris Pro Graphics was the first in the series to incorporate embedded DRAM.[4]

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Intel integrated graphics represented, in units, 65% of all PC graphics processor shipments.[5] However, this percentage does not represent actual adoption as many of these shipped units end up in systems outfitted with discrete graphics cards.


Before the introduction of Intel HD Graphics, Intel integrated graphics were built into the motherboard's northbridge, as part of the Intel's Hub Architecture. This included Intel Extreme Graphics and the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator. As part of the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) design, the northbridge was eliminated and graphics processing was moved to the same die with the central processing unit (CPU).

The previous Intel integrated graphics solution, Intel GMA, had a reputation of lacking performance and features, and therefore was not considered to be a good choice for more demanding graphics applications, such as 3D gaming. The performance increases brought by Intel's HD Graphics made the products competitive with integrated graphics adapters made by its rivals, Nvidia and ATI/AMD.[6] Intel HD Graphics, featuring minimal power consumption that is important in laptops, was capable enough that PC manufacturers often stopped offering discrete graphics options in their low-end and mid-range laptop lines.

With the introduction of "Iris Graphics" and "Iris Pro Graphics" lines, "HD Graphics" name has been relegated to denoting Intel's lower-end integrated graphics products.



In January 2010, Clarkdale and Arrandale processors with Ironlake graphics were released, and branded as Celeron, Pentium, or Core with HD Graphics:[7]

  • HD Graphics

Sandy Bridge

In January 2011, the Sandy Bridge processors were released, introducing the "second generation" HD Graphics:

  • HD Graphics – six execution units[1]
  • HD Graphics 2000 – six execution units and additional features,[2] up to 60 GFLOPS at 1250 MHz
  • HD Graphics 3000 – 12 execution units and additional features,[2] up to 129.6 GFLOPS at 1350 MHz

Ivy Bridge

On 24 April 2012, Ivy Bridge was released, introducing the "third generation" of Intel's HD graphics:[8]

  • HD Graphics – six execution units[3]
  • HD Graphics 2500 – six execution units and additional features,[2] up to 110.4 GFLOPS at 1150 MHz
  • HD Graphics 4000 – 16 execution units and additional features,[2] up to 332.8 GFLOPS at 1300 MHz

For some low-power mobile CPUs there is limited video decoding support, while none of the desktop CPUs have this limitation.


Intel Haswell i7-4771 CPU, which contains integrated HD Graphics 4600 (GT2)

On 12 September 2012, Haswell CPUs were announced, with four models of integrated GPUs:

  • HD Graphics – GT1, 10 execution units, up to 184 GFLOPS at 1150 MHz
  • HD Graphics 4200, 4400, 4600, P4600, P4700 – GT2, 20 execution units, up to 432 GFLOPS at 1350 MHz
  • HD Graphics 5000 – GT3, 40 execution units, twice the performance of HD4xxx for compute-limited workloads, 15 W TDP SKUs, up to 704 GFLOPS
  • Iris Graphics 5100 – the same as HD Graphics 5000, 28 W TDP SKUs, but higher maximum frequency of 1.3 instead of 1.1 GHz,[4] up to 832 GFLOPS
  • Iris Pro Graphics 5200 – GT3e, the same as GT3 but with addition of a large 128 MB embedded DRAM (eDRAM) cache to improve performance of bandwidth-limited workloads[4]

The 128 MB of eDRAM is on the same package as the CPU, but in a separate die manufactured in a different process. Intel refers to this as a Level 4 cache that is available to both CPU and GPU, naming it Crystalwell. Linux support for this eDRAM is expected in kernel version 3.12, by making the drm/i915 driver aware and capable of using it.[9][10][11]

Integrated Iris Pro Graphics was adopted by Apple for their late-2013 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops (with Retina Display), which for the first time in the history of the series did not have discrete graphics, although only for the low-end model.[12] It was also included on the late-2013 21.5-inch iMac.[13]


In November 2013, it was announced that Broadwell-K desktop processors (aimed at enthusiasts) will also carry Iris Pro Graphics.[14]

The following models of integrated GPU are announced for Broadwell processors:[15]

  • Intel HD Graphics 5300
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • Intel HD Graphics 5600
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100
  • Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
  • Intel Iris Pro Graphics P6300


The Skylake line of processors is expected to retire VGA support. They will support up to five monitors connected via HDMI, DisplayPort or Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interfaces.[16]


Intel Insider

Beginning with Sandy Bridge, the graphics processors include a form of digital copy protection and digital rights management (DRM) called Intel Insider, which allows decryption of protected media within the processor.[17][18] Previously there was a similar technology called Protected Audio Video Path (PAVP).

Intel Quick Sync Video

Intel Quick Sync Video is Intel's hardware video encoding and decoding technology, which is integrated into some of the Intel CPUs. The name "Quick Sync" refers to the use case of quickly transcoding ("syncing") a video from, for example, a DVD or Blu-ray Disc to a format appropriate to, for example, a smartphone. Quick Sync was introduced with the Sandy Bridge CPU microarchitecture on 9 January 2011.

Graphics Virtualization Technology

Graphics Virtualization Technology was announced 1 January 2014 and is supported by Iris Pro GPUs.[19]

Multiple monitors

Ivy Bridge

HD 2500 and HD 4000 GPUs in Ivy Bridge CPUs are advertised as supporting three active monitors, but many users have found that this does not work for them due to the chipsets only supporting two active monitors in many common configurations. The reason for this is that the chipsets only include two phase-locked loops (PLLs); a PLL generates a pixel clock at a certain frequency which is used to sync the timings of data being transferred between the GPU and displays.[20]

Therefore, three simultaneously active monitors can only be achieved by a hardware configuration that requires only two unique pixel clocks, such as:

  • Using two or three DisplayPort connections, as they require only a single pixel clock for all connections.[21] Passive adapters from DisplayPort to some other connector rely on the chipset being able to emit a non-DisplayPort signal through the DisplayPort connector, and thus do not count as a DisplayPort connection. Active adapters that contain additional logic to convert the DisplayPort signal to some other format count as a DisplayPort connection.
  • By using two non-DisplayPort connections of the same connection type (for example, two HDMI connections) and the same clock frequency (like when connected to two identical monitors at the same resolution), so that a single unique pixel clock can be shared between both connections.[22]
  • Using the Embedded DisplayPort on a mobile CPU along with any two other outputs.[21]


ASRock Z87- and H87-based motherboards support three displays simultaneously.[23] Asus H87-based motherboards are also advertised to support three independent monitors at once.[24]


Core Model Pentium Model Celeron Model Generation Models OpenGL Version DirectX Version HLSL Shader Model OpenCL Version
First-generation Intel Core including i3, i5 and i7 Pentium (G/P)6000 and U5000 P4000 and U3000 4th Intel HD 2.1 10.1 4.0 N/A
Second-generation Intel Core including i3, i5 and i7 Pentium (B)900, (G)800 and (G)600 (B)800, (B)700, G500 and G400 5th Intel HD 3000 and 2000 3.1 10.1 4.1 N/A
N/A Pentium (G)2000 (G)1000 and 900 N/A Intel HD 4.0 11.0 5.0 N/A
Third-generation Intel Core including i3, i5 and i7 Pentium J2850 J1000 6th Intel HD 4000 and 2500 4.0[25] 11.0 5.0 1.2
Fourth-generation Intel Core including i3, i5 and i7 Pentium (G)3000 2000 for mobile 7th Intel HD 5000, 4600, 4400 and 4200; Iris 5200 and 5100 4.3[26] 11.1 5.0 1.2


Intel releases programming manuals for most of Intel HD Graphics devices via its Open Source Technology Center.[27] This allows various open source enthusiasts and hackers to contribute to driver development, and port drivers to various operating systems, without the need of reverse engineering.

See also


  1. ^ Celeron and Pentium have Intel HD, while Core i3 and above have either HD 2000 or HD 3000.
  2. ^ a b c d Those include hardware video encoding and HD postprocessing effects.
  3. ^ Celeron and Pentium have Intel HD, while Core i3 and above have either HD 2500 or HD 4000.


  1. ^ a b c d "Supported Graphics APIs and Features". Intel. 
  2. ^ "OpenGL 3.3 Support Lands In Mesa! Possible Mesa 11.0". 
  3. ^ "OpenGL ES Conformant product list". 
  4. ^ a b c "Intel Iris Pro 5200 Graphics Review: Core i7-4950HQ Tested". AnandTech. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  5. ^ "GPU market up—Intel and Nvidia graphics winners in Q4, AMD down". Jon Peddie Research. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  6. ^ "AMD Radeon HD 7310". 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  7. ^ "The Delayed Mobile Nehalems: Clarksfield, Arrandale, and the Calpella Platform". 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Intel's Official Ivy Bridge CPU Announcement Finally Live". 
  9. ^ Michael Larabel (2013-09-02). "Linux 3.12 Enables Haswell's Iris eLLC Cache Support". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  10. ^ "drm/i915: Use eLLC/LLC by default when available". 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  11. ^ "drm/i915: Use Write-Through cacheing for the display plane on Iris". 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  12. ^ "15-inch Retina MacBook Pro review: A tale of two laptops". Macworld. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  13. ^ "21.5-inch iMac (Late 2013) Review: Iris Pro Driving an Accurate Display". AnandTech. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  14. ^ "First Details Regarding Intel "Broadwell-K" Microprocessors Emerge". X-bit labs. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  15. ^ "Intel will announce Broadwell U 14nm cpu at CES 2014". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  16. ^ Michael Larabel (2014-09-10). "Intel Publishes Initial Skylake Linux Graphics Support".  
  17. ^ Knupffer, Nick. "Intel Insider – What Is It? (IS it DRM? And yes it delivers top quality movies to your PC)". Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  18. ^ Agam Shah (2011-01-06). "Intel: Sandy Bridge's Insider is not DRM". Computerworld. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  19. ^ "Intel® Graphics Virtualization Update". 
  20. ^ LG Nilsson (2012-03-12). "Most desktop Ivy Bridge systems won't support three displays". VRZone. Despite the fact that Intel has been banging its drums about support for up to three displays on the upcoming 7-series motherboards in combination with a shiny new Ivy Bridge based CPU, this isn't likely to be the case. The simple reason behind this is that very few, if any motherboards will sport a pair of DisplayPort connectors. 
  21. ^ a b David Galus (February 2013). "Migration to New Display Technologies on Intel Embedded Platforms". Intel. The Intel® 7 Series Chipset based platform allows for the support of up to three concurrent displays with independent or replicated content. However, this comes with the requirement that either one of the displays is eDP running off the CPU or two DP interfaces are being used off the PCH. When configuring the 2 DP interfaces from the PCH, one may be an eDP if using Port D. This limitation exists because the 7 Series Intel PCH contains only two display PLLs (the CPU has one display PLL also) which will control the clocking for the respective displays. All display types other than DP have an external variable clock frequency associated with the display resolution that is being used. The DP interface has an embedded clocking scheme that is semi- variable, either at 162 or 270 MHz depending on the bandwidth required. Therefore, Intel only allows sharing of a display PLL with DP related interfaces. 
  22. ^  
  23. ^ "Z87E-ITX".  
  24. ^ "H87I-PLUS".  
  25. ^ "Release Notes Driver version:" (PDF). 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  26. ^ "Release Notes Driver version:" (PDF). 2014-09-07. Retrieved 2014-09-05. 
  27. ^ "Linux Graphics, Documentation". Intel Open Source Technology Center. 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 

External links

  • Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers 2013 R4
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Intel HD Graphics 2500 Review
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000 and Intel HD Graphics 2000 Review
  • Intel’s Embedded DRAM
  • Intel Open Source Technology Center: Linux graphics documentation (includes the GPU manuals)
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