The New MacBook Air’s Graphics Will Be Powerful Enough To Drive A Retina Display

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It’s no secret that new MacBooks are coming at WWDC in June, but they’ll just be spec bumps, featuring a small ~8% performance boost thanks to Intel’s new Haswell processors, and a gain to battery efficiency. Nothing to get excited about, right?

Actually, no. Haswell’s hiding one super beefy update in its silicon: Iris, Intel’s super-charged integrated graphics that will boost Haswell’s polygon by 200% compared to the last generation… not to mention make the MacBook Air’s graphics beefy enough to support a Retina Display.

Intel is now boasting that the new Iris graphics will provide a two-fold improvement to 3D performance over Intel’s current integrated graphics solutions, like the HD 3000 and HD 4000. There’s also support for stuff like OpenCL, DX11.1, OpenGL4.1, three-screen collage display and 4K UltraHD display resolution, meaning ultrabooks will suddenly be capable of 3840 x 2160 resolutions.

Got that? Your next MacBook Air will have the graphics, if not the screen or battery tech, to support a MacBook Air with Retina Display. The pieces are starting to fall into place.

Intel’s Iris will come in two carieties. There will be Intel Iris Graphics 5100, which you’ll find on Intel 4th-Gen Core i7-4000U series CPUs (this is most likely the chip you’ll find in the next MacBook Air). Then there’s the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 which will be going into thicker laptops and all-in-ones.

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  • DaveLG10101

    The key line in this “story” is: Your next MacBook Air will have the graphics, if not the screen or battery tech, to support a MacBook Air with Retina Display.

    What is the likely Air chip. Probably not the one with the 200% video increase as it has a 28 watt TDP.

    More likely the 15watt TDP version for air. The 15-inch Retina MBP will of course no longer be sluggish with 28W TDP versions. Wait to buy for sure. Haswell has the power that retina 15-inch MBPs need.

  • technochick

    It’s no secret but its also no fact. It’s just a rumor

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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