Integrated Graphics Are About to Get Way Better


Forget buying a dedicated graphics card, pretty soon you’ll be gaming without one. At least, if you’re part of the 90% of people who still game at 1080p or less. Recent advancements from both Intel and AMD mean their integrated GPUs are about to tear up the low-end graphics card market.

Why Are iGPUs So Slow in the First Place?

There are two reasons: memory and die size.

The memory part is easy to understand: faster memory equals better performance. iGPUs don’t get the benefits of fancy memory technologies like GDDR6 or HBM2, though, and instead, have to rely on sharing the system RAM with the rest of the computer. This is mostly because it’s expensive to put that memory on the chip itself, and iGPUs are usually targeted at budget gamers. This isn’t changing anytime soon, at least not from what we know now, but improving memory controllers allowing for faster RAM can improve next-gen iGPU performance.

The second reason, die size, is what’s changing in 2019. GPU dies are big—way bigger than CPUs, and big dies are bad business for silicon manufacturing. This comes down to the defect rate. A larger area has a higher chance of defects, and one defect in the die can mean the whole CPU is toast.

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