Ivy Bridge graphics creeping up on Llano

Intel Ivy Bridge GPU
Modular graphics in Ivy Bridge

The 3rd Generation of Intel's Core architecture, codenamed Ivy Bridge, is set to represent a huge step up in graphics power when it arrives on our desktops in the Spring of next year.

With AMD releasing its Llano APU with a powerful DX11 graphics core built into the processor it threw down the gauntlet to Intel.

On Sandy Bridge Intel managed to improve upon its previous generation by a significant amount, but still had nowhere near the graphical grunt of its AMD rivals.

Tom Piazza, Senior Fellow at Intel and graphics guru, introduced the new modular system of the Ivy Bridge graphics component yesterday here at IDF 2011 in San Francisco.

Ivy bridge modular architecture

Compared with Sandy Bridge it's a major shift. "Don't be surprised if the performance is significantly higher..." He said with a grin.

Not only can it up the shader count it's also coming out with DirectX 11 support including all the Compute Shader and Tessellation goodness that involves.

When asked what that meant regarding the gap in integrated graphics performance with its AMD Llano-shaped rivals Piazza was bullish about Intel's chances.

"We're going to keep our foot on the gas pedal," he said. "I expect that gap, from everything I've seen, is closing fast."

"I see no reason why it wont close all the way and maybe you'll be asking the other guys that question in a year or two. At least I hope so!"

Intel is definitely taking the graphics side of its chips far more seriously now, especially in terms of gaming.

It admitted today that it is spending more and more time interacting with games devs in the design process of its hardware. "The vigour of that is going up," said Piazza.

Both Nvidia and AMD spend a lot of time with the games developers, now Intel is making sure it's not missing out on their expertise.