Intel's Skylake Chips Will Drive Three 4K Monitors at 60Hz

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Intel has shared new details about its faster, more power-efficient Skylake processors at IDF 2015 in San Francisco. PCWorld reports that Intel engineers have suggested the sixth-generation Core processors could launch in around "two weeks," setting the stage for a possible announcement of new chips appropriate for Macs at the IFA Berlin trade show on September 4-9.


Skylake processors will feature improved Iris Pro integrated graphics capable of driving up to three 4K monitors at 60Hz, whereas Haswell architecture could drive a single 4K monitor at 30Hz and Broadwell architecture could handle a single 4K monitor at 60Hz. Skylake will also have fixed-function support for 4K video processing in hardware and support for the latest APIs: DirectX 12, OpenCL 2 and OpenGL 4.4.

Intel's six generations of processor graphics (Image: Ars Technica)

PC World:
That means Intel has dedicated transistors directly to the job of decoding and encoding 4K. In one demonstration showing playback of a 4K RAW video stream from a Canon video camera, playback was smooth using the Skylake graphics chip, while using just the CPU, it would constantly drop frames.
Skylake architecture is also more power efficient thanks to a new power-saving feature called Speed Shift, which allows the CPU to intelligently adjust its power state for extended battery life. Skylake CPUs are also more efficient overall and feature eDRAM+, which can cache information, for increased performance.

In June, Intel introduced Thunderbolt 3 with a USB Type-C connector and support for USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2 and PCI Express 3.0. The new spec, rumored to launch alongside Intel's next-generation Skylake chips, is capable of driving up to two 4K external displays at 60Hz or a single 5K display at 60Hz running off a single cable.


Last month, a leaked Intel slide deck revealed that Skylake processors will provide a 10%-20% CPU performance boost in single and multi-threaded applications, with lower power consumption, and 30% faster Intel HD integrated graphics performance on average compared to current-generation Broadwell processors. The improved energy efficiency will also result in up to 30% longer battery life.

Intel's Skylake processors appropriate for the MacBook Air were also leaked last week.

Article Link: Intel's Skylake Chips Will Drive Three 4K Monitors at 60Hz
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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I must be in the minority of people who aren't into 4k monitors. From most viewing distances, I cannot discern between individual pixels on my 1080p monitor, and that's when I'm wearing my glasses, contacts, pocket protector, etc.
Not sure if you've extensively used a 4K/5K display, but I have and can definitely tell the difference. It's not that individual pixels easily become visible on non-Retina, it just seems more jagged/less crisp with missing detail.
 

1080p

macrumors 68030
Mar 17, 2010
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Retina Macbook 2 + this:


http://gizmodo.com/heres-the-box-that-can-turn-your-puny-laptop-into-a-gra-1724958260

Here's The Box That Can Turn a Puny Laptop Into a Graphical Powerhouse



USB Type-C is shaping up to be the holy grail of ports. It can charge your laptop, deliver 4K video, and transfer loads of USB data all over a single cable—all at the same time. What could be better? You’re looking at the answer.

What you see in these pictures is a hub that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt 3, a supercharged version of USB-C with doublethe bandwidth. What does that actually mean in practice? It’s fast enough that you can actually augment the power of a relatively weak laptop with an external graphics card... yes, while still charging the laptop... driving two 4K monitors... and powering your USB devices all at the same time. Here’s what that looks like:



That’s right: with just a single USB-C Thunderbolt cable plugged into the side of this super thin, super light laptop we spotted at IDF 2015, you get three USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports, two DisplayPorts, external audio, and ethernet all at the same time. Plus an extra USB Type-C port for—in this case—attaching a ridiculously-fast external solid state drive.







The best part isn’t the plethora of ports, though: it’s the fact that this sleek box has an external graphics chip inside. In this case, an AMD Radeon R9 M385. Hello, games!

What if you need even more graphical muscle? Say, if you want to plug your thin and light laptop in at night and play some Grand Theft Auto V? Thunderbolt 3 can handle a way bigger external graphics card dock, too. Here’s what it looks like with a full-size AMD R9 200 series graphics card, delivering a respectable framerate in the Unigine Heaven benchmark.









Sadly, all of these Thunderbolt 3 boxes—and the laptop—are just Inventec reference designs, not commercial products yet. Plus, Intel won’t say what they might cost or when they might arrive, though the first real Thunderbolt 3 products will allegedly start hitting the market by the end of the year.

Will manufacturers actually build external graphics solutions with Thunderbolt 3? “Watch this space,” says Navin Shenoy, an Intel executive.
 
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All this focus on 4K (or better) in impending hardware, phones (but not iPhones yet) shooting video at 4K, 4K camcorders dropping in price, 4K TVs dropping in price and increasingly overtaking prime real estate at TV-selling stores, H.265 seemingly impending, etc.

Then, visit any :apple:TV 4 speculation thread and find it packed with some of us putting down 4K as a "gimmick", "nobody can see a difference from average seating distances", and on and on. Nutshell sentiment: "1080p is good enough" just as "720p was good enough" when Apple continued to cling to that as maximum HD (and thus 1080p was the "gimmick", "nobody can see", etc).

Glad to see lots of stock hardware bringing the capability to the masses. Wonder if 4K will still be "gimmick" and "nobody can see" when Apple gets around to implementing it in Apple hardware? Rhetorical: I already know as I saw how quickly the "720p is good enough" argument evaporated as soon as Apple embraced 1080p. Rinse. Repeat.
 

lostngone

macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2003
1,385
3,228
Anchorage
In my opinion these multi-protocol cables are a bad idea. All the consumer know is they have a port that look like X and get upset when they plug something in and it doesn't work. Only to have someone explain to them they have a early 2015 Macbook and they need a late 2015 model to make it work.
 
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