Will Intel's Sandy Bridge pose a threat to discrete GPUs?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Intel's Sandy Bridge is apparently capable of outperforming all current integrated graphics platforms. But does the processor microarchitecture threaten low-end, discrete GPUs?

Well, according to AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi, Sandy Bridge is already "nipping at the heels" of lower-end, discrete cards.

"Architecturally, Sandy Bridge is a significant revision from what's internally referred to as Intel Gen graphics. While the past two generations have been a part of the Gen 5 series, Sandy brings the first Gen 6 graphics die to market," he explained.

"With a tremendous increase in IPC and a large L3 cache to partake in, Sandy Bridge's graphics is another significant move forward.

"Is it enough to kill all discrete graphics? No. But it's good enough to really threaten the entry level discrete market."

Shimpi also noted that Sandy Bridge allowed gamers to play a number of current-gen titles (albeit at lower-quality settings), including Modern Warfare 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dragon Age Origins, Dawn of War II, BioShock 2, World of Warcraft and HAWX.

"[Still], if this is the low end of what to expect, I'm not sure we'll need more than integrated graphics for non-gaming specific notebooks."