Westmere was the first Intel x86 microarchitecture to integrate a graphics unit together with CPU cores, since then the company made quite an effort to improve graphics performance. Intel implemented sharing of last level cache between the CPU and GPU, increased the number of shaders, or execution units (EUs), and optimized them. Current Haswell architecture introduced GT3 graphics, that increased the number of EUs to 40. It is anticipated that upcoming Broadwell GT2 and GT3 GPUs will have the number of execution units increased by 20% to 24 and 48. The next generation Skylake graphics will have up to 72 execution units, which signifies a 50% increase over Broadwell. As was already reported, Skylake processors will have several variations of die, incorporating 2 or 4 CPU cores, and GT2, GT3 or GT4 graphics. We presume that the GT4 has the maximum number of execution units (72).
Skylake GPUs will be built on "Generation 9 Low Power" architecture, that should substantially improve performance and reduce power consumption. Like Haswell and Broadwell based processors, some Skylake SKUs will have up to 128 MB of embedded DRAM, used as the last level cache for both the CPU and GPU. The graphics units will also add support for Shared Virtual Memory. As we understand, and this is not confirmed, this feature will allow the CPU and GPU to share system memory, which should boost performance of heterogeneous applications.
Skylake integrated video encoder/decoder will be enhanced, and it will support new codec types. The hardware decoder will work with JPEG, JMPEG, MPEG2, VC1, WMV9, AVC, H264, VP8 and HEVC/H265 video and image formats. The encoder will be support JPEG, MPEG2, AVC, H264, VP8 and HEVC/H265 standards. It is possible that Intel will add support for encoding/decoding of VP9 video. There will be new video filters as well.
Skylake microprocessors will come with DisplayPort, embedded DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI interfaces. The maximum display resolution of DP and eDP ports is 4096 x 2304 at 60 Hz using 24 bits per pixel, and 4096 x 2160 at 24 or 60 Hz, at 24 bpp for HDMI interface. The maximum resolution will be slightly lower on "Y" series chips.
Skylake GPU will support DirectX 11.2 and earlier, OpenGL 5.0 and OpenCL 2.1/1.2 APIs.
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May 05, 2014: Intel Skylake CPUs to feature GT3e and GT4e graphics
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