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Intel Iris Graphics Boasts Double 3D Speed for Next Ultrabooks

Next-gen Ultraboooks should be able to play demanding games at silky smooth frame rates--without the need for a discrete graphics card. That's the promise of Intel's Iris graphics, which will be available inside select laptops powered by 4th Gen Intel Core processors (codenamed Haswell). 

Intel says users can expect up to double the 3D performance with Iris versus its previous platform. This boost applies to U-series processors designed for Ultrabooks, as well as H-series CPUs designed for beefier notebooks with high-speed memory (eDRAM).

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Iris graphics isn't just about games, though. Intel says to expect 4K UltraHD support, better video and photo editing. So at least theoretically, Iris could help Apple debut a MacBook Air with a Retina Display at this year's WWDC 2013.

As PC sales continue to decline, Intel and its partners are counting on technologies like Iris get consumers excited about laptops again. Iris could also help spur demand for hybrid devices that double as a notebook and tablet, giving shoppers more power without sacrificing battery life.

Battery life is another big theme of Intel's 4th Gen Core chip, which will see it official unveiling at Computex 2013 in early June. Back in September, Intel said that its Haswell micro architecture will initially operate at a very low 10 watts to enable thinner and lighter designs with more battery life.

Between the Iris oomph inside Intel's new processor and the Windows Blue update, the PC market could get the kick in the pants it so desperately needs to fend off tablets.