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What you need to know about Intel’s new ‘gaming-focused’ Iris Xe Max GPUs

Intel Iris Xe Max GPU
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Iris Xe Max GPUs appear to be the company’s response to Nvidia’s RTX 30 series, which plenty of laptop brands proudly showed off at CES 2021. Nvidia graphic cards are, of course, widely known for their gaming prowess, so do the Iris Xe Max GPUs come remotely close? Well, despite Intel stating they’ve been made for gaming and content creation, the simple answer is “no,” as Notebookcheck reports

The Iris Xe Max dedicated GPUs, also known as DG1, have been specifically optimized to pair with 11th Generation Tiger Lake Intel Core processors, to give thin and light laptops  an extra boost in graphics and performance. While supposedly proposing higher frame rates up to 1080p resolution, they cannot compete with the power delivered by Nvidia’s RTX 30 GPUs.

Acer Swift 3 (Image credit: Intel)

Systems with integrated Iris Xe Max GPUs include the Acer Swift 3, Asus Vivobook Flip TP470 and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2 in 1 (opens in new tab), which aren’t exactly the go-to laptops when it comes to high-end gaming. Still, games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, World of Tanks and even Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are all playable, even though certain games run better on previous Iris Xe integrated GPUs.

The Iris Xe Max isn’t actually close to Nvidia’s 1650 Ti. In fact, it’s closer to Nvidia’s GeForce MX250. Despite Intel boldly stating it will bring that much-need gaming performance, it’s actually more suited for content creation than anything else.

The Iris Xe Max GPUs come with a unique feature called Deep Link, which brings power from both the Iris C+Xe Max GPU and Intel’s Tiger Lake CPU processor (hence why it’s been optimized for it). This means tasks such as video encoding, including converting videos to 1080p or 4K, are a lot faster than higher-end gaming GPUs such as Nvidia’s GTX 20 series. It also offers AI-enhanced content creation and dynamic power-sharing.

(Image credit: Intel)

Deep Link and Iris Xe Max’s other handy features work with certain third-party software, including Topaz Labs' Gigapixel AI.

These chips exactly the performance mainstream gamers are looking for, which means PC gamers won’t be flocking to get the three aforementioned laptops. However, Intel is already rumoured to be working on a DG2 set to be released in 2021, which could bring better gaming performance that can match its Nvidia and AMD competition.

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.