Intel to integrate DirectX 11 in Ivy Bridge chips

DirectX 11 will improve the graphics capabilities in future Intel chips

Intel will integrate DirectX 11 graphics technology in its next generation of laptop and desktop chips based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, a company executive said on Thursday.

DirectX 11 includes a set of tools that can generate more realistic images when playing games on PCs running Windows 7. Intel will integrate the technology in next-generation laptop and desktop chips, as use of the technology in applications will spread by then, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, in an interview on Thursday with the IDG News Service during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

That puts Intel a full generation behind Advanced Micro Devices on DirectX technology. AMD has already implemented DirectX 11 in its Fusion low-power chips, which were officially announced on Tuesday. Like Intel's most recent chips, the Fusion chips combine the graphics processor and CPU in a single piece of silicon.

Intel expects to start shipping Ivy Bridge chips with DirectX 11 support to PC makers late this year. Ivy Bridge will succeed the recently announced Core i3, i5 and i7 chips, which are based on Intel's Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. Intel releases a new generation of laptop and desktops chips every year, so the Ivy Bridge chips could reach consumers early next year.

The new Core chips based on Sandy Bridge integrate the older DirectX 10.1. Intel didn't feel the need to integrate DirectX 11 in the recently released chips as few applications currently take advantage of that graphics technology, Eden said.

"When we look at the schedule, we didn't think it was... the right time," Eden said. "There's not much usage."

Besides improving graphics, DirectX 11 harnesses the parallel-processing capabilities of CPUs and graphics processors to improve gaming and application performance.

Intel will make the Ivy Bridge chips using a 22-nanometer manufacturing process. The Ivy Bridge chips will be smaller and more power efficient than the Sandy Bridge chips, which are made using a 32-nm process.

The Sandy Bridge chips are the first in which Intel has combined a graphics processor and CPU on a single piece of silicon. The chips also include specialized decoders and accelerators to quicken multimedia file playback and conversion.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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