Intel beefs up integrated graphics in Skylake server chips

Intel's Skylake-based Xeon E3-1500 v5 server chips can improve the quality of streaming video

If you are not happy with the quality of streaming video, it's perhaps because your providers server doesn't have a good graphics processor.

To address that, Intel is improving the integrated graphics processor in its new Xeon E3-1500 v5 family of server chips. Servers with the chips will be able to deliver multiple 4K video streams over the Internet to PCs and mobile devices.

The chips are based on the Skylake design and have the Iris Pro Graphics P580, which Intel claims is its best integrated GPU.

Intel says that about 80 percent of the Internet traffic is video, and better GPUs are needed to improve the quality of streams.

Many servers use discrete GPUs like AMD's FirePro and Nvidia's Quadro to process streaming video. Intel's Iris Pro isn't as powerful, but is a power-efficient alternative that won't use up a PCI-Express slot in a server.

The quality of graphics in servers will also matter as cloud-based virtual reality applications become mainstream. HP has said it will make VR available on Chromebooks via the Internet.

The server chips are capable of delivering two 4K video streams simultaneously at 30 frames per second. The integrated GPU has hardware-based decoding of HEVC video.

Servers can be configured with up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and NVMe storage. That helps speed up video delivery over the Internet.

The lineup includes four new chips with the Iris Pro P580 GPU. The fastest is the Intel Xeon E3-1585 v5, which offers a CPU clock speed from 3.5GHz to 3.9GHz, and a GPU clock speed from 350MHz to 1.15GHz. The chip draws 65 watts of power. The other processors have clock speeds from 35 watts to 45 watts, with CPU clock speeds topping out at 3.7GHz and GPU speeds at 1.15GHz.

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