Intel Iris Xe Max: Best For Graphics Based Tasks Or Gaming

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 28th January 2021

Intel has been talking a lot about its new Iris Xe Max graphics card for over a year in their roadmaps and architecture days.

Intel has launched this graphics card for only laptops and plans to launch this for PCs as well, but it is still in the development stages. But what exactly is this Xe Max, and is it even good enough?

We are going to answer both questions and more so stay with us.

What Is The Intel Iris Xe Max?

Intel refers to this as their DG-1 or discrete graphics card. This is the company’s first attempt to launch a discrete graphics card in a market that is dominated by giants like Nvidia & AMD.

Although Intel does not want to compete in the world of PC gaming or extensive 3D rendering with the Iris Xe Max, they still have come with a powerful card that deserves appreciation.

The Iris Xe Max is currently available for only a selected few laptops for Asus, Dell & Acer which according to are the best laptops for work related to video encoding, graphics designing, and media creation.

Technical Aspects Of The Iris Xe Max

Now let’s inspect and see what this DG 1 has in store. The Iris Xe Max is based on their previous integrated graphics, the Iris Xe, but has some serious upgrades.

The Xe Max comes with 4 Gb dedicated memory with a bandwidth of 68 GB/s, 1.65 GHz clock speed, and PCI Express 4.0. Its main selling point is the Deep Link technology.

The Deep Link comes with some unique features like-

Additive AI

The additive AI is an AI that can add the two lots of graphics together. The system can decide what the best thing will be for the hardware.

Hyper Encode

The Hyper encode uses the media encoders that are in both graphics chips. Each of the chips has two media encoders. By adding them together, you can use all 5 to get more work done.

Dynamic Power Share

This helps you decide how you can handle the power and the thermals. You can decide whether you want to feed all the power to the CPU, APU, or feed less to the CPU and give more to the adding graphics.

In short, it helps in better power management.

Now that we have got all the technical aspects. Let us see what this graphics card can really do.

Iris Xe Max: A Powerhouse But Not For Gaming

Unfortunately, the Xe Max offers nothing special for gaming. So, all the hardcore gamers could stick with Nvidia and AMD for a little longer.

We tested out the graphics card on a few popular games like Far Cry 5, Metro Exodus, Need For Speed Heat, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and got some mediocre results.

The results were not bad per se but could only come close to lower-tier graphic cards of Nvidia like the MX 350. And by close, we mean 50% close. The games GTA 5 and DOTA 2 each ran 50 percent slower when run on an Iris Xe Max.

This might not be a big deal for casual gamers but will definitely upset hardcore or competitive gamers.

However, this really does not come as a shock since intel never marketed their GPU for gaming despite being a discrete GPU.

The intel iris Xe Max seems to have an advantage over laptops with integrated AMD Radeon graphics and the ones with Nvidia MX250

Intel is rumored to be working on a DG-2 series card, but they are likely to come up with anything that can compete with high-end GPUs like the RTX3080.

The Xe Max may not shine in the gaming industry, but it definitely has its perks.

The Iris Xe Max’s True Potential: Video Editing

This discrete GPU is good in video editing and several other visual tasks. What it lacks in gaming, certainly is filled by its other features.

The Xe Max can be used as a dedicated tool for accelerated video editing and media creation by pro content whizzes. For media creation, it has video encoding for faster encoding and boosted AI.

For some particular GPU related tasks, it can even compete with high-end Nvidia cards solely because of its upgraded Deep Link Technology.

Faster AI & Graphics Based Creations

The Iris Xe Max’s core strength lies in its speed. We have already mentioned how its features work and when all that is combined you are bound to get a more optimized device to work with for all sorts of media-creation purposes.

Intel claims that its Deep Link Framework can increase CPU performance by 20 percent by drawing power from the GPU. The Additive AI can also speed things up to seven times when it comes to AI-based creation, which is significantly better than laptops with third-party GPUs.

The hyper encode will also ensure it increases the speed of encoding by 1.78 times compared to other high-end desktop GPUs.

All this means, the dedicated time for video editing and media creation tasks will significantly decrease and will also increase game sharpening for the casual gamers.

But that’s not all!

Popular and user-friendly applications like Gigapixel AI from Topaz Labs, XSplit Gamecaster, and OBS studio will be able to use this Deep Link technology to boost their capabilities.

Intel also has future drivers and updates arriving for the Xe Max and Intel’s benchmarks that show that the latest laptops equipped with the Iris Xe Max will be able to convert a 4k video into 1080p, 1.8 times quicker than the high-end GPUs of Nvidia like the GeForce RTX 2080.

However, this is still theoretical as the drivers and updates have not arrived yet, but intel has always backed up their statements.

Final Verdict

The Iris Xe Max is only available in the Acer Swift 3X, Asus VivoBook TP 470, and Dell Inspiron 15 7000. For gamers, the iris Xe Max really is not an ideal choice, but you can certainly get video encoding, editing, and AI-based work done at a fast rate.

Our advice would be to wait a little longer till all the software and driver updates related to the Deep Link hits the market. After that, the Xe Max can be a highly favorable option for AI and Graphics based works.


Categories: Tech