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The big picture: Intel's launch presentation for its new Meteor Lake generation of processors primarily focused on how their Neural Processing Units (NPUs) enhance local AI workloads. However, the company also made ambitious claims about integrated graphics performance improvements. Time will tell whether they hold up to real-world benchmarks.
Intel claims that the integrated graphics chips in its newly launched Meteor Lake mobile processors provide up to double the performance of Raptor Lake notebook CPUs. The company also provided new details on how its machine learning-based XeSS upscaling can boost iGPU performance further.
The benchmarks from the Meteor Lake launch presentation don't provide exact framerates, and any internal benchmark results should be taken with a bit of salt. With that in mind, the charts show the new Core Ultra 7 165H drastically outperforming the Core i7-1370P. Games like Baldur's Gate 3, Resident Evil Village, and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord run about twice as well at native 1080p on medium graphics settings. Meanwhile, titles like Counter-Strike 2, Far Cry 6, and League of Legends see a roughly 50 percent performance uplift.
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However, that generational improvement doesn't account for XeSS, Intel's answer to DLSS and FSR. The company said the upscaling solution can improve framerates by an average of 39 percent. However, many games like F1 2023, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, and The Witcher 3 see more considerable gains.
The only video comparison currently available is a demonstration Intel released in October showing Dying Light 2 running on a Meteor Lake iGPU with and without XeSS. That benchmark also didn't provide precise framerates, but the game looked noticeably smoother with upscaling engaged.
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Intel told Tom's Hardware that the Meteor Lake iGPUs run XeSS in DP4a mode – a fallback for graphics chips that don't possess the XMX cores found in the Intel Arc dedicated GPUs. The company says the alternative solution looks significantly better today than when XeSS launched in 2022.
Meteor Lake's integrated graphics hardware also represents an improvement in Intel's driver management. Drivers have been one of the main weaknesses holding back the Arc GPUs, but updates have improved performance dramatically. The company told PC Gamer that its dedicated and integrated driver releases should now coincide, although laptop OEMs might still drag their feet. In such cases, users can optionally download generic iGPU drivers.
The company also asserts that its new integrated chips compare favorably to AMD's Ryzen 7 7840U. Averaged out across 18 titles, including Apex Legends, DOTA 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Fortnite, and Overwatch 2, the Core Ultra 7 165H in an MSI Prestige 16 supposedly edges out a Lenovo Thinkpad T16 equipped with the Zen 4 processor.