Everyone who has played high-performance games on a mobile device knows of the battery hit taken when the graphics core is engaged. While a lot of battery life enhancements by SoC manufacturers have focused on improving power consumption during low power tasks - Qualcomm's core-gaiting technology and ARM's big.LITTLE come to mind - few have put effort into the GPU.
At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Intel Labs has showed off their work on an energy-efficient graphics execution core. Built on a 22nm fabrication process, Intel's prototype GPU core shows huge gains compared to other chips: 2.7 times higher GFLOPS per watt during near-threshold voltage (low-power) operation, and 1.4 times higher GFLOPS per watt at peak.
The graphics core appears to be destined for mobile devices where power efficiency is key, and could either be used for increasing performance at the same power draw, or reducing power draw during certain tasks. Intel's 22nm process should already help the company achieve lower power consumption compared to the competition, especially considering their tri-gate transistor technology.
It doesn't appear like Intel has put an estimated date on when to expect their new GPU technology, but we could be seeing similar implementations in next-generation chips built on 14nm processes, such as 'Cherry Trail', the successor to current-generation 'Bay Trail' Atom SoCs.