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Why it matters: Integrated graphics chips are typically not designed for anything more intensive than low-end or retro games. However, Intel aims to change this with its upcoming Meteor Lake architecture and XeSS upscaling technology, which could make blockbuster titles accessible to a wider range of PCs.
Intel has posted a brief demonstration of one of its upcoming Meteor Lake processors running Dying Light 2 without a dedicated GPU. In the showcase, Intel demonstrated the benefits of its XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) upscaling technology. The short clip doesn’t reveal the actual framerate or graphics settings, but it compares native 1080p gameplay with footage upscaled from 720p using XeSS.
The game looks significantly smoother with XeSS engaged, and Intel claims that it improves performance by between 60 and 80 percent. More importantly, for laptops, which are the primary target of Meteor Lake, both settings consume only about 30 watts.
Dying Light 2 received much praise for its graphics on PC, and making it playable on integrated graphics is a significant achievement. In discussions surrounding upscaling, XeSS isn’t mentioned as often as Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) or AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution). However, its incorporation into Intel’s integrated graphics solutions could make it consequential in ways the other two aren’t, depending on how quickly its adoption spreads.
The list of games supporting XeSS is relatively small compared to the extensive support of Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR. However, XeSS includes some notable titles.
Popular games like Call of Duty, Diablo IV, Forza Horizon 5, Spider-Man, and Cyberpunk 2077 are among those that could achieve acceptable performance on relatively affordable hardware. Intel told PC Gamer that Meteor Lake iGPUs approach the performance of recent entry-level dedicated cards like the RTX 3050.
Meteor Lake promises a fundamental overhaul of Intel’s CPU architecture. Officially named Core Ultra, processors in this series will include the company’s first integrated AI accelerators, known as neural processing units. It also marks Intel’s shift to a multi-tile chiplet design, similar to what AMD’s latest CPUs currently employ. Intel’s 4 nm process will debut with the compute tiles.
The first Core Ultra systems are scheduled to launch on December 14, and their release seems to be progressing smoothly. In a recent conference call, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger noted that shipments to manufacturers began in the third quarter, so hardware vendors have been receiving them for weeks. It’s worth mentioning that Core Ultra processors are primarily designed for laptops, OEMs, and all-in-one devices, and they won’t include socketed variants for DIY builders.