Intel unveils Broadwell desktop CPU with Iris Pro graphics at GDC 15

The new processor will also be unlocked, making it easier to overclock small-form-factor desktops and all-in-one PCs.


When you think about overclocking, generally the first things that come to mind aren't mini PCs and all-in-one desktops. These form factors were developed for convenience first, and performance second, so they tend to receive lower-end or last-generation processors that won't exactly satisfy hard-core PC gamers.

But that perception might be changing. For instance, the forthcoming arrival of Steam Machines for living room gaming is the most visible sign that small-form-factor PCs are starting to demand more performance. Intel, still the runaway leader in desktop processors (and creator of the NUC mini-PC platform), appears ready to respond, based on its announcement from this year's Game Developers Conference.

The company unveiled a new fifth-generation (or Broadwell) Core processor that will be notable for a couple of reasons. It will be the first Broadwell LGA-socketed processor to include Iris Pro Graphics, the integrated graphics solution that has been most notable to date for being included with Apple's recent iMacs and MacBook Pros. While it won't replace a high-end discrete graphics card, Iris Pro graphics will perform far better than the integrated graphics of old.

Also of particular interest to tweakers is that this CPU will be unlocked, which makes it easier to overclock. Most consumers -- especially those buying all-in-ones -- won't be interested in that capability, but the fact that Intel is indicating that it's unlocked suggests there is interest in the feature, even in a lower-power (65W) processor. The company also announced that gaming utility Raptr (pictured above) will work with Intel integrated graphics, tweaking your hardware settings to optimize performance with just a single button.

With Broadwell's big roll-out in January, Intel put the emphasis on laptop chips, with more powerful desktop CPUs being promised for an unspecified release some time later in 2015. This new processor has a slightly more specific timetable -- the middle of this year -- though there was no pricing information disclosed.