I've been reading that the big news with Sandy Bridge processors is that they can process video much faster. Does this mean that we no longer need accelerated graphics cards that can do this? Are we heading towards totally integrated graphics and CPU?
closed as not a real question by Jeff Atwood♦ Jul 14 '11 at 7:32
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Well, that really depends on what kind of graphics you are doing. The integrated graphics in Sandy Bridge are very, very good for an integrated solution. So good, in fact, that they rival low-end discrete graphics cards. If the most graphically intensive thing you do is watch movies or edit the occaisonal photo, Sandy Bridge integrated graphics are probably sufficient. However, a discreet graphics card is still required if you want to play hardware-intensive games or edit media professionally.
As far as the future of discrete graphics cards... this part of my answer is purely speculation. Industry watchers and media pundits are saying that integrated graphics solutions such as those built into Intel's Sandy Bridge and AMD's Llano are rapidly catching up to their discete counterparts because of the huge performance advantages that come with having the CPU and GPU on the same die, and could potentially obviate the need for a low or mid-range discrete GPU fairly soon. Personally, I think that hard-core gamers and creative professionals will continue to see a performance advantage in the high-end cards designed to fill their needs, but the discrete GPU as a whole is in trouble.
Hope this helps.
"Video processing improvement" of Intel Sandy Bridge core is called Quick Sync engine. It offers hardware optimized video encoding/decoding functions.
Overall graphics acceleration performance is only comparable to entry level discreet graphic cards. For high class 3D graphic experiences, you need high-end cards even with Sandy Bridge CPU.