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Intel Iris XE vs. NVIDIA GeForce RTX: In-Depth Graphics Comparison

Hi there! If you‘re researching graphics cards for your laptop or desktop PC, you‘re probably wondering how the Intel Iris XE integrated graphics compare to NVIDIA‘s powerful GeForce RTX gaming GPUs. I‘m going to dive into a detailed spec breakdown and performance comparison to help you decide which option is better for your needs.

First, Let‘s Look at Intel Iris XE Graphics

Intel has made significant improvements to their integrated graphics over the past few generations. The latest Intel Iris XE represents a sizable leap in performance and capabilities over previous integrated GPUs.

Iris XE is built directly into Intel‘s 10nm mobile CPUs. This means you‘ll find it in many of the latest thin-and-light laptops and compact desktop PCs from major manufacturers. By integrating the graphics processor onto the CPU die, Intel can save space and reduce power draw compared to discrete graphics chips.

Here‘s an overview of the different Intel Iris XE models and their key specs:

Model Execution Units Boost Clock
Iris XE MAX (dG1) 96 EUs 1650MHz
Iris XE (dG1) 96 EUs 1550MHz
Iris XE (dG7) 80 EUs 1300MHz

The higher-end dG1 cards with 96 EUs can deliver respectable 1080p gaming performance in popular online titles. The iris XE also accelerates creative workloads like video editing and 3D modeling.

Compared to past generations, Iris XE brings major graphics performance improvements:

  • Up to 2x faster than Intel Iris Plus Graphics (Ice Lake Gen 11)
  • Up to 90% faster than Intel UHD Graphics (Comet Lake Gen 10)

However, since it relies on shared system memory rather than dedicated VRAM, the maximum theoretical memory bandwidth is 68 GB/s. That‘s considerably lower than discrete gaming GPUs.

Now let‘s look at how Iris XE compares to NVIDIA‘s top gaming graphics cards.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 – A Powerful Discrete GPU

NVIDIA‘s GeForce RTX 30 series, based on the Ampere architecture, represents their state-of-the-art graphics technology. These cards are designed specifically for gaming, creative applications, and AI workloads.

The RTX 3070 delivers excellent performance for 1440p and 4K gaming. Some key specs:

  • 5888 CUDA processing cores
  • 8GB of GDDR6 video memory
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • Up to 1725 MHz boost clock

NVIDIA has really focused on increasing memory bandwidth and power efficiency with Ampere:

  • 448 GB/s memory bandwidth (6x more than Iris XE)
  • 2nd generation RT cores for ray tracing
  • 3rd generation tensor cores for DLSS and AI
  • GA104 processor produced on 8nm process node

Compared to previous RTX models, the 3070 brings major performance improvements:

  • Up to 60% faster than RTX 2070
  • 1.5x more effective floating point operations per second over Turing
  • Up to 2x ray tracing performance over 2080 Ti

With advanced features like DLSS and specialized rasterization/compute pipelines, the RTX 3070 is built for high FPS gameplay. Now let‘s see how the specs compare directly.

Iris XE vs. RTX 3070 – Direct Spec Comparison

Here‘s a head-to-head overview of key specs and capabilities:

Specification Intel Iris XE NVIDIA RTX 3070
Launch Date January 2021 September 2020
GPU Architecture Xe Ampere
Process Node 10nm 8nm
Execution Units 96 EUs 5888 CUDA cores
Boost Clock 1.65GHz 1.725GHz
Video Memory Shared DDR4 8GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 68GB/s 448GB/s
Ray Tracing Cores No 46 RT cores
AI Cores No 184 tensor cores
PCIe Interface PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 4.0 x16
Power Consumption 15-28W 220W

You can clearly see the RTX 3070‘s advantages in raw horsepower and features. The discrete GPU has over 6x more cores, faster clock speeds, and dedicated video memory. Advanced capabilities like ray tracing and DLSS are also missing from Iris XE.

However, Intel‘s integrated design is far more power efficient. This allows thinner and lighter laptops to still offer decent graphics performance.

Now let‘s look at real-world gaming and creative app performance.

Gaming and Creative Application Benchmarks

Here are some benchmarks showing the performance difference in games and creative workloads:

1080p Gaming Performance

Game Iris XE FPS RTX 3070 FPS
Fortnite 47 fps 163 fps
Apex Legends 58 fps 140 fps
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla 32 fps 96 fps

1440p Gaming Performance

Game Iris XE FPS RTX 3070 FPS
Red Dead Redemption 2 24 fps 102 fps
Horizon Zero Dawn 34 fps 120 fps
Call of Duty: Warzone 41 fps 140 fps

4K Video Editing Export

Workflow Iris XE Time RTX 3070 Time
4K to 1080p in Premiere Pro 47 seconds 26 seconds
4K Multi-Clip Editing 1 minute 32 seconds 59 seconds

3D Model Rendering

Application Iris XE Time RTX 3070 Time
Blender Classroom Scene 18 minutes 4 minutes
V-Ray GPU Render Benchmark 41 seconds 15 seconds

As you can see, the RTX 3070 easily hits high frame rates in modern games, even at very high resolutions. It also significantly accelerates creative media workflows like 3D, video editing, and effects rendering.

Iris XE provides playable frame rates in esports and some AAA titles at 1080p. But for more demanding games or higher resolution, its performance falls short compared to a powerful discrete GPU.

Key Differences Between the Graphics Options

Based on this detailed comparison, what are the key differences between Intel Iris XE graphics and the NVIDIA RTX 3070?

  • Gaming focus – NVIDIA prioritizes designing the RTX series specifically to deliver maximum gaming performance with specialized features. Iris XE takes a more general-purpose approach.

  • Power – With 5x more cores and 6x more memory bandwidth, the RTX 3070 simply provides far higher raw graphics and compute performance.

  • Efficiency – The integrated Iris XE has a much lower power draw and thermal output, allowing thinner and cooler laptop designs.

  • Features – Advancements like ray tracing and DLSS are only found on the RTX cards and can greatly improve gaming visuals and FPS.

  • Use cases – Iris XE suits mainstream laptop gaming and content creation, while the RTX 3070 is best for high-end gaming rigs and workstations.

So in summary:

  • RTX 3070 – Maximum gaming performance and features
  • Iris XE – Good entry-level/mainstream graphics in an efficient package

Now let‘s discuss ideal use cases and recommendations for each graphics option.

Recommendations Based on Use Case

Should you choose Intel Iris XE or NVIDIA‘s RTX 3070 for your PC? Here are my recommendations based on different use case scenarios:

Thin and Light Laptops

For premium ultrabooks and portable laptops, Intel Iris XE is a good fit. Models like the Dell XPS 13 or Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 can handle some light gaming while prioritizing battery life. The RTX 3070 requires thicker chassis and better cooling.

Compact PCs

In small form factor PCs or all-in-one desktops, an integrated GPU like Iris XE makes more sense. There is limited space and cooling for large discrete graphics cards. Iris XE provides a decent bump over standard integrated graphics.

High-End Gaming Rigs

If you‘re building a gaming PC with top-tier components, then you‘ll want a flagship discrete GPU like the RTX 3070. This card can handle 1440p or 4K gaming at max settings in any title. Liquid cooling is recommended to tame the heat.


For professional creative workloads like 3D rendering, video production, effects creation etc., the RTX 3070 provides a big boost. Applications can take advantage of CUDA cores and large VRAM for tremendous performance benefits over integrated graphics.

Budget Systems

If trying to maximize value, Iris XE integrated graphics allow spending more on other components. You can build a capable 1080p gaming PC at a lower price point compared to entry-level discrete GPUs.

The Bottom Line

While integrated graphics have come a long way, high-end discrete GPUs like NVIDIA‘s RTX 3070 still deliver far better gaming and workload performance. But Intel Iris XE offers decent capabilities given its efficiency and compact footprint. If gaming performance is critical, discrete is the only option. But for mainstream laptops and portable PCs, Iris XE strikes a good balance.

I hope this detailed comparison helped explain the key differences between these two popular graphics options! Let me know if you have any other questions.