Intel says its Iris Pro graphics processor is supposed to handle extreme gaming with ease, and at New York Comic Con this weekend, the company showed off its prowess by holding a Starcraft competition on computers powered by the chip. We had a chance to go hands-on with one of the Iris systems they used, the 14-inch CyberPower Zeus Hercules, and were intrigued by its lightweight design and powerful performance.
The base configuration of the Zeus Hercules packs a quad-core Core i7-4750HQ processor with an integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 chip. Handling more than 300 actions per minute, the Iris Pro machines easily handled the demanding tasks thrown at them during the tournament without any hiccups. When we played with the computer, we directed massive armies in “Total War: Rome II” and marched them across desert plains toward their enemies. Sequences were bright and vivid, while gameplay looked smooth and efficient.
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We were particularly impressed with the laptop’s slim, lightweight chassis. Weighing just 4.1 pounds, the gray Zeus Hercules packs a matte 14-inch 1080p screen and is expected to provide up to 6 hours of battery life. We found the viewing angles on the Zeus Hercules to be impressively ample, and images remained brightly colored even when the lid was almost shut.
The $1039 configuration of the Zeus Hercules packs 8GB of RAM and 500GB of internal memory on a HDD, but you can configure the system with different storage, memory and CPU options. It also sports a host of ports, including three USB 3.0 ports, a miniDisplay, HDMI, RJ-45 Ethernet ports, headphone and microphone jacks and an SD card slot. We also liked the audio setup on the machine, with speakers on either side of the keyboard and the edges. On the conference floor it was somewhat difficult to hear the speakers, but we think the smart placement will make for a great sound experience.
Other machines on the market that pack Intel’s Iris Pro integrated GPU include desktop system Gigabyte BRIX, which sports either Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processor with the GPU. ASUS’ Zenbook Infinity packs a Core i7 processor with the less capable Iris Pro 5100 chip, making the Zeus Hercules the first notebook to ship with the Iris Pro 5200 and Core i7. We look forward to testing the laptop thoroughly in the future.