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Intel Xe DG1 GPU Based Discrete Graphics Card Pictured – Under 75W TDP, Being Sampled To ISV’s Worldwide

Jan 9, 2020
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Following their demo of its first Xe DG1 GPU based discrete graphics card, Intel has unveiled new information including pictures of the card itself which is a development board designed primarily for ISV's as a software development vehicle to optimize the software stack for upcoming Xe based graphics chips. You can check out our exclusive hands-on look of the DG1 graphics card here too.

Intel Xe Architecture and DG1 GPU Based Desktop Discrete Graphics Card Pictured - Stunning Design For ISV's To Optimize Intel's Upcoming GPU Endeavors

The graphics card, as mentioned above, is a software development vehicle based on the DG1 GPU. Now we know that DG1 GPU has several prototypes based around it with a mobility discrete chip shown at CES 2020 and a development board that is aimed at software vendors. The Intel Xe GPU architecture is one scalable architecture powering various products. The card that is being revealed today is a development board that aims to optimize the software stack around Intel's upcoming Xe based discrete graphics chips/cards.

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Intel is planning to offer three microarchitectures derived from Xe. These include:

  • Xe LP (Ultra Mobile, PC Mobile, Entry to Mid-Range Graphics)
  • Xe HP (Media Transcode Analytics, Workstation, High-End Graphics)
  • Xe HPC (HPC / Exascale, DL / Training, Cloud GFX)

Just from the naming scheme, you can tell where these GPUs would be a feature. The 'LP' keyword stands for Low-Power whereas te 'HP' keyword stands for High-Performance. The HPC keyword is simply the High-Performance Computing aimed architecture which would use a range of new Intel technologies that we are going to talk about. It is stated that Xe LP is around 5W-20W but can scale up to 50W. Intel's Xe HP is one tier above that and should cover the 75W-250W segment while the Xe HPC class architecture should aim even higher, delivering, even more, compute performance than the rest.

The Intel DG1 GPU is based on the Xe LP microarchitecture since there are no visible connectors on the card to power it up. This indicates a TDP of either 75W or less. A recent leak indicated that the mobility DG1 discrete GPU could offer a TDP of 25W along with GDDR6 memory. The card also features a full PCIe x16 interface which seems to be based on the Gen 4.0 protocol since Intel has hinted that they plan to offer the best feature stack with their upcoming lineup. In terms of GPU specifications, the DG1 GPU should rock 96 Execution units or 768 shader units as revealed in an entry by EEC:

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  • DG1 External FRD1 96EU Accessory Kit (Alpha) Development Kit (DGD12KEF3A)
  • Discrete Graphics 96EU DG1 8+2 Windows External PROD HOST SDP (Alpha) (DGD12SEH4A)
  • Discrete Graphics 96EU DG1 6+2 Windows External PROD HOST SDP (Alpha) (DGD12SEH3A)

The Xe DG1 GPU Powered Discrete Desktop Graphics Card

In addition to the DG1 GPU, a few DG2 variants have already been leaked out too along with EU (Execution Units) count ranging from 128, 256 and 512. Since the early Xe graphics cards are most likely be aimed at the mainstream audience, the EU count makes a lot more sense. The DG2 also comes with the Xe HP microarchitecture, indicating a more high-end design. Following are the variants mentioned in the most recent test drivers:

  • iDG1LPDEV = “Intel(R) UHD Graphics, Gen12 LP DG1” “gfx-driver-ci-master-2624”
  • iDG2HP512 = “Intel(R) UHD Graphics, Gen12 HP DG2” “gfx-driver-ci-master-2624”
  • iDG2HP256 = “Intel(R) UHD Graphics, Gen12 HP DG2” “gfx-driver-ci-master-2624”
  • iDG2HP128 = “Intel(R) UHD Graphics, Gen12 HP DG2” “gfx-driver-ci-master-2624”

As for the card itself, the reference design is very beautiful and even if this variant is not aimed at the consumer market, it shows that Intel is serious about the quality of its next-gen graphics cards and we can expect similar if not better designs in the retail variants. The card rocks a very small form factor, dual-slot design, with a single fan blowing air towards an aluminum block & dissipating heat out of the exhaust vent. The card seems to feature three Display Ports along with a single HDMI port and has a very nice shroud design with RGB LEDs, offering a premium look on even an entry-level card.

One of the first products to utilize Intel's Xe discrete GPUs would be the Tiger Lake powered mobile notebooks which are expected to arrive later this year. There would also be a range of desktop tier discrete graphics cards to select from but Intel hasn't provided any further details on them. We can get more details on Intel's next-generation Xe powered lineup at Computex 2020 so stay tuned.

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