Intel 10nm Xe GPU Based Discrete Graphics Card Lineup Landing in Mid-2020 According To Report, DG1 Mobility Graphics Spotted With GDDR6 & 25W TDP

Hassan Mujtaba

Intel's Xe GPU architecture based discrete graphics card lineup will reportedly be launching in mid 2020, according to a report by DigiTimes. The source mentions that Intel's first discrete graphics lineup which would be based on their 10nm process node would launch around mid of 2020 which makes sense if Intel's plans to use either Computex 2020 or E3 2020 as a launch event for their Xe gaming graphics cards.

Intel Xe GPU Based 10nm Discrete Graphics Card Lineup Reportedly Launches in Mid of 2020

DigiTimes mentions that several industry sources have stated that Intel has its discrete graphics family launched planned for mid 2020. Mid 2020 means that Intel could either make a formal announcement during Computex 2020, E3 2020 or even their own custom event, since the launch would be a big deal for the blue team who are finally entering the discrete graphics market where they will face NVIDIA and AMD as their main competitors. Intel would be the 3rd major player in the discrete graphics card business after the launch of its first Xe GPU based products, a market that has seen NVIDIA and AMD as the top players for decades.

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The report further states that the Xe GPU lineup is built using the 10nm process technology. It is mentioned that Intel wouldn't primarily market the GPUs for gaming, but would also be targeting the AI / HPC market which means they are going against NVIDIA's HPC efforts too. This much is confirmed since their lead 7nm product in 2021 would be a Xe architecture based GP-GPU which would be aimed at Datacenter AI and HPC market.

Instead of purely targeting the gaming market, Intel is set to combine the new GPUs with its CPUs to create a competitive platform in a bid to pursue business opportunities from datacenter, AI and machine learning applications and such a move is expected to directly affect Nvidia, which has been pushing its AI GPU platform in the data center market, the sources noted.

via DigiTimes

The same product would be using Intel's brand new Foveros 3D stacking technology which means we are going to see a one-chip, single-stacked-chip harmony between the GPU, memory and interconnect. This will allow High-Bandwidth memory to be stacked right on top of the GPU die, featuring a package size that is much smaller than existing GPUs but at the same time, denser than anything we have got so far.

If Intel is definitely targetting mid 2020 for a launch of their first discrete graphics card family, then it is likely going up against AMD's RDNA2 architecture and NVIDIA's Ampere which are also planned 7nm products and are suggested to be unveiled in 2020. It will be interesting to see what prices and performance levels these new GPUs have to offer, but in the meantime, an Intel Xe DG1 graphics chip which goes by the 'iDG1LP' codename has been listed by Notebookcheck.

The chip is aimed at mobile platforms and is said to feature GDDR6 memory and a TDP of 25W while featuring performance similar to the GeForce GTX 1050 desktop graphics card. This is still an early entry but it looks like the mobility variants would lineup great with the 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs arriving next year.

Here's Everything We Know About Intel's Xe GPUs For Desktop and Mobility Platforms

As for what we know about the new Gen 12 GPU, the Intel Xe architecture will be built from the ground up by the team assembled by Raja Koduri as soon as he got on board Intel. The first Xe GPU architecture would be embedded in mobility and desktop discrete graphics cards arriving in 2020. Branded under the 'Arctic Sound' codename, the new GPUs will be aimed directly at the gaming market. Intel hasn't confirmed what process node they would utilize to develop the Xe GPUs, but rumors point suggest they would either be based on 14nm or 10nm, but there are more sources revealing that 10nm seems to be the obvious choice. Intel also unveiled their next-gen design concepts for the Xe GPU based discrete lineup at Computex 2019 which you can see here.

During their 2019 Investors Meeting, Intel confirmed that the lead product for their 7nm process node would be their Xe GPU architecture based General Purpose graphics card lineup for data centers. The new Xe architecture based GP-GPU would be built using Foveros 3D stacking architecture which means we are going to see a one-chip, single-stacked-chip harmony between the GPU, memory and interconnect. This will allow High-Bandwidth memory to be stacked right on top of the GPU die, featuring a package size that is much smaller than existing GPUs but at the same time, denser than anything we have got so far.

Intel has confirmed that their Xe architecture based 7nm graphics card would be introduced first to Datacenter markets, targeting AI and HPC workloads by 2021 which is also the shipping date of their 7nm process node.

Coming back to the gaming side, a few variants have already been leaked out 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. 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”

The four variants that have been leaked go by the name of “iDG1” and “iDG2”. The “DG” most likely stands for Discrete Graphics while the “1” and “2” designation is the performance scale of the chip. The four discrete GPUs also include LP and HP variants where LP stands for Low-Power and HP for High-Power variants. You can think of EUs as the number of cores, similar to NVIDIA’s CUDA core and AMD’s Stream processor core count. Each core is built and designed differently so unless we know more about Intel’s Xe GPU, comparing the core count with NVIDIA and AMD won’t be a wise choice. Intel is expected to unveil more information on their discrete graphics solutions at CES 2020 which is just a few months away.

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