Alongside today’s profitable-but-uneasy earnings report from Intel, the company’s earnings presentation also offered a short update on the status of their discrete GPUs. As of today, Intel’s DG1 GPU is now shipping. Meanwhile the company announced their next GPU, appropriately named DG2, which is based on their upcoming Xe-HPG architecture. This GPU is now back from the fab and is in Intel’s lab, and is now far enough along to have been powered on.
First and foremost we have DG1, or as it’s better known by its commercial product name, Iris Xe Max. Intel’s first discrete GPU in over two decades, the company has since the beginning of this year been touting it as a companion to their Tiger Lake CPUs, pitching it as an upgraded graphics option for thin & light notebooks, and a successor of sorts to Intel’s GT3e and GT4e iGPU configurations from past generations. Until recently, we weren’t quite sure when it would show up in commercial products, but recent OEM notebook reveals along with Intel’s earnings announcement are now confirming that the GPU is shipping to OEMs. According to Intel, DG1-equipped notebooks are expected later in Q4. In the meantime, there are still scant few details on DG1 itself, such as expected performance and power consumption; so hopefully Intel will be getting ahead of its OEM partners on this one to set some expectations.
Meanwhile, today’s notes also announce for the very first time the next discrete GPU to come out of Intel, DG2. While obviously still some time off, Intel has completed tape-out and fabbing of the initial alpha silicon, with the company reporting that they’ve powered-on the GPU in their labs.
Somewhat surprisingly, CEO Bob Swan has also confirmed that this isn’t just a DG1 successor, but instead is a higher performing GPU based on the company’s forthcoming Xe-HPG(aming) architecture. First revealed this summer, Xe-HPG is Intel’s enthusiast/gamer-focused architecture, incorporating marquee features found in similar dGPUs like ray tracing. It’s also being manufactured completely external of Intel; while the company hasn’t said which fab and process node is being used, it’s none of Intel’s nodes. So this is the first major piece of external fabbed silicon that we know of to be up and running at Intel.
But like all teasers/financial disclosures, Intel isn’t saying too much more at this time. Nothing new was revealed about the Xe-HPG architecture, and Intel hasn’t clarified whether DG2 is a big, flagship-grade chip, or a more modest, high-volume part. For now, the company is simply saying that DG2 will “take our discrete graphics capability up the stack into the enthusiast segment.”