Intel’s first discrete GPU could launch soon. Should gamers be excited?

Filed in Technology by on June 30, 2021

Intel’s first gaming graphics card appears to be on the verge of being released. The Intel Xe-HPG DG2 GPU will most likely be available for both desktop and mobile devices and will be the company’s first foray into the gaming market. Intel has been teasing its release, and we now know more about the card’s potential performance thanks to several benchmarks that have already been revealed.

Odyssey cardholders were invited to redeem their benefits when Intel announced the card’s forthcoming release. Intel made it plain in a brief statement on the Odyssey Cardholder website that the card’s development is approaching completion.

“We are quickly approaching a milestone moment, the forthcoming release of Intel’s Xe HPG microarchitecture,” the company said. Intel further revealed that the DG2 lineup of cards is already being sampled during the International Supercomputing 2021 (ISC) event.

Intel launched the Odyssey program in 2019 with the goal of marketing, testing, and upgrading Intel’s discrete graphics cards with the help of a group of volunteers.

“The Odyssey is […] a beta program, it’s a two-way conversation, it’s a listening opportunity, and the net result I’m hoping for is that when we start to launch more visual computing platforms — discrete graphics, things like that — the community will be excited because they’ve had a chance to provide that input and are getting products and technologies that they’re really excited about,” he says.

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The Intel DG2 is expected to be available in both desktop and mobile versions. That means the DG2 might be used in gaming laptops, throwing a kink in the AMD/Nvidia duopoly. It’s probable that the mobile version of DG2 will be compatible with Intel’s future 12th generation processors, known as Alder Lake. A DG2 GPU combined with a 14-core, 20-thread Alder Lake-P CPU has previously been shown in benchmarks.

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Although this is a significant shift for Intel, it is evident that the business will not be able to compete with the finest graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD anytime soon – at least not until additional DG2 models are available. The benchmarks suggest performance comparable to Nvidia’s aging GeForce GTX 1050.

One of the two leaked tests appears to be for a discrete graphics card, while the other appears to be for an integrated GPU with the Alder Lake engine. The card has 256 execution units (EUs) with a clock speed of up to 1,400MHz when it comes to the discrete GPU variant. The card had been rumored to have 8GB of GDDR6 memory, but the benchmarked variant only had 6.22GB. This discrete GPU earned 18,482 points in an OpenCL benchmark, compared to up to 18,895 for the GTX 1050.

The second unit tested has 96 EUs and a clock speed of 1,200MHz, as well as 1.5GB of memory. This is most likely an integrated GPU intended for use with Intel’s Alder Lake-P processors. It achieved 6,516 points in the same OpenCL benchmark, which is somewhat lower than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 460. As again, these are unofficial figures that will almost certainly alter once the cards are launched with correct drivers.

The DG1 was Intel’s only discrete graphics card prior to the DG2, which was a budget card developed primarily for manufacturers and found its way into laptops like the Acer Swift 3X. It wasn’t designed for gaming, despite the fact that it wound up inside a CyberPower PC gaming desktop. The Xe-HPG DG2 is Intel’s first serious attempt at a standalone gaming GPU.

According to Intel’s words, the discrete graphics card market is a long-term commitment for the company, and the Xe-HPG DG2 is simply the first step. While no release date has been set, all indications are that it will come shortly.

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