Intel feature 5

Intel tapes out its first discrete Gaming GPU, the Xe-HPG ‘DG2’ graphics processor

According to Intel’s most recent quarterly earnings, coming via SeekingAlpha, the company has announced that it has successfully started shipping its first discrete GPU DG1 in volume, and also revealed that the DG2 GPU, based on XE HPG architecture, has already been taped out and powered on in the labs.

The company reaffirmed that it is working on a full stack of discrete Xe-HPG-based GPUs that will target the mid-range/mainstream and enthusiast gaming market segment sometime next year.

The new Intel DG1 is Intel’s first discrete GPU in over 20 years. You might remember the good old Intel i740 chip from the early 1990s, and it has almost been over two decades since the company released a discrete graphics processor in the market.

Intel’s DG1 GPU is now already shipping in volume. DG1 is codenamed as Intel Iris Xe MAX, and this GPU will land up in ultraportable and thin laptop designs. It is based on the Xe-LP architecture for iGPUs and low-power models, and entry-level gaming PCs. According to Intel, DG1-equipped notebooks are expected later in Q4 2020.

“Our first discrete GPU DG1 is shipping now and will be in systems from multiple OEMs later in Q4,” said Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, during the company’s earnings call with analysts and investors.

“We powered on our next-generation GPU for client DG2. Based on our Xe high-performance gaming architecture, this product will take our discrete graphics capability up the stack into the enthusiast segment.”

The new Intel DG2 discrete gaming graphics processor on the other hand is currently in alpha silicon form, but Intel said they’ve already powered-on this new DG2-based GPU in their labs.

DG2 isn’t just a successor to DG1, but instead is a higher performing bracket GPU based on the company’s latest Xe-HPG architecture.

Intel Xe-HPG slide

Xe-HPG is the enthusiast, and gaming focused GPU architecture, incorporating hardware-enabled features found in similar discrete GPUs like e.g. ray tracing/RTX etc.

This GPU is being manufactured outside of Intel’s fabs, in an external foundry. While the company hasn’t said which fab and process node is being used, but most likely it is being manufactured at TSMC’s facilities.

So Intel has actually used a lot of other third-party IP, such as the memory controller and interface, and display interface to optimize the overall design costs. Intel’s family of Xe-HPG graphics processors will consist of multiple SKUs targeting different market segments spanning all the way from mid-range to the high-end enthusiast level.

Though, Intel hasn’t clarified whether DG2 is a flagship-grade bigger chip, or a more modest, and smaller 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.”

Intel Xe-HPG slide-2Intel Xe-HPG slide-3

Thanks, Anandtech.