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Intel teases its “Xe-HPG” DG2 discrete gaming GPU architecture at the GDC 2021 virtual event [UPDATE]

We can all agree that we seriously need a third discrete GPU competitor in the market. AMD and NVIDIA have already dominated the discrete gaming GPU market since long, and now Intel plans to enter the competition to capture some market share and goodwill.

At the recent 2021 GDC Showcase online event Intel teased its upcoming “Xe HPG” DG2 discrete gaming GPU architecture on Twitter. The short teaser video also shows the Xe-LP chip, but we are more interested in “Xe-HPG” DG2 gaming GPU architecture.

Since GDC is a games developer conference it was expected for the company to tease something regarding gaming GPUs and/or CPUs.

Intel Xe-HPG DG2 teaserIntel Xe-HPG DG2 teaser-2

The teaser also contains a hidden “binary code” which can be deciphered if you have the proper tools, as shown below.

Intel Xe-HPG DG2 teaser-3

Recently, Raja Koduri posted a picture on his Twitter account from the Folsom, California lab at Intel, showcasing the new Xe-HPG graphics card which is being tested in some 3DMark benchmarks. If Raja is teasing the DG2 gaming GPU then we are likely looking at on-shelve availability in a few months or so, hopefully.

The Intel DG2 graphics appears to be the first GPU based on the HPG architecture. This graphics processor is rumored to offer up to 512 Execution Units, which gives the GPU 4096 cores (Shading Units). The card is based on the Gen12 graphics architecture.

The card will sport features like compute efficiency, scalability and graphics efficiency. Intel has also confirmed that the new HPG architecture will use the GDDR6 memory type.

Back in October 2020, Intel taped out its first discrete gaming GPU, the Xe-HPG ‘DG2’ graphics processor. The company reaffirmed back then that it is working on a full stack of discrete Xe-HPG-based GPUs that will target the mid-range/mainstream, and also the enthusiast gaming market segment sometime later this year.

The new Intel DG1 on the other hand, is Intel’s first discrete GPU in over 20 years. Intel’s DG1 GPU is already shipping in volume. DG1 is codenamed as Intel Iris Xe MAX GPU, which is used 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.

The new Intel DG2 discrete gaming graphics processor on the other hand was in “alpha silicon” form back then, 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.

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

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.

This GPU was already rumored to be manufactured outside of Intel’s fab, in an external foundry.

Back then while Intel didn’t mention which fab and process node was going to be used, but as per one report from REUTERS, they might tap TSMC’s enhanced 7nm process node, or maybe even 6nm node.

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.

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-3

Recently, some leaked specs of Intel’s upcoming XE-HPG (High-Performance gaming) “DG2” GPU lineup were shared by twitter user @harukaze5719. More details can be found in this article.

Intel Xe DG2 GPU lineup leak

Intel is expected to unveil its DG2-based graphics cards later this year. Though at the recent January 11 CES 2021 event, there was no mention of this discrete gaming GPU.

Stay tuned for more tech news!

UPDATE:

It appears that the mysterious binary code puzzle in the above teaser has been cracked by Wccftech’s reader, @duckofdeath. The binary string led to a hidden Intel page, and it might be possible that INTEL will announce an Xe HPG scavenger hunt event on the 26th of March 2021 9AM PST.

The binary code does not actually refer to any text but rather an IP address, which leads us to a special event page dedicated to Xe-HPG Scavenger Hunt.

The IP 35.160.237.208 leads to xehpg.intel.com.

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As noted by Wccftech, the IP is the result of only the binary puzzle though so it could mean that additional information still remains locked in the alphanumeric sequence.

There were 2 puzzles in the teaser. The 7 digit alphanumeric sequence comes first and the binary flashes a few seconds later:

  • 0731W (UNSOLVED?)
  • 00100011 (SOLVED)
  • 10100000
  • 11101101
  • 11010000

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