It won’t be long before Intel’s Xe graphics cards become a reality. As per industry insiders, team blue is aiming for a mid-2020 launch date for its Xe discrete graphics cards. These GPUs will be built atop Intel’s 10nm process and will be aimed towards gamers as well as professionals.
It is expected to be a twin-pronged attack on NVIDIA’s shares in the gaming and Data Center market. Intel is planning to combine it’s 10nm Ice Lake CPU cores and the Xe GPU into a compelling professional processor, armed with the strong points of both the worlds. At present, the AI and deep-learning market is largely ruled by NVIDIA’s products and that is exactly where Intel wants to strike first. These Data Center Xe graphics cards will support hardware-accelerated ray-tracing and probably come with HBM2 memory at competitive prices.
Intel has no shortage of funding, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Seeing that the company’s Odyssey program is focusing on gamers rather stringently, it’d be safe to say that we can expect some solid products from the Xe lineup in the PC gaming market alongside the GeForce and Radeon counterparts. From what we know, the 1st Gen Xe graphics cards will only have ray-tracing for the professional parts while the gaming variants will have to settle for traditional rasterization.
This isn’t the first time Intel is trying to enter the discrete graphics card market (Larabee?). The company tried twice earlier but failed miserably but who knows, third time’s a charm. With industry veterans like Raja Koduri, Tom Petersen, Jim Keller this might actually work.
But there’s more. While the 1st gen Intel Xe graphics cards are slated for launch in mid-2020, the 2nd Gen Xe lineup is also being developed on the 7nm node with help from R&D facilities in India. These advanced graphics cards are said to leverage Intel’s custom 3D stacking technology “Foveros” that will power the Lakefield SoCs. We for one can’t wait for Intel’s Xe GPUs and see how they perform compared to AMD and NVIDIA’s existing products.