Intel is taking a big step into the GPU space, starting with the Intel Xe integrated graphics that will be built into the company’s upcoming “Tiger Lake” processors. But laptops with integrated GPUs are just the start.

The company is outlining its roadmap for Intel Xe graphics, and we can also expect to see discrete graphics cards for gaming PCs and graphics workstation computers as well as higher-performance GPUs for data centers.

Intel says its Xe GPU technology is scalable in a way that allows it to be configured for low-power computers and supercomputers alike.

Here’s an overview of what’s coming from Intel:

  • Intel Xe-LP: low-power, integrated graphics (coming this year)
  • Intel Xe-HPG: mid-range and enthusiast graphics for gaming PCs (coming in 2021)
  • Intel Xe-HP: high-performance for enthusiast/data center and AI applications
  • Intel Xe-HPC: exa-scale

At the integrated graphics level, Intel is promising up to a 2X performance boost over the Intel Iris Plus graphics available in some 10th-gen “Ice Lake” processors.

The upcoming Intel Xe-LP graphics will support up to 96 execution units, up to 1,536 flops per clock, up to 16MB of L3 cache, and improved efficiency.

The upshot is that Intel says you should see better support for some AAA games on laptops with Intel integrated graphics.

You may still need a discrete GPU to handle some of the most graphically intensive games, but Intel’s new Xe-LP graphics should put the company in a much better position to compete with AMD, which uses its own Radeon Vega graphics with its Ryzen mobile processors.

Intel has also added support for hardware-accelerated AV1 decoding and says the Intel Xe-LP GPU will be able to handle video playback at up to 8K resolutions at 60-frames per second.

intel xe-lp media engine

Intel Xe-LP isn’t just going to show up as the integrated graphics portion of Intel’s Tiger Lake processors though. The company also plans to release a higher-performance discrete GPU called the Intel DG1 that will be available to OEMs to bundle with higher-end laptops featuring Tiger Lake chips.

According to Intel, DG1 isn’t aimed at gamers so much as “mobile creators” looking to leverage GPU acceleration for video and graphics tasks. And the company is also planning a server version of its low-power GPU called SG1.

Intel Xe-LP

We already knew that Intel was planning to amp up its graphics game with the introduction of Intel Xe, but the company is providing far more details now… and announcing the new Intel Xe-HPG solution which will fit between the entry-level Xe-LP and the server-level Xe-HP.

These upcoming HPG GPUs, set to launch next year, are discrete GPUs designed for gaming PCs and other systems for enthusiasts who want more power than the Xe-LP offers, but who don’t need all the features (or expense) of Xe-HP graphics. We don’t know much about these solutions yet, but it sounds like Intel is coming for NVIDIA and AMD.

And eventually Intel plans to bring higher-performance Xe-HP and Xe-HPC chips to data centers.

Intel Xe

via Intel and AnandTech


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8 replies on “Intel Xe GPU roadmap includes laptop, gaming PC, and server graphics”

  1. And eventually HP plans to bring higher-performance Xe-HP and Xe-HPC chips to data centers.

    HP or Intel? If HP… Itanic 2?

      1. At least you got the URL typed correctly 😛

        …well, I read all that jargon Intel threw at me and all I got to say is that I’m very disappointed. This is Intel promising to try and catch up to the competitors of yesteryear. By the time any of this stuff actually ships, they’ll still be 2-generations behind… yet they are still demanding a higher price than the competitors. It’s just delusion.

        I mean this “next-gen” Intel Xe-LP seems like it will struggle to compete against AMD’s Vega iGPU. And that’s just on the architectural level. There’s the fact that it will be Intel’s +10nm, which is equal to Samsung/TSMC 10nm. And since iGPU’s don’t work in a vacuum, there’s also the CPU and thermals to consider. Intel’s latest CPU architecture is behind and playing catch-up to Zen2. And there’s the wafer of that to consider as well.

        So they’re using lower-efficiency CPU architecture, CPU lithography, GPU architecture, and GPU lithography… in a compact laptop body. Well, it means that the new 2021 Intel Laptops will cost more, have less battery life, run slower, run hotter, and run louder, when compared to the 2020 AMD Laptops.

        So when compared to a potential 2021 AMD system, which could be, firstly cheaper, next using +7nm EUV TSMC lithography, an even better Zen3 microarchitecture, and a more advanced RDNA2 GPU. Yeah, no contest.

      2. Oh, also I should mention that:
        Intel will also be using an external fab for some supplies of TSMC 7nm!

        How embarrassing.
        And they know it. So they hid this little tidbit in there. But at least they tried to save face by using it only for the GPU (and not CPU), and only for the discreet GPU options (Intel Xe-HP). And only for the luxury model (10SFE enhanced).

        Ah, to top it all off, TSMC doesn’t want to help Intel, for good reason too. So each chip is going to cost very expensive for Intel, and they won’t have much supplies of it. And Intel is only able to afford and only attain wafers for a portion of the dGPU: that’s the higher memory module, and interconnect chiplet (Rambo Cache, and Xe-Link).

        …Intel should have already shipped 5nm products this year, based on their classic momentum, but they haven’t even scratched 10nm properly yet. So yeah, it’s safe to say that the company have done goofed, and investors have been fleeced this past +3 years. Just no other way of putting it. It would be similar scenario if Google just announced released of the Pixel 2XL this year for USD $1,500 while the likes of OnePlus 8 Pro were already in the market for under USD $900.

  2. Or you buy a $65 dollar 4GB Amlogic Android TV box with a s905x4 SoC, which already has AV1. They have been around in OEM products for months. Just Covid 19 has pushed back launch.

    1. I’d rather not fall victim to the “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” fallacy. And AV1 isn’t really widely deployed yet either, so theres no rush to flock towards Amlogic. With h265, Amlogic was one of the first to support it, but their support never lead to a useful solution for end users. It was never supported by Netflix, or any other platforms that use h265.

      With Amlogic’s AV1 support, this requires software developers to build specific support for their hardware decoder. Are there actually any applications currently supporting their AV1 decoding? And under which specific operating system would we receive the support?

      If Amlogic’s past support of H265 is anything to go by, we will likely see 1 or 2 applications support this (probably Kodi on Android only is my guess). In those cases, you needed to run a very specific OS, and use only that one specific application to view videos.

      With Intel offering this support, this will likely be supported inside DirectX’s DXVA component, meaning that any software that supports DirectX will share in the support of their AV1 hardware decoding. I’m not certain on this yet, but its just my guess based on how Intel has supported video hardware decoding in the past.

  3. To me, the most exciting part of this is the AV1 hardware decoding support.

    AV1 is a video compression technology, and it is an open-source royalty free successor to h265/HEVC. It is going to be a competitor to h266, which is shaping up to be just as much of a disappointment as h265 was. H265 was a consortium of tech companies that fought over control of a pool of patents.

    The exciting thing is not just that Intel is offering support for AV1, but that they’re going above and beyond with 8k 10-bit support.

    Intel has already been offering AV1 encoding support on their Xeon CPUs since 2019, and apparently Netflix is already working with Intel on AV1 support.

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