Intel's upcoming Xe HPG graphics card could compete with Big Navi and Ampere


Posts: 1,246   +24
Staff member
Something to look forward to: The Intel Xe graphics project builds on top of over a decade of experience making integrated GPUs and its associated software stack. With the company getting closer to creating a full-fledged gaming GPU, expectation is high in that they could actually compete with AMD's Big Navi and Nvidia Ampere (RTX 30 series), ray tracing and all.

Earlier this year, Intel started shipping the first generation Xe desktop graphics cards to system builders. These are relatively modest performers that can only compete with some entry-level mobile graphics chipsets for laptops, but they're a great start and definitely more compelling than something like Nvidia's resurrected GeForce GT 710.

In the meantime, Intel engineers have been working hard on a new Xe microarchitecture that will scale from integrated graphics on mobile CPUs all the way up to the data center. During Intel's Architecture Day 2020 event, the company explained that it's working on Xe HPG chips that will pack GDDR6 memory and support for ray tracing.

Gamers and PC enthusiasts have been waiting for details on its development, but it was only last month that we got a tweet from Intel's chief GPU architect, Raja Koduri, who showed the company is already testing an Xe HPG chip using 3DMark's new Mesh Shader performance test.

Today, we got the first real hint (thanks, PC World) -- Intel's upcoming gamer-focused GPU should be able to reach at least GeForce RTX 3070 levels of performance according to synthetic workloads.

Koduri shared a picture that shows many of the same people that worked on Intel's Crystal Well tech back in 2012, are now working on Xe HPG at the same Intel Folsom lab and seeing 20x the performance in synthetic benchmarks. Crystal Well refers to the Intel Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics that featured an embedded DRAM cache and is capable of anywhere between 1,350 to 1,450 points on the 3DMark Fire Strike test.

Nvidia's nearly unobtainable RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 graphics cards can get around 25,000 points and 30,000 points, respectively. Intel's own Xe Max is able to get around 5,800 points.

Of course, that doesn't say how well an Xe HPG graphics card would compare with Nvidia's offering in terms of gaming performance. Still, there are a few things to reinforce the plausibility of this comparison. First, is that Intel will use a different process node than its 10 nm SuperFin, which makes it one of the possible buyers of TSMC's excess wafer capacity.

The second thing to consider is that Intel's Xe HP architecture is designed to scale well using "tiles" that each have 512 execution units, or the rough equivalent of 4,096 shader cores for Nvidia and AMD graphics solutions. The Xe HPG will no doubt cut many of the superfluous features of its server counterpart in favor of more execution units running at higher clocks. And Intel could also use 2 HPG tiles linked via an embedded multi-die interconnect bridge (EMIB) to pack even more brute power, similar to SLI and Crossfire but with better scaling and less stuttering.

In any case, Intel could be preparing to hit Nvidia and AMD with a compelling graphics solution at a time when both are struggling to meet demand for their latest offerings. If the performance, power consumption, and pricing are right, Intel's Xe HPG could get adopted into a lot of gamer rigs whenever it arrives.

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Posts: 540   +693
With Intel I worry more about long term dedication.

Will they put up the long fight even if they are in 3rd place for the next half decade?

Are users going to get the worst driver turn around times, and possibly short driver life spans?

Intel already has the bar set pretty low. I don't see them coming out with cards that cost more than the competition.


Posts: 262   +174
If Intel competes for capacity at TSMC, how is it going to have lots of graphics cards for sale when AMD and Nvidia don't? For this plan to work, Intel would have to be able to make the GPUs in its own foundries!
I believe there is a link in the article relating to the surreptitious world of the wafer.


Posts: 183   +240
Driver quality and compatibility with old/niche games is what worries me. Regardless of how good the hardware may be, I don’t see myself dropping an Intel GPU into my system until they’ve been out for several generations.


Posts: 1,344   +2,012
Even if Intel faces a lot of skepticism from the high end enthusiast market, there's a ton of room for them to move volume via prebuilt systems integrators (I.e. the Dells of the world), and the current under-supplied, over-priced environment will be a great leveler in helping many customers overcome their reservations about giving Intel a try. In some game types (I.e. LoL) their integrated GPUs probably already have a significant if not majority share of players anyway.

If the product is adequate and the price is reasonable, they'll sell whatever they can make.


Posts: 393   +386
I hope this doesn't come as a short term ambition for intel. I'd like to see more choice and competition, thus, better prices in pc parts. Now that ARM began to invade in pc space and intel challenging GPU makers, we will see more creative designs. Lets hope production capacity keeps up!


Posts: 2,256   +4,392
Well sure, and I think that for compute this could be a competitive product. But for gaming if we're saying that AMD is always buggy and lagging behind in feature set when it comes to software, well intel takes that to an entire new level of craptastic with their integrated graphics.

I know, I know: no proper chance to prove us wrong and get things right from the get go but if I was a betting man, I'd bet on stability levels that would make consumers *BEG* for AMD Alpha drivers.


Posts: 797   +1,598
With Intel I worry more about long term dedication.

Will they put up the long fight even if they are in 3rd place for the next half decade?

Are users going to get the worst driver turn around times, and possibly short driver life spans?

Intel already has the bar set pretty low. I don't see them coming out with cards that cost more than the competition.
Nah, they'll try and fail, and then sell off their graphics division to the competition. Same as with everything else they've done that failed.

Hardware Geek

Posts: 459   +538
Although nobody expected a pandemic causing a shortage of silicon, Intel's timing couldn't have been better if they ever have a chance of developing and launching a competitive product. These will sell as fast as they can build them until the shortage is over which realistically won't happen until 2022 at the earliest


Posts: 1,823   +980
Judging by Steam hardware statistics, creating an entry level card, which could be cheap to produce, is a great idea.
What worries me is that all they managed to create so far is a crad that is barely faster than their crappy intergated GPUs.
Can they even make a worthy competitor for current NVIDIA and AMD cards?


Posts: 600   +1,112
Between MLiD's and RedGamingTech's leaks about this and the last Coreteks video, I think something interesting at least is coming this year Q3-Q4 from intel, GPU wise.

This is a very interesting video about all 3: nvidia, AMD, and intel upcoming GPUs. You don't have to believe everything, but having extra info about something that's coming is not bad at all.
1st part of the video is about nvidia, middle about AMD and last intel:


Posts: 1,101   +907
INTEL got lucky because Bitcoin is the only thing that's helping them now. The question now and later is SOFTWARE DRIVERS...........


Posts: 2,227   +3,874
If it competes with the 3070 that is a pleasant surprise. After all, the xx70 series was what AMD could compete with at best for many years.

The question as others have mentioned are of course driver quality and duration of support and when they release the card in volume. First half of this year would be great, but if it‘s late this year or early next that may already be too late. Capacity if made at TSMC is another question

It‘s not for me but tech and market wise certainly interesting, particularly to see Intel and nVidia competing (being the companies that they are). The funniest thing would be Intel releasing drivers that play well with AMD systems.


Posts: 771   +2,398
Hardware is nothing without software and I have no faith at all in Intel's ability to come up with decent drivers for any GPU they make.

..They still can't compete in the drivers department for their integrated GPU's after years, so what chance of them coming up with a feature set that can compete in any way whatsoever with Nvidia & AMD?



Posts: 2,074   +1,654
Will Intel deliver a credible solution in the GPU market 2021? That is the question.

Personally I hope so, we need a better alternative to GeForce than Radeon.


Posts: 525   +546
Everybody knows that road to -proverbial - hell is paved with good intentions.

How they want to compete with monsters like nVidia and AMD so quickly? It took Greens and Reds ages to reach this level - of course a bit is the result of stifling competition, but still.

GPU is worth exactly 0 if there is no ecosystem to support it.

They have to convince software developers (and games are just microscopic drop in that ocean). All what matters is Compute be it for render farms, scientific research or now very popular AI/Deep Learning. Yes of course games too, but at the very end of that line. Without solid ecosystem support Intel GPUs can end like their integrated graphics very quickly. Nobody cares about them.

If they convince devs, still there is matter of drivers and long term support. Something Intel is not really known for. Especially in consumer space where they just EOL stuff and off you go, deal with it, we'll honor the warranty, but that's it. Intel iGPU drivers are crap, same their Storage-whatever. Pains with old 750nvme on X99, still send shivers down my spine. And you cannot screw studio or scientific drivers, just can't or you're dead considering the $ involved.