What just happened? Intel has announced that its Iris Xe discreet graphics cards for desktops are shipping to system builders for use. The company has developed the cards alongside board partners Asus and Colorful, and they will appear in pre-built systems aimed at mainstream users and small- to medium-sized businesses.
Formerly codenamed DG1, the Iris Xe desktop cards aren't aimed at demanding gamers—Intel isn't positioning them as a gaming products. They come with 4GB of LPDDR4X and feature 80 execution units, fewer than the 96 EUs found in the Iris Xe Max GPU used in Tiger Lake laptop CPUs. Intel compares the latter to Nvidia's MX350 to give you an idea of its perceived competition.
The boards come with three display outputs; hardware video decode and encode acceleration, including AV1 decode support; adaptive sync, and display HDR support. They also have some artificial intelligence capabilities thanks to DP4a deep-learning inference acceleration.
While you're not going to be playing Microsoft Flight Simulator using one of these cards, they pave the way for the arrival of the Xe DG2 GPU that reportedly use TSMC's enhanced 7nm process and come with 512 EUs, potentially putting it head-to-head with the latest high-end offerings from Nvidia and AMD.
No word on when OEM systems packing these Iris Xe cards will arrive. They'll likely be here within the next few months, offering an appealing budget alternative to the other systems with entry-level cards.
Meanwhile, the Xe DG2 is set to launch later in the year and is rumored to be priced between $400 and $600.