Before Intel Xe graphics cards appeared on the horizon, the GPU market has been dominated by AMD and Nvidia alone. However, with Intel throwing its hat in the ring, there’s going to be a third player in the graphics card game.
We now know that Intel graphics cards are hitting the streets soon, and may give pricier gaming graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super a good run for their money. This could only mean good things for us – the more competition there is out there, the more affordable the best GPUs will get.
It's unlikely that we'll see an RTX 2080 Ti competitor right away, but we have heard some rumors that Intel graphics cards are going to enter the mainstream market at first, which is great news for the more casual gamers.
On the other hand, newer rumors are saying that Intel might roll out GPUs intended for Exascale computing before anything else. These cards will probably be very powerful, but they’re also going to be very expensive. If that happens, mainstream users will have to wait longer.
Either way, Intel’s first Xe graphics card is officially ‘alive.’ Whether it’s a consumer or an enterprise GPUs, it isn’t known as none of those details have emerged yet. What we do know is that AMD and Nvidia should brace themselves for impact.
These Intel graphics cards are still a little ways out, however, and we don't even know any specifics. But, there's a lot of speculation and rumors out there, which we gathered all the information we’ve come across in one place, so you can get caught up on Intel Xe graphics cards without having to do much digging.
Keep this page bookmarked, and we'll keep it updated with all the latest news and information.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s line of graphics cards
- When is it out? Sometime in 2020
- What will it cost? No one knows yet
Intel graphics cards release date
Intel graphics cards seem set for release sometime in 2020 and that’s the only thing we can be sure about. The chipmaker itself has stated that it’s on track to release graphics cards in 2020 at least twice. We’re not sure of a much more accurate date beyond that, unfortunately. We’re hoping it’ll come sooner at the start of 2020.
So, at GDC 2019, Intel showed off some renders of its future graphics cards. We still don’t know what kind of technology is going to be behind these cards, but it seems like Intel is on track for that 2020 release date. Coupled with Intel’s new graphics tuning software, it seems like Intel is going to slowly release GPU information over the next year. Of course, we could get radio silence until CES 2019, but we don’t think it’s going to play out like that.
Either way, we don’t know the exact release date for Intel’s graphics card until the company wants us to (or until the release date gets leaked, as is likely to happen).
Intel graphics cards price
Intel’s pricing for its graphics cards is ultimately going to boil down to what segment of the consumer market it plans to capitalize on it. We’re sure that there will be professional and datacenter GPUs that cost thousands of dollars, but we’re more interested in consumer or gaming graphics cards.
There are some signs that Intel is going to compete with the likes of AMD. In an interview with Russian YouTube channel Pro Hi-Tech – that's been taken down – Intel senior vice president of architecture said Intel graphics cards would target the mainstream, which starts at $200 (about £165, AU$294). Since then, however, Intel has since come out and clarified that Koduri was talking about the mainstream market starting at that price point and not future Intel graphics cards starting at that price.
However, it is possible that Intel would target the high-end enthusiast market, too. We've heard that Intel Xe graphics cards would feature baked-in support for ray tracing – something AMD hasn't caught up with. However, there is a chance that only high-end GPUs targeted at enterprise users would feature this capability.
Obviously, this far out from the actual launch of Intel Xe graphics cards, it's hard to nail down how much we'll have to pay for Team Blue's GPUs. And, because this would be the first generation of Intel graphics cards, we can't exactly look to the past to try and suss out how much we'll be spending.
At the end of the day, we don’t know what Intel is doing here, but we’re excited nonetheless. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground on this one, waiting until more information starts surfacing — so stay tuned.
Intel graphics cards specs
Usually, this is the part of the story where we dive into past releases and try to guess what the future products are going to look like. But, we can’t really do that this time around – it’s been almost two decades since Intel has released a discrete GPU, and that didn’t end so well for team blue.
That doesn't mean that there isn't anything out there that we can take a look at. We have seen a leaked graphics driver show up on the Anandtech forums, possibly referencing several discrete graphics cards – and a rough idea on their specs. For instance, we saw a iDG2HP512, which looks like a bunch of random numbers and letters at first glance. However, if you take DG to mean 'discrete graphics' and the 512 to signify the number of EUs (execution units), we can get a rough idea of what it can do.
These execution cores are essentially Intel's equivalent to Nvidia's CUDA cores, where the more you have, the faster the GPU is. For comparison's sake, in Intel's latest Ice Lake processors that sport Gen11 integrated graphics, the beefiest GPU only has 64 EUs. These discrete Intel graphics cards, if these leaks are at all reliable, should be an order of magnitude faster than the integrated Gen11 graphics on Ice Lake.
Intel has also announced that its discrete graphics will support hardware-optimized ray tracing – but it's unclear whether or not this will be an enterprise-level feature. However, now that we know the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett will feature ray tracing, Intel may need to include this capabilities in its graphics cards, especially if they release alongside AMD's rumored Navi 23 graphics.
Intel is taking some notes from its competition, when it comes to software, too. At GDC 2019, Intel launched the new Intel Graphics Command Center, which is the Blue Team’s equivalent to something like Nvidia’s GeForce Experience. This isn’t especially helpful right now, as integrated graphics aren’t the best for playing games, but it does mean that once Intel graphics cards do release, they’ll feature one-click game optimization.
At the end of the day, there are only a couple things we need to see in these new GPUs, they need to be capable of 4K gaming, and they need to be priced competitively. If Intel is able to hit these two marks, we could see Intel competing in the bloodthirsty GPU marketplace. But, we won’t know until Intel is ready to share.