Intel's XE GPU is probably laptop/mobile only

Written by Jennifer Allen

May 12, 2020 | 11:00

Tags: #discrete-gpu #intel-xe

Companies: #intel

A recent leak has suggested that Intel's Xe GPU - the company's latest foray into discrete graphics - will be only for laptops and mobiles, rather than desktop systems. 

Courtesy of a newly leaked slide from Argonne National Laboratory and uncovered via TechPowerUp, it seems that the Xe chip "will be used in laptops with the GPU integrated onto the motherboard" and that the PCIe form factor we saw during the Xe GPU's public debut at CES 2020 is "only for the SDV and not a product". The SDV being a software development vehicle for developers rather than consumers. 

Allowing developers to use a GPU in the form of a discrete PCIe is understandable given it means they have more control over how to use it during testing, but it seemed to make sense that the SDV would inevitably lead to a desktop-based discrete unit. 

It's a small piece of information right now but a disappointing one for people hoping to see a new competitor in the discrete GPU field. Given Intel's past ill-fated Larrabee project, it's doubtful that anyone was expecting to see Intel suddenly become the best GPU manufacturer out there but options are always welcomed. 

This was certainly compounded when a demonstration of it at CES 2020 struggled to run Warframe, only achieving 30fps on low at 1080p, but the thinking was that there would be further refinements down the line. 

What we can hope for is that potentially Intel is pursuing the entry-level discrete GPUs in laptops such as the GeForce MX300 line which could provide a little more choice for laptop-based consumers. So far, it's clear that wherever Intel Xe is going to end up, it's not going to be as exciting for PC gamers as early thoughts suggested. Having said that, it could be the foundation for more if Intel sees success in the chip. 

Regardless, there's still no official word yet on a release date for Intel Xe but with more news being uncovered, a release date sometime in mid to late 2020 continues to seem fairly likely. 

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