Intel's Xe discrete desktop graphics card may be getting closer to launch. The Xe discrete GPU was recently discovered in a leaked Geekbench benchmark test that revealed key specs for the entry-level desktop card. Though not announced by Intel, the fact that the Xe discrete GPU is currently being tested suggests that it may hit the market soon, with a possible launch at CES in January 2021.
According to the Geekbench database, the card was discovered with 128 processing units, 1,024 cores, 3 GB of video RAM and a clock rate of 1.4 GHz. The benchmark was discovered by Twitter user @TUM_APISAK, and the benchmark revealed that the card was paired with the 9th generation Intel processor for testing. In particular, it was used with an Intel Core i5-9600K silicon with 16 GB of system memory.
The card's specifications from the Geekbench test are the same as previously discovered in the SiSoftware database, which lists Intel's Gen12 desktop graphics at the same clock speed and number of cores. They could debut as DG2.
It's unclear how the final card will work – with the right drivers and software support – but the leaked Geekbench score of 9,311 is below the 15,000-point performance of the discrete Intel Iris Xe Max laptop GPU on the same test . We'd expect the desktop part to perform better than the laptop part when released, especially since the Iris Xe Max ships with just 96 execution units and 768 cores.
The new desktop part will likely not be based on the same Xe-LP architecture that the Iris Xe Max is based on, as the LP design is 96 cores maximum. Instead, according to a report by Wccftech, this card could likely be an early version of Intel's upcoming Xe-HP or Xe-HPG architecture. The Xe-HPG is likely designed for mainstream computing and high-end gaming. It has 512 execution units and a GDDR6 memory. The VRAM should make the GPU more competitive against recent offerings from Nvidia and AMD like the GeForce RTX 3070. More premium GPUs from Nvidia like the RTX 3080 use a faster GDDR6X memory standard.
The Intel Xe-HPG is expected to be part of Intel's second generation discrete graphics card known as the DG2. The Intel Xe-LP on Tiger Lake notebooks is part of the DG1 family. With only a few weeks left before CES kicks off in early 2021, we won't have to wait long to see if Intel picks this place for the unveiling of its DG2 card. Given the recent GPU launches from AMD and Nvidia, as well as Apple's move to its own M1 processors on the Mac, the DG2's strong performance will allow Intel to stay competitive in this area.