Intel has explained in an online GDC talk how its processors could use existing features in DirectX 12 to work with discrete graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD (and its own upcoming Intel Xe graphics cards) for higher frame rates in games.
The online talk (opens in new tab) was hosted by Intel developer Allen Hux, after the GDC (Games Developer Conference) was turned into an online-only event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In it, Hux explains how discrete GPUs could use the integrated graphic chip inside the processor (which would otherwise not be used when a discrete GPU is being used).
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While we’ve suspected that Intel is working on a way to get its CPU and upcoming discrete GPUs to work together to give the graphics card a boost, there seems to be a possibility that this feature could also be used to boost the performance of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards as well. That potential cross-platform support is very exciting.
The fact that Intel’s CPUs could help boost the GPUs of rival companies is thanks to an existing feature of Microsoft’s DirectX 12 API, which allows games to use multiple GPUs from different companies.
Previously, if you had multiple GPUs, you needed to have the same make and models, using either Nvidia’s SLI feature or AMD’s CrossFire tech.
With DirectX 12, you can now use different GPUs from different manufacturers (as long as the game supports the feature), and Intel is using this to its advantage.
What kind of a boost?
So, what kind of boost are we talking about here? Well, before you go getting excited that this could magically turn a weaker RTX 2060 into a flagship RTX 2080, it does seem that using the processor to offload some compute tasks, while leaving the discrete GPU to concentrate on the more intensive tasks, could lead to a decent FPS bump - especially in devices like gaming laptops that have underpowered graphics capabilities.
It could also lead to future gaming laptops that are thinner and lighter than ever before, with the manufacturers not having to include larger, more power-hungry, graphics cards, and instead go for more modest ones, while still providing decent gaming performance.
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Via PC Gamer (opens in new tab)