Intel Xe graphics cards may target the entry level market first

Intel graphics cards
(Image credit: Intel)

Update: Intel has reached out and clarified, stating that it would target the mainstream market, which would start at the $200 (£165, AU$295) level, but would also extend to the $500 (£400, AU$700) - $600 (£530, AU$850) range as well, in order to provide a full range of graphics cards. It also stated that it could take between 2-3 years to provide the full product stack. Original story continued below.

So, we've known for a while that Intel graphics cards are going to be a thing, but now we have an idea of what sector of the market they'll occupy. 

In an interview with Russian YouTube channel Pro Hi-Tech, Intel chief architect and senior vice president of architecture, Raja Koduri reportedly said that Intel Xe graphics cards will initially target the "$200 price, then the same architecture but with the higher amount of HBM memory for data centers", according to a translation from Reddit user Taryakun. That converts to around £165 / AU$295 for the graphics cards.

It's important to note right out of the gate that this is an unverified translation, so we'd take it with a grain of salt. However, it would make a lot of sense for Intel to tackle the entry-level market with its initial Intel Xe graphics cards, as that's where the money is. 

However, the translation does also suggest that these graphics cards would be using HBM memory. This is a bit hard to be believed, as this variation of VRAM is traditionally much more expensive than the GDDR6 found in both Nvidia Turing and AMD Navi graphics cards. 

Rumors running wild

Over the last few weeks, Intel Xe graphics cards leaks and rumors have been everywhere, and this apparently official word from the Intel's graphics card lead only adds fuel to the fire. 

We previously spotted a rumor that Intel's Xe graphics cards would have 128 execution units (EUs) at the entry level, which is just twice what the integrated graphics in the new Ice Lake processors feature. We could definitely see a graphics card with that level of processing slotted in at that $200 / £165 / AU$295 price point. 

A little earlier, though, we saw a rumor that Intel graphics cards would have ray tracing built in. Now, there has been some speculation that ray tracing would be essentially required in a few years time, but we find it hard to believe that ray tracing support could be baked into a graphics card of that price in the near future.

Either way, seeing Intel take on AMD in Team Red's traditional territory would be almost poetic, seeing how Intel is falling behind when it comes to processor sales. Until we see the cards in the flesh, hopefully around 2020 when Team Blue initially said it would release its first discrete graphics cards

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.