Intel’s first Xe graphics card is officially ‘alive’ and coming for AMD and Nvidia

(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s first standalone Xe graphics card has been officially ‘powered on’ and is now in a functional working state, ready for further testing.

Chief executive Bob Swan revealed that the GPU had been powered on for the first time in Intel’s latest earnings report, as spotted by Wccftech. The graphics card in question is known as DG1, which presumably stands for ‘development graphics’ and DG1 is essentially the first working prototype model.

Chris Hook, Intel’s Graphics and Visual Technologies Marketing Chief, announced the event more dramatically on Twitter.

In the past, references have turned up via the rumor mill to DG1 and DG2 Intel cards, but at any rate, the chip giant clearly has one discrete GPU up and running now, whatever flavor it might be – consumer or enterprise – and whatever performance level it may have. None of those details have emerged yet.

All Intel has said about the nature of its initial Xe offering(s) is that it will be targeting the mainstream market, but the company intends to eventually provide a full range of graphics cards from budget to high-end.

The next step for the prototype DG1 graphics card will obviously be a whole load of testing and refinement, which will have to be done in fairly short order if Intel is to meet the mid-2020 launch date which has been previously rumored.

Stitched up…

Despite the mid-2020 speculation actually stemming from a hint dropped on Twitter by Raja Koduri, Intel’s chief architect, Chris Hook has previously tweeted that the launch timeframe Intel is looking at is late 2020 – although that was some seven months ago now.

At any rate, what’s clear is that Intel wants this first discrete GPU out at some point next year, although a lot will obviously depend on exactly how development goes from here. You could say that slippage isn’t unknown at Intel (ahem), particularly looking at the recent track record in the CPU arena…

Hook’s ‘it’s alive’ Frankenstein reference could be quite apt in some ways, and not just because Halloween is almost upon us. Remember that we’ve previously heard Intel could be gunning for a slick implementation of multi-GPU, so stitching multiple graphics cards together – as it were – to make a more powerful monster gaming rig could be part of the strategy to defeat AMD and Nvidia.

Or at least to try and get on level terms with those two established players in the graphics card market, because Intel will certainly need some kind of an angle to do that. The other obvious avenue of attack could be on price, and consumers everywhere will doubtless be hoping that this particular eventuality might come to pass – although we wouldn’t bet on it.

Then again, Intel is allegedly prepared to chuck a whole wedge of money at propping up processor sales, so who knows – anything is possible (although that particular CPU rumor should certainly be treated with a great deal of caution).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).