Gamers, start revving those graphics engines. Intel may have started shipping its debut Xe discrete graphics cards to partners two weeks ago, a major milestone for the company—but those GPUs are only the low-powered Xe LP version intended to boost media encoding, and only intended for affordable prebuilt PCs. Late Tuesday night, Intel chief architect Raja Koduri teased a more enthusiast-friendly milestone, revealing a screenshot of a forthcoming 3DMark benchmark running on a Xe HPG graphics card, Intel’s gaming-focused architecture.
“Xe HPG mesh shading in action, with the UL 3DMark Mesh Shader Feature test that is coming out soon,” Koduri tweeted.
The “HPG” in “Xe HPG” stands for “High-Performance Gaming,” and this tease speaks to that. While those initial Xe LP graphics cards aim at multimedia and encoding tasks, Mesh Shaders are an integral part of DirectX 12 Ultimate, Microsoft’s graphics API that unifies the under-the-hood capabilities of Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox Series X. Nvidia and AMD’s most recent graphics cards support DirectX 12 Ultimate, and if this tweet is any indication, Intel’s first gaming GPU will too.
The Xe LP graphics cards shipping to system vendors now contain 80 execution units. Early rumors suggest Xe HPG will scale up to roughly 500 execution units, though Intel hasn’t revealed any deeper details on the architecture yet. With the graphics card market in a miserable state, ravaged by shortages and steep price gouging, the arrival of a third contender will be welcome indeed.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Intel’s blossoming graphics division. In addition to launching Xe LP in desktops and teasing Xe HPG with 3DMark, Raja Koduri also revealed the silicon design for the datacenter-focused Xe HPC ahead of it powering on for the first time, then showed the results of it dreaming up a Mandelbrot fractal.