Inside a largely HPC and server-focused announcement today, Intel slyly dropped word of its upcoming gaming graphics card, DG2. According to the presentation slides (PDF warning), DG2 is already sampling out to Intel's partners now, and that's a good sign of things to come for Intel's venture into discrete pixel pushers.
Intel DG2 is based on the Intel Xe architecture that we've already had arrive in Tiger Lake chips and the low-power DG1 chip. However, Intel's discrete gaming aspirations have been largely waiting on DG2's arrival, which uses the gaming-specific Intel Xe-HPG arch.
It looks as if that could happen in good time, too. Intel has promised Xe discrete cards this year, and the announcement of DG2 sampling suggests its well on its way to doing just that.
Sampling will mean early versions of Intel's reference DG2 GPUs are in the hands of Intel's partners, the people who will finally turn that Xe HPG silicon into the graphics cards we buy. That doesn't just mean distribution is going swimmingly, it also likely means Intel's drivers are in a fairly decent shape to offer partners some idea of actual Xe DG2 performance.
And that all speaks well to Intel's gaming focused graphics card actually arriving on the shelves sometime soon to salve the ongoing GPU shortage woes. If it's going to have a chance of being a genuine third way against Nvidia and AMD then Intel needs to launch DG2 before GeForce and Radeon cards are in plentiful supply again.