Raja Koduri has a tendency to publish some absolute filth on his Twitter profile. Case in point, the latest silicon obscenity he's exposed us to today. It's positively NSFW. The strangely offset chip cradled between his digits is the most powerful of Intel's new gaming GPUs, the B0 stepping of its Intel Xe-HPG 512 execution unit DG2.
He calls it 'real candy' and it certainly looks pretty sweet. Well, shiny at least. It also looks like a pretty chunky GPU. And that B0 stepping indicates the hardware could actually be finished too.
We were hoping that Intel would launch its first true gaming-focused graphics card with its most performant chip, and it's looking a lot like that's going to be the case.
Xe-HPG (DG2) real candy - very productive time at the Folsom lab couple of weeks ago. “From jittery journeys to buttery smooth” said @rogerdchandler - lots of game and driver optimization work ahead for @gfxlisa’s software team. They are all very excited..and a little scared:) pic.twitter.com/tQcfEWf8p4June 2, 2021
The 512 EU model will be the top of the new DG2 chips using the Xe-HPG architecture. And if you're wondering how that stacks up against new AMD and Nvidia GPUs with core counts numbering in the thousands, Intel's execution unit doesn't really equate to the floating point units the current GPU makers tout as 'cores'.
Each of those EUs can run up to eight floating point operations per clock, so we can actually look at it as having the equivalent of 4,096 cores if we want to try and get a comparison with the red and green teams.
In terms of performance we're thinking that this 512 EU card will be taking aim squarely at the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in terms of performance. If you were hoping that Intel would come out swinging at the top of the market you might be a little disappointed at that, but if it can match the RTX 3070—itself a great gaming card—and do so with a competitive price point it could be a massive success for Intel.
There is also expected to be a 384 EU chip launching in the discrete GPU range, with smaller 256 and 128 EU versions being used for future gaming laptops.
The B0 stepping indicated by the scrawl on the PCB shows this is a few iterations down the line. In short, this isn't some early prototype, this is well on the road to production. Intel has already stated that "DG2 is right around the corner, it's about to get exciting."
And, honestly, having another GPU maker parachuting vital supplies into the graphics card drought, just when we need them, does make this the perfect time for Intel to get into the game and make things potentially very exciting indeed.
So long as the graphics card drivers are on point, anyways. However good the hardware ends up being the software is what's going to make or break this third option in the cut-throat GPU market.