While there are plenty of questions surrounding Intel's plans to launch discrete GPUs, we now know at least one thing—the first one is coming sometime in 2020. Intel confirmed the timeline in a Twitter post today, with a link back to its announcement last November that it brought Raja Koduri on board to lead its newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group.
Intel's first discrete GPU coming in 2020: https://t.co/s9EPeFifBp pic.twitter.com/n5zmUY2Mc2June 12, 2018
The announcement puts the world on notice, and in particular AMD and Nvidia, that Intel is coming. What exactly will come first remains to be seen. Intel previously stated its discrete GPU efforts would focus on "a broad range of computing segments," and that presumably includes gaming.
Before joining Intel, Koduri worked at AMD as head of its Radeon Technologies Group and spearheaded the launch of its Vega graphics architecture. More recently, Intel also hired Chris Hook, another former AMD employee, to be its new "discrete graphics guy." Hook worked at AMD for 17 years dating back to the ATI days.
It seems pretty clear that Intel is headed toward releasing a discrete graphics card for gaming at some point, which is pretty exciting. We haven't seen a proper discrete graphics solution out of Intel since the old i740 graphics solution, which was an AGP card way back in 1998. Considering nearly all of Intel's mainstream processors include some form of integrated graphics, Intel hasn't been much of a threat to AMD and Nvidia in the discrete market.
Of course, Intel faces an uphill battle. Both AMD and Nvidia are on solid footing in discrete graphics, and both have roadmaps in place for future architectures. In fact, Nvidia is scheduled to talk about its next-generation GPUs at the Hot Chips conference in August, by which time it might have already unveiled a new GeForce GPU.
It's also worth noting that in terms of product development, 2020 isn't that far off, especially for a brand new architecture built from the ground up. Intel is obviously confident it will have something by then, even if it's a low power option.