Little by little, Intel keeps teasing out tidbits about its first modern discrete GPU, which is still scheduled to arrive in 2020 to compete for the title of best graphics card. Most questions won't be answered until then. In the meantime, if you are wondering what the end result might look like, Intel provided a glimpse at GDC 2019.
The image above, courtesy of our friends at TechRadar, shows the first shroud design that Intel is considering. To be clear, what you're looking at is a render and not an actual product, though it shows where Intel's mind is at.
From our vantage point, it looks like Intel just tweaked a render of its Optane 905P SSD, added a fan, and made it twice as thick for this supposed preview. That's certainly a possibility. Intel is in heavy marketing mode as it pertains to graphics, and is attempting to generate significant buzz while revealing just enough to whet our appetite.
Whether this ends up being the final design remains to be seen, but we'd be surprised if that's the case. As shown, it's a relatively small card. At that size, it's unlikely that performance would be anywhere near the top GPUs from AMD and Nvidia.
We're in full speculation mode, but our expectation of performance from a card as shown would be more like a GeForce GTX 1050 or maybe a GTX 1660 Ti at best. Obviously that could change, and it's entirely possible (likely, even) that Intel will scale up to large GPUs and cards. However, if Intel is seriously thinking of making a card that small, our hunch is it will be relatively cheap and slow.
According to PCMag, the design of the shroud is called Dragon Scale. Apparently Intel is toying around with different materials for the chassis, and may show off alternate designs in the future. Whatever design Intel settles on, it wants the card to stand out from the competition.
In the angled shot above, we can see a trio of full-size DisplayPorts and an HDMI port. Of course, the output selection could very well change between now and the final design as well.
Beyond the teaser images, Intel did not get into any technical specifications, or details of note. That said, Intel CEO Bob Swan did make an appearance and double down on how important gaming is to the company's discrete GPU plans, even though he is not a gamer himself.
"But look, what I do know—even though I'm not a gamer—is I know how important gamers are to Intel," he said. "I am here to simply listen, to learn, and to kind of start my own journey with this community about how we can get better to serve and work with you."
What are you thoughts on the design? Do you dig it, or hope Intel goes in a different direction?