Intel is allegedly on track to unveil its first 10nm discrete graphics cards in mid-2020, according to a report from Taiwanese industry sources close to DigiTimes.
The Intel graphics cards will be based on the new Xe architecture. It’s been working on this new GPU architecture ever since it poached Raja Koduri from AMD. He was Radeon’s chief architect who oversaw AMD’s transition behind the scenes to Vega and, eventually once he’d departed, Vega.
They’re not just interested in the gaming market, however. Intel is looking at expanding rapidly into data centre, AI and machine learning applications for its Intel Xe graphics cards. Both AMD and Nvidia have a huge head-start in this area but Intel has sheer size in its favour. In particular, Nvidia is going to be looking over its shoulder at Intel as a significant proportion of Team Green’s revenue stream comes from AI GPUs and Machine Learning.
“With the new platform, Intel will be able to expand its profitability from the PC and datacenter businesses and increase its influence in the AI and autonomous driving markets,” writes DigiTimes. Based on the language used, it sounds as if gaming applications for Intel Xe may be viewed as secondary.
Based on the farce that has been Intel’s much-delayed move to 10nm fabrication for its CPUs, we won’t necessarily be holding our breath for Intel to deliver its Xe graphics cards on schedule. We’d love it, of course, but history tells us there are going to be one or two hiccups along the way.
Looking a little further afield, Intel is aiming for 7nm Xe architecture in 2021. This will utilise Intel’s Foveros 3D chip technology. This is a high-performance 3D integrated circuit, stacking dies vertically on top of one another which means greater chip density, improved latency and bandwidth.
Intel’s fabrication issues these days are well publicised, while it’s also twice tried to worm its way into the discrete graphics card market and came out the loser on both occasions. There’s a huge, huge market up for grabs out there though, so we don’t expect Intel to give up easily this time, particularly with the GPU-focused talent it’s now got on board.