Intel Xe-HPG gives gamers a next-gen GPU alternative to AMD and NVIDIA

Intel has revealed a new GPU for gamers, with the new graphics chip promising to be the fourth variant of its next-generation Xe architecture. The Intel Xe-HPG will be a performance version of the Xe family, joining the chip-maker’s version’s for low-power systems, data centers, and creators, as it tries to take on graphics stalwarts AMD and NVIDIA.

Xe covers both general purpose GPU and discrete GPU technologies, with the goal of expanding Intel’s footprint in PCs, workstations, and data centers beyond just the CPU. Intended to offer more grunt than the company’s integrated graphics, they’ll be available in both add-on cards and baked into Tiger Lake laptops, among other things.

For mobile devices, there’s Xe-LP (Low Power), which promises to be the most efficient version. However it’ll still include support for asynchronous compute, instant game tuning, capture, and stream-and-image sharpening, Intel says. For servers, there’s XE-HP, which can do things like transcode multiple streams of 4K simultaneously; it’s expected to be available in 2021.

The first Xe-based discrete GPU, codenamed Intel DG1, meanwhile, is in production the company says. It should ship later this year, and will be the first of the Xe family – using Xe-LP architecture – to be offered for PCs. For data centers, there’s Intel Server GPU SG1, basically combining four DG1s in a small form factor. Intel is focusing on its potential for things like low-latency, high-density Android cloud gaming and video streaming when it begins shipping SG1 later in 2020.

However gamers will have to be a little more patient. Newly-announced is Xe-HPG, another variant of the Xe architecture that’s optimized for gaming. Xe-HPG combines “good performance-per-watt building blocks from Xe-LP, leveraging the scale from Xe-HP for a bigger configuration and compute frequency optimization from Xe-HPC,” Intel says.

It’ll use a new memory subsystem, based on GDDR6, and support features like accelerated ray tracing. According to Intel, Xe-HPG should start shipping in 2021.

Xe-HPG will support new features in the Intel Graphics Command Center, like instant game tuning and game sharpening. The former is a game-specific driver, which allows for swifter fixes and optimizations because it doesn’t need the whole GPU driver to be updated. Instead, players will be able to opt-in to those specific drivers.

As for game sharpening, that’s based on perceptual adaptive sharpening to supposedly boost the image clarity in games. It’ll also be an opt-in feature, using a compute shader-based adaptive algorithm to improve how games look, particularly those which rely on resolution scaling to balance performance and image quality, Intel suggests.

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