Intel’s first desktop GPU in two decades might not be a gaming contender

Take a look at Intel's AIB partner cards in the flesh

Intel Xe GPU backplate

As we’ve known for a while now, Intel is expected to rival Nvidia’s RTX 3070 and AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 with its own Xe DG2 gaming graphics card later this year, but before that comes its first dedicated GPU in two decades. Unfortunately, Intel’s re-entry into the graphics market doesn’t look like it’ll disrupt the duopoly just yet, as the Xe DG1 won’t be available for consumers to purchase as a standalone product, only being available for OEM PC builders.

The chip here is based on the Iris Xe GPU found inside Tiger Lake notebooks, which is capable of running some less demanding games smoothly, but falls noticeably short of the performance of the GPUs in our list of best graphics cards for gaming. In fact, it seems to fill a gap that no-one asked for: prebuilt PCs, where similar levels of graphical performance can be achieved with AMD’s APU range without the need for a standalone graphics card, and for general computing Intel’s integrated graphics are more than adequate.

There’s a positive to take from this, though; Intel’s first shot since 1998 at organising the launch of a standalone GPU and working with AIB partners should mean it’s more prepared when the time comes to release its DG2 card, while trying to minimise the stock issues we’ve seen from AMD and Nvidia.

We’ve seen two photos of the DG1 GPU from separate third-party manufacturers, Asus and Colorful. The Asus card has a passive cooling fanless design, further confirming this is definitely not a gaming GPU with its low 30W power consumption. Colorful has gone for a much less boring two-fan design with blue accents, reminiscent of MSI’s seven-year-old GTX 970 Twin Frozr. The latter gives us a glimpse of what the DG2 designs may likely look like – we bet many of team blue’s future cards will have a blue colour scheme. Who would’ve thought?

Black and blue coloured graphics card, with a double fan cooling solution

Once the DG2 is released late this year or in 2022, the best gaming PCs will then be split across three teams, rather than the long-standing AMD-Nvidia rivalry.