Intel’s Xe GPU proves it can power up by appearing in benchmark databases

The new discrete Intel chip's alive... kinda

Intel Xe GPU specs

The first Intel Xe graphics card has been plugged in, powered on, and run through the GFXBench testing software. Yes, it’s actually working. Well, after a fashion… We first heard about Intel starting up its new discrete Xe graphics card when CEO, Bob “Robert the Swan” Swan announced that its DG1 part had exited the power on phase of testing, and now the proof of that is the GPU turning up in the GFXBench database.

That’s kinda exciting, and normally the fact that we’ve got a GFXBench entry would mean we could elicit some interesting specs and details about the upcoming discrete Intel GPU, but when we say that the graphics chip is working, we really just mean that it turned on and didn’t immediately vanish in a puff of logic.

And that means all the performance data is either N/A or the part completely failed the test. Then there’s the fact that neither the version 4 or 5 entries have any specs information either… so really all we know is that Intel is putting DG1 through its paces.

The entry has come to light via serial Twitter leaker, Komachi, who posted up a link to the GFXBench listing yesterday. The Vulkan testing is listed as gfx-driver-user-feature_dg1_poweron-27723 DCH ReleaseInternal, though I’m pretty confident the final name of the first Intel Xe card will be catchier than that. It’s the DG1 bit which highlights this as Intel’s first discrete GPU – Discrete Graphics 1 – which is how the Swanster referred to it in the latest Intel earnings call.

Sadly that’s all that comes from the entry, but it’s still a good sign that power-on validation is being done on commercial software and not just Intel engineers flicking the power switch and crossing their fingers hoping the RGB LED strip lights up. I mean, surely even the testing kit’s got those on, right? That stuff’s integral to being part of the discrete GPU gang.

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We were hoping for confirmation of the chip’s specs, but unfortunately we’re going to have to make do with the rumoured specs putting the DG1 GPU at the same level as the integrated Tiger Lake graphics silicon coming next year. That would put it at 96 execution units and around the 1080p level of gaming prowess.

That might not sound exciting, but if the Intel multi-GPU coding bears fruit we could still be looking at a competitive graphics architecture when next-gen Intel CPU and GPU are combined, even if it’s unlikely to challenge for the best graphics card title…