For the better part of a year, we’ve been wanting to know exactly how Intel’s Xe discrete GPU architecture would perform. When Xe was first announced, the news was right up there with the sky crashing down or hell freezing over: an Intel graphics card? Suffice to see, few people thought Team Blue would get back to that market after the Larabee debacle. But with Raja Koduri (of AMD fame) at the helm, there was cautious optimism about Xe.
At Intel’s CES 2020 keynote, we got to see Xe in action. Well, not the full-fledged desktop monster. No, we got to see the low-profile DG1 for Tiger Lake-powered ultrabooks. It’s important to note here that DG1 isn’t even a discrete GPU. It’s an integrated variant of Xe that offers what Intel claims to be a 2x performance uplift over its Gen 11 iGPUs.
At the Keynote, Intel’s VP for graphics Lisa Pearce presented Xe, reaffirming the claim that its DG1 iteration will offer 2x performance gains compared to Gen 11. We got to see the DG1 in action, but it wasn’t at all what we expected. Seemingly unable to satisfactorily answer the question “But can it run Crysis?” Intel opted to showcase the Xe DG1 running Destiny 2, at unspecified settings and without any performance metrics.
It’s relevant to point out here that this is not an intensive title. Destiny 2 hands in playable framerates at low-medium settings even on Gen 11 systems. This made Intel’s decision not to show performance metrics concerning: the DG1 demonstration tells us that Destiny 2 is playable on Intel Xe, but that’s true even of Ice Lake Gen 11 graphics.
We’re far more interested in what Intel didn’t showcase: its upcoming Xe HP (High Performance) line of midrange and enthusiast cards. The HP lineup will feature cards all the way up to the way up to 250W. For now, all we have to go on is one very disappointing Destiny 2 demo.