Intel’s First (Modern) Discrete GPU Set For 2020
In a very short tweet posted to their Twitter feed yesterday, Intel revealed/confirmed the launch date for their first discrete GPU developed under the company’s new dGPU initiative. The otherwise unnamed high-end GPU will be launching in 2020, a short two to two-and-a-half years from now.
— Intel News (@intelnews) June 12, 2018
The tweet was posted amidst reports that Intel had given the same details to a small group of analysts last week, with the tweet being released to confirm those reports. The nature of the meeting itself hasn’t been disclosed, but Intel regularly gives analysts extremely broad timelines for new technologies as part of outlining their plans to remain on top of the market.
This new GPU would be the first GPU to come out of Intel’s revitalized GPU efforts, which kicked into high gear at the end of 2017 with the hiring of former AMD and Apple GPU boss Raja Koduri. Intel of course is in the midst of watching sometimes-ally and sometimes-rival NVIDIA grow at a nearly absurd pace thanks to the machine learning boom, so Intel’s third shot at dGPUs is ultimately an effort to establish themselves in a market for accelerators that is no longer niche but is increasingly splitting off customers who previously would have relied entirely on Intel CPUs.
Interestingly, a 2020 launch date for the new discrete GPU is inside the estimate window we had seen for the project. But the long development cycle for a high-end GPU means that this project was undoubtedly started before Raja Koduri joined Intel in late 2017 – most likely it would have needed to kick off at the start of the year, if not in 2016 – so this implies that Koduri has indeed inherited an existing Intel project, rather than starting from scratch. Whether this is an evolution of Intel’s Gen GPU or an entirely new architecture remains to be seen, as there are good arguments for both sides.
Intel isn’t saying anything else about the GPU at this time. Though we do know from Intel’s statements when they hired Koduri that they’re starting with high-end GPUs, a fitting choice given the accelerator market Intel is going after. This GPU is almost certainly aimed at compute users first and foremost – especially if Intel adopts a bleeding edge-like strategy that AMD and NVIDIA have started to favor – but Intel’s dGPU efforts are not entirely focused on professionals. Intel has also confirmed that they want to go after the gaming market as well, though what that would entail – and when – is another question entirely.