Intel Xe DG1: Software Development Vehicle Shown At CES 2020


Intel showed off their first discrete graphics card solution at CES 2020, DG1, based on Intel’s Xe architecture during their official press conference. Intel DG1 was shown running Destiny 2 on an Intel Tiger Lake-powered laptop during the reveal.

The good news is that Intel briefed a small number of sites behind closed doors about the Intel DG1 software development vehicle. The big thing for Intel right now is to make sure Independent Software Vendors (ISV) are ready for Intel Xe. So, at the press conference they showed off DG1 in a laptop and today we are seeing full sized discrete graphics card based on DG1 that will drive software development.

Intel DG1 Software Development Vehicle

This is a purpose built graphics card that is already sampling to ISVs worldwide, so Intel has begun putting the Xe architecture into the hands of both game and application developers. It’s about the software and not just the hardware when it comes to bringing a graphics card to market.

Intel Ari Rauch Holding DG1 (VP of architecture, graphics, and software)
Intel Ari Rauch Holding DG1 (VP of architecture, graphics, and software)

The group was also shown an Intel Coffee Lake S with the Intel DG1 Software Development Vehicle inside. The integrated graphics of the CPU was turned off, so only the DG1 card was driving the graphics. It turns out that Intel is sampling this exact system to all of their ISV partners. So, the ISVs are provided with the entire system and not just the Intel Xe card.

Intel DG1 ISV System for 2020

This system was designed to showcase the capabilities of DG1 and Intel says they are very happy with where they are at. Intel was showing this information to us as they wanted to us to see more than just a brief implementation of DG1 in a mobile platform.

Intel DG1 running Warframe
Intel DG1 Running Warframe

Intel was showing DG1 running Warframe in our meeting and we were able to play the game title and see the card in action. Warframe is not a game title that we are very familiar with, but it came out on Stream back in 2013 and has over 300,000 positive reviews. Intel was running the game at 1920 x 1080 and it was playable on this extremely early platform. No graphics settings were shown and performance numbers were not discussed. By looking at the gameplay it looked to be right around 60 FPS, but the real take home message here is that it is up and running.

Xe DG1 GPU is part of the low power (LP) series and is not a high-end product that is aimed at desktop gamers. Desktop users will be wanting something from the high power (HP) series that will be coming later at an unknown date. Intel just happened to pick DG1 to come to market first and therefore it will be used by developers to lay the foundation for Xe ecosystem.

You can see a video of the Intel DG1 software development vehicle playing Warframe below that we took.

Here are some additional images of the DG1 developer card:

The Intel DG1 developer card was better made that we expected it to be. It had good heft and Intel went over the top and placed programmable RGB lighting on the front of the fan shroud. The card was only about 6-inches in length, but Intel included a nice looking full metal backplate.

The Intel DG1 development card has one HDMI port and three DisplayPort outputs with regards to video connectors. This implies that at least four displays can be connected. There is a large exhaust port, but the fins on the GPU cooler were very small.