It may have been the king of personal computing, but Intel is now seeing its kingdom under attack on almost every front. ARM-based laptops are starting to become fashionable, especially with the introduction of Macs running on Apple’s M1 Silicon. Even on the server side, AMD and NVIDIA are closing the lucrative market, especially with the latter’s GPU-based approach. Intel is now stepping back with its own discrete GPU platform, the latest incarnation of which is being put at the service of Android games in the cloud.
Intel recently announced its first discrete GPUs based on its new Intel Iris Xe graphics architecture. But while Intel Iris Xe MAX targets thin and light laptops, this next batch, based on Intel Iris Xe-LP, targets servers. Specifically, servers that need the large amount of data required by mobile games.
Intel’s cloud gaming solution takes the form of an H3C x16 PCIe Gen 3.0 card that contains four of these Intel server GPUs together. Each GPU comes with 8 GB of dedicated LP-DDR4 memory for a total of 32 per card. Each GPU is also advertised to be able to run 20 Android games per chip or 80 games per card. A typical two-card system, says Intel, will be able to handle 100 to 160 users at the same time.
It is definitely interesting that Intel chose this very specific market for its first server GPU audience. Mobile games are admittedly a lucrative business, but, unlike game streaming where games are rendered on a remote server, most mobile games download only data processing and user management. They don’t really demonstrate the graphics capabilities of Intel’s discrete GPUs.
That said, Intel also doesn’t stop there. After these server GPUs based on Iris Xe-LP and Iris Xe MAX for laptops, the chip maker is looking into the next segment of high-performance computing with Xe-HP GPUs. They are already being made available to selected developers and maybe we can finally see their high-performance graphics up and running next year.