Intel already has a working DG1 'Xe' graphics card, but it's only for developers

Intel's DG1 desktop graphics card is up, running, and being shipped to developers already.

Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

You could almost hear a collective sigh from PC gamers on Monday when Intel showed off its first modern discrete GPU confined to a laptop instead of a desktop.

That all changed this morning when Intel revealed that it’s already begun shipping a desktop DG1 graphics card based on the company’s forthcoming Xe graphics architecture—but only to developers.

Intel’s building the DG1 Software Development Vehicle solely to ship to game and app developers around the world, so they can begin optimizing for the company’s new graphics architecture.

And no, before you ask, you couldn’t buy the Intel DG1 SDV even if you wanted to. If you’re wondering how many execution units its has, what clock speed it runs at, and what kind of RAM it has—we don’t know and Intel won’t say. Although it’s rumored to have 96 EUs (execution units), Intel wouldn’t confirm or deny that either.

What we know about DG1

We do know that DG1 is a 10nm GPU though, just like Intel’s upcoming Tiger Lake U chip. It’s based on the company’s forthcoming Xe graphics architecture. We can also surmise from its lack of a external power connector that it draws under 75 watts of power, at least in this developer-focused iteration. (Motherboard PCIe slots can supply up to 75w to connected devices.) The card’s shroud is aluminum and features RGB LED lighting. Ports include three DisplayPort and a single HDMI connection.

Intel DG1 Software Development Card Gordon Mah Ung

Intel’s Xe-based DG1 lacks any external power connectors so you can guess it runs on less than 75 watts. And yup, that “Software Development Vehicle” denotes this card is unlikely to ever see retail shelves.

How fast is the Intel DG1 desktop GPU?

Intel did show the DG1 running in an SDV box being sent to developers, playing Warframe at 1080p. No frame rate was displayed onscreen, but my eyeball put it in the range of above 40 frames per second.

Intel officials say any conjecture today is ridiculous, as final hardware, software, and drivers for its discrete Xe graphics cards won’t resemble what we’re seeing in the DG1 SDV. At this point in its evolution, it's important that DG1 is in the hands of developers to optimize their games. Although hardware is important, Intel officials point out, getting software developers aboard is equally as important for success.

Perhaps the best takeaway from this? Intel is forging onward with its odyssey to create a discrete graphics card to compete with Nvidia and AMD.

Intel DG1 Software Development Card Gordon Mah Ung

Intel’s Ari Rauch holds a Xe-based DG1 graphics card being seeded to game and app developers.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CES 2020

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?