"ITSA ME, PONTE VECCHIO" is what Intel's Xe GPU might say if it were to introduce itself, as the chipmaker has named it after a stone bridge in Italy's Florence.
'Why?' you might ask. We have no idea, we'd have to answer. But Intel has a thing with stuff related to body's of water; see its Ice Lake and Comet Lake CPU code names for reference. Perhaps Ponte Vecchio will be the bridge that links Intel's processor building with a foray into dedicated graphics.
Regardless as to the why, that's the code/family name given to Intel's dedicated GPU tech it's been beavering away on, according to Videocardz.
The Ponte Vecchio Xe GPU will be based on a 7-nanometre fabrication process, which would seemingly put it on par with the 7nm node that AMD's Navi-based graphics cards are on.
But Ponte Vecchio won't be used as a gaming or consumer-level GPU, rather it'll be designed to handle compute tasks in exascale computing situations, providing ultra-high cache and high memory bandwidth to presumably handle large amounts of data.
Videocardz noted that Ponte Vecchio GPUs will be part of a project dubbed Aurora, which is an exascale computer with 7nm Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs and the Xe GPU, supplemented by a unified programming model facilitated by Intel's oneAPI. Aurora is set to be showcased on 17 November, though it's due a release in 2021.
And for folks not into exascale computing - and we can't blame you - this news is interesting as it shows Intel is making progress with its dedicated GPU tech. And that progress means we could see PC and consumer-grade Xe graphics cards early on in 2020; we know they are coming next year, we just have no firmed up release date.
Things are already heating up in the graphics card world, so Intel getting all up inside it next year could be particularly interesting, especially when Nvidia could reveal its next-gen graphics architecture and AMD is meant to have a high-end Navi graphics card to show off in 2020 as well. µ
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