Intel Iris Xe Max discrete GPU for slim laptops announced with AI and encoding performance boost

The 11th Gen Core ‘Tiger Lake’ CPUs from Intel are the first to have the new integrated Xe graphics architecture. Laptops built in this are going for sale around the world and the company has unveiled that some of them would also ship with their first discrete GPU which is the Intel¬† Iris Xe Max. Intel also revealed details on how laptops can use integrated and discrete Xe GPUs together for increasing graphics performance and accelerate particular computer-intensive or AI-based tasks.

The name of Intel Iris Xe Max was leaked when Intel included the product badge in its presentation of brand identify overhaul in the month of September. It was also seen in the listings of laptop manufacturers which includes an Acer laptop launch announcement.

Intel Iris Xe Max is based on the same Xe-LP GPU like integrated GPUs in 11th Gen Core Tiger Lake processors. Its main target is thin and light laptops and would be able to work in conjunction with an integrated GPU. This can be enabled via software framework which Intel has called its Deep Link. The main applications that can be accelerated by stacking the abilities of both the GPUs includes AI inferencing and video encoding.

Deep Link can also manage power and thermal headroom between GPU and CPU which results in a claimed 20% improvement in CPU performance if the GPU is idle. It is also same like the AMDs SmartShift power optimization feature.

Image Source : Tom’s Hardware

Intel has claimed up to 7 times faster AI-based content creation on 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 CPU plus Iris Xe Max GPU compared to a laptop with 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU and Nvidia Ge Force MX350 GPU. In case of media encoding, Intel says that it achieved 1.78X better results than the Core i9-10980HK and Ge Force RTX 2080 Super (MaxQ).

Iris Xe Max GPU has 96 execution units which is same like the top-end integrated implementation and has a higher maximum clock speed of 1.65GHz. It can also leverage the 10nm SuperFin transistor technology and PCIe 4.0 speed to connect with CPU. It has 4GB LPDDR4X memory with 68GBps bandwith. Around four displays can be used together over HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4 or internal eDP. It also supports variable rate shading and adaptive sync.

For gaming, Iris Xe Max has been positioned against Nvidia’s GeForce MX350 entry-level discrete GPU and users can expect to play modern games at 1080p at medium to low settings with more than 30fps frame rates.

Acer, Asus and Dell have revealed the first laptops having Iris Xe Max GPUs. Acer Swift 3X, Asus VivoBook TP470 and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 will go for sale in all parts around the world in the month of November.

Intel promised to launch a discrete CPU in 2020 a long time ago and as a part of the effort to overhaul the integrated and discrete graphics abilities. AMD’s Radeon graphics chief, Raja Koduri and other key executives were hired by the company. The DG1 discrete GPU test vehicle was shown at CES this year and distributed between developers. Intel committed to launch a high-end gaming GPU for desktop PCs at the recent Architecture Day event that would support hardware ray tracing and manufactured at third-party foundry. Integrated Xe GPUs are also arriving to the desktop starting with 11th Gen ‘Rocket Lake’ CPUs in 2021.