Intel Iris Xe MAX discrete GPU launched for laptops

Intel may have the lion's share of the PC desktop and laptop CPU market, at least for now, but it has struggled to gain any foothold in the graphics sector of the industry. It has always been touting its Iris graphics technologies and while they have definitely improved over the years, they still mostly fall short compared to those with a discrete graphics card, especially on desktops. Laptops, on the other hand, offer an opportunity for Intel to break through and that is exactly what its new Iris Xe MAX discrete GPUs promise for thin and light laptops.

Intel's argument for pushing its own discrete graphics, beyond a show of technical prowess, is that laptop CPUs are rarely optimized when paired with a third-party solution, like that from NVIDIA or AMD. That implies that being the one that makes both CPU and GPU, Intel is able to squeeze out as much performance as it can and actually surpass the performance of an Intel CPU and third-party GPU combo.

That is mostly thanks to a combination of PCIe Gen 4 and Intel's Deep Link tech. The latter offers a single software framework for both CPU and GPU processing engines to maximize their performance. As always, the added power is used to boost AI-related operations, like Additive AI for inferencing and rendering for both the discrete Iris Xe MAX GPU and the integrated Iris Xe chip on an 11th-gen Intel Core processor.

One note about Intel's first discrete laptop GPU push is that it is primarily aimed at creatives, where AI-based creation and media encoding are more important than fast, real-time graphics rendering. That said, Intel also advertises that the Iris Xe MAX also improves gaming performance, at least for 1080p resolutions, via Game Sharpening and Instant Game Tuning features.

The Intel Iris Xe MAX discrete graphics, despite being discrete, is pretty much tied to Intel's newly announced 11th-gen processors whose integrated graphics also use the same Xe-LP graphics architecture. They are available now on the Acer Swift 3, Asus Vivobook Flip TP470, and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1. Unsurprisingly, Intel is also planning on spreading its wings soon to HPCs and, eventually, to desktops in the first half of 2021.