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Leaked Presentation Shows Intel's 'Arctic Sound' Xe Graphics Cards With up to 4 Tiles, 500W TDP

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Digital Trends has reportedly gotten its hands on an internal presentation from Intel’s Data Center Group pointing to specifications for Intel's Xe, codenamed Arctic Sound, graphics cards. The presentation is from early 2019, however, so it's possible that some things could have changed since then, such as final TDP numbers.

Arctic Sound will likely to be Intel's highest volume graphics card and built on the Xe HP architecture, in contrast to the Intel Xe DG1 mobile graphics card, which is built on Xe LP. 

According to the presentation, Intel’s high-end Arctic Sound graphics cards will feature up to one, two or four slices. This refers to the number of chiplets the graphics card contains, and they're also called tiles because they are identical. 

The four-tile configuration has a 400W or 500W TDP and 48V input. That shows that Intel is serious about delivering high performance, while making unlikely that it's intended for individual consumers. 

The card with two tiles is presented with a 300W TDP and 12V input. That's as high a TDP as Nvidia’s Tesla V100 and slightly higher than the Nvidia Titan RTX workstation GPU.

The single-tile card reportedly has a TDP of 75W or 150W. One of the slides suggests that the single-tile configuration is intended for client use.

Rumored Intel Arctic Sound Specs*

Type of Card# of CardsTilesTDPInput VoltageCard Form Factor
RVP3175W or 150W12VCustom PCIe
230012VCustom PCIe
4400.50048VCustom PCIe
SDV417512VStandard PCIe
150W12VStandard PCIe
2300W12VStandard PCIe
4400W or 500W48VStandard PCIe

*Specs haven't been confirmed by Intel.

The specs published by Digital Trends (above) shows the Arctic Sound platforms: three reference validation platforms (RVP) and four software development vehicles (SDV). 

The presentation didn't show how the tiles will be connected, but Intel is rumored to use its high-bandwidth EMIB packaging technology. This information lines up with a recent rumor that Arctic Sound will feature four dies at 150mm2 and HBM2E. According to the same rumor, it was intended for streaming applications in the data center, making it plausible that Intel will use Arctic Sound both for consumer and data center graphics cards.

(Image credit: Intel)

How Many EUs?

The documents didn't specify how many executions units (EUs) there are per slice, but Digital Trends speculated that it is 128 EUs per tile. An Intel graphics driver last year revealed that DG2 comes in configurations of 128, 256 and 512 EUs. However, a tweet by a well-known hardware leaker this month claimed that DG2 shares an architecture that seems similar to Ponte Vecchio and is not the same as Arctic Sound, with DG2 using Gen12P71 (Xe HPC) and Arctic Sound using Gen12P5 (Xe HP).

Een if Arctic Sound also has 128 EUs per slice, it's not necessarily the case that the amount of shaders (768 in Tiger Lake, or 8 per EU) per EU is the same as DG1, which uses the Xe LP microarchitecture. 

We're still waiting to hear more about the Xe architecture, but Intel has stated that Xe HPC, the third microarchitecture of Xe, has a matrix engine with INT8 support that increases the performance per EU 32-fold. If Xe HP also has this engine, its performance per EU might be different than that of the DG1. 

One indication that the amount of EUs per slice is higher than 128 with Arctic Sound is Intel saying that Xe LP was intended to scale from 5W to 20W, which is several times lower than the 75-150W power consumption of a single Arctic Sound tile.

HBM2E and PCIe 4.0

The presentation lends credence to an earlier rumor that Arctic Sound will have HBM2E. Samsung is currently preparing volume production of HBM2E.

Arctic Sound will also reportedly use PCIe 4.0. Intel at present does not have a consumer platform with PCIe 4.0, an issue that also plagues its Alder Stream Optane SSD.

While Arctic Sound’s 500W would make it among of the largest chips out there, Ponte Vecchio, Intel’s first 7nm product, will feature not four, but 16 tiles as two sets of eight tiles (likely 3D Foveros stacked) .

Arctic Sound's release date isn't known yet. Intel has not officially talked about Arctic Sound or Xe HP yet, except for a tweet last year by Raja Koduri, Intel's SVP, chief architect and GM of Architecture, Graphics and Software, indicating that it had reached a milestone and that it was very large silicon. Arctic Sound's 500W TDP seems to confirm that statement.

  • mdd1963
    If it will not equal the gaming performance of the GTX1060 (6 GB) card of 3 years ago and at only $99, then who needs it? :)
  • JayNor
    This slide says Tiger Lake will have pcie 4. Ice Lake Server slides also say Pcie 4. Intel also has shipped Stratix 10 DX with pcie 4. So, it looks like Intel has processor candidates with pcie4 to ship to customers in the same timeframe as these gpus.
  • derekullo
    mdd1963 said:
    If it will not equal the gaming performance of the GTX1060 (6 GB) card of 3 years ago and at only $99, then who needs it? :)
    A Geforce 1060 may not keep you warm in a Siberian winter.

    A 500 watt Intel bitcoin miner / space heater might just do it.
  • escksu But I am fine with that power consumption as long as performance is there.... If it could be 2x that of 2080ti, 500W is actually very very good.
  • escksu
    Btw, I won't be surprise if this card sucks at gaming and its not intended for gaming...... Maybe its meant for AI and something to compete with tela.
  • spongiemaster
    mdd1963 said:
    If it will not equal the gaming performance of the GTX1060 (6 GB) card of 3 years ago and at only $99, then who needs it? :)
    Companies that plan to use it for what it's designed for which isn't gaming..?
  • jkflipflop98
    Nvidia is about to get hit by a speeding freight train. Finally prices will come down to reasonable levels across the board.
  • Zizo007
    No one thought about how to cool this thing?
    I mean you need a water chiller to cool 500W.
    My bathroom heater is 500W, its enough to heat a small room in the winter!
  • Zizo007
    escksu said: But I am fine with that power consumption as long as performance is there.... If it could be 2x that of 2080ti, 500W is actually very very good.
    There is no way this is 2x2080 Ti. Imagine that its true, Nvidia and AMD would be out of business.
  • JayNor
    Intel announced they will present details on Xe at GDC 2020, March 16..20,

    "This talk will provide a detailed tour of the hardware architecture behind Intel's upcoming GPUs - unveiling the structure behind its building blocks and their performance implications."